In the News – 11 May 2023 – The Ellis Review

History Group Tours Museum

by Guy Windholz
Posted May 12, 2023

Front Row:(l-r) Verland Leiker, Allen J. Leiker, Leon I. Staab, Jim Lohmeyer, Oren Windholz, Earline Fairbank, Norman Clark, and Rober Fairbank. Middle Row:(l-r)Kenneth Rohleder, Jeremy Gill, Terri Norris. Back Row:(l-r) Roger Lohmeyer, Leon J. Staab, and Eber Phelps.

Given any Thursday morning starting at 10:00 AM the Kansas Room of the Hays Public Library is the scene of at least a dozen history buffs exchanging stories and information. The coffee is fresh and hot, provided by Jeremy Gill the coordinator of the Kansas Room.

Refreshing the memory of when our group started, Jeremy gets credit for looking for ways to facilitate persons having an interest in research coming off of the pandemic in the fall of 2021. The perfect meeting place was in the basement of library and with invites and word of mouth that brought this group together and welcoming to others to join us with similar interests.

One of the first outside of the library tours was to the Ellis County Historical Society by director Amanda Rupp during the year. It was our delight to meet this past Thursday to have our group come to Ellis, Kansas to the Bukovina Society headquarters and museum for about an hour and a half. This also created an opportunity to allow the group to spin off and see the other three museums located in this small city of under two thousand.

Some from the group stopped in at the Ellis Railroad museum and were able to go to the basement and see the artifacts and collections of the Ellis High School Alumni. Also open for a few visitors was the Walter Chrysler boyhood home and museum.

While at the Bukovina Society we were joined by Oren Windholz, one of the original Society founders and board member who spoke briefly on the settlement of the Bukovina Germans to Ellis and other parts of the world. We learned that the homestead act in the early years came after the Volga Germans settled here ten years prior and populations were moving and growing west.

Leon J. Staab reads German script from 1713 Erbert family prayer book shared by Oren Windholz for viewing. Pictured:(l-r) Oren Windholz, Eber Phelps, Jim Lohmeyer, Leon J. Staab, and Allen Leiker.

Among our tour group was professional photographer Leon J. Staab who had taught German in the Ellis grade school system. In one corner of the room is a military section of uniforms, collections and mementos. A number of us had attended St. Joseph Military Academy in Hays as well as Leon, Eber Phelps and Kenneth Rohleder who was astonished to see a 1936 Cadet uniform worn by Anselm Windholz from Emmeram, Kansas north of Victoria.

Many Volga Germans and Bukovina Germans of Ellis County have mixed genealogy and relations by marriages over the years of time.

Tours are arranged by appointment and our website is for more information about the society.