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.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Memories of Olen and Selma Batke Smith

Don Fredrick, nephew of Olen and Selma Batke Smith, remembers:

"I remember well going with my family to Oklahoma for a visit as a child with Olen and Selma Smith who took Bob and I and parents to the State prison Rodeo where prisoners were given prizes for running around in the ring with bulls trying to attach ribbons to horns. At times a tragedy as inmates were gored or thrown in the air by the bulls. I was about age 8 or 9.  I understand this kind of thing is still going on annually in Oklahoma.  Nothing like visiting one of Uncle Olen's oil wells and listening to oil well stories."

Don Fredrick, December 13, 2010

In response to Don's comment, Olen and Selma's son shares his memories:

"Don, I have read, with interest, your comments about your trip to Oklahoma visiting my parents, Olen and Selma Smith.  Dad and Mother loved company, and they had just the tour to take if one is willing, and has the time.  You referred to the McCalister, Okla. prison, SE of Seminole, Okla. about 90 minutes.  Believe the "inmates" continue to entertain during select summer months, as this has been a "Crowd Pleasing/Fund Raising Event" over the years.  Dad and Mother, at one time, had over 100 oil wells.  It was financially more productive to buy select leases with producing and non-producing wells...revamp, buy better equipment, clean out the old holes...price per barrel was on the rise when they, Mom and Dad, were actively working a very successful living over the many years.  Both enjoyed being on the Oklahoma Beef Club, which provided 50 yard line seats at the Oklahoma Home Games, and they also enjoyed traveling with the Oklahoma team for many years on Chartered Flights.  Ran into Dad/Mother, in Denver, inside a large bar, with Dad standing on top of a large table leading the Oklahoma Fight Song to a crowd of Beef Club Members  playing his/Dad's "Boomer Sooner Song Box".  I had flown out to Denver and dating Jackie Sergeant, from Coloma.  Jackie was working for Frontier Airlines, and we were meeting Mother and Dad in Denver...Okla. playing Colorado that weekend.  Dad and Mother loved driving their Cadillac to select Oklahoma games with Dad pushing a button on the Cadillac playing "Boomer Sooner" and getting immediate attention from "friend and foe". 

The picture of the Heart Grave stone in Buchanan is the beautiful resting place for Olen and Selma...That location is among many of Dad's relatives.  I plan to be buried at the feet of Dad/Plot, with Judy expressing interest in being buried at the feet of Mother/Plot.  Buchanan was home for Dad, having been reared their and graduating in Buchanan High School.  Summers in Buchanan, and Winters in Florida worked for them...Mother's cancer cut her life too short.  She was anxious to spend time with her Brothers and Sisters in the Michigan all of them did visit the Oklahoma homestead, and all had fun!

Lots of fond memories of Mother and Dad.  Actually, fond memories of our entire family.  That goes for all of my Aunts/Uncles, cousins.  I loved the Christmas seasons when we would all get together going to Trinity Church, and then to a relative's home after Christmas Eve church...Wonderful times!!!

Roger Smith, December 13, 2010

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