Article on Gottlob and Regina Krumm, published in a Decorah newspaper around 1942, presumably written by editor Dale Ahern.

My first regular stop was at the house of Miss. Rose Krumm, who was born July 17, 1860, on this same farm where she now lives. The house in which she lives is an old landmark, one section of it being part of an old log cabin that was built by Miss Krumm's parents, Gottlob and Regina Krumm, who came to this farm from Germany on June 29, 1848.

The Krumm farm is located about three-fourths of a mile west of Ft. Atkinson. Soldiers were still occupying the fort near the farm when the Krumms first came to Winneshiek county during the middle of the 19th century. Gottlob bought 160 acres from the government. Miss Rose thinks her father paid about $1.25 an acre for it. She still treasures an old deed which was granted to her father by the U.S. government and signed by Abraham Lincoln, then president of this country.

Miss Krumm let me see the old deed when I stopped at her place last Friday. This aged paper shows a deposit was made by Gottlob Krumm in the general land office at Ft. Des Moines. It reads in part, "Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the second day of July in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and sixty-one. Abraham Lincoln."

Pioneer Gottlob Krumm and his wife occupied a wigwam until they could complete construction of a little one-room log cabin. The wigwam was one that had been abandoned on the site of the redskins who had been driven out of this area just before the Krumms came. The Krumms knew all the hardships of pioneer life, of home building in the wilderness. As other settlers trickled across the plains and ridges and erected cabins on adjoining land, Mrs. Regina Krumm became a good friend of all, particularly during time of sickness.

She delivered more than 300 babies into the world for pioneer mothers of this vicinity! There were no doctors, and, even though she had no training in midwifery, Mrs. Krumm was a kindhearted woman who could not stand idly by when other people were suffering.

So, with her willing hands and loving heart, she went from cabin to cabin day or night administering to the sick, comforting the pain-riddled bodies of young mothers, and bringing life and light into the world by her kindness.

Regina Krumm, the pioneer midwife of Ft. Atkinson, carried a little four-sided tin-and-glass tallow-dip lantern which threw a dim light into the blackness of the wilderness night lighting the trackless ground over which the two brave feet trudged on the rounds from cabin to cabin. I had the privilege of holding this crude little lantern in my hand when I visited the Krumm home Friday.

And Mrs. Krumm, the midwife, always took something to the bedfast mothers and their families the next day after a birth. She'd come home and tell her husband about how hard up some of the neighbors were. "They don't have a thing," she'd say and then set out with a bit of food or clothing. And she never charged a cent for her services.

Her husband's brother, Gottlieb, came for Regina Krumm one cold winter day and asked for her to "come help. The stork is about to come." Regina had a baby of her own, but she bundled him warm in blankets and carried him in her arms. The snow was so deep and hard-crusted oxen couldn't be used to drag a sled, so Gottlieb and his sister-in-law had to walk. Gottlieb carried the little baby's cradle on his back, so that he would have it to sleep in in his uncle's cabin while his mother did her best to deliver safely a little cousin for him.

This courageous pioneer mother and midwife had eight children of her own. Two were born in the old country. There are still living: Miss Rose Krumm, living on the old home place near Fr. Atkinson; Mrs. Catherine Lawrence, of Richie, Mont.; and Mrs. Matilda Summers, of Charles City.

One time, while Mr. and Mrs. Krumm were still living in their little one-room log cabin, an Indian chief and his two squaws came and asked for lodging for the night. The chief and his squaws slept on blankets in one corner of the cabin while Gottlob and Regina slept on their bed in another corner. Both the redskin and Gottlob kept a gun by their sides.

People of the present generation speeding by the old Krumm house in their modern gas-powered automobiles these days give little thought to the problems of Gottlob and his good wife Regina, who with other hardy settlers of nearly a century ago blazed the trails and broke the wild land so that civilization could make headway in the wilderness.

But, now that you know something of the hardships endured by these people and the goodness wrought by their hands, can you not drive a little more slowly by the old landmark? And can you not in your mind's eye see the brave little midwife trudging through the wilderness night with her tallow-wick lantern to be at the bedside of a young mother in distress?

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Gottlob and Regina Krumm
Copyright 2002 by Bill Price
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