Ernst C. Hohsbeen

ERNST C. HOHNSBEEN. Of the many sons of the "Fatherland" who came to the United States during the "fifties" in search of freedom and fortune, the career of none has been more honorable than that of the gentleman whose biographical record is here presented. It was in 1857 that Mr. Hohnsbeen disembarked from a sailing vessel, the "Sir Robert Peel," in New York City, having come from Hamburg, Germany, where he had taken ship about six weeks previously. He was a young man of 22 years, having been born April 30, 1835, in Holstein, Germany.

Mr. Hohnsbeen did not remain in the East, but came on to the then frontier State of Iowa, where he secured work on a farm near Davenport, at a monthly wage of $12. He remained thereabouts for a period of three years, and then took a trip across the plains to Pike's Peak, in which vicinity he worked in the mines for about 15 months. He made this journey with the intention of going on to California, but after his experience in the mines concluded to return to farm work in Iowa, where he spent the period of the Civil War. In the spring of 1866 he came to Cherokee County, Kansas, where he took a "treaty right" for 160 acres of land. This he improved for 10 years, when he sold it and purchased his present place of 120 acres in section 21, township 33, range 22, in Lola township. Mr. Hohnsbeen went through all the hardships of pioneer life at that early time. He lost, by fire, the first house he built, and suffered other drawbacks, but by patient and industrious efforts made such progress that he was possessed of considerable property at the end of the first 10 years. On his new place he built a commodious farm house, and since that time has added many valuable improvements. Some of the prices of provisions in the early days in Cherokee County would seem exceedingly high at this time, Mr. Hohnsbeen having on one occasion paid $1.50 a bushel for corn, which he had to husk himself, and which he afterward had to shell by hand.

The character of Mr. Hohnsbeen during the entire period of his residence in Cherokee County is that of an honest, upright, industrious farmer. He has never aspired to leadership in any line, but has gone about his affairs in a quiet way, which has won the respect and esteem of all who know him. He early joined the Land League of the settlers. He is included in the membership of the First Day Adventist Church. Formerly a Republican, he has voted with the Populist party since its organization. In the office of school trustee he served about four years, and was for three years treasurer of the township.

Frederick Hohnsbeen, the father of Ernst C., spent his life in the "Fatherland," where he died in 1848, at the age of 48 years. By occupation he was a grain boss and overseer. In his earlier manhood, he had served about four years in the army. He married Fredericka Erig, who was born in 1804, and died in 1852. Of their nine children, four of the sons are citizens of the United States.

It was in 1867 that Mr. Hohnsbeen took unto himself a wife in person of Elizabeth Kessler, a native of Prussia, who died in Cherokee County, Kansas, in 1885, at the age of 42 years. She left one son, Fred D., a train dispatcher who, with his two boys, Ernst and John, reside in Houston, Texas. Mr. Hohnsbeen married again, his second wife being Mrs. Zella Thompson, a widow lady with seven children. She died two years later. The third mariage[sic] of Mr. Hohnsbeen occurred July 12, 1894, on which date he was united to Mrs. A. Carter, the lady who now presides over his home. She was born in England in 1843, and came to the United States when five years of age, with her parents. Her father, William Moore, came to Cherokee County, Kansas, in 1867, living, the first summer, with the subject of this sketch in the original log house. By her first husband, Mrs. Hohnsbeen had two boys, who lost their lives as the result of overexertion in fighting a prairie fire. She now owns 156 acres of fine farm land near Hollowell, left by Mr. Carter.

Mr. and Mrs. Hohnsbeen, being old settlers, are very generally known throughout Cherokee County, and are most highly regarded by all.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Cameron Smith, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 1-22-97


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