Stories

Nicolaus Kranz (b. September 20, 1797): Nicolaus served in Napoleon's Grande Armée in 1812 out of Luxembourg. Napoleon was quite proud of the massive army he had mustered, but how many among them were just 15 years old as our ancestor? Our ancestor marched across Europe and into Russia for Napoleon's ambitious invasion of Russia in 1812. Nicolaus fought the Russians, the winter, and his eyes saw the burning of Moscow. Napoleon's Army began the invasion with 422,00 men, and over the course of the terrible battles waged and devastating winter, only 10,000 men returned home. Nicolaus was one of them. 

Yet, Nicolaus was not yet done with military service, perhaps bitter from the Russian campaign. Likely none to happy with Napoleon's adventurism, Nicolaus was apparently a part of the Prussian army until 1815, and seems to have participated in the War of the Sixth Coalition, where Prussia defeated a declining France. After his military service, he would become a teacher in 1816 (at the ripe old age of 19). This career would satisfy him for 35 years, until the constant demand for to fight in wars for Prussia caused him to revile conscription and war taxes: "In 1851, I made the decision to come to America in order to free my children from the slavery of the time".

My wife was so weak that I could not reveal to her my decision at that time. With a smile, I asked her what she thought about selling everything and 
moving, with the children, to America. 
She looked at me seriously and said nothing for about five minutes. Then she said, 'As you wish.' 
To that I replied, 'O my love! This matter requires some explanation. Think for a moment: you have many friends and acquaintances and 
they will all try to dissuade you: if we were to sell everything at a third less than value, you would get despondent because we will have 
made poor dealings.' 
She answered this: 'I have told you my opinion. Wherever you go, I will go along with you. Now then, if you are so decided, 
we will ask God for advice what to do. The oldest son is already in the (military) service and the second son has been called; if the second son 
is not freed in the 'visitation,' then we will emigrate. However, if he is freed from service, then we will stay here. In this manner, we can 
recognize God's will.' 
I wrote out my emigration forms and went with my son to the county seat, Bitburg, on the day when the 'visitation' was to 
occur. I did not go with him into the city hall; I just left the outcome to God. At one o'clock, he came back and I asked him if he were freed; he 
said, 'No, I have been called.' I was pleased with the answer and said, 'Sit down and enjoy your noon meal and I will go and enter the emigration 
papers.' 
On August 20, 1851, I left Nussbaum with the children and two neighbor-boys, whom I entered on my papers, in other words, with a 
caravan of thirteen persons. In Antwerp I had to stop over for ten days because the ship still didn't have its load of wool. On September 29 I
and my entire family arrived happy and well preserved in New York. Praise be to God." 

The family emigrated to New York, and at the beginning of 1852 later went 30 miles up the Hudson river to a tiny village dominated with sugar refineries. Not yet satisfied with having found their new home, Nicolaus took his family to Hampton, Minnesota. The Kranz's were not alone, and together with fellow emigrees they founded a town called New Trier, Minnesota. After the passing of his wife in 1861, Nicolaus would move to Hastings, Minnesota, to live with his son Nicolaus F.W. Kranz (b. 1841) until his death on January 18, 1879. 

Our connection to Nicolaus, who had 14 children, is through his son, John Kranz (b. 1832).

John Kranz (b. February 27, 1832) John Kranz, along with several of his brothers, founded a town in South Dakota by the name of Kranzburg, where he owned 800 acres of land and enjoyed life as a successful farmer. 
John was a Democrat in politics and was the first chairman of Kranzburg township. [....]

Our connection to John, who had 11 children, is through his daughter, Mary Elizabeth Kranz (b. 1870).

Adda Basgen
Adda was an excellent seamstress and made many of the outfits that she and the kids wore. 

Don Basgen
Don was a civil Engineer and built several dams and other large construction projects, many in the area surrounding Portland, Oregon.
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