Michael Golnik

Michael Golnik was born on Sept 9, 1821, at Mrotschen, Posen, Germany, and christened Sept. 16, 1821. His parents were Martin Golnik and Luise Ratz. He married Caroline Charlotte Hartfiel, the daughter of Andreas Hartfiel and Anna Dorothea Jeske, on October 6, 1845 at Nakel, Posen, Germany. To them were born at least 11 children, only four of whom lived to be older than 22. They lived in Lodzia near Nakel, Prussia, from 1845 to 1852, then they moved about 10 miles away to Guntergost, near Lobsens, Prussia, for 12 years, and then they moved back to Lodzia.

They emigrated to America sailing from Hamburg, Germany on the ship Louise, arriving in New York on June 4, 1872, with four of their younger children: Emilie (17), Auguste (16), Gottlieb (7½) and Emil (6). Sons John and August had emigrated earlier.

The 1880 US Census shows that Michall (age 59) and Carrie (age 55) are living with their son John Golnieck (age 27) in Saxville, Waushara, Wisconsin. John is single. John and Michall are both listed as farmers. “Amiel” is 17 years old and is living in the home also and is listed as the brother to the Head of Household who is John. Amiel has “attended school within the Census year.” The census shows that all of the members of the household and their parents were born in Germany.

Michael Gollnick

Caroline Hartfiel Gollnick

In about 1887 Michael and Caroline moved to Gary, South Dakota, to finish proving up the land which Gottlieb, their son, could not do, due to his illness and then death. Michael became a naturalized citizen on March 18, 1891, in Deuel, South Dakota. He was a stone mason. The Homestead Papers were filed on June 10, 1891, and patented on February 8, 1892. Upon receiving the warranty to ownership, Michael sold this quarter to another son, August, for $750. He then bought 40 acres in Glenwood Township, South Dakota, and built a nice house and a basement barn, using stone for the walls. There was a spring in one corner of the barn for the livestock and house usage. He farmed a little piece of the land.

In 1896 their house caught fire during the night. The Interstate, Gary, South Dakota, newspaper on April 10, 1896, Friday, records:

Burned to Death

Mrs. Michael Golnick Burned Up In Her Own House
Re-enters the Building to Save Her Aged and Feeble Husband
Devoted and Faithful Unto Death

At four o’clock Thursday morning the house of Michael Gollnick, in the gulch near Hon. M. F. Greeley’s, burned and Mrs. Gollnick lost her life in the flames. Since the fire at Emil Gollnick’s in February, the old people have been very much concerned about fire and upon retiring Wednesday evening Mrs. Gollnick went to the stove and examined it carefully, remarking to her husband that there was no danger, that the fire was already almost out. At four o’clock the old gentleman was awakened by the screams of his wife, to find the entire house in a blaze. They slept in a small bedroom opening off the living room and in the northwest corner of the house. When awakened, he found his wife already out of bed, and she first making sure that he was awake rushed out through the living room to the outer door. He attempted to follow but was driven back by the fire and smoke. He then broke out a window and escaped outside. He found that his wife had been outside carrying out the water pail with her and had put it down at four feet from the door, but she was nowhere to be found, and he ran around the house, which was then in a mass of flames, and sought in vain for her at the barn. He then gave his attention to saving the out building and stackyard. The old lady had, no doubt become alarmed because her husband did not follow her from the house and had returned to assist him. The old gentleman, utterly naked, continued to fight the fire until after daylight when he tied some grain sacks on his feet and about his person and went to Mr. Greeley’s. No one in the neighborhood discovered the fire. When the neighbors gathered during the forenoon to render assistance they found only a small portion of the old lady’s body, the head, arms, legs and shoulders entirely burned away. She was on the burned wire springs of the bed in the little bedroom, showing that she had passed entirely through the fiery furnace of the living room in her effort to assist her husband.

Michael and Caroline Gollnick

Mrs. Gollnick was of Prussian birth and was 70 years of age. She has lived here 11 years, and in America 24 years. Since coming to America they have always lived — both here and in Wisconsin — very near to Mr. Greeley and have constantly relied upon him for advice. The old people were ardently attached to each other. Their little farm of forty acres was well kept and their house was a model of comfort. Mr. Greeley has taken deep interest in them as illustrations of the comfort and thrift which would follow the proper cultivation of small farms. They have two sons, John and Emil, who reside near by, the latter having suffered serious injury in escaping from his own burning dwelling quite recently.

The Interstate, Gary, South Dakota, April 17, 1896, Friday, records: The funeral of Ms. M. Gollnick occurred at the house of Hon. M. F. Greeley last Sunday. Considering the state of the weather the attendance was large. Rev. Walker preached a most effective sermon from the very pertinent text: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Mrs. Fred Glaisner, of Waupaca, Wisconsin, a daughter of the deceased, accompanied by her husband, came out to attend the funeral. We also neglected to mention the son August who lives near Madison, in our last week’s number, of the family.

Aunt Elsie (Gollnick) Steward said that her Grandma Caroline was totally blind for several years. After Caroline’s death, Michael lived with his son John in Madison, Minnesota. Michael died four years later in May of 1900. Michael and Caroline are buried in the Grandview Cemetery in Gary, Deuel County, South Dakota.


1. Henriette Wilhelmine Luise Golnick – b. Dec. 27, 1846 in Lodzia, Posen, Germany, d. Aug. 10, 1848 in Lodzia, Posen, Germany (age 1 year 7 months).

2. August Herrman Golnick – b. Dec. 11, 1848 in Lodzia, Posen, Germany (see story separately on website).

3. Friedrich Wilhelm Golnickb. July 27, 1850 in Lodzia, Posen, Germany, d. Sept. 7, 1852 in Lodzia, Posen, Germany (age 2 years 1 month).

Johan Golnick

4. Johan (or John) Golnick – b. July 3, 1852 in Lodzia, Posen, Germany. John was sixteen years old when he emigrated to the United States with his uncle, Wilhelm Gollnick, sailing on the Everhard Delius, and arriving in America on August 6, 1868. In the 1870 US Census, he is listed as John Gulnic working as a farm laborer on the farm of William Otto in Nepeuskin, Winnebago, Wisconsin. He went to Ashland, Wisconsin, and joined a lumber company that was cutting a railroad right-of-way. John married Auguste Carolena Hartfiel, his first cousin, on April 23, 1882, in Bloomfield, Waushara, Wisconsin. John, together with his brothers Gottlieb and Emil moved to Gary, South Dakota in 1885 and took up homestead claims. Later the Gollnick brothers sold their homesteads and bought land across the border in Lac Qui Parle County, Minnesota. On the 1900 and 1910 US Censuses, the family is living in Garfield township, Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota. The 1910 Census shows that John and Auguste had nine children, six of whom were living in 1910. I have found only seven of their nine children: Adolina Louisa Elizabeth, Adolph Gustav, Albert John, Edward Andrew, Carolyn Wilhelmina, Bertha (died as an infant), and Walter Herman. In the 1920 Census, John and Augusta, Albert and Walter, are living in Bellingham, Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota, a few miles from Garfield. John died on May 7, 1928, in Madison, Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota, and Auguste died Dec. 20, 1935. Both are buried in the Hamlin (Methodist) Cemetery in Hamlin, Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota.

From left to right: Lena, Carolyn, Walter, John Gollnick, Adolph,
Auguste, Albert. Edward was absent.

John and Auguste Gollnick’s children in 1955:
Adolph, Albert, Edward, Walter, Lena, and Carolyn

5. Emilie Gollnick – b. Nov. 10, 1854 in Guntergost, Posen, Germany. Emilie emigrated to America with Michael and Caroline. She married Johan Frederick Bothke on June 23, 1874, in Green Lake County, Wisconsin. She died not long thereafter.

Emilie Gollnick

6. Caroline Auguste Gollnick – b. March 21, 1856 in Guntergost, Posen, Germany. Auguste married Gottfried Glaisner in 1878 in Berlin, Wisconsin. They had four children: Arthur, Lydia (died before 1917), Clara Theresia, and Esther Emma. They settled in Lind, Waupaca, Wisconsin, where Gottfried was a prosperous farmer.

Auguste and Gottfried Glaisner

Glaisner Family

7.Gustav Michael Gollnick – b. Aug. 3, 1860 in Guntergost, Posen, Germany, d. January 9, 1870 in Guntergost, Posen, Germany (age 9½ years).

8.Wilhelm Julius Gollnick – b. Aug. 16, 1862 in Guntergost, Posen, Germany, d. Feb. 20, 1866 in Guntergost, Posen, Germany (age 3½ years).

9.Gottlieb Rudolf Gollnick – b. April 8, 1864 in Guntergost, Posen, Germany, d. February 21, 1886 in Ripon, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (age 21).

Gottlieb Gollnick

Gottlieb came to America with his family when he was 7½ years old. They first went to Wisconsin, then later Gottlieb went to Gary, South Dakota with his brothers and homesteaded on land in Section 20. He became a naturalized citizen on April 18, 1885. He became ill before he proved up, returned to Wisconsin and died on February 21, 1886.

Because he had not been physically able to live out his claimage, the Homestead Act stipulated that his next of kin could finish the tenure. His father and mother came to finish living there until the warranty of ownership was approved.

Emil Gollnick

10. Emil Christian Gollnick (also known as Emil Milford Golnick) – b. March 28, 1866 in Guntergost, Posen, Germany. Emil married Anna Redman. In the 1910 US Census they were living in North Campbell, Greene, Missouri, and the census showed that they had ten children, but only nine living. The first three were born in Deuel County, South Dakota: Leone Seldon, Leona, Leonard, and the other six were born in Missouri: Buella, Blanche, Theodore, Mary, Lillie, and Eugene. Leona died on January 11, 1911, when she was 17 years old of pneumonia. A one-year-old son died on October 4, 1900.

Emil had a desire to move someplace warmer. He went to Arizona and New Mexico to explore options there. However, on the way back to Missouri, he ran into two principals of the Indian River Farms Co. – A.M. Hill and Tony Young. They talked of the beauties of Florida so convincingly that Emil went to Florida, liked it, and not only bought land for himself, but bought 40 acres for each of his eight children, and persuaded his neighbor’s family, the Robertsons, to move with him to Florida. The entire family did not move to Florida right away, but as a wedding gift in 1915, Emil gave his son and daughter-in-law, Leon and Lillie, 40 acres of land in Florida. The couple arrived in Florida from Springfield, Missouri, via a railroad car called an immigrant car. This was one which the railroad allowed people to load up with all their worldly goods, including animals. So Leon boarded the train with machinery, horses, several milk cows, two mules and animal feed. His wife followed on another train. When they arrived in Florida, Leon helped dig canals that were being built to drain the swampland. After the water was drained, they planted cabbage, beans, and potatoes, and established a small dairy they named the Jerseydale Dairy Farm. Eventually, Leon purchased another 40 acres and when he sold his dairy in 1939 he had 75 cows that included Holsteins, Guernseys, and Jerseys. When the Gollnicks went out of the dairy business, they, like so many others before and after them, turned prime pasture land into citrus groves. During the time it took for the trees to bear fruit, they planted okra, watermelon and vegetables for a cash crop.

Emil and the rest of the family moved to Florida in the fall of 1917. (Blanche remained in Missouri and never moved to Florida.) In the 1920 US Census they are living in Vero, St. Lucie County (later changed to Indian River County), Florida. Emil farmed and he became a citrus grower.

Anna died on May 20, 1939 at age 67. Emil remarried to Judith Marvel (Aeschliman) Cauffman on Nov. 7, 1940 in Vero Beach, Indian River, Florida. She was 23 years younger than he. He died April 20, 1946, at the age of 80 in Ft. Pierce, St. Lucie, Florida. Marvel died on June 15, 1980 at the age of 91 years.

Marvel and Emil Gollnick

11. Bertha Gollnick – b. Aug. 23, 1869 in Lodzia, Posen, Germany, d. May 5, 1871 in Lodzia, Posen, Germany (age 1 year 8 months).