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  • Writer's pictureDonna Hechler Porter

Joseph Mildenberger and Magdalena Hechler

In 1880 in Russia, Joseph Mildenberger married Magdalena Hechler. Joseph was born in November of 1864. Magdalena was born in June of 1863.

Magdalena was the daughter of Joseph Hechler and Theresia Schantz. She probably had an older brother named John Hechler born about 1843. She also had a brother, born in October of 1858, named Dominic. More than likely, all three of these children, and others, were born in the village of Speier, Russia (now Ukraine).

The Hechlers were German, their forebear, Matthia Hechler and wife Barbara having immigrated from German to Russia in 1809 to take advantage of the generous offer of Czarina Catherine. Seventy years later, however, that offer had turned sour. The Germans were losing their protected status under new czars, and the Russians were tiring of the Germans. At least these three children - John, Dominic, and Magdalena, left Russia and came to the United States.

According to census records, Joseph and Magdalena immigrated in 1890, settling in Morton County, North Dakota. Around this time, her brother John Hechler, having come to the states in 1871, moved from Ohio to North Dakota. It is possible Joseph and Magdalena joined him.

Joseph and Magdalena (Hechler) Mildenberger

Joseph Mildenberger died in 1944 and Magdalena died in 1948.

Recently, Cheryl Glasser, a Hechler cousin through Joseph and Magdalena's line, shared with me some pictures of their headstones in the Mandan Union Cemetery, Mandan, Morton County, North Dakota.

Brother Dominic, my great-grandfather, would also immigrate in 1890, but he went south to Plantersville, Texas, after having first landing in Castle Garden, New York. It appears, also, that for some reason Dominic never spoke to either Magdalena nor John again. Letters were sent to him from Ohio and North Dakota, but he never answered them and they were always returned. The siblings never reconciled.

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