Aunt Katie Pressler

Aunt Katie Horschler age about eighteen.
Aunt Katie Horschler age about eighteen.

My mother called her “Aunt Katie,” but she wasn’t Mom’s aunt, she was her great-aunt, sister to her Grandma Kline.   On the Kline side of the family there was Aunt Kate and Aunt Katie. Aunt Kate was my Grandpa Kline’s sister, and Aunt Katie was my great-Grandma Kline’s sister. Aunt Katie was Catherine C. Horschler, born December 29, 1854 in Mount Pulaski, Logan County, Illinois. (I do not know her middle name, but if I had to guess, I would say Cecilia.)  She was probably named for her mother’s sister, Catherine Jung Schick, who also lived at Mount Pulaski.   She grew up at Mount Pulaski where her father, Melchior Henry Horschler, was a shoemaker and farmer. In 1870, at the age of 16, Catherine was living in Mount Pulaski with a family from Kentucky and working as their maid.  She married Michael Pressler December 31, 1874 in Logan County, Illinois.  It was not a good marriage for Catherine.  Mike Pressler was not a Catholic and he was a member of the Masons, anathema to the Catholic Church at that time.  However, as evidenced by a photo taken in Hastings he was a handsome man.

Aunt Katie and Uncle mike Pressler
Aunt Katie and Uncle Mike Pressler.  The dress sleeves date it to the mid 1890s.

The Presslers moved to Hamilton County, Nebraska about 1881 and purchased 80 acres in Section 32, Scoville Township, just a half mile north of the Clay County line.  In 1882 John J. Kline, made a trip to Hamilton County to view the farm across the section from his brother-in-law, and he purchased the 160 acres.  The following spring the Kline family moved to Hamilton County from Illinois and settled across the section from Aunt Katie and Uncle Mike Pressler.  Their farms adjoined in the center of the section.

Aunt Katie bore four sons, only one of which, Bill, was kind to his mother.  The great tragedy of her life was the death of Bill in May 1900, caused by the kick of a horse.  He was only seventeen.

Hastings Tribune May 18, 1900
Hastings Tribune   May 18, 1900

These reminiscences by my Mother are from interviews conducted in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Grandma had a sister that lived across the section, Katie Pressler.  They took her along (to church) a lot.  Her husband wasn’t a Catholic; he was real obstinate.  She had a boy that took her, but he was killed, kicked by a horse. She was a little bit of a quiet woman.  She was very particular, everything was just so.  She wasn’t very healthy.  She had, she called it neuralgia, a pain in her face.  I think it was infected sinus.  Even in the hot summertime if she went out she put a handkerchief over the one side.

The Pressler house is no longer standing.
The Pressler house is no longer standing.

They had 10-foot ceilings in their house.  It looked like it was a long ways up there to a kid.  Her house was very clean; she had a white oak floor in the kitchen that was spotless.  She had lots of things around that were crocheted.  Her house was really Victorian.  She died in 1928 and after that it was kind of down hill.  The oldest son was always given everything he wanted and after he got married he was always home wanting more money.  Times got hard (1930s) and they lost the farm after she was gone.

Aunt Katie died at home from cancer of the stomach.  She couldn’t eat for a long time, several weeks.  Nothing would go through her.  They gave her a teaspoon or two of water and tried to give her a little broth and it wouldn’t stay down.  She would say “pan, pan” when her stomach was upset.   She wasted away to nothing and before she died the cancer broke through to the outside.

I went to her funeral.  I was 14.  It was one of the first funerals that I attended, that really struck home to me. It was a cold winter day.  I remember going out in the Case cemetery and seeing her casket sitting out there.  The thing I couldn’t forget the most was the priest took a shovel of dirt and said “Dust thou art and to dust thou shall return”.  He took some of that dirt and put it on the casket and that really shook me up.

In a 1996 interview my Aunt Dorothy Kline Myhrberg said:  “Grandma Kline never liked Uncle Mike Pressler, he didn’t go to church.  I remember Grandma taking Aunt Katie to church.”

Edna (Mom):  “Yes, and he was mean and didn’t let her go.  He was a Mason.  He was a blow bag. He talked loud, in a big voice.  The Kline’s never liked him. He got stubborn and wouldn’t let her go to church for a few years and she lost her mind over it.  After that happened, he let Aunt Kate [Kline] take her to church.  He could see what he was doing to her. Aunt Katie had four boys, the one that was always good to Aunt Katie was kicked in the chest by a mule and died.  He was just a young man.  That hurt her so bad.  He was the one that took her to church.

Her son, Walt, lived in Trumbull.  They called his wife “the Foxy one”.  She was always dressed up.  Walt could never make enough money; he was always borrowing from Uncle Mike (his father).  Dad told me when they were young men, he and Walt would go somewhere and Walt would have $5. (A large amount for a young man to have at that time.)  His Dad always favored him and gave him money.  Walt and his wife finally moved to California and they got a divorce.  Walt had three girls, one wasn’t very bright.”

Aunt Katie died December 20, 1928 and was buried in the Case Cemetery which is located in Section 22, Scoville Township, three miles northeast of the Kline farm.  Uncle Mike Pressler died in 1943.

Aunt Katie's dresser set given to my mother in the 1930s by her Aunt Cecilia Kline.
Aunt Katie’s dresser set given to my mother in the 1930s by her Aunt Cecilia Kline.



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