Anton and Augusta Hoffert

Anton Hoffert Jr. was born in 1855 at Naperville, Illinois. He was the son of Antoine and Mary (Forstoge) Hoffert. As a boy, Anton was blessed with red hair, and - in later life - always sported a moustache. When he first came of age he moved to Phelps County, Nebraska, where he purchased 160 acres of railroad land. While in Nebraska he also met the recenly-widowed Augusta (Meisel) Schneider.

Augusta was the eldest child of John and Fredricka (Staugie) Meisel, who had married in Prussia before coming to the United States. The young couple settled first in Pennsylvania, then in Indiana. Their daughter Augusta was born 17 May 1855 on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. She was eventually joined by a brother (Henry) and four sisters (Nancy, Bertha, Jane and Mary). All of them called her "Gusty." Auguta grew up scrubbing the family clothes, and never had time for any type of formal schooling.

When eighteen years of age Augusta married twenty-year-old George Schneider. The ceremony took place in Mendota, Illinois, on 21 February 1874. The bride signed the marriage certificate with an "X". She and her husband farmed a time in Illinois. After the birth of their son John in 1878 they moved to a sod dugout in Juanita, Nebraska. The next spring they purchased 160 acres of land in Phelps Couonty, Nebraska. Two years later George died of pneumonia. Money was so tight that the neighbors had to pitch in to help buy the coffin.

Augusta married Anton Hoffert Jr. the following year. The ceremony took place before a Justice of the Peace in Princeton, Illinois. The newlyweds then returned to Nebraska before the birth of their daughter Mary (8 November 1883). They settled on Anton's farm, and Augusta transferred to Anton her portion of the land inherited from her first husband. Anton and Augusta farmed the land together until 1919, when the time came to retire. Together they had endured years of drought and tornadoes and prairie fires, and they were ready for a long rest. They gave their two farms to their children, John and Mary, with the understanding that they would be allowed to shuttle back and forth between the two households for the remainder of their days.

On retiremnt Anton was sixty-four, and already showing symptoms of the facial skin cancer that would eventually claim his life. Augusta was also sixty-four. She had long before taught herself to read and to sign her name with her left hand. She was looking forward to many more years of piecing together quilts of her own design, but was already experiencing a painful edema in her legs, an edema which in another eight years would necessitate the use of crutches and a wheelchair. She would nonetheless eventually finish more than four dozen quilts. Her husband Anton died of cancer in 1940 at age eighty-five. Augusta herslf passed away from heart failure on 23 December 1945 at the age of ninety. Left behind were her two children, John Schneider and Mary Hoffert.

Anton & Augusta Hoffert, with their oldest grandchild, Gladys Reinart

1- John William Schneider (1878-1959) - John was the only child of George and Augusta Schneider. After his father died and his mother remarried, he helped out on the family farm in Phelps County, Nebraska. On 6 October 1906 he married Mary Reinart of Halbur, Iowa. The newlyweds moved to John's farm in Nebrask. There all went well until John contracted tuberculosis. Advised by his doctor to spend time outside, John lived in a tent for four years. During that time a neighbor did the farming for him. In 1919 - his health restored - John returned to farming full time. To help earn money during the Depression years he also called square dances at a dance hall in Axtell, Nebraska. He retired in the early 1950's and moved to town. In 1959 he suffered a stroke and died two hours later. He was seventy-nine. Together he and Mary had nine children: George, Dona, Genevieve, Agnes, Mary, Mathias, Colette, Anthony, and John.

2- Mary Hoffert(5 November 1883 - 17 August 1956) Mary was born on a farm near Funk, Nebraska. One of her main jobs as a child was to collect dried buffalo chips for use in the family cookstove. She married Peter Reinart on 23 January 1905 in Axtell, Nebraska. Together they had five daughters: Gladys, Monica, Bertille, Mary, and Genevieve.

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