Friday, August 22, 2014

St. John's Lutheran School - Grand Prairie Township

St. John's Lutheran School - Grand Prairie Township
St. John's Lutheran School - Grand Prairie Township
Postmark: PLATTE CENTER NEB NOV 26 1911 12
Mr. & Mrs. Wm Brunken
Lahoma, Okla.
The text of the message is written in German script.  As far as I can get is the salutation, "Liebe Unkel und Tante", which translates to "Dear Uncle and Aunt". Any help in transcribing and translating this message would be appreciated. 

Who's Who

  • "Mr. & Mrs. Wm Brunken" are William Leonard and Clara Marie (Petersen) Brunken.
  •  The signature is possibly that of Lucie Theresa Groteluschen[1][2][3], daughter of William Groteluschen. 


This building shown in the picture is St. John's Lutheran School - Grand Prairie Township[4]. "Before the organization of St. John's school, the children of Lutheran families walked to Christ Lutheran School on Monday morning, boarded with families of that congregation, and on Friday evenings walked back. As early as 1887, a year before the first resident pastor arrived, efforts were made to instruct the children when a lay teacher conducted school in the church for a short time. Pastor Holm immediately founded the school and taught for 15 consecutive years, assisted by his daughter Elsie. School was held in the church the first 10 years, and after 1898 when a new church was built, the old church served as the school."[5]  The school is still active[6].

The author of the postcard message marked on the front of the building that "This is my room" which I presume means there are at least two classrooms in the school and the room he/she sits in is on the front right side.

The "Confirmation room" and "small class" labels on the left side of the picture, I presume mean several things: the signatory is in confirmation class, the confirmation class is small, the basement is small and since the confirmation class is small, the basement can be utilized for confirmation class in a separate room from the academic classes.


November 26, 1911


St. John's Lutheran School - Grand Prairie Township is located on Mason Road, fourteen miles north and one mile west of Columbus.  From Platte Center, Nebraska, the church is approximately five miles north and four miles east. Its postal address is 39452 - 205th Avenue, Columbus, NE 68601.

Satellite View


  1. Since the author of the postcard message appears to be in confirmation class and from the salutation is a niece or nephew of my grandparents, I checked all of the nieces and nephews of my grandparents for individuals who would could possibly be in confirmation class at the time the postcard message was written. There were none who would have been 10 to 16 years old in 1911 and had a name that was close to the signature.
  2. In a 1913 list of St. John's Lutheran Church confirmands[3], there is a Lucy Grotelueschen - Lucie Theresa Groteluschen.  But I can find only very distant relationships of Lucie to either my grandmother or grandfather.  It is possible that the salutation "Dear Uncle and Aunt" was just a term of endearment by this young person for my grandparents.  It is interesting that the salutation is not "Dear Aunt and Uncle" which leads me to believe that the attachment was to my grandfather. My grandfather had hired out as a laborer before he married.  In the 1900 US Census, my grandfather is listed as living at the home of Peter Albers in Burrows Township as a farm laborer. Possibly my grandfather worked at some time for Lucie's father, William Groteluschen.  Lucie would have been a young girl of less than 6 years old.
  4. Many thanks to Carolyn Petersen for helping identify the school in the postcard as St. John's Lutheran School.  She verified this identification with two former St. John's Lutheran School teachers who taught in the wooden school house before the present school building was built.
  5. Platte County, Nebraska Schools, Grand Prairie Township. NEGenWeb Project.
  6. Sonntag, Annette. Ripe fields in Nebraska. Lutherans OnLine.