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Pedigree Tree for William

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Pictures from Nöttingen, Germany

Descendants of William Siebler

Pictures from Cornlea, Nebraska

Read William's First Letter to Hattie Pictures from Aurora, Nebraska


C WILLIAM SIEBLER  was born 11 Feb 1868 in Nöttingen, Germany, and died 30 Nov 1954 in Aurora, Nebraska.   He was raised in the Lutheran church (Evangelische Kirche) and apprenticed as a blacksmith starting at age 14.  His father, Friedrich Siebler (10 Oct 1840 - 4 Jan 1875), was a wagon maker who died when William was about 7.  Soon after the death of his father, William's Uncle Leopold (Friedrich's brother) married his mother, Philippine Kern Siebler (14 July 1843 - Dec 1908).

On a brisk winter's day in February 1887, William traveled from Nöttingen to Karlsruhe, and then on the port of  Antwerp where he boarded the Westernland, a ship of the Red Star Line.  The Atlantic crossing was completed on March 3, 1887 when he arrived at  Castle Clinton (Castle Garden) in New York City.  He made the crossing with his Uncle George Scheidel, one of his mother's brothers.   During the crossing he met his wife to be, Magdalena Moog.

William and Magdelena (Lena) married on 28 Sep 1891 at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Columbus.  They made their new home in Cornlea, Nebraska.  The 1890 Business Directory describes "CORNLEA, as a village of 75 inhabitants on the Scribner & Oakdale branch of the F. E. & M. V. R. R.,  located in the northern part of Platte county and surrounded by industrious German and Welch farmers.

William and Lena had 12 children who attended School District #38 in Cornlea.  Lena died on 20 Mar 1909 in their home at 3:15 PM,  just days after the birth of their 12th child.  

With the help of his older daughters, William  tried to raise the children alone.  But after a year he decided it was time to re-marry.  He placed an ad in a matrimonial catalog and got a response from Hattie Lucinda Hyatt in Kansas.  He wrote to her and she to him.  Soon he was on a train to Kansas.  On March 25th, 1910, just 9 days after he sent her his first letter,  they met at the train station in Medicine Lodge, Kansas.  They were married that same afternoon.  They traveled back to Cornlea and were greeted by the community with a huge Chivaree.

After two years, William and Hattie left Cornlea in 1912.  He sold his blacksmith shop to Ewald Nissen and they moved  to Aurora, Nebraska where he worked with wheelwright, Henry Wiggins.  

It was a very long and arduous time before William's older daughters would finally accept his new wife, and trust her with their younger siblings.  After all, Hattie was only 7 years older than William's oldest child.  The relationship between the girls, their dad and new "mother" was severely tested on April 6, 1920.  Two daughters, Philippine and Anna, kidnapped their youngest sister, Evelina, and took her with them to Humphrey, Nebraska.  Unable to convince his daughters to return the young girl voluntarily, William was forced to filed a petition in State District Court against his own children for the return of Evelina. On April 19, 1920, The Court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus for Evelina who was returned by the sheriff to William and Hattie’s home in Aurora.  You can read more about the kidnapping and see the court pleadings at Evelina's page.


William's blacksmith shop in Aurora,  was located next to the HR Parris residence.  Mr. Wiggins was the first owner in 1901.  In 1905 he sold it to A.J. "Gus" Matthes.  Matthes died in 1917.  Tony Forcell took over the building until 1919.  William purchased the shop in 1920 and operated it until his death in 1954.  The shop originally had a wood floor.  It was move to the Stuhr Museum in 1969.


You can find out more about daily life in Cornlea, Nebraska and that of William Siebler by reading Cornlea Items which have been excerpted from the Humphrey Democrat.


William and Hattie lived at 1618 North N Street, Aurora, Nebraska. They moved into their home on August 30, 1912, from Cornlea, Nebraska.

Every decoration day, Hattie and William would travel to St. Bernard and decorate Lena's grave.

In the winter, when snow and ice was heavy on the ground, William would shoe Dr. Steenburg's horse with "never slip cork" so the horse would not fall.

William loved to play dominoes and pinochle with the children.

On the 4th of July he would buy a 5 gallon can of ice cream at the Farmers Union Creamery.

William lost a brother in WW1 - Leopold.  Another brother, Albert died a few years later in 1923.

During WWII he had 2 sons and six grandchildren in the military.    One grandson, Jerome, son of Gib, died at sea on the USS Smith.

In 1952 William and Hattie appeared on Tommy Bartlett's "Welcome Traveler" program and television show.  William was honored as being the oldest working blacksmith in the country.  Listen to the sound track of the show by clinking on this link.  Their son, Carl, arranged for the trip to Oakton Manor at Pewaukee

William loved to dance.  As a young man in Germany he would go to the dances on the "floating" dance floor and stay up night until it was time to go back to work the next morning.

In latter years he told his youngest daughter, Mildred, that the Atlantic crossing was difficult.  He missed his mother very much, and said that there were many storms during the crossing, and that he was bored and scared most of the trip.

Some of William’s Iron work still exist at house entry NW corner of M & 8th street in Aurora, Nebraska. The house was originally the Henthorn House.

Burial: Aurora, Nebraska.

Confirmation: 26 Mar 1882, Nöttingen, Germany

Immigration: 03 Mar 1887, Arrived at Castle Clinton (Castle Garden) in New York City on SS Westernland out of Antwerp.  Manifest ID # 40089

Naturalization: 28 Feb 1906, Fred H. Ball and Dave W. Lloyd were his witnesses.


William had 18 children.  12 were with his first wife, Lena.  6 were with his second wife, Hattie.  The children are:

William Frederick Siebler      June 22, 1892 - March 11, 1962

Albert Siebler      May 17, 1894 - December 25, 1954

Magdelena Louise Siebler     June 24, 1895 - January 3, 1955

Philippine Carolina Siebler     March 9, 1897 - ?

Anna Magdalena Siebler     August 25, 1898 June 9, 1966

Heinrick Philipp Siebler     December 25, 1899 - December 21, 1973

Leopold Gilbert Siebler     February 18, 1901 - August 13, 1976

Herman Siebler     October 28, 1902 - July 17, 1989

Erstine Katharina Siebler     March 3, 1904 - May 6, 1974

Amil Fred Siebler     January 10, 1906 - 1996

Johanna Ernstina Stilew Siebler     November 19, 1907 - October 15, 1982

Elvenia Evelina Siebler     March 10, 1909 - November 30, 1992

George Siebler     December 5, 1911  - June 9, 1953

Elizabeth C Siebler     May 11, 1913 - July 12, 1914

Fred Carl Siebler     February 11, 1916  - March 11, 1982

Mildred Virginia Siebler     born November 7, 1917

Roy Loren Siebler     September 23, 1919 - December 5, 1975

Wilbur Lee Siebler     August 12, 1925 - September 28, 1999

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