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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Kleager boys moving from Missouri to Nebraska

I have always been fascinated with the question of why did my grandparents, Frank and Sophie Kleager move from Missouri to Nebraska right after they got married in 1917.

When I have asked my father, Clyde Kleager, he says something to the effect that "Missouri was rocky and hard to farm".  He said his father, Frank, had gone to Nebraska to husk corn and had seen it.

When I recently received some newspaper clippings from the historical society in Washington, Missouri, they perhaps gave some insight into some of Joseph and Lesetta Kleager's sons moving to Nebraska.

Joseph and Lesetta Kleager had 5 sons: Joseph, Edward, George, Frank and Otto.  These old newspapers had "gossip" columns, and these are pretty interesting with regard to maybe the thoughts of the sons on moving to (perceived) "greener pastures":

1915 - “Tribune” Leslie Route 2
“Frank Kleager returned Friday from Walten, Neb., where he had been husking corn.  He says Nebraska is a progressive state.”  Two years before moving, Frank is already eyeing Nebraska.

March 1916 - “Journal”
“Ed L. Kleager of Elmont R.F.D came in Thursday and had us print sale bills announcing a sale of his personal property, the sale will be Tuesday March 28.  Mr. Kleager will leave in a short time for Nebraska.”  Ed is preparing to move to Nebraska.

1917  Frank marries Eleanor "Sophie" Drewel, and they move with her parents, Louis and Minnie Drewel, to Havelock, Nebraska.

Aug 21, 1919 
“George and Otto Kleager will start for Nebraska and Colorado next Monday to find new homes.  A very good rain came last week but an awful wind came with it.  It knocked fences out of place, broke trees down and blew peaches off.”  Frank has moved to Nebraska, now George and Otto are thinking of moving.

1919 - Elmont
“George and Otto Kleager, who went to Nebraska to rent a farm, have returned.  They say all the farms were already disposed of.”  Opps, all the good farms are gone!  George eventually got his own farm in Franklin County, and Otto farmed his father's homestead in Missouri for many years.  

Oct 1919 - “News”
“No mail Monday on account of high water.  Edward Kleager went to Nebraska about a week ago and his wife has a sale Tuesday of this week and will go there.  L. E. Strothcamp started to Nebraska last Friday to shuck corn for a while.  A few have gone to Iowa for the same purpose.”  Ed is finally going to move, 3 years after first declaring he was leaving.  L. E. Strothcamp was related to the Kleagers by marriage.

Nov 1919 -  “News”
“Mrs. Jennie Kleager and children left Tuesday for Roak, Nebr., to join her husband, Edward Kleager, who left a few weeks ago to get everything ready for their home this coming year.”  

Oct 1921 “News” Boone
“Last Monday Joe Kleager went to Nebraska to visit with Edward and Frank Kleager and to see the country.”  Now the oldest brother, Joseph, is going to visit Ed and Frank.

March 1922 - “Journal”
“We printed sale posters this week for J.W. Kleager of near Boone.  He expects to quit farming in Missouri and try Nebraska, he having worked in Nebraska several years some few years ago.  For further notice about his sale see posters.”  Now, 5 years after Frank moved, and at age 44, Joe is going to move.

Of Joseph and Lesetta Kleager's five sons, three moved to Nebraska and died there, and two stayed in the Franklin County, MIssouri area.

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