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History of Renville County

Updated May 25, 2006

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Charles Lammers, an influential citizen, public official and merchant, was born in Cincinnati, April 8, 1861, son of William and Sophia (Schweer) Lammers. He was brought to Renville County in 1862, was present when his father was killed during the Indian massacre, was held captive with his mother and brother Fred, and remained with his mother and step father in Renville County until he was twenty years of age. Then he worked out at a farm hand. May 11, 1884, with but $500 capital, he opened a hardware store in Fairfax. In 1886 he sold this store and opened a general merchandise establishment at Fairfax with Thomas Greer as a partner, under the firm name of Lammers & Greer. In 1894 Mr. Greer retired, then A. F. Reike bought in and the firm became Lammers & Reike. In 1896 Mr. Lammers sold out and engaged in the grain business in Fairfax for four years. During this time he erected and operated an independent elevator. Then in 1900, with Henry Hauser and G. A. Reike of the firm Hauser & Reike, he engaged in the furniture, lumber and hardware business. The company is now known as the Hauser Lumber Company, of Fairfax, Gibbon and Franklin. For several years Mr. Lammers was a secretary and for the last four years he has been treasurer of the concern. He is also vice-president of the Fairfax State Bank. His political career began at an early date. For eighteen years ending in 1905 he was treasurer of the town of Cairo. For seven years he was a member of the Fairfax village council. Since January 1907, he has been a county commissioner from the Second district. Mr. Lammers was married May 11, 1885, to Emma Durbahn, who was born January 4, 1864, daughter of Jacob and Dora (Anthony) Durbahn. The father and mother were born in Germany, came to America, farmed in Nicollet County, retired in New Ulm. He died at the age of seventy-one. The mother died in 1881 at the age of fifty. Mr. and Mrs. Lammers have six children: Harry C., born September 10, 1888; Millicent, born November 17, 1889; Wilbert, born March 1, 1892; Benjamin, born October 5, 1893; Wesley, born April 24, 1896, and Ada, born December 10, 1900. The family faith is that of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Mr. Lammers is a trustee. The part taken in the Indian outbreak of 1862 by the Lammers family is a tragic one. William Lammers, a substantial German citizen, came to America in the fifties, seeking advantages under the light of a Republic. In 1862 he brought his family to Renville County and pre-empted the northwest quarter of section 19, Flora Township. Happy that at last he had secured land, and a farm, which he might make a competence and rear his children to strong manhood and womanhood, he sat at work with a will. He erected a log cabin, made a little clearing, got in some crops, and was eagerly looking for the harvest time when he might store up provisions for the coming winter. But on August 18, 1862, a band of Indians came down on the little cabin, butchered and mutilated William Lammers and took his wife and their two little sons Frederick and Charles, as prisoners. They were held in captivity for six weeks, and during this time Charles was very much disliked by the Indians, so one day he was taken and thrown in the fire while his mother was sent after water, but the quick and daring moves of his brother Fred saved from being roasted to death. From Camp Release they went to Nicollet County. There the following spring another son, William, was born. September 26, 1864, the widow and mother married George Reike, now a resident of Fairfax. William, the posthumous child, lived to the age of twenty-six. He farmed in Sibley County with his brother, Frederick W., and left a widow and one child. Frederick W. Is married and has two sons, Walter and Edwin Lammers.

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Family Photos
  • Charles, Alena, and Dorothy (211 KB)
    This photo was taken in Yakima in April 2005.
  • Current generations (263 KB)
    Taken when we were cleaning out our Mother's home following her death. From left: Alena Wehr, Charles, Shyanne & Mindy Lammers, Laura Wehr, Dorothy Harris, Nathan Wehr and Doug Harris
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