Gottfried Borchert

Biography of Gottfried Borchert Jr.

May 21-29, 1929

Lester R. Nierenberg

Gottfried Borchert Jr. was born on September 13, 1856 in a rural community in Germany.

From the many relatives already across the Atlantic Ocean in the great and rich country of the United States, he received many letters telling him of the easy living.

He went through eight grades of school. After a few years of working, he married. After making a go of it, they decided to go to America.

He came to the United States for two reasons: (1) he had relatives in the new country and (2) he thought living would be easier here than in the part of Germany where he resided.

Gottfried Borchert crossed the Atlantic Ocean by steamboat and landed at Ellis Island, New York City. New York without any mishaps of any sort.

He, with his wife and three children, immediately boarded the train for North Dakota. He reached North Dakota on October 3, 1887.

He worked for R. C. Cooper on the old Cooper ranch, and after a year or two took up land on the southeast quarter of Section 32, Range 59, Township 146.

He built a sod barn and a frame house on the homestead. The first winters werer the coldest for his family and the stock because of lack of shelter.

The first trips to town were made in a lumber wagon drawn by a huge team of oxen. They got their flour ground at the Sheyenne River flout mill located about twenty miles north of the home place.

Gottfried Borchert had made enough money to buy a spring wagon in which they went to church and other meetings.

While going to William Arndts, the team of oxen stopped in the middle of the slough and would go no farther, so they had to turn around and go home again.

Later on he purchased a couple of horses and with the aid of the small ox plowed the land.

Later on he purchased a couple of horses and with the aid of the small ox plowed the land.

The first school teacher that my mother had was August Retzlaff.

The pioneers of North Dakota did not need to worry about floods, but the prairie fires and snowstorms were rather hard to live through.

In the “nineties” there was a hard snowstorm that covered the barn, and almost covered the house. It was difficult to get to feed the stock; therefore, they went without food for a couple of days. After the storm had let up, Gottfried, with the aid of the children, dug an underground passageway to the barn, making it easier to get there. They had to dig steps down to the pump which was hidden in the snow. About in May the snow was just beginning to thaw away from the buildings.

A prairie fire, the worst one they could remember, burned everything for miles around except the haystacks which were plowed around before the fire got that far. The barn and house were of course saved because even if it did happen at night, a wide enough furrow was made with the plow so as to partially check its advance.

Their nearest neighbors were the Trosts, W. Arndts, and A. Retzlaffs.

Church was held in the nearest school-house which was three miles away. A student usually preached, and after a few years, Reverend Bohnhoff was asked to come up from Valley City. He has been doing so ever since.

Their fuel was obtained from the river and from Cooperstown’s Lumber Company.

After a few years more people move d in. After the death of his wife, he went back to Germany and married again. He returned to live on the old homestead where he has been ever since until his death on December 18, 1926.

Of his descendants there are: Frank Borchert and family, Carl Borchert, Max Borchert and family, Mrs. Fred Nierenberg and family, and Mrs. Mark Sullivan and family.

All but the latter have the address of Cooperstown, North Dakota. Mrs. Sullivan’s address is: 816 Algona Avenue, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.

His second wife lives in Cooperstown, North Dakota.

View image file


News & Events