The Drees Family originally came from the open meadows and rolling countryside of upper Westphalia near Rödinghausen in what is now Germany, where they had farmed numerous small plots of land for centuries. Eberhard Drees was born in 1754 and inherited the family land and house at 42 Bieren-Dono.

It is unclear whether Eberhard Drees would have thought of himself as German, since a unified Germany is a relatively modern invention. Originally part of a collection of states known as the Holy Roman Empire, Westphalia fell to Napoleon in 1806, becoming a part of the French vasal state known as the Confederation of the Rhine until shortly after Bonaparte's defeat at Waterloo, when Prussia regained control.

Eberhard's daughter Anne, inherited 42 Bieren-Dono and married Casper Sieker in 1812. Addresses at this time refered to the family and not the house and so Casper changed his name so that the address would remain unchanged. Casper and Anne's eldest son, Johann inherited the family home and lands. In between 1847 and 1865, Johann and his wife (also named Anne) had eight children, six of whom survived into adulthood.

Following yet another war with France in 1870-71, Prussia joins with Bavaria, Wurttenburg and Baden to form the Deutsches Kaiserreich - commonly translated as The German Empire but more correctly as The German Rhelm. Imperial Germany was a time of great industrialization, urbanization and social change. People looking for work flood into the factories and coal mines of Westphalia's Ruhr Valley, which rapidly becomes one of the great manufacturing centers of the world.

With the Drees lands unable to support all of Johann's adult children, many of his sons had to look elsewhere to support themselves. Friedrich Drees finds work in the coal mines of the Ruhr Valley near Herne. Here he meets his wife and they started a family but Friedrich was unhappy in the dark and dangerous mines. While recovering from a work-related injury, he and some of his siblings began to make plans to emigrate to America, probably encouraged by letters from their friends, the Haakes, who had emigrated to Nebraska some years earlier.

Friederick Drees, his wife, children and sister Elizabeth sail from Bremen to New York on either the steamship Elbe or Fulda, departing on March 12th, 1884 and arriving March 29th. Friederick's brother August was already in America, having arrived a year earlier.

When Johann Dress dies in 1897, Friedrich's sister, Anne Marie Rahe inherits the house at 42 Bieren-Dono. It remains in the Rahe family to this day.



The Drees Family in America

Friedrich, August, Elizabeth and their families settled near Daykin, Nebraska. Daykin was at that time a town populated almost entirely of German emigrants. German was the primary language spoken in the public schools, at church and at most local businesses. The early years were full of hard work and few luxuries but with time the Drees farms prospered.

When America enters World War I in 1917, the German-speaking people of Daykin find their loyalties questioned by their English-speaking neighbors and almost overnight the German language disappears from public places. Herman, who had neglected to apply for his American citizenship suddenly does so. Ten year old Albert finds all his schoolwork, which had up until this time been conducted in German, suddenly taught in English.

By the time of his death in 1936, Friedrich's offspring have spread to Kansas, Washington state and the Dakotas.

Eberhard Drees
b. 1754

Anna Marie Elizabeth Drees
1791 - 1828

Anna inherits her father's farm and marries Casper Sieker. Casper takes the Drees surname in order to keep the address which is tied to the Drees family name, not the property's location.
Johann Heinrich Drees
1820 - 1892

Six of Johann's Eight children survive to adulthood. With their growing families, this is more people than the Drees farm can support.
Freidrich Heinrich Drees
1852 - 1936

The scarcity of land and work forces Friedrich to become a coal miner in the Ruhr Valley - a job that is both dirty and dangerous. Longing to get out of the mines and return to farming, Freidrich moves his family to America.
Herman Drees Herman Heinrich Drees
1879 - 1965

Herman, impressed by the deep fertile soil near the Red River, moves his family to North Dakota after much of his Nebraska farm is destroyed by a tornado.
Albert Drees Albert Frederick Frank Drees
1906 - 1975

A devout and family-oriented man with few hobbies, Albert turns an eighth grade education into a multi-million dollar farming dynasty.


Names Index

BACKER, LaRee
BRINGEWATT, Alene
BRINGEWATT, Anna Marie Elise
BRINGEWATT, Anna Marie Louise
BRINGEWATT, Albert
BRINGEWATT, Alfred
BRINGEWATT, Arnold
BRINGEWATT, Catherine
BRINGEWATT, Elsie
BRINGEWATT, George
BRINGEWATT, Lawrence
BRINGEWATT, Lena
BRINGEWATT, Leo
BRINGEWATT, Minnie
BRINGEWATT, Nora
BRINGEWATT, Ralph
BRINGEWATT, Wilhelm
BRUENGER, Anne
COKER, Carolina
CUDA, Nora
DREES, Albert
DREES, Albert Jr.
DREES, Alfred
DREES, Anne Katherine Ilsabein
DREES, Anna Alvina
DREES, Anna Katarina Emma
DREES, Anna Marie Elise
DREES, Anna Marie Louise, 1881
DREES, Anna Marie Louise, 1882
DREES, Anne Marie Elizabeth
DREES, Anne Marie Ilsabein
DREES, August Friedrich
DREES, August Heinrich
DREES, Barbara
DREES, Bernard
DREES, Carolina
DREES, Casper
DREES, Catherine
DREES, Donald
DREES, Dorene
DREES, Doris
DREES, Dorothy
DREES, Eberhard
DREES, Edgar
DREES, Edna
DREES, Elizabeth
DREES, Elmer
DREES, Elsie
DREES, Ervin
DREES, Esther
DREES, Ethel

DREES, Freidrich Georg
DREES, Freidrich Heinrich
DREES, Friedrich Heinrich Jr.
DREES, George
DREES, Gustav
DREES, Heinrich
DREES, Henry August
DREES, Henry August Jr.
DREES, Henry F.
DREES, Herman Heinrich
DREES, Herman Theodore
DREES, Herman W.
DREES, Howard
DREES, Johann
DREES, Johanna
DREES, John
DREES, Joyce
DREES, Klara
DREES, Lina
DREES, Lorna
DREES, Mary
DREES, Melvin
DREES, Minna
DREES, Minnie
DREES, Ralph
DREES, Raymond
DREES, Reinhold
DREES, Roy
DREES, Sadie
DREES, Theodore
DREES, Velma
DREES, Viola
DREES, Walter E.
DREES, Walter (Friedrich)
DREES, William
EBKE, Lina
FOX, Dorene
FLORING, Anne
GAFFNEY, Sadie
GANZER, Alene
HAAKE, Elizabeth
HOHENSEE, Velma
HOOEY, Mary
JARCHOW, Lorna
JOHNSON, Hilda
JORDENING, Anna
JORDENING, Edna Karolina
JORDENING, Edna Louise
JORDENING, Edwin
JORDENING, Ella
JORDENING, Helene

JORDENING, Raymond
KIRCHOFF, Elizabeth
KUGEL, Doris
KULESZA, Barbara
KUSTER, Ethel
KUSTER, Frederick
KUSTER, Lois
KUSTER, Raymond
KUSTER, Viola
LUCKING, Alma
LUCKING, LaRee
LUCKING, Minna
MAIER, Lois
MASCHMANN, Anna Emma
MASCHMANN, Anna Louise
MASCHMANN, Dora
MASCHMANN, Doris
MASCHMANN, Edna
MASCHMANN, Edwin
MASCHMANN, Ella
MASCHMANN, Elmer
MASCHMANN, Helene
MASCHMANN, Hilda
MASCHMANN, Ida
MASCHMANN, Leonard
MASCHMANN, Loren
MASCHMANN, Maria
MASCHMANN, Melvin
MASCHMANN, Minnie
MASCHMANN, Roy
MASCHMANN, Velma
MILLAR, Joyce
OELTJEN, Alma
PEDERSON, Barbara
RACHOW, Doris
RACHOW, Mark
RHOADES, Elsie
SCHEELE, Maria
SCHEELE, Minnie
SCHOENBECK, Esther
SCHROETER, Dorothy
SCHROETER, Shawn
SCHWISOW, Dora
SCHWISOW, Ida
SHERMAN, Lena
SIEKER, Casper
SPICER, Elsie
STIGGE, Velma
VORDERSTRASSE, Klara
WEBLEMOE, LaRee
WITHERALL, Alma

Thanks to Donna Widenhoefer for her recollections and research on the Drees family as contained in 'A Genealogy and History for the Family of Albert and Ethel Drees' (2000). Recognition should also go to Elsie Spicer and Friederick Wiegmann, whose research into the family is contained in 'The Drees Family Tree, Book 1' (1986) and Book 2 (1987).