The Book of Elders
The information gathered for the “Klein Tree” is quite skimpy. Most of it was acquired from listening when family members assembled and a bit from “Eureka, 1887-1974”. This book was published for the observance of the city’s Golden Jubilee. It was a project of the state’s WPA. (Works Progress Administration) The following is copied from page 162 of that book.
“Johannes Klein came to Eureka in 1893 with the ebb tide of the great immigration from Russia. He had come to America in 1875 from Teplitz where he was born in 1855, settling on a homestead a part of which is now occupied by the city of Tripp, South Dakota. On his arrival in Eureka, he purchased a blacksmith shop operated by Johannes Stickle. Together with his son John, he conducted a general blacksmith business in Eureka until 1900, when he moved to Artas, engaging in the same business. Three years later he removed to a farm four miles west of Eureka, which was home until 1908, when he moved to Eureka again, entering the plumbing and heating business, and continuing until his death on August 9, 1920.
Johannes Klein was married in 1879 to Regina Isaak, a native of Kulm, born in 1856. Six children were born to this union, five of whom survive. They are Jacob J., Gottlieb, John, Theresa (Mrs. Andrew Stickle), Maggie (Mrs. Ed Stickle), all residing in Eureka and Ed Klein of Aberdeen, S.D.
Johannes Klein, while a modest and unassuming man, will long be remembered by the generation who knew him. Not only was he an ardent churchman and a faithful member of the Lutheran church, but also as an amateur musician, early in life he may have had a desire to develop an innate musical genius, but also circumstances of his life made this impossible. When he reached middles age, however, he went to work in earnest. From the Reverend H. Reinhardt, who was pastor of the local Lutheran church, he learned the rudiment of music, being entirely ignorant of the art of reading a musical score. It was not long until he was able to play simple music on the organ. Natural genius and faithful practice enabled him in a short time to play church music and he served the church as organist and choir leader for a period of years.