Christian Hintz b 29 January 1850

Christian Hintz was born 29 January, 1850, in Leipzig, Bessarabia, Russia, the fourth of 13 children of Johann Friedrich and Louisa (Nuske) Hintz.  Christian married Rosina Roehl in Tarutino, Bessarabia, Russia on 5 February 1870.  They eventually had 12 children.  The first four were born in Russia, the rest in the Dakotas.  Christian was the oldest son who lived to be an adult.  He, his wife, and children were the first of the descendants of Johann and Louisa to immigrate to the United States.  Later, his mother and surviving siblings would come to America to join him.  The following information tells about the way of the life of early settlers of the Dakotas. 

In the Beginning . . . Hebron, North Dakota 1876-1912 Compiled by Jane Berg and Kathy Elmer page 83

In the year 1880 Christian Hintz came from Leipzig, Russia with his family and located near Scotland, South Dakota.  In the course of a few years he was importuned by relatives and friends in the old country to find places for them in America.  As free homestead land was all taken up around Scotland he looked about elsewhere and hearing of the Hebron colony made a trip out here in the fall of the year ’85 to view the country.  The land looked so satisfactory that he decided to dispose of his South Dakota farm and locate out here himself the following year   Accordingly he wrote to his people in Russia telling them of his plans and directing them to come directly to Hebron in the spring of ’86 and he would meet them there.  That spring a group of Russians left Leipzig for America, among them being the families of Gotlieb Roehl, Gottlieb Klaus, a shoemaker, John Friesz and Fred Miller.  They passed through Germany and took ship at Hamburg, arriving at Hebron about four o’clock in the morning of April 27.  As the conductor started putting them off here they objected saying there must be some mistake as they were going to a large town, while here they could see nothing but a small building of a depot. The conductor insisted that this was the place and proceeded to unload them all here.  The whole group stayed at the depot until morning when some of them seeing the Krauth and Leutz Store went over and made inquiries.  Leutz told them that about a week before a man by the name of Christian Hintz had come up from South Dakota and was now staying with the John Krauss family on the present Moos farm.  Word was sent out and soon Hintz and Krauss came and took them all out to the latter’s place.  Krauss had only arrived shortly before but had a solid shack up already; the whole bunch packed into that hut and slept on the earth floor while they stayed there.  They were all broke and nobody had any money to speak of.  There was no land agent around then so Krauss took them around to show them the land, and in order to make a living in the meantime they all picked bones.

They found that practically all the watered homestead claims were taken up already to a distance of about 12 miles south of town.  The land was unsurveyed down that way and they did not know if any particular place was on railroad or government land.  The settlers all wanted land with a spring or creek on it, as they were adverse to digging over 10 feet for a well.  John Dittus was living out there already and he was the furthest out when Hintz came so Hintz took up the next suitable location beyond.  He had his brother-in-law Roehl locate next beyond him near a spring. With Roehl were his young sons Daniel, Fred, and Gottlieb.  They built a sod shack and with poles cut at the River they made a roof.  They had no stove for the first six or seven years so had to get along with a fireplace for heating and cooking purposes and in the side of this was built a Russian oven where they did their baking during that time.  They had only one big dish out of which the whole family had to eat, but nearly all the members had a spoon.  They had only one kettle and this they used to cook their meals in over the fire.  They had practically nothing to put into the kettle, except what they were able to get in exchange for bones.

Mrs. Roehl brought along from Russia two gallons of goose lard which had to last the whole family a year until they were able to get and raise a pig to butcher.  They bought a heifer on terms and after a year more they were able to get some milk.  The clothing they brought along from the old country was made to last three years.

In those days the prairie grass grew two feet deep and prairie fires used to come and burn them out. Late in the fall Gottfried Hintz was working hard to fight the fires.  The heat was intense as the hot air was blown by the resulting winds.  When the fire was subdued in one place the fighter would have to rush to another place, perhaps half a mile or more away.  It froze hard during the night but Hintz had to continue throughout the night with little rest.  The alternate heat and cold caused him to get lung fever and he died on the third day. He was buried on top of a flat hill on the NE1/4 3-137-90 about a mile east of the Catholic church south of town.  As the land was unsurveyed in those days and a number of settlers lived around there it was agreed that this was sufficiently conveniently located for a common burial place, and in a few years quite a number were buried there including old man Sprecher. They had no tombstones and after the land became surveyed Christ Kuntz plowed it up and it has remained a tilled field ever since. 

They obtained seven bushels of seed wheat from the government which was sown and that fall they realized ten bushels for a crop. The next year they seeded ten bushels and got 110 for a crop.  During the first year the settlers out that way had but one calendar in the whole comunity and important dates like Christmas etc. were kept track of and passed around from neighbor to neighbor. Once in a year a preacher was invited to come from Stanton to give them a service.  Later Mike Sprecher who lived about 12 miles southwest of town used to serve those people as teacher and preacher during his spare time.”

The 1900 census lists Christian’s family as living in Glen Ullin Township of Morton County, ND.  The census says that they had 15 children, but sadly, only 7 were still alive.  Christian was a farmer and was doing well enough that he employed a servant.  His widowed mother lived nearby with another older woman named Christiana Roehl – perhaps she was his mother-in-law. 

Christian Hintz was issued a passport in 1901 – I wonder where he was going to travel.  The application includes helpful clues about him, such as that he arrived in the US July 1879, and became a naturalized citizen in 1885.  Christian’s wife Rosina died in 1901, and in 1902, Christian married Christine Hennig Stern, another German from Russia.  In 1910, Christian and family lived near Leipzig ND.  Christian continued his work as a farmer.  In 1915, the ND state census lists Christian, Christina, and daughter Helena.

Christian and Christine were counted in the 1925 state census as residence of New Leipzig.  They were listed as foreign born, but had become US citizens.  New Leipzig was formed when the newly built railroad was routed south of Leipzig.  Most of the community packed up and moved, buildings and all, to reestablish the town along the railroad.  Christian and Christina lived in the village of New Leipzig in 1930. 

Christian and Christina both died in 1938.



  1. Darlene Ficklin said,

    January 1, 2012 at 20:21

    So much of this fits with what I know about my great grandfather Christian Jr. except that my records from my grandmother show that she came to the US in 1907 with her dad and family and his parents. If you have more details I would love to visit further with you. My email is Thank you

    • sooze471 said,

      January 1, 2012 at 21:17

      I will send you a descendants list for Christian, and we can compare notes.

  2. Sara said,

    February 21, 2013 at 12:51

    Gottlieb Roehl is my great-great-grandfather. I’m fairly certain my family is descended from his son Gottlieb, but I could be wrong and we could be descendants of Daniel. It’s been a while since I’ve looked at the family tree to recall my great-grandfather’s name. Wonderful story. Thank you for sharing!

  3. sooze471 said,

    February 21, 2013 at 16:52

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  4. Margie Kotan said,

    June 28, 2013 at 09:05

    I am a grand daughter to Sam and Lydia Roehl. I know many of the names herein. I love to read and know family history… I am so pleased that histories are being written down and passed along. Thank you.
    Marjorie (Joscelyn) Kotan

  5. sooze471 said,

    July 2, 2013 at 21:16

    Thanks for stopping by. I wish I knew what happened to his younger brother Christoph – the last of the family to come to the Dakotas. I know when he died, but not any other details – he wasn’t very old. Maybe someone will come across our discussion here and contribute more information.


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