Jacob and Barbara (nee Hochhalter) Helm, whose strong faith in God gave them the courage and confidence to brave the unknown when they emigrated from South Russia to the United States. They left their homeland, their family and friends, crossed a vast ocean and travelled many miles by train to reach their destination, Lehr, North Dakota.
Because of their great courage, we their descendants have the privilege and honor of being citizens of the United States and Canada.
Introduction; Researching for information and compiling the material into a history of our family has been a work of love. I am not a trained writer, historian or genealogist. I am an amateur who endeavored to make this record as accurate and informative as possible.
The history of our family covers the years 1770-1984 It begins in Kassel, Russia where Karl Helm and Barbara Hochhalter grew up as neighbors in the same Dorf-Settlement of Kaiser.
Jacob Helm was born Aug 16 1849 to Karl Helm and Barbara Doerr. He married Barbara Hochhalter. They had five sons and daughters. Christina, Fredrick, Karl, Adam, Christian Charles, Jacob, Magdelena, Lydia.
Jacob and Barbara lived in the Dorf of Woynitschi. Population unknown. Rows of Houses stood in a straight line on both sides of the street. The streets were 100 yards wide and lined with trees, mostly Acacia trees. Each yard was 90-100 feet wide and 240-360 feet long with the front area containing the dwelling, flowers, gardens, summer kitchen and wells. The back consisted of the threshing Floor, straw stacks and barns. The houses were one story gable ends and built of sandstone, Limestone or clay brick. The men folks left for their fields early in the morning, taking food and water for themselves as well as for their horses, and worked until evening. They sowed wheat, oats and other grains, They also grew fine grapes from which they made wine. Cattle, horses and sheep were raised. They also had mulberry and oak trees. The village was kept neat and tidy.
The Helm Families were of the Evangelical Lutheran Faith. There were few pastors and often one served from three to eight villages. When the pastor was not present, the sexton (also the school teacher) conducted all religious services. The Church used its influence to preserve the German Customs. School 1n the village were strictly church schools.
Clothing was practical. Men wore their work shirts with the collar open during the week, but closed on Sundays. They wore no ties. Wore caps with visors were typical head gear. Fur coats were worn in the cold winter months. The men wore felt coats in between seasons. Women wore their hair swept back and parted in the middle and pinned back and plaited in the middle and pinned together to form a bun at the back. Mature women always wore a head covering. This was usually a black three cornered scarf or on Sundays it might be a white one, artistically tied in the front. Woman never wore coats, In the winter they placed a long woolen cloth around their shoulders which was held fast inside with one hand. In the summer when the women went to church they often stopped at the flower garden and picked a spray of “schmerkraut” (a type of mint) which they placed in their prayer books. This was used to refresh themselves during service.
Everyone worked long hours, but when winter arrived there was leisure and recreation time for all. A lot of visiting back and forth was done during this time, and the young people went skating, sleighing and often there were horse racing contests.
The good times did not last forever, as land was becoming scarce and the German people had to serve in the Russian Military. The community and schools were no longer self-administrative. Friends and relatives who had come to America wrote and told of the many opportunities to those who were willing to work. It was a very difficult decision to make, Jacob at 52 years and Barbara at 51, had to leave their home and families to migrate to a land so far away. But the decision was eased somewhat knowing they would be with their daughter Christina and her family and their son Karl who lived in South Dakota. It also meant leaving their son Fredrick, his wife Rosina and family in Russia. Relatives took the family and their scant belongings, bedding, clothing and a few personal Items, from Woynitschi by wagon to Tiraspol. They then took the train to Bremen Germany where they had to wait the arrival of the ship.
On April 22,1902 they began their journey across the ocean. sailing on the ship Kronpiez Wilhelm. Barbara was very sick all the way over, she became melancholy and depressed. They arrived at the port of New York on April 29, 1902 and after clearing customs, began the long train ride to Eureka, South Dakota. They settle on a farm southeast of Lehr, North Dakota.
Barbara passed away in 1902. In 1903 Jacob married Rosina George (nee Ziegenhagel) at Lehr, she also predeceased him in 1930. Jacob went to live with his sons, Christian and Adam in Canada for several years. Later he returned to Lehr to live with his daughter Lydia Schauer . He passed away Nov 23 1936 at the age of 87. He was laid to rest in the Lehr cemetery Nov 29 1936.
Written by; Martha Magdelena Helm Salway (granddaughter)