Nicholas Rix, my grandfather, was 21 when he arrived in America in 1852. He came form Neumunster in
Schleswig-Holstein. The sovereignty of that strategic region was in constant dispute among the European powers
and he had spent the two previous years in military service when he decided to take his chances in the new
world. He was a wiry, taciturn man, and spoke only Low-German.
The emigrant voyages were long and made under cramped, unhealthy conditions. Many died. After 12 weeks at
sea he landed at New Orleans in June and went from there (presumably up the Mississippi River) to Davenport,
Iowa, the site of a large German settlement. His migration came to a halt at nearby Comanche in 1853. He
worked at his trade of carpenter and in time met Maria Hagedorn who was his own age and also from
Schleswig-Holstein. They were married February 22, 1856 in Comanche.
Maria Hagedorn had left Germany in the fall of 1853. She came of a large family in Schoenberg. Her fiancÚ had
sailed for America ahead of her. She arrived only to learn that he had died and been buried at sea. But she
continued on from New Orleans to Davenport and then Comanche where two of her sisters joined her later. Maria
was the first of her family to come over. Altogether, five sisters, two brothers and both parents were to follow at
different times. All but Maria settled in Omaha, Nebraska.
In April 1857 the couple set out across Iowa in a covered wagon with a team of oxen. The two sisters went with
them and people thought they were a Mormon family. The presence of Indians made the women uneasy but the
only encounters were peaceful ones. The oxen made the journey longer by veering off in search of water. It took
10 weeks to reach Omaha. It is not surprising that when they finally arrived in Washington County, fiver years
after leaving Germany, they never went anywhere again.
They settled first on land near Fort Calhoun and after eleven years moved to a larger farm on Deer Creek near
Coffman Station where they followed the life of farming and stock raising for thirty-three years. During this time
Nicholas Rix was a school director for thirty-two years. They had eight children: three died young, Emma and
Minnie remained single, the boys married and lived in Omaha. Emil became a wood worker, Henry a seed
merchant and Rudolph a surgeon. Despite having had four sons, only one grandson has fathered boys to carry
on the name.
Nicholas retired when he was 71. They moved to Calhoun and built a house on a town block which became a
farm in miniature. Their golden wedding was celebrated there in 1906. The photograph taken on that occasion
shows the immediate family.
My grandmother died in 1907, a year before I was born, but I knew my grandfather. He lived be 88 and died in
Submitted by Robert Rudolph Rix, M.D.
Source: Washington County Nebraska History 1980. The Washington County Historical Association. Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas, 1980.