Herman Heinrich Drees Herman Heinrich Drees
1879 - 1965

BORN: 06 Oct 1879
         Herne Holstershausen, Westfalia
BAPTISED: 19 Oct 1879
         Evangeliche Kirchengemeinde
         Herne Holstershausen, Westfalia
CONFIRMED: Palm Sunday, 1894
         St. Johns Lutheran Church, Daykin, Nebraska
MARRIED: Catherine Wilhelmine "Minnie" Bringewatt
         02 May 1905
         St. Johns Lutheran Church, Daykin, Nebraska
DIED: 19 Nov 1965
         Grand Forks, North Dakota

Herman Heinrich Drees was a hardworking farmer who as a boy emigrated with his family to America. As an adult he moved his family from Nebraska to North Dakota where many of the Drees Family continue to live to this day. Herman was described as a soft-spoken, fun-loving man who enjoyed treating his grandchildren to sticks of chewing gum.

Herman was born in Westfalia (Germany), the second of seven children to Friedrich and Anne Drees. Herman probably remembered little or nothing of his country in which he was born, as he immigrated to America with his parents when he was only 4 years old. The voyage to America was made aboard the steamship Fulda, which set sail from Bremen on March 12, 1884 and arrived in New York City on March 29th. The Drees Family settled in Daykin, Nebraska, where Herman's father and uncle bought 160-acres of land to farm.

Herman lived with his parents until he was 25 years old, at which time he married 20-year-old Minnie Bringewatt. The year was 1905. The Bringewatts were an immigrant family also, having come from a part of Westfalia not far from Herne, although Minnie had been born in Ohio soon after her family had arrived in America.

Herman and Minnie moved to a farm a few miles east of Daykin. Later they sold that farm and moved onto what is now known as the Ebke farm. Herman was a prosperous farmer and had a nice set of buildings on the property as well, as Herman concidered himself a good carpender.

Herman and Minnie had 3 children while they lived in Daykin: Albert, Elmer and Viola.

Daykin was, at that time, a community with a large German immigrant population. Many, if not most people continued to speak in German - schools were taught in German, as were church services. It was not until the United States entered World War I (1917) that the German community began to feel resentment from their neighbors about having kept their native language. German immigrants were referred to as "krauts" and their loyalty to the United States started to be openly questioned. It was during these war-years that schools and churches stopped using the German language. Most families started speaking English when in public.

It is not known why Herman waited until 1914 to apply for American citizenship - he was 34-years-old at the time - although he may have had the foresight to see that the War that had started in Europe might eventually involve America. He received his citizenship in 1919, after the customary 5-year waiting period. By then the War was over.

A tornado struck the Daykin area in the spring of 1918, destroying all the farm buildings on Herman's land except for the house where they were sleeping. Having worked so hard to build a nice-looking farm, the destruction upset Herman greatly. There was a land boom in Nebraska at the time and land agents were roaming the countryside is search of property. The tornado and the land boom were probably the catalysts that led Herman, his brother-in-law Henry Bringewatt and Ernest Spilker to buy land near the Red River of the North, just outside the city of Grand Forks, North Dakota. The families moved north in 1920 and Herman and Minnie had a fourth child, Caroline, in 1921.

The 320-acres that Herman bought, near the intersection of what would become 17th Street and Washington Avenue, came with a house. The soil was rich and most years produced good crops. Herman would later build a large barn on the property where over the years, many neighborhood dances would be held.

Herman's wife Minnie died of breast cancer in 1936 at the age of 51. Herman moved in with his son Elmer Drees who lived nearby. Herman died 29-years later, on November 19th, 1965. The cause of death was listed as a Pulmonary Embolism. He was 86-years-old.

Herman Heinrich Drees is buried at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

WIFE of Herman Drees:
    Catherine Wilhelmine "Minnie" BRINGEWATT

PARENTS of Herman Drees:
    Freidrich Heinrich DREES
    Anne Katherine Ilsabein BRUENGER

CHILDREN of Herman Drees:
   1. Albert Frank Frederick DREES
   2. Elmer Ernst DREES
   3. Viola Catharina Anna Emma (KUSTER)
   4. Carolina "Caroline" Katherina Anna (COKER)


  A Genealogy and History for the Family of Albert and Ethel Drees, by Donna Widenhoefer
  The Drees Family Tree, Book II, by Elsie Spicer
  1900 U.S. Federal Census for Jefferson Co., NE
  1910 U.S. Federal Census for Jefferson Co., NE
  U.S. World War I Draft Registration Card, 1917-1918
  1920 U.S. Federal Census for Jefferson Co., NE
  1925 North Dakota State Census for Grand Forks ND
  1930 U.S. Federal Census for Grand Forks ND
  1940 U.S. Federal Census for Grand Forks ND
  U.S. Social Security Death Index