top of page
  • msschartz

Nicholas and Mary Rach Goebel - Fairmount Cemetery, Hodgeman County, Kansas

By way of Bourbon, and Edwards County, Nicholas came to Hodgeman County in 1885. His homestead was in Valley Township north of Jetmore. Nicholas built a dugout and stayed two years, before returning to Wisconsin for his bride, Mary Rach. Their marriage was prearranged.

Nicholas was the youngest of five children born to August and Anna Maria Goebel. His parents and two sons left Germany in 1851 and made their way to Wisconsin. This is where the other three children were born. Nicolas was born in 1858. August died when Nicholas was five years old.

He spent his boyhood in Wisconsin, where on June 28, 1887, he married Marie ‘Mary” Rach. Mary’s parents were from Germany and came to America after their wedding. The marriage of Nicholas and Mary was prearranged by a cousin with the stipulation that he would be able to provide for her and their children.

The couple took the train to Ness City as the railroad hadn’t been completed to Jetmore. Riding in a buggy for 18 miles to their home, was quite a shock to Mary. Living in Wisconsin where the grass was green, plenty of trees, and many dairy farms, would be a shock to anyone.

A few years later, a frame house was built in and was the birthplace of their seven children. Besides being a farmer, Nicholas was also a stockman. This fact helped the family when mother nature destroyed the crops.

Their first child, Joseph, died at the age of 2 from “inflammation of bowels” which could describe many things. Their youngest child, Martha, lived only five days.

Nick was always looking to the future. He was able to acquire a large amount of property, and he also helped others during the lean years by extending credit. The Goebel family was Catholic and the closest Catholic church was in Ness City. Nicholas was instrumental in the founding and building of the St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Nonchalanta in southern Ness County. As more Catholics moved in the area, Nick and August Schauvliege worked together to establish a church in Jetmore. They succeeded in 1923, as St. Lawrence Catholic Church was dedicated.

Nick and Mary lived on the homestead until Mary passed away in 1925. Nick died in 1942. They are buried in Fairmount Cemetery with all seven of their children, their spouses, and many grandchildren.

The rest of the story: In 1923, the Baptist Church in Jetmore was up for sale. Nick and August contacted the bishop and see if it could be bought and become a new Catholic Church. St. Lawrence was dedicated on November 15, 1923.

Personal Note: A collection of my stories from Ford County is available for purchase on Amazon. You can type in either Mary S. Schartz or If Headstones Could Talk. It has been my pleasure to share these stories with you. You can read other stories at

bottom of page