At the age of 16, Johann Diedrich immigrated to the United States. He left Germany in 1888 and came to the United States. He came and stayed with the John Brunken family near Cambridge, Nebraska. This is the earliest known photo of Johann Diedrich Willers (1871 - 1967). The photo was taken at McCook, Nebraska, which is the county seat for Red Willow County.
For ten years, he worked hard in order to be able to return to Germany to marry. He borrowed money from a family named Klinkebiel to eventually start farming. On January 27, 1898, he had gone back to Germany in order to marry Helene Sophie Hagens.
Johann then returned to the United States with his bride, Helene. They moved immediately to their homestead near Lebanon, Red Willow County, Nebraska. This must have been quite a change for Helene to have come from Germany to the prairie of Nebraska.
The 1900 Red Willow County Census, lists Johann and Helene with their one year old daughter, Annie M. Living nearby was Henry Willers, born in May, 1875, which indicates that Johann's brother must have moved to Lebanon also.
Johann and Helene remained in Nebraska and raised their four children there. Here is a scan of the Willers home (view from the north) about 1909 from a post card that Johann send back to Germany.
Click on the house to read what was written on the back.
In 1920, they sold out and moved to Bronaugh, Vernon County, Missouri. They lived there the rest of their lives. J. D., Helene and Martha are buried at Newton Burial Park in Nevada, MO. For those of you who use GPS, the coordinates for the Willers graves are N 37° 51.493 W 094° 21.765 .
Here are the children of Johann and Helene:
Name Birth Date Death Date Spouse Anna Marie Willers January 19, 1899 February 27, 1978 John G. Saathoff George Frederick August 27, 1900 May 7, 1970 Madge Huffman Martha Helen Willers April 27, 1902 June 3, 1986 never married John Henry Willers January 12, 1906 February 23, 1988 Eva Banks
Anna Marie Willers
January 19, 1899
February 27, 1978
John G. Saathoff
August 27, 1900
May 7, 1970
Martha Helen Willers
April 27, 1902
June 3, 1986
John Henry Willers
January 12, 1906
February 23, 1988
The J. D. Willers family of Bronaugh Missouri. Click on the photo to see an enlargement.
Go back to the Willers page.
Thanks to Dirk Oltmanns of Moorburg, Germany for sharing this photo.