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Mrs. Altje H. Franzen-Buss

Mrs Altje H. Franzen-Buss, who for many years has been a resident of Adams county and is now living on section 5, Clayton township, was born October 21, 1828, in Holtrop, Ostfriesland, Germany, her parents being Harm H. and Anke (Zimmerman) Franzen. On the 12th of September, 1851, they sailed for America and landed in New Orleans on the 14th of December, whence they proceeded up the Mississippi river by boat to St Louis, where they spent six weeks owing to the river being frozen up. After the ice had disappeared they continued on their journey to Quincy, Illinois, and then to Clayton township in a wagon drawn by oxen, arriving there in the middle of February, 1852. They stopped first with their son Hinrich Franzen, who had located there in the spring of 1850. Their family consisted of eight children: Jurgen, who came to this country in 1854; Hinrich, Mrs Margaretha Emminga, Johan and Harm, all now deceased; Dirck, who died prior to the emigration of the parents; Mrs Altje H. Buss; and Cobus, who makes his home in Northeast township and owned and operated a gristmill east of Golden for many years.

Harm H. Franzen, the father of Mrs Buss, joined the German army when a young man and took part in the war between France and Germany in 1815. He participated in the battle of Waterloo on the 18th of June, that year, taking part in a hand to hand engagement with the Ulan Lancers and completely crushing the enemy and the power of Napoleon I. After being without anything to eat for three days, the soldiers were preparing a meal when the signal came for the cavalry to fly to the front. Emptying their soup kettles they mounted their horses and with a hurrah shot forward and won the day with great glory. Mr Franzen was a tall, strong young man and occupied the right end file. He was once stationed at an extremely dangerous outpost right in sight of the enemy and soon became aware that they were aiming a piece of artillery at him. The moment the gunner was swinging his matchcord, Mr Franzen spurred his faithful horse sideways and the projectile went whistling by his shoulder. Upon making his report he was much complimented by his officers for his bravery. He found the ball, which weighed fourteen pounds. Taking an air line through the country, his horse would leap over large ditches and fences with the greatest ease. Our Ulan and his horse became very much attached to each other and at the close of the war, when he patted his companion good bye, he wept and could hear the horse neighing after him for a long distance. He often spoke of the horrors of war, and his narrations were undoubtedly true. Mr Franzen died in Adams county, July 29, 1863, when almost eighty years of age. He is still held in high esteem by those who knew him as a man who lived an exemplary life, without a stain upon it, quiet and unassuming. Although never idle, he never gained much of this world's goods.

Mrs Buss spent her girlhood under the parental roof and pursued her education in the schools of Germany. She came with the family to America in 1851 and became a resident of Adams county the following year. At the time of their settlement here there were only twelve German families in this locality. All, however, were from Ostfriesland in the state of Hanover and they called their settlement New Ostfriesland, it being in Clayton and Northeast townships. The first two families located there in June, 1848.

ON the 3d of July, 1852, Altje H. Franzen gave her hand in marriage to Gerd H. Buss, theirs being the first wedding celebrated in this particular settlement. Mr Buss was an enterprising farmer and took his bride to a farm on the southwest quarter of section 4, Clayton township, beginning their domestic life in a log house similar to those occupied by the other settlers. With characteristic energy he carried on farming and merchandising and as the years passed he accumulated considerable wealth. He died March 19, 1894, respected by all who knew him because of his strict business methods as well as his activity, which resulted in success.

Mr Buss was one of a family of seven children, the others being Johan, who remained in Germany, Catharina and Mrs Hille Flesner, all now deceased; Weert, a resident of Minnesota; Trintje, wife of Cobus Franzen, mentioned above; and Hinrich, who is living in Kansas. Unto Mr and Mrs Buss were born eight children, namely; Henry G., who is now living in Oklahoma; Harm G., of Kansas; Katie, the wife of Ulfert Ideus; John G., of Houston township; Dick G.; Gerhard G.; Grace, the wife of William Cassens; and Margaret, the wife of Claus Leenerts, all living near Golden.

Mrs Buss is the owner of a large and valuable farm near Golden besides other property. She and her husband had accumulated much more than this but the remainder has been given to their children. She is one of the leading members of the new Lutheran church of Golden and is deeply interested in its growth and upbuilding. Like her husband she has been one of the most liberal supporters of the church, to which she has given large sums of money, and in 1904 when the church was remodeled she donated a fine memorial window costing two hundred and fifty dollars, besides giving a much larger sum to the building fund. Her many excellent traits of character have endeared her to a large circle of friends and she well deserves mention among the early settlers of Adams county.

[submitted by Amy Robbins-Tjaden]
Past and Present of the City of Quincy and Adams County, Illinois (S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1905)


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