My Story by Barbara Haller Butcher



Everything I find in my family research gives me a “Genie High,” but probably one of the neatest finds to me was when we found old church records for the Parish of Oberteuringen in Germany while doing research at the Mormon’s Family History Li­brary in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The oldest record we found was the birth/baptism record of my great great grand­father Haller in 1796.  The latest records in­cluded all of his children and their information.  The German records were translated by members of the staff at the Library.  There is more waiting for me prior to 1796, but that will have to be in another trip.  Here is a little information about my ancestors and my background . . . 

My paternal great grandfather Karlous B. Haller was born 30 October 1835 in Oberteuringen, Germany the youngest of eleven children born to Michael & Maria Russ Haller.  When grown, he went to Switzerland where he served an apprenticeship and learned to be a master brewer.  While there he read of someone in America who wanted a master brewer to work for them.  His next older brother Phillip and he arrived at the Port of New York on 16 June 1861, having sailed on the “City of Baltimore” from Liverpool, England.  Karl and Phillip subsequently went to Muscatine, Iowa.

Elizabeth Hess my paternal great grandmother was born in the United States 25 May 1843 in Louisville, KY six years after her father Peter M. Hess arrived in Baltimore from Germany.  Her father’s profession was a “moulder of castings in iron.”  By 1852, the Hess family ended up in Muscatine, Iowa where they had a vineyard by their home.  This is the Hess family that Karl Haller worked for.  He fell in love with the daughter Elizabeth, and they were married 17 August 1862.

Karl and Elizabeth Hess Haller had eleven children with the first being born in Muscatine, the next nine in Illinois, and the last one after they moved to Webster County, Nebraska in 1885.  My grandfather Francis Haller was their sixth child born 16 July 1874 in Kankakee, Illinois.  Karl had his own brewery in Chicago, but the family lost everything in the Great Chicago Fire.  When the family moved to Nebraska, they purchased land for farming.

My paternal grandmother Theresa Novak was born in Yestlovitcay, Czechoslovakia 12 January 1885 and came to this country at the age of three years on the “SS Lahn” arriving at the Port of New York on 22 December 1888.  Her parents were Karel & Josephine Dushek Novak.  The family settled on a farm between Bladen and Red Cloud, Nebraska in a Bohemian settlement.

Francis Haller and Theresa Novak, my paternal grandparents, were married 17 September 1907 in Red Cloud, Nebraska.  They farmed in the Bladen area.  My father Joseph William Haller was the eighth of nine children born to them.  He was born 22 June 1918 at the home place.  He graduated from Bladen High School in 1937.  During his lifetime, he farmed near Bladen, Cowles, Guide Rock, and Red Cloud.  He also did road work for the State of Nebraska in later years.  He died on 7 July 1980 at the young age of 62 having been a cancer survivor for eight years.

My mother Rose Elizabeth Sidlo was born 13 July 1919 at Amboy, Nebraska to Bohumil and Elizabeth Strobl Sidlo who were married in Hastings, Nebraska on 26 June 1918.  Rose was the oldest of seven children.  After graduating from Red Cloud High School in 1937, Rose worked at the local Theater, at the Recreation Center, and also did secretarial work at the Webster County Courthouse.  After she married my father 23 April 1942, she enjoyed the “luxury” of being a stay-at-home mom with the task of raising their five children.  Rose died 25 January 2006 at the age of 86.5 years from complications brought on by a stroke.  She was a breast cancer survivor. 

Her father–my grandfather–was a remarkable man.  He was born in Trebic, Czechoslovakia on 30 January 1896.  At the tender age of sixteen, he left his parents, siblings and all things familiar to him and came to the United States on the “George Washington Liner” arriving at Ellis Island 6 August 1912.  From there he took a train to St. Louis, Missouri and then he traveled on to Red Cloud, Nebraska.  Upon arrival, he went to live with an uncle and cousin he had not previously met.  He never saw his Czech family again, although they did communicate via mail through the years. 

My maternal grandmother Elizabeth Pauline Strobl was the oldest child of eleven born to Frank and Barbara Remes Strobl on 26 April 1896 in a sod house north of Red Cloud, Nebraska. Her father, Frank, came to the United States in 1876 with his parents Mathias and Anna Strobl and a brother and sister.  Frank would have been around nine years old at the time.  Her mother, Barbara Remes, came to this country in 1892 and would have been around seventeen years old.  Frank Strobl and Barbara Remes were married 7 February 1895 in Omaha, Nebraska.  They settled in Webster County Nebraska near Frank’s parents and were farmers.

As for me, I was born in Cowles, Nebraska the third of five children to Joseph and Rose Sidlo Haller on my grandmother Sidlo’s fiftieth birthday.  My siblings included Larry, 1943; Betty, 1944; myself, 1946; Roger, 1948; and Kenneth, 1951.  I attended country school through sixth grade north of Guide Rock, Nebraska.  Junior high was at Guide Rock, and I graduated from Red Cloud High School with the Class of 1964.  My calling was to be a business teacher, so I attended college and received my BA degree from Kearney State College in Kearney, Nebraska in 1969.   My first (and only) teaching job was with the AvoHa Community Schools in Avoca and Shelby, Iowa.  I taught thirty-two years before taking early retirement in 2001. 

My first marriage which ended in divorce gave me my only child Ronald Eugene Ruhs on 9 December 1967.  I married John Robert Butcher on 7 July 1975.  John had two children by a previous marriage.  I have six step-grandchildren who live in Nebraska, Kansas, and Mississippi.

I like to think of myself as the “family historian” who is always searching, searching, search­ing.  From experience, you can never get done with your family search.  There is always one more little tidbit of information waiting out there to be discovered in the most unsuspecting places.  Find the time and the energy, and yes, sometimes the money, to go find it.  Make your ancestors truly come to life for you so that they will literally “pop” off the pages of your family history books!