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John J. and Cathrina Fertig - Fertig Cemetery, Pawnee County, Kansas

Fertig Cemetery is situated southeast of Larned in Logan township. It is a family burial plot for the four members of the Fertig family. John Joseph is the patriarch, while the matriarch is Cathrina.

Johann Joseph Fertig was a native of Germany, where he was born on May 28, 1828. At the age of seven, John came with his family to America and settled in eastern Pennsylvania. Catherine “Kate” Welker was born on Valentine’s Day, 1832, in Pennsylvania. She remained in Pennsylvania until she married John on October 31, 1854. Their six children were all born in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, little George, age four, and Sarah, age seven, died and were buried in Pennsylvania.

In the spring of 1878, John and Kate’s eldest son, Simon, and his wife came to Pawnee County, settling in Pleasant Valley Township south of Larned. Eleven months later, John and Kate brought their remaining four children to join Simon.

Under the Homestead Act of 1862, John was able to purchase a 160-acre homestead if he could live on it for five years, farm, and make improvements. John’s second son, John William, also purchased 160 acres. All three men proved up their land and received a patent certificate stating their ownership.

The family faced the same hardships as other early settlers, including drought, grasshoppers, and illness. Their twenty-four daughter, Wilhelmina, passed away in 1881 and was the first burial in the family plot.

Farming was in the blood of John, and he continued in that occupation until his death on December 5, 1907. Kate passed away ten years later. Their oldest daughter, Mary Ellen, died in 1933 at age seventy-three. Their two sons are buried in Larned Cemetery.

The rest of the story:

The fifth stone belongs to Laura Lee Pinkston, the eight-year-old daughter of George and Mary Jane Pinkston. She died from red measles. Today, red measles are called rubella, and children are vaccinated with the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. Laura’s parents are buried close by in Point View Cemetery.

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