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".
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 was an excellent seamstress and made many of the outfits that she and the kids wore.
Don was a civil Engineer and built several dams and other large construction projects, many in the area surrounding Portland, Oregon.