Christoph Hintz 1859 – 1900

Christoph Hintz was born June 5, 1859 in Leipzig, Bessarabia, Russia.  His ethnicity is what we now call Germans from Russia.  His ancestors had been recruited by Catherine the Great, to help settle Russia.  They were promised land and the right to keep their religion and language, They were not supposed to have to serve in the military.  However, after a few generations, those promises began to fade.  The Germans in Russia began to emigrate.  They sent agents out to find land similar to where they lived.  As a result, families and colonies moved to the northern Midwest US and southern Canada, as well as to South America.  

In 1880, Christoph’s brother Christian arrived in South Dakota, He began looking for places for family members and some brothers moved there. Christoph came from Russia, via Bremmen, on a brand new ship named EMS.  His father had died a few months earlier and some other family members had already emigrated.  With him were the remaining surviving members of his family:  his mother Louisa, wife Sophia, son Sam, sister Susanna, and brother Martin. They arrived November 7, 1885. They first went to Parkston, South Dakota, and lived with Christoph’s brother, Christian, for about a year. By 1886, Christoph and family had arrived in Hebron ND, where sons Adolph, John, and Reinhold were born.  The Hintz brothers, Christian, Sam, Christoph, Martin, and Gottfried had come up from Scotland ND with a team driving with them a herd of about twenty-five cattle.  These they bought with money they borrowed on the Hintz land down there before they left.  The people in the Hintz neighborhood later got sheep. Besides homesteading, Christoph also worked on the railroad in 1887.

The first winter was a hard one for them.  Once during the winter they had to come to town to get some provisions.  The snow lay from four to ten feet deep on the prairie.  Their only vehicle was an improvised sled made from bent trees they got along the river.  Three men went together, one wading ahead to find the best places where they could get through while the other two struggled along behind.  It took a week to make the trip and nights they stayed with people they came to on the way.  They had no wagons, no plows nor equipment of any kind so could do little farming except with borrowed tools.  To add to these disadvantages crop conditions were not favorable at the beginning. 

All the prairie hay had to be cut with a scythe.  Having no wagon they had to haul all their hay in their improvised sled in summer as well as winter.  Roving Indians used to come around and look into the windows of their hut.  The Indians went to the Hintz brothers’ place. They wanted something, seemingly, to eat.  A can of wagon grease stood near the door and as the Indians looked at it, the Hintzes, in their anxiety to get rid of the Indians motioned that they could take the can of axle grease along.  They took it and went down toward the creek.  Wondering what they intended to do with it, one of the men went down that way after a while to look and found the Indians frying some ducks in the wagon grease.

They moved to Leipzig in about 1894 along with other colonists from Leipzig Bessarabia.  The family settled along Antelope Creek, which had numerous strong springs for suitable water.  Antelope School District was organized in 1895, the first school district in the area.    The school house was on SE 1/4 Sec 16 135-89, and Christoph Hintz was one of the officers.  In 1897, a post office was established. Most of the community buildings were moved to New Leipzig in 1911 to be near the new railroad line.

Christoph’s family joined in construction of Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church (now known as the Old Stone Church).  It was started in 1897, and was made of sod, north of Heil.  As the sod church was only a temporary church, it was agreed to build a church further west, made of stone, a building material found in that area.  Christoph was one of three members chosen to head the building committee.  All members hauled rock and stone to the new church.  Some helped as carpenters and others made mortar.   Mostly, sandstone was used.  The church was completed (after Christoph’s death) in 1903 or 1904.

In the 1900 census, Christoph and family were near Leipzig, ND.  He died October 15, 1900, four days before the birth of daughter Anna Marie.  He was only 41.  I have not been able to find the cause of death.


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