John Harder Family
John Harder was born in 1854 in the Danzig, Northern Poland area, then known as West Prussia. He and Marie Regier were married on May 26, 1876 in Leske, N. Germany. Very shortly after they were married they came to America. He came with his father, Bernhard Harder, stepmother and brothers, Gustav and Bernhard. There were 200 people who left from the Danzig area at one time. They traveled by train to Hamburg and then boarded the ship, the "SS Rhineland". They were on the water for 17 days.
They were in St. Louis on July 4, 1876, which was the 100th anniversary of Independence Day. The town celebrated in big style. The immigrants thought a war had started, but soon learned otherwise and were relieved.
They settled 2 1/2 miles east of Whitewater, KS. in October, 1876. They paid $6 an acre for land bought from the Santa Fe Railroad. The first buildings were graineries which the settlers lived in through the first winter. They built houses and barns the following summer. They hauled all of the lumber from Newton, which was about 20 miles away.
John Harder and Marie Regier had six children: Bernhard W., who became a Mennonite minister; Anna, who married Herman B. Entz; John Jr., farmer; Gerhard, who died at the age of 20 from heart disease; Gustav A., farmer; and Edward, a farmer east of Newton. Marie Regier died in July of 1888, when these children ranged in age from 11 years to 20 months. John related that this was quite a sad time. He married Katherine Regier, a sister to Marie about a year later on June 5, 1889. They had three more children: Henry C., farmer; Justina, married Gus Reimer; and Willie, who moved to Idaho with his family in 1940.
John Harder Sr. farmed and fed cattle. At the height of his farming, he had 30 horses for harness, besides colts of all sizes. He also had 300 cattle and sold 150 a year that weighed 1500 pounds each. He also had several hundred hogs.
The Mennonite group of which they were members, organized and built the Emmaus Mennonite Church in 1877.
Katherine Regier Harder died in 1930 and John Sr. died in 1940. They are buried in the Emmaus Church cemetery northeast of Whitewater, KS.