Thursday, April 28, 2011

Henry Peter Geis Sr. (1854-1927)

Henry Peter Geis Sr. (1854-1927)

One of my Great-Great-Grandpa's Texas Longhorns


      Great-grandpa was a tough rugged man. He had to be, given the times and circumstances in which he lived. He had homesteaded near Durham, Kansas, along the Cottonwood River, and had acquired not just a few acres of land but, rather, sections of land.

He and Grandma had eleven children, and grew or made most everything they needed except things like material, coffee and sugar. Those they purchased in town. They had their own flour, soap, lard, milk, cider, wine, jam, jellies, bacon, steaks, chops, eggs, pickles, honey, apple-butter, home made noodles, down bedding, and leather articles of clothing and gear ---among other things. They raised eight girls, three boys, their own fruits and vegetables, bees, chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, hogs, horses, sheep, and cattle. They also did a heap of hunting and trapping. No one was idle! No one ever went hungry!

Every fall, Grandpa would hire a dozen or so local cowboys, along with their horses, ride to Texas, purchase a herd of longhorns, and drive the herd back to Durham. Keep in mind, these longhorns were wild, extremely dangerous, and you couldn’t pack as many into a cattle car as you could short-horned cattle. My Grandmother, who had as one of her chores herding these brutes, said the last thing you ever wanted to do was get off your horse ---you’d be trampled to death or gored in a New York minute! The longhorns would be fattened over the winter and spring, and then taken to market in Kansas City. In the early days, the cattle were herded to market, but after the railroad was established, they were taken by train. 

Taking a herd of cattle to market was quite an operation, even by train. Grandpa would hire extra hands, along with their horses, to help herd and load them into cattle cars. A process that took several days. Enroute to Kansas City, the train was halted, at least once, preferably twice, the cattle released, the cars cleaned, the cattle exercised and reloaded. The trip took several days and hours of hard, dirty, dangerous work. Once in Kansas City, the herd was sold, the crew paid, and Grandpa and the men, along with their horses, would head back home on the next available train. Upon reaching home, they would be met by most of the townsfolk, Grandpa would give a short speech, and then all would retire to the park for fried chicken and German potato salad. Kind of like a big family reunion!

It was on one such trip that Grandpa ran into a bit of trouble. There was a new fellow at the controls of this particular train and he, obviously, had no intention of stopping for the required exercising of cattle and horses.

Grandpa, along with the rest of the men, was riding in the caboose. No one knew quite what to do ---except Grandpa. He loaded his six-gun, strapped on his gun-belt and holster, and proceeded to the engine ---across the tops of the cattle cars! Once inside the engine, Grandpa had a come-to-Jesus meeting with the new engineer, while holding the business end of his six-shooter against the feller’s left ear. Naturally, given his choices, the engineer stopped the train! The horses and cattle were off-loaded, exercised, and reloaded. Grandpa was a happy camper!

After that, all went fairly well. They arrived in Kansas City, the herd was sold, and the men paid. By this time, however, Grandpa was feeling, and looking, pretty grungy. He was also in a hurry to catch the next train home, but he wanted to look good for the celebration, especially his annual speech. He stopped in at a little clothing store close to the stockyards, and asked the proprietor to package up a new shirt, pants and a pair of socks ---his old boots, hat, chaps, and longjohns would do just fine.

Once the men and horses were gathered and on board, Grandpa could relax. Although they were on a faster train goinghome, it still took a couple of days. Beings there weren’t any women on board, Grandpa decided to get comfy and lounge around in his long underwear until they got closer to home. Most of the other men did likewise. They were just south of Kansas City, when Grandpa took off his dirty clothes, decided they were definitely a lost cause, tossed them out a window, washed up, and took a nap.

Everything was going smoothly ---until they were about thirty minutes from Durham. That’s when Grandpa decided it was time to get dressed and ready for his speech. He opened up his package of new clothes. They were all there ---new shirt, new pants, and new socks. The only trouble was they were about the size for an eight-year old kid! The proprietor of that little clothing store was damn lucky Grandpa was so far from Kansas City ‘cause his kinfolk would have been pickin’ out his casket! Nobody said a word! They didn’t dare! The silence was so thick you could cut it with a knife!

As usual, the train was met by most of the townsfolk, including Grandma! And, regardless of what others said, she thought Grandpa looked pretty handsome ---in his hat, his boots, his gun-belt and holster, his six-shooter, his chaps, and his bright red longjohns! 

NOTE: The following year, I’m told, Grandpa went huntin’ that store owner in Kansas City. Lucky for Grandma and the kids the store had been shut down and sold, and the previous owner was no where to be found. Some said word had filtered back regarding one hell of a mad German who was lookin’ to slit a certain shopkeeper’s throat! We’ll never know, but from that day on, Grandpa always packed his own spare clothes!

Written by: Carolyn Beth (Winters) Cunningham - 2008


Obituary for Henry Peter Geis
23 May 1854 - 6 July 1927

Geis - Bruder Peter Geis wurde am 23 mai 1854 in alt-messer, russland, geboren. Als jüngling hatte er sich im 20. Lebensjahr zu Gott bekehrt und wurde auf das bekenntnis seines Glaubensin Jesu Tod getauft. 1875 kam er mit seinen lieben Eltern nach Amerika; guerst nach Pettisville, Ohio. Nach kurzem Verweilen in Ohio zog er nach Kansas, 4 meilen westlich von Hillsboro.

Nach sieben Jahren zog er in die Nähe von Durham, wo er bis zu seinem abscheiden weilte. Am 22 Juni 1883 trot er mit schwester Anna Elisabeth Simon in den heiligen Ehebund. Der Herr segnete die ehe mit 11 kindern, 3 Söhnen und 8 töchtern. Eine Tochter mit Namen Sarah, ging dem Vater im 33. Lebensjahre voraus . Am 29 juni 1927 morgens beim  Aufstehen wurde Bruder Peter Geis vom Schlag getrossen wodurch er sprachlos und an der rechten Seite gelähmt wurde. Einige Tage schien es, als ob sich seine Lage bessern wollte, doch am 5 juli nachts bekam er einen zweiten schlaganfall, woraus er am 6. juli im glauben an den Herrn Jesus als seinen persönlichen Heiland entschlief. Er hinterlast seine tiefbetrübte Gattin, 10 kinder, eine leibliche Schwester, M. K. Hutchinson von Flint, Michigan, 5 Schwiegersohne, 1 Schwiegertochter, 5 Groskinder, 8 cousinen und viele Freunde, die sein so plötzliches Abscheiden betrauern.

Bruder P. Geis war einer der Gründer dieser Gemeinde.  Obwohl er in den letzten Jahren kein  aktives Glied war, so nahm er doch regen Anteil an der Besprechung in der Sonntagsschule. Am vorlesten Sonntag Morgen war er noch in der Versammlung und ahnte nicht, dass es das letzten Mal gewesen sei. Bruder Geis erreichte ein alter von 73 Jahren, 1 Monat und 13 Tagen. Das er sehr weit und breit bekannt war, bewies die grose Teilnahme von besuchern von nah und fern. Unsere Kirche war piel zu klein, um alle den Anwesenden Platz zu bieten. Bei der Leichenfeier redete Pros. E.H. Heibert vom Tabor College Hillsboro in der englischen Sprache und unser Nachbarprediger, Bruder Arbeiter, und Unterzeichneter in der deutschen Sprache Worte des Trostes. Möge der Herr alles Trostes unsere Schwester Geis samt ihren Kindern trösten mit vem guten Trost des Wiedersehens durch Jesus Christus.


Obituary for Geis, Henry Peter

Geis - brother Peter Geis was born on 23 May 1854 in Alt-Messer, Russia. As a youth, in his 20th year of life, he came to an understanding of Jesus death and was converted and baptized. With his loving parents he came to America in 1875, first to Pettisville, Ohio.  After a short lingering in Ohio, he moved 4 miles west of Hillsboro, Kansas.  Seven years later he separated and moved into the vicinity of Durham.

On 22 June 1883 he stepped with sister, Anna Elisabeth Simon into the holy marriage alliance.  They were blessed with 11 children, 3 sons and 8 daughters.  A daughter named Sarah, preceded her father in death in her 33rd year of life. 

When he rose, on the morning of 29 June 1927, brother Peter Geis encountered a blow by which he became speechless and paralyzed on the right side.  Just when it seemed he would be improved, on the evening of 5. July he had a second stroke, wherefrom he passed away believing in his personal savior on 6. July.  He leaves behind to mourn his sudden death his wife, 10 children, a bodily sister, M. K. Hutchinson of Flint, Michigan, 5 sons-in-law, 1 daughter-in-law, 5 grandchildren, 8 cousins and many friends. 

Brother Peter Geis was one of the founders of this community/congregation. Although he was in the last years no active limb, he joyfully participated in Sunday School discussions.  When he read at the Sunday morning meeting no one suspected that it would be the last time.  Brother Geis reached the age of 73 years, 1 month and 13 days.  A great many visitors came from near and far to participate for he was well known.  Our present church was too small to offer all a place. Professor E. H. Hiebert of the Hillsboro Tabor College spoke at the funeral celebration in the English language while our neighborhood preacher Brother Arbeiter, signed in the German language words of comfort that through Jesus Christ Sister Geis and children would have their reunion. 

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