Family:Frederick Wilke and Mary Wilkins (1)

Facts and Events
Marriage[1] 1882 Homer, Dakota County, Nebraska, USA

Frederick Wilke

29 Jan 1850 - 11 Aug 1915

Frederick Wilke S2 was born 29 Jan 1850 in what was then the Kingdom of Hannover, Germany, the eldest of seven children. Frederick had four brothers and two sisters: Dorette, Edward, Sarah, Albert, Carl F., and Heinrich. Frederick’s parents owned an inn in Germany, providing respite for travelers.S3

Frederick served in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.S3 The end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 marked the beginning of what was known as the German Empire, or Deutsches Reich, uniting 39 separate states wikipedia:German Empire. The end of this war marked a period of hope and change for most of Germany, however, the war must have affected Frederick differently.

After having served in the war, Frederick immigrated to the United States in 1873, at about age 23. Family stories indicate that Frederick moved to the United States to avoid the German practice of conscription. Perhaps he wanted future generations to live where they would not be forced to fight in wars. Template:Note

Frederick’s younger brothers immigrated to the U.S. later. Census records for Frederick’s brother Albert indicate he immigrated in 1882, 9 years later. Brother Carl. F did not immigrate until 1897, 23 years after his brother Frederick.S4 Family history has it that the youngest brother, Heinrich stayed behind. There are no records for his brother Edward Wilke.

Census records indicate that brothers Albert and Carl F. did eventually follow Frederick to Montana. Albert married a “Frieda” and also settled near Kalispell. They had six children: Edward C. Wilke, born Nov. 1890; Fredrick Wilke, born Apr 1892; Albert R. Wilke, born Feb 1894; Thomas O. Wilke born Jan 1896; and John R. born about 1903 . Albert had a meat market in Somers and a saloon at Egan, which is north of Kalispell. Albert patented several pieces of Montana property with issue dates in 1893, 1908 and 1913 . Albert died 29 Dec 1932 at the age of 81 . Brother Carl F. settled near Glasgow in Sheridan County, Montana. He became a naturalized citizen in 1912 was issued a land patent for 160 acres on 23 Jan 1914. There is no evidence that Carl married or had children.

Frederick’s first stop in the United States was New York. He worked in New York, then in the “grocery business” in Chicago, and from there went to the Black Hills of Nebraska during the gold rush of 1874. It was while in Nebraska that Frederick met his future wife, Mary Christine Augustine Wilkins. Before they married, Frederick headed west to Montana without her. The stage coach changed horses at a place called Race Tracks, near Deer Lodge, Montana and this was Frederick’s first stop in Montana. Deer Lodge was a mining and agricultural town. Whether Frederick followed the call of gold to Montana or was just looking for a place to settle is unknown. Frederick may have made a living initially working for the stage line or hauling items by wagon. By 1882, Frederick had returned to Nebraska to marry his sweetheart, Mary. The two of them then headed west on their honeymoon to make Montana their home . They settled first near Deer Lodge, which was also the location of Montana’s main prison from July 2, 1871 to the late 1970s . Escaping prisoners made Frederick’s wife nervous.

Frederick and Mary had three children:

• Dorette (“Dodo”) Faracatrina Wilke, b. 17 May 1888; m. 20 Jan 1920 to Earl Wagner; d. 27 Apr 1948
• Carl Frederick Wilke, b. 19 Mar 1893; m. 15 Nov 1923 to Mary Irene Nixon; d. 28 Apr 1979
• Maude Martha Wilke, b. 12 Mar 1897; m. Walter P. Damon; d. 29 Aug 1980.

Sometime after moving to Montana Frederick began looking for property. He rode a horse up into the Flathead area from where the railroad came in and picked out a promising location. He filed the application for this homestead on June 18 of 1892. Those witnessing on behalf of Frederick were William H. Heideman and John King of Demersville. On January 21, 1893, Frederick was issued a patent for 160 acre homestead in Flathead County. The legal description for the land was E½W½ Section 12, Township 27-N, Range 21-W . One of the reasons Frederick chose the spot was because of a meadow which gave them a place to cut hay and pasture cows. Selling cream, butter, etc., was one way to get a little cash. This is the same piece of land that a younger generation grew up thinking of as Carl & Irene Wilke’s farm.

Frederick’s granddaughter L. Elaine remembers hearing her father Carl telling about some of his father’s adventures with the property.

“When they got something of a road going along the lake near their property they had to rope the wagons down Angel Hill because it was so steep. Daddy said there were grooves in the trees from the ropes for a long time... It was evidently hard to make a living because there was no way to get products to market; i.e., grain, etc. Daddy said one cash thing was selling eggs to all the saloons in Demersville as they had hard boiled eggs for their customers. They had a place between Missoula and Polson that they bought later that had been an Indian allotment. When I took them to Yellowstone Daddy pointed out where he thought it was. His sister and her husband were supposed to farm it but they gave up on it and went to Butte. It was too far for Daddy to farm. Anyway it was inherited by Dodo and Maude and they evidently sold it.

Once settled on his homestead, Frederick remained there with his family for the rest of his life. Sometime prior to 1915, Frederick was hit in the stomach by a wagon tongue. Frederick later became ill and his son Carl took him to Rochester on the train to see a doctor and find out what was wrong. Frederick was diagnosed with colon cancer. In those days they thought being hit in the stomach caused his cancer . Frederick G. Wilke died 11 Aug 1915 in Kalispell, Flathead County, Montana, USA at the age of 65. Frederick is buried with his wife Mary C. Wilke in the Conrad Memorial Cemetery, Kalispell, Montana.

Wilke Family Photo
Wilke Family Photo

Frederick Wilke had a will, though a copy was not available at this writing. In the settlement documents, however, Mary C. Wilke is the executrix and surviving widow. The settlement documents listed Frederick’s children as heirs: “Carl F. Wilke, son and Doretta C. Wagner and Maude M. Wilke, daughters”. These documents show that Frederick’s estate remained with his wife Mary during her lifetime. After her death, the settlement divides property between the heirs as follows:

“To Carl F. Wilke and his heirs forever….The East Half of the West Half of Section Twelve, in Township Twenty-seven, North of Range Twenty-one, West of the Montana Meridian in Flathead County, Montana, containing 160 acres….

This is the property later known as Carl and Irene Wilke’s farm.

“To Doretta C. Wagner and Maud W. Wilke, in equal shares….The South-east quarter of the South-east quarter of Section Ten and the North-east quarter of the North-east quarter of Section Fifteen, all in Township Twenty, North of Range Twenty, West of the Montana Meridian, in Missoula County, Montana, containing 80 acres….

In addition to the above real estate, all personal property was to be divided equally among the three heirs.

Image Gallery
  1. 1880 Federal Census, in United States. Bureau of the Census. 10th census, 1880. 1880 federal census: soundex and population schedules. (Washington, District of Columbia: The National Archives, 19--?), Family History Library Film 1254746 NA Film Number T9-0746 Page Number 318D, 1880, Secondary quality.

    Mary C. Wilken age 19 a domestic in the home of Thomas L. Griffey (a lawyer) Census Place Dakota, Dakota, Nebraska

  2.   1900 Federal Census, in United States. 1900 U.S. Census Population Schedule. (National Archives Microfilm Publication T624), Series: T623 Roll: 911, 17 , 1900.

    Heritage Quest, “1900 US Census for Flathead Township, Flathead County, Montana,” Series: T623 Roll: 911, 17 shows Frederick Wilke’s middle initial as G. No other known documents show a middle initial and this census has other minor errors in the spelling of family names which make it unreliable.

  3.   "Chapter One, Ancestors", in Wilke, M. Carlene. Autobiography, pg. 4, 1930, Primary quality.
  4.   Twp 31, Range 56 in Sheridan, Montana, in Sheridan, Montana, United States. 1920 U.S. Census Population Schedule, Series: T625 Roll: 975, 193, 1920.
  5.   Jocko Township, Flathead County, Montana, in Montana, United States. 1900 U.S. Census, Series: T623 Roll: 911, 31, 1900.
  6.   Conversations between the author and family members M. Carlene, H. Louise and L. Elaine Wilke January 2009.