The Extended Batke Family with Link neighbors

The Extended Batke Family with Link neighbors
Pictured in the photo: (Back row, standing, left to right) Herman Fredrick, Anna Batke, Henry Batke, Sr., Selma Batke, Henry Robert Batke, William Batke and Arthur Engler. (Front row/sitting, left to right) Donald Fredrick, Robert Fredrick, Katherine Batke Fredrick, Ruth Batke, Edwin Batke, Katherine Reck Batke, Jerald Batke, Edna Kwiatkowski Batke, Mary Batke Engler and Elaine Engler. Taken c1940, possibly to celebrate Henry and Katherine’s 30th wedding anniversary, October 22, 1940. Photo courtesy: Don Fredrick.

About Henry Batke and Katherine Reck

Heinrich Batke, the son of Martin Batke (c1848-b1912) and Anna Lock (1848-1939) was born in Chortitza, Russia on September 7, 1877. Also in Russia, Catharina Reck was born on October 14, 1890. Her parents were John Reck and Renata Shirk. Henry and Katherine married in Russia on September 22, 1910. On July 13, 1912, Henry, his wife and seven month old daughter, Katherine, sailed from the Port of Bremen, Germany on the ship Pallanza. They traveled to Quebec City, Canada arriving on July 28, 1912. They immediately left on a special Canadian Pacific Railroad train to Saskatchewan, Canada. The Batkes homesteaded in Lydiard, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan between 1913 and 1918. On October 3, 1917 Henry Batke became a citizen of Canada. Due to England's sovereignty over Canada, he became a British citizen. Finding farming in Canada difficult, on December 7, 1921 the Batke family, now also including Mary, William and Selma, left for Yellow Pine, Alabama. After the birth of Anna and much hardship in Alabama, the family moved to St. Joseph, Michigan where children Henry, Ruth and Edwin were born. Henry, a furniture maker in Russia, became a machine operator at the 1900 Corporation, a fore-runner of Whirlpool, in St. Joseph. After Henry's death on April 7, 1949, Katherine Reck Batke married Gustav Schmeichel in 1959. Katherine Reck Batke Schmeichel died at the Claremont Nursing Home in Benton, Michigan on October 28, 1979.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Nineteen Hundred Corporation

In 1908, Lou Upton invested his savings in a venture to manufacture household equipment.  When the company failed to materialized, Upton was offered the opportunity to select something of value from the failed venture as a return on his investment.  He chose the patents on a hand washing machine that he thought might be electrified.  Upton brought the patents and his innovative vision home to St. Joseph, Michigan.  In 1911, Lou with other family members, produced motor-driven wringer washers as the Upton Machine Company.  In 1929 it merged with the Nineteen Hundred Washer Company of New York.  Together they formed the Nineteen Hundred Corporation.  World War II halted washer production, as factories were modified to provide components for the P-40 Warhawk aircrafts and military equipment.  In the summer of 1945, the 1900 Corporation began producing washers again.  In 1949, the company changed its name to the Whirlpool Corporation in recognition of the huge success of one of its product brand names.  Source: Whirlpool corporate history

Henry Batke states in the 1930 census that he was a "bench worker in a washing machine factory." In 1939, his occupation is listed in the city directory as a "machine operator."  And, on his death certificate, in 1949, it says he was a laborer in the 1900 Corporation.  If he worked at the 1900 Corporation from about 1930 to his retirement, he saw a lot of activity at the plant.

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