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, December 12, 2010

Smith Burial Place, Oak Ridge Cemetery

Selma Batke, daughter of Henry and Katherine Batke, married Olen Smith.  Both are buried at the Oak Ridge Cemetery.

The new Oak Ridge Cemetery on Front Street, originally 10 acres, was purchased from Warner Hamilton in 1864 for $500, to replace the first known cemetery in Buchanan, "The Old Burying Ground."  The first burials were made in 1867.  Records show that bodies were moved from "The Old Burying Ground" cemetery in Buchanan, to Oak Ridge as late as 1898. 

Oak Ridge Cemetery is located on the western edge of Buchanan, Michigan, between Terre Coupe and Front streets.  Oak Ridge Cemetery currently consists of approximately 45 acres.  There are 5 entrances: two on Front St., two on Terre Coupe, and the Polis St. entrance. Source: Oak Ridge Cemetery Buchanan, MI, Friends of Oak Ridge Cemetery, 2005.

Terre Coupe Street Entrance, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Buchanan, MI
Closest entrance to the Smith graves

Olen and Selma Batke Smith are both buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

On the gravestone, shaped with two hearts, is chiseled birth, marriage and death dates.  It reads:   SELMA Jan 27, 1919 - July 24, 1980; MARRIED Oct 24, 1940; OLEN June 9, 1918 - Sept. 13, 1995.

However, there are other documents, including Henry Batke's Declaration of Intention to become an American Citizen, that states Selma's birth year was 1918.

Olen Albert Smith and Selma Batke Smith are buried in Section A, Lot 317.  The GPS coordinates for the grave are: N 41° 49' 24.0"; W 086° 22' 41.9".

Olen Smith Obituary
Olen A. Smith, 77, of Boca Raton, Florida, formerly of Buchanan, Michigan, died Wednesday, September 13, 1995, at Healthwin Hospital, South Bend, Indiana.

The funeral was held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Swem Funeral Home, Buchanan.  Memorials may be made to the City of Buchanan for the Buchanan Commons or Buchanan High School Athletic Department.
Mr. Smith was born June 9, 1918, in Virginia.  He retired as the independent owner and operator of Reclamation Oil Fields after 38 years.  He was a navy veteran of World War II.

Survivors include: two daughters -- Judy Maxwell of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and Cheryl Richeson of Decatur, Alabama; a son Roger Smith of Coloma, Michigan; three step daughters -- Polly Koenegsknect of West Bloomfield, Michigan; Christine Gardner of Noblesville, Indiana, and Linda Morrer of Charlotte, North Carolina; a stepson, John Donley of St. Joseph, Michigan; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.  He was preceded in death by his first wife, the former Selma Batke, in October 1940 (sic) and by his second wife, the former Agnes Donley, in 1981. 

Tri-City Record, Watervliet, Michigan, September 20, 1995

Selma Batke Smith Obituary
See The Children of Henry and Katherine Batke - Obituaries

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