August Herrman Golnick

August Herrman Golnick was born on December 11, 1848, in the Lodzia area of Nakel, Posen, Prussia, Germany (which is now Naklo nad Notecia, Poland). He was the son of Michael Golnik and Caroline Hartfiel. He immigrated to America probably around 1869 as his death record states that he was in the country 64 years before his death in 1933. He first went to Wisconsin, then to Minnesota, then to Washington, and finally to California.

Emilie (pronounced Amelia) Wagner was born on June 6, 1858, in Brandenburg, Germany, to William Wagner and Maria Schenke [according to her death certificate]. Her mother married Friedrich Wilhelm Fritz. The family was sent to Russia where they rented land there. Emilie couldn’t play with other children because her father was an officer/soldier. They built homes there. Emilie lived in Russia until age 17. The Fritz family, along with extended family members, sailed from Liverpool, England to Londonderry, Ireland. From there the ship sailed to Quebec, Canada, arriving on May 26, 1874. While crossing the ocean, Emilie was taken on as a babysitter to a wealthy woman married to a high officer on ship with three babies. The Fritz family settled first in Quebec, Canada, then went to Wisconsin, locating near Princeton, and later moved to Grand Rapids(now Wisconsin Rapids). Then they moved close to Berlin, Wisconsin.

Matilda, Wilhelm, August and Emilie

August worked in a mill. He and Emilie were married on November 29, 1875, in Ripon, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin.

The 1880 US Census shows them living in Sigel Town, Wood County, Wisconsin, with 3-year old son William.

August’s three brothers, John, Emil, and Gottlieb heard of the lush Dakota land and the Homestead Act (which allowed settlers to “prove up” land by living on 160 acres for five years, then recording this in the courthouse for a warranty deed to entitle them to the land). They went by train to Gary, South Dakota, in 1885. At this time Gary was the last town at the end of the railroad line. It had a turn-table for the train to turn around and return eastward. August went to Minnesota in 1886 or 87 and purchased land near the present town of Marietta.

The 1900 US Census shows the family living in Garfield Township, Minnesota. It lists their first three children as being born in Wisconsin, and five children being born in Minnesota (family tradition says that Marietta, Minnesota is where the other children were christened in the German Lutheran Church – not verified – Aunt Elsie said they were confirmed in the English Lutheran Church). She said she didn’t feel any different after her confirmation. August told her: “Your body is like a clean house. The wind blows in lots of dust, just like the world blows in lots of sin and you’ve got to do a lot of cleaning (praying) to keep it out.”

Wilhelm was the oldest boy. He “did reading” (in other words he was more educated than the others, and as evident from legal documents, August and Emilie could not read or write, though August did learn how to write his name) and he was Emilie’s pride and joy, so August and Emilie followed where he wanted to settle. He moved to Anatone, in the southeastern corner of Washington and so did his parents. While in Anatone, August worked in a lumber mill and also made caskets and pine boxes.

Notes from The Sentinel in The Boggans of Washington State, Asotin County by Frances B. Krechel (FHL Film #1321033) records: Sept. 20, 1902 – “August Gollnick who located in Anatone country about two months ago was in Asotin getting a lot of building material and a new steel range. Mr. Gollnick purchased the old Drumm place and is now having a large house built on it, 28 x 30, with two stories, and with a kitchen addition 16 x 20. He brought with him from Minnesota a nice bunch of short horn Durham cattle and it is his intention to soon establish a small dairy or creamery. He is equipped with the very latest appliances for such a business and will surely find a ready market for the output. The people of Anatone and Asotin county are surely glad to have such an energetic newcomer among them.”

[Aunt Elsie said] Wilhelm, Alvin, and Minnie looked like their mother. Elsie and Leonard looked like their father. Emilie was very kind. She was a mid-wife. She was seldom paid, sometimes, though, she was paid with a sack of flour. She was 5’4″ and about 125 lbs. August was short 5’6″ and small 140 lbs. They were good parents, however, the children could only go so far and no farther. Emilie worked in the fields with August.

The Sentinel records: Nov. 19, 1909 – “August Gollnick took a lot of hogs to Lewiston. Says he has just completed what he considers the most complete and practical barn in Asotin County.”

The 1910 US Census shows the family living in Anatone, Asotin, Washington. It says that they had 10 children, eight of whom are living. Walter died at age 4 and another child died of pneumonia [we don’t know the age or name or where it fell in the family, but we were told it was a son].

On Dec. 8, 1911, The Sentinel records – “August Gollnick, from Montgomery ridge, writes The Sentinel that the new telephone line from Montgomery ridge, to connect at Anatone, has been completed and phones are now being installed. There are at the present time about a half dozen phones on the line, but it will only be a short time until there will be fully 20 instruments or more. On account of securing this connection with the outside world, Mr. G became poetical and got off the following rhyme:

“Those Montgomery ridgers, the Irish & the Dutch,
Are connected with the outside world, with the white people and all such.
They can talk over ditches, cliffs and groves;
To Mallory ridgers and to Pine Grove
And from Anatone to Asotin, where the sweet rose grows.”

March 29, 1912 – “August Gollnick with son William and family have returned from tour of California — Went through the Sacramento Valley and found that country most charming and great alfalfa and hog-raising country. At Willows, Mr. G saw a number of people from Asotin in business and doing well. Mr. G stopped off in Walla Walla and was accompanied home by daughter Mrs. Elmer Steward and son Loren.”

Oct. 11, 1912 – “Mr. Gollnick and family are preparing to leave for their new home in California.”

Nov. 21, 1913 – “Mrs. August Gollnick has been visiting with her daughter Mrs. Wilbur Benedict near Anatone for the past six weeks. Now on her way home, Mrs. Gollnick says family like new home in Glenn, CA.”

In 1914 they moved to the hills west of Willows where Gus homesteaded 160 acres in Elk Creek.

Aug. 8, 1919 – “August Gollnick came up with daughter and son-in-law, the Elmer Stewards, in their Ford from California. Only 3 and a half days to make the trip. Mr. G left this section 5-6 years ago. Says he has become a poet.”

The 1920 US Census shows August and Emilie living with their son Alvin in Elk Creek, Glenn, California. Their 16-year-old grandson Cecil is also living in the home.

Sept. 26, 1925, The Sentinel records – “GOLLNICKS CELEBRATE 50 YEARS from California newspaper. Mr. and Mrs. August Gollnick celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary at their home on Stony Creek Sunday September 6th at a dinner. Covers were laid for 40 friends and members of the family including 16 grand children and 1 great grandchild. Following their marriage in Rippon[sp], WI, Mr. and Mrs. G resided in Minnesota and Washington before coming to Glenn County in 1912. They have lived in the Elk Creek District for the last 9 years. Many handsome gifts were received. The couple are enjoying excellent health. Those present were: Mr. and Mrs. Ed Andrews, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer J. Steward (Elsie) and children Violet and Loren of Los Angeles; Mrs. Mabel (Wilbur) Benedict and children Dorcy, LaVerne, Ellsworth, Duard, Wanda, and Kempton of Yuba City, CA; Mrs. Julia (Stein) (Wilhelm Julius) Gollnick and children Cecil, Florence, Myrtle and Agnes of Willows; Mr. and Mrs. James Snipes and daughter Martha of Willows; Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Gollnick and daughter Betty of Elk Creek; Mr. and Mrs. Leonard G and children Wilfred and Wilda of Elk Creek; Gerald Wilthoeft, Myron Chepmand and Frank Groskopf. Three daughters and family unable to be present: Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Trexler of Butte City, Glenn County, CA; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Scheuler of Walla Walla, WA, and Mr. and Mrs. James Norfleet Boggan, Jr., of Anatone.”

August and Emilie Golnick

The 1930 US Census records August Gollnick (age 82) and Emilia (age 71) living in Township 8, Glenn, California. The census shows a lot of information: It shows that he is a retired farmer, they are naturalized citizens, he emigrated in 1869, and she emigrated in 1871 [which differs from other records]. They don’t own a radio but they live on a farm and own their home valued at $500. The census says that August was 27 when he first married, and Emilia was 16. They speak English, and they also speak German. They were both born in Germany as were their parents. Their grandson Cecil lives next door with his business partner.

Dec. 15, 1933 – “AUGUST GOLLNICK: The Sentinel this week received news from the Willows (CA) Daily Journal which told of the death on December 4th of August Gollnick at the age of 85 years. Mr. G resided at Willows, Glenn County, moving there from Asotin County in 1912. Mr. G was born in Germany and at the age of 20, came to America, locating in Wisconsin. Later he lived in Minnesota, from which state he moved to Anatone, WA. He had many friends in all sections of the valley. Besides his wife he is survived by two sons, Leonard of Elk Creek and Alvin of Willows, and five daughters: Mrs. Henry Schuller of Walla Walla; Mrs. Minnie Boggan of Anatone; Mrs. Elsie Steward of Los Angeles, and Mrs. Mabel Benedict; and Mrs. Grace Trexler of Marysville. He is also survived by a brother Amiel [Emil] of Vero Beach FL; 32 grand children and 7 great grandchildren. The funeral was conducted Thursday a.m. December 7th in the Sweet Funeral Home. Rev. H. S. Saxy preaching the funeral service. Many Asotin County people will still remember Mr. G most kindly as he resided here several years leaving here 19 years ago.” August was buried in the Willows IOOF Cemetery.

Emilie died April 17, 1938 in Willows, she was almost 80 years old. Emilie called Elsie at 5 pm and said she didn’t feel like she was going to live much longer. Elsie and Elmer went up. Emilie died after talking to Elsie and Elmer. Her obituary indicated that she had been ill for some time. The grandchildren loved Emilie and laid flowers around her casket. Emilie was buried in the Willows IOOF Cemetery next to her husband.


1. Wilhelm Julius Gollnick, b. September 18, 1876 in Wisconsin, d. April 23, 1917 in Willows, Glenn, California. He married Julia Johanna Stein on January 18, 1903, in Asotin, Washington. They had five children: Cecil Julius, Ernestine Magdalena, Florence June, Myrtle Gladys, and Agnes Marie. The first two children were born in Washington, the third child was born in Oregon, and the last two were born in California. Often families moved in clusters, and when our Gollnick family came west from Minnesota, they were no exception. They were pioneers who came west in a couple of chuck wagons and drove 30 head of red Durham cattle with them. While in Washington, Wilhelm bought land, broke horses, and raised hogs. He spent some time (2½ years) in prison as a horse thief. After moving to California, Wilhelm became a well-driller. His oldest child, his only son, Cecil, died after a pipe hit him in the head. Cecil was in a coma for a couple of weeks, then came out of the coma and lived for a while, but died later from a brain hemorrhage. Wilhelm died at age 41, and his widow Julia married John Peterson and then later (June 11, 1927) married George Earl Johnson, then Roy K. Holten. She died in 1947.

2. Walter Golnick, born February 4, 1879 in Wisconsin, died at age 4 of diphtheria.

3. Matilda (Tillie) Golnick was born July 17, 1882 in Wisconsin. She married Henry Schueler, a contractor, on November 11, 1901 in Marietta, Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota. They had four children: Blanche, Lester, Opal, and Bernice. They lived in Minnesota for a couple of years, then moved west and settled in Walla Walla, Washington, where they lived for the remainder of their lives, choosing not to go south to California with the rest of the family. Henry worked for a large lumber yard and was a lumberman his whole life. Tillie did foster care work and took in children. Tillie died December 15, 1948 in Walla Walla, Walla Walla, Washington. Her obituary says she “died unexpectedly” at home.

4. Wilhelmine (Minnie) Golnick, b. March 5, 1886 in Wisconsin, d. December 5, 1961 in Clarkston, Asotin, Washington. She married James Norfleet Boggan, Jr., September 13, 1904 in Lewiston, Nez Perce, Idaho. They had five children: Russell, Milford, Constance (Connie), Randall, and Maxine. James was a rancher and had a small dairy with about 20 cows. Their ranch was along the Grand Ronde River. After James died in 1930, Minnie lived with her oldest son, Russell Boggan, until her death. She lived to be 75.

5. Carrie Ellie (Elsie Carol) Gollnick, b. May 15, 1888 in Manfred, Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota, d. September 11, 1978 in West Covina, Los Angeles, California. Elsie’s birth record from Lac Qui Parle County, Minnesota, lists her name as Carrie Ellie Gollnick, but she was known throughout her life as Elsie Carol (or Caroline, after her grandmother). Her father called her Ella. On the 1900 Census, she was listed as “Elsa.” At 18 Elsie wanted more school so she went to Walla Walla and lived with her sister. Then Elsie worked as a telephone operator. She married Elmer J. Steward on June 28, 1908 in Walla Walla. Their honeymoon was a trip by riverboat up the Snake River to Lewiston, Idaho. They had two children: a son Loren Anton Steward and a daughter Violet Maybelle Steward. In Anatone, they had a “stock of groceries and dry goods in the same building” as Elsie’s brother-in-law Wilbur Benedict. In July of 1916, it all burned down, and two months later “Elmer Steward purchased a stock of groceries & has taken up his business again in the Ed Shumaker bldg. next to the bank.” Apparently that building burned also. The 1920 Census shows the family living in Walla Walla, Washington. In the early 1920s, Elmer and Elsie and their children moved south to Baldwin Park, California. Elmer got involved in the hardware, building and lumber trades, and later opened a grocery store. He was affiliated with Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, and Odd Fellows. Elsie was active in Red Cross, serving for many years as Home Service chairman. She was also prominent in the woman’s club and was a 50-year member of the Rebekah Lodge and at one time served as state committee member. She was president of the Los Angeles County District Deputies Association. Elsie died on September 11, 1978 at 90 years of age. A couple of years before her death, there was a newspaper article that told about how, though she was elderly and unable to walk and had the use of only one eye, she spent her days crocheting and visiting with others. The article says that in her younger years, Elsie and Elmer traveled extensively.

6. Alvin August (Alvin Michael) Gollnick, b. January 13, 1891 in Manfred, Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota, d. January 15, 1982 in Willows, Glenn, California. Throughout his life Alvin went by Alvin Michael Gollnick as recorded on his christening record of which he had a copy. However, his legal birth record from Lac Qui Parle County lists him as Alvin August. On the World War I and World War II Registration Records, he is known as Alvin Michael Gollnick. He married Elizabeth Mabel Saunders on June 27, 1923 in Oakland, Alameda, California. When the Gollnick family moved to California, they raised turkeys and hogs. Alvin broke horses for the Calvary. Alvin got a job working in rice fields and saved his money. Alvin and his brother Leonard moved to Elk Creek and worked at a dairy for Dr. Gatliff. Later they were able to purchase the dairy. Alvin left that family farm and bought a large 8-bedroom home in Willows and often had family members living with him, in fact August Gollnick and wife Emilie lived with Alvin in their later years. Alvin became a home builder in Willows. He built a lot of homes around the Orland and Willows area. He bought an auto-court, also, and did well with it. He and his wife had two children: Irville Michael and Betty May. Elizabeth was a school teacher. Alvin died on January 25, 1982, a few days before his 91st birthday. Alvin’s obituary says, “He was a 50-year member of Willows Lodge of the International Order of Odd Fellows. He was a past district deputy Grand Master of the Odd Fellows. He was a charter member of the Willows Eagles and a Boy Scout Master for over 20 years. He was a member of the Colusi Historical Society, the Butte-Glenn Heart Association for over 30 years, and an active member of the Willows Chamber of Commerce. He actively sold tickets for the 4th of July Celebration and was an active worker for the Willows Heart Association.” The Willows Odd Fellows Lodge officiated at his funeral services.

7. Mabel Emilie Gollnick was born April 6, 1893 in Madison, Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota. She married Francis Wilbur Benedict on October 14, 1912 in Walla Walla, Washington. The Sentinel reports: “October 11, 1912 Wilbur Benedict left Wed. for Walla Walla, where on next Monday, Oct. 14th, he will be united in the holy bonds of matrimony to Miss Mabel Gollnick, formerly a resident of Anatone country. Following the ceremony the young couple will take a wedding trip to Portland for a few days after which they will return & go to housekeeping in the home that has already been nicely furnished by the groom on his splendid ranch in the Anatone country. Mr. Benedict has spent the greater portion of his life in this county & received his education in the Asotin schools. The bride has resided in Walla Walla for a number of years. Both bride & groom are popular among all people who know them, & will have the hearty congratulations & best wishes of all friends, for a happy & prosperous married life.” Wilbur’s dad owned race horses and was very wealthy, but he died young. The 1900 Census shows 8-year-old Wilbur, an adopted son, living with his widowed mother. He was the only child, so when he became of age, he inherited a fortune. However, he gambled away his inheritance betting on horses at the race track. He went into the hardware business, but when the Benedict Hardware Store, and their home, were destroyed by fire in 1916, Wilbur and family moved to Garfield County in Washington and then later moved to Glenn where a lot of the other Gollnicks were. A couple of years later, they moved to Yuba City, California, where he got a job working on the railroad. He worked for the railroad for many years. They had six children: Dorsey Frank, LaVerne, Ellsworth, Wilbur Duard, Wanda, and Kempton A. In their older years, Mabel and Wilbur moved to Hayward where their oldest son lived, and he took care of them until Wilbur died. Mabel died in Yolo County on August 28, 1977.

8. Leonard William Gollnick, b. November 4, 1895 in Garfield, Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota, d. January 13, 1963 in Chico, Butte, California. He married Myrtle Edna DeSpain on June 25, 1918. They had five children: Wilfred James, Wilda Evelyn, Leonard William, Jr., and twins, Roy Mark and Ray Herman. Leonard was a rancher and Myrtle was a school teacher. Son Wilfred was injured as a paratrooper during World War II and later died as a result of his injuries. After Myrtle’s death in January of 1954, Leonard married Arlene Taylor. (Read his story elsewhere on this website.)

9. Grace Clara Gollnick was born on August 8, 1898 in Garfield, Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota. She married Vernon Abner Trexler on April 18, 1918 in Willows, Glenn, California. Three months after their wedding, Trexler went into military service. After he returned from the war, he delivered gasoline. He died at age 40 leaving Grace to raise their four sons ages 3 to 12: Dallas Alvin, Darrel V., Dean W., and William Gene. In addition, Grace raised 64 deliquent boys who were placed in her care by the juvenile courts. She worked as a professional caterer. Grace later married Wendell H. Oliver and then J. M. “Ben” Franklin. For 35 years she was a driving force at the Yuba-Sutter Fair, in fact, “Franklin Hall” the Home Economics Building at the fairgrounds is named for her. She was president of the Tierra Buena Women’s Club, a 4-H Club sponsor, founder and chairman of the Yuba-Sutter Blind Club of California, an active member of the American Red Cross, a 60-year member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, a bronze leader for the Disabled American Veterans Commanders Club, a 60-year member of the American Legion Auxiliary, a 30-year member of the Rebekahs, and an active member and leader of numerous other Yuba-Sutter Area clubs and organizations. She lived to be 98 years old.

10. Child Gollnick, supposedly a son, but we don’t know where or when he was born or where he fit in the family.

Mabel and Wilbur Benedict’s 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration in 1962 held in Oakland, California.
Left to right: Elmer Steward, Elsie Steward, Ben Franklin, Grace Franklin, Alvin Gollnick, Mabel Benedict,
Elizabeth Gollnick, Wilbur Benedict, Leonard Gollnick, Arlene Gollnick