28 February 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Eilert & Anna Heerten

Eilert and Anna Heerten are buried in the Ainsworth Cemetery, Ainsworth, Brown County, Nebraska.

Eilert was born in Hanover, Germany, 21 Jan 1846 or 1847, and in 1869 he came to the United States as a stowaway on board the vessel "New York", which sailed out of Bremen. Son of Silas Heerten, who remained in Germany, we know that he had at least one brother remaining in that country at the time of his death in 1929.  Originally settling in Pettersburg, Illinois, he also lived in Woodford and Mason counties, and could be found in Illinois at least through 1890.  On 7 Dec 1874, he married Amke "Anna" Dirks Rademacher in Tazewell County, Illinois, the daughter of Dirk Harms Rademacher and Aaltje Frerichs Buhr. She was born 30 Oct 18 in Zwischenbergen, Hanover, Germany, and arrived through Baltimore on 28 Oct 1867. By 1868, the family had settled in Pettersburg, Illionis.

In the 1900 census, he was listed as a farmer in Keya Paha County, Nebraska, and that is where he remained. His descendants can now boast a long line of residency in that county.  He appears in Keya Paha County as early as 1885. Having moved to Nebraska with three children, they spent their first winter in a 12x14 sod house shared with two other families: the Olaf Nelson family and the Frank Dixon family. Over the course of the summer months, three frame houses were built, and each family claimed their homestead.

Well known in the community, and seemingly hard working farmers, the Heerten's were the first to purchase a steam engine and threshing machine in the area, from J.I. Case Company. They would eventually hire son John as a traveling repair man, and he gained quite a reputation as an unmarried good looking fellow. He did eventually marry at the age of 41 to Emma Anna Koehnken of Natrona, Illinois. On 18 April 1913, a dark grey horse was foaled and named "Patsy." This animal is listed in The National Register of French Draft Horses (#26156), and was owned by Eilert Heerten of Norden, Nebraska.

Eilert and Anna had seven children through their married life; John, Dick, Annie, Herman, Frank, Edward and Bessie, most of which remained in Nebraska. Ed was a veteran of WWI.

Eilert died in 1929 and Anna in 1928, her death coming after an extended illness. The family oral history tells us they had a good and happy marriage, and their children and grandchildren remembered them fondly.


  1. Do you have any other info on the Heertens?

    1. Yes, I do. The Heerten's are my maternal line. Can I contact you via email?
      Thank you!


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