Heinrich SCHENK 1
- Born: 2 February 1839, , , , Russia
- Marriage (1): Unknown before 1871 in Prob. Russia
- Marriage (2): Louisa DIENO on 22 December 1871 in Benkendorf, Bessarabia, Russia
- Died: 1910, Utica, Yankton Co., South Dakota at age 71
Family History of Heinrich Schenk and Louisa Dieno (First Edition) by Erhardt R. and Mildred (Schenk) Hehn, 1981. (copied with permission)
"The word-of-mouth history of Heinrich and Louisa Schenk, their ancestors and children is like that of thousands of German Russian families that migrated from Germany to Russia and on the the Great Plains of the United States. The story of a century of wandering begins with reference to a Schenk ancestor working as a stable boy for a military unit and resenting the arrogance of the officers. During the late 1700's and early 1800's south and central Germany were in turmoil due to the wars between Frederick the Great of Prussia and Maria Theresa of Austria and the Napoleonic Wars. There is record of a Martin Schenk migrating from Metzingen, Reuttingen, Wuerttemberg to Grossliebental, Odessa, Russia in 1804. He died in 1812 leaving as survivors his wife Katharina, a daughter Maria and a son Christof, age 8. Gottlieb Schenk, a half-brother of Heinrich states on his naturalization papers that his father's name was Christof. If this ancestry is correct then Heinrich and Philipp Schenk were children of his first marriage. Her family name is not known. Gottlieb Schenk and possibly sisters were children of his second marriage to Suzanne Heinz. It is said that the Schenk ancestor that emigrated from Germany to Russian (sic) helped 30 families with money to make the long journey. Heinrich told his son Phillip that many of these people died from typhoid fever. The source of the disease was thought to have been from the use of unboiled river and lake water. This was a common experience of emigrant parties that made a trip from Germany to the Black Sea region by floating down the Danube River in flat boats. Many Parties suffered further fatalaties during the first winter either due to overcrowding at the Russian Quarantine centers or the primitive living conditions of the village sites to which they were assigned.
From Grossliebental the Schenks seem to have scattered into the neighboring villages of Alexanderhilf and Neuberg. Aside from farming the opportunities for earning a living in the villages were limited. As a result of large families the original land grants to each village could not meet the needs of even the first generation sons and daughters. At some time after 1812 the Schenk ancestors migrated from the east side of the Dniester River Liman (estuary) to Bessarabia on the west side of the estuary. Between 1860 and 1867 four children of Heinrich's brother Philipp were born in Schabolat, Bessarabia. Two later children were born in Seimeny, Bessarabia. heinrich's half-brother Gottlieb was born in Schabolat on 8 July 1861. His first living child, son John, was born in Grossliebental. From 1888 to 1896 the children were born in Schabolat, Bessarabia and after 1896 in Seimeny. Heinrich's oldest daughter Rosella (Rose) was born somewhere in Bessarabia. It seems that the Schenks in Bessarabia kept in touch with the Schenks in Grossliebental. Gottlieb Schenk, Sr. married Korolina Horch from this village in 1882.
It is not presently known on which side of the Dniester River estuary that Heinrich and full-brother Philipp were born. The name of his first wife is not known. They had two children, a daughter, who died in infancy, and a son, Heinrich, who homesteaded in North Dakota. His second marriage in 1871 was to Louisa Dieno. She was born in Vredenberg, Bessarabia in 1847. It is believed that her father was of French ancestory(sic). He was the village school master until he went into a retail business. in 1873 they emigrated to the Dakota Territory and in 1874 filed on a homestead seven miles north of Utica, S. D. Again life was hard for the wandering German Russian family. Two teenage boys, William and Herman, and two infant daughters, both named Theresa, died of diptheria. They lived on a homestead farm for 37 years until the death of Heinrich in 1910. Louisa then moved to Parkston, SD into a home that he had bought for their retirement. Parkston may have been selected for retirement because Louisa had a half-sister, married to Jacob Weidenbach living in this town. Louisa died in February 1915. No doubt Heinrich and Louisa sometimes questioned the wisdom of their migration to the prairies of South Dakota. It was said that his son Heinrich oftenconsidered returning to his homeland in Russia. To recreate a bit of that homeland Heinrich, Sr. planted an orchard and enclosed it with a shelter belt of native willow, boxelders and cottonwood trees. It is likely that he dug his own seedlings along the banks of the nearby James River. In time, life on the prairies became less harsh. The older children of Gottlieb Schenk, Sr. Remembered their Uncle Heinrich best as he came to visit in their shiny buggy, hitched to a matched and well groomed team of horses with Aunt Louisa sitting by his side in her Sunday finery. With fruit, wine and vegetables from the orchard and garden; milk, butter, eggs, meat and flour from the farm and a blend of German, French, Russian and Turkish cooking it was good eatin. Judging from the later life pleasures of their children there was time for hunting in the hills, fishing the river, skating on the ice, music and dance. Phillip, Theresa and John performed as the South Dakota Warblers at weddings and dances. But true to the German Russian heritage, work was the center of life. They had a saying, "Arbeit macht das leben suess". This translates to, "Work makes life sweet". Even time for education was secondary to time for work and the best investment of the fruits of your labor was in more land. As in Russia, land became a scarce item on the Dakota prairies in the first generation of descendants. Of the eight children raised to adulthood only three, Rosella, Julia and Phillip, engaged in farming in the community after their marriage. Theresa, as a young woman, established herself as a traveling saleswoman. She covered her sales territory with a horse and buggy. Audolph, in search of land, homesteaded near Quinn, SD. Like many homesteaders on marginal agricultural land, he worked an the side in a real estate office. When the opportunith presented itself he entered the funeral home and furniture business in Yankton, SD. Phillip, Theresa and Paulina homesteaded near Ashley, ND. They may not have established their farms but both Theresa and Paulina did find their life mates. Paulina lived most ot the remainder of her life in the Ashley area. Her younger sister Louisa also established her home in Ashley. John, or Johnny, as a young man operated the electric power plant in Menno, SD. In the course of a life time he was engaged in automobile sales and service, general store and insurance business. As a craftsman he worked in general carpentry, cabinet making and as a machine operator.
There does seem to be a quality of tenderness and sensivity(sic) in this branch of the Schenk family. Is it possible that fondness for the outdoors, delight in growing plants and appreciation for and talents in the arts, especially music, continue to flow through the generations of ancestors of Heinrich and Louisa Schenk."
Heinrich married Unknown before 1871 in Prob. Russia. (Unknown was born on an unknown date in , , , Russia and died on an unknown date.)
Heinrich next married Louisa DIENO, daughter of Friedrich DIENO and Wilhemina BORTH, on 22 December 1871 in Benkendorf, Bessarabia, Russia. (Louisa DIENO was born on 11 May 1847 in Dennewitz, Bessarabia, Russia and died in February 1915 in Parkston, Hutchinson Co., South Dakota.)
In 1873 they emigrated to the Dakota Territory and in 1874 filed on a homestead seven miles north of Utica, South Dakota. Life was hard for the wandering German Russian family. Two teenage boys, William and Herman, and two infant daughters, both named Theresa, died of diptheria. They lived on the homestead farm for 37 years until the death of Heinrich.