What About Katharina Thiessen? (A.K.A. Mrs. Jacob Barkman)

I was called out! Yes it’s true. I concluded this post with Andrew’s great-great-great-grandfather Jacob Barkman’s death in the Red River in 1875, as if that was the end of that story.

But what about Katharina and the rest of the family? Just because Jacob’s life came to an untimely end, doesn’t mean that theirs did too.

However, the interpretive sign within the semlin at the MHV does not go into this at all. With the conclusion of Jacob’s life, there is no more room for additional words on the sign.

But, all is not lost! The pamphlet entitled “Steinbach’s First Settlers” states that following Jacob’s death, Katharina proceeded to marry Cornelius W. Loewen, who moved to Steinbach from Gruenfeld (Kleefeld). Grandma’s Window tells me that with this marriage came three more children: Cornelius (age 13), Isaac (age 11), and Johann (age 1)… and young Johann passed away at the age of 3.

Furthermore… I’ve learned that Katharina had been married before Jacob. She had been the wife of Peter Warkentin from 1850 until 1857, at which point Peter died. From this marriage, there had been two daughters. Additionally, Peter had been married prior to Katharina. His first wife was Elizabeth Friesen, and they had been married from 1843 until 1849, and there had been two children resulting from this first marriage. I wonder if these children had come under Katharina’s care.

And then I began searching the Preservings database for further news of Katharina… but evidently my search skills are not yet up to par, because I found virtually nothing, aside from notes about how grief-stricken she was when Jacob drowned. Which makes sense, I just am not finding any information beyond her grief, is all.

But then I turned around and noticed my most recent Preservings hard copy purchase sitting on the kitchen counter, and noticed that the feature story is on Jacob M. Barkman! What an oversight on my part. It’s all sitting right here!

And so, I have learned that Katharina was known as Widow Warkentin when she and Jacob attended worship services together on June 1, 1858… which we all know is as good as announcing your engagement. Four days later they were married. And together with their family, they immigrated to Canada in 1874.

But what about following Jacob’s death? I learned that Katharina was deeply distressed (already knew that) and continued Jacob’s letter correspondence with his brothers back in Russia. It would be very good to obtain these letters… and have them translated. Two years later, she married Cornelius Loewen, and he moved to her farm in Steinbach. In 1881 they built a new home. And then, she passed away in 1889, at age 60. And this is all the info I’ve been able to find on thrice-married Katharina.

But… one can speculate!

It’s kind of interesting to note that Cornelius decided to move to her farm, rather than the other way around. She must’ve had some kind of power or pull, right?

That’s what I’m going with.

(I couldn’t think of any other feature photo, other than me showing off the Preservings issue that I’d just found about Andrew’s great-great-great-grandfather… and also my tulips. Spring!)