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Peter Closen & Family – Holy Cross Cemetery, Windthorst, Ford County, Kansas

In the older section of Holy Cross Cemetery, there is a headstone which reads Peter Closen “arrived in U.S. in 1879.” No date of birth or date of death recorded.

The story begins with the birth of Mathias Closen Sr. He was born February 9, 1835 in Bettingen (Kr. Saarlouis), Rheinland, PrueBen, Germany. He married Maria (Bach), born April 23, 1837, also in the same village in Germany. Mathias and Maria were wed on the 23rd of February 1862. Seven sons and one daughter were born in Germany and an additional daughter was born after their arrival in Kansas. Records show that Peter Closen was born in 1877. During this time period, large families were the norm and many children died before the age of 5. Which would explain why the Ellis Island and Other New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, list only Mathias, Maria, and sons, Peter (2yr), Johann (John 9yr), and Mathias Jr. (16yr) coming to America. This family left their home, relatives, the life they knew behind and faced an arduous journey to a new world. They boarded the immigrant ship, Saxonia, and sailed into Ellis Island in New York Harbor, New York in 1879.

The Closen family eventually settled in Wheatland Township, Ford County, Kansas. The journey from their homeland in Germany to America took 3-4 weeks and was fraught with seasickness, sanitation problems, and illness. All of these were probably factors in contributing to Peter’s death.

Mathias passed away in 1894 and his buried at Holy Cross next to his son. Maria died in 1913 and is buried at Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery north of Kinsley, Edwards County.

Mathias Jr., married Angela Prinz fathered 10 children. He and his wife are buried in Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery. Johann also married and his buried in Seattle, Washington.

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