A Stone for Caroline

Caroline’s stone in St. Stephen’s Cemetery,
Bridgewater, South Dakota
A young Caroline Nipp

Caroline Nipp, my great-grandmother was born Christmas Day, 1858, in Guttenberg, Iowa, the daughter of immigrants from Liechtenstein.  She married William J. Naescher on 27 January 1880 in Guttenberg. They homesteaded in Hutchinson County, Dakota Territory. She faced many struggles in her life, one of which was being widowed at the age of 28 with three young children.

She did remarry in 1888 to John Schaefers,  a widower with two children. She and John had three children and she passed away 26 January 1893 a month after giving birth to my grandfather.  She is buried at St. Stephen’s Catholic Cemetery, Bridgewater, South Dakota.

The graves of her two husbands are marked, but for an unknown reason, her grave did not have a tombstone.   About a year ago my husband Jim suggested we remedy that situation. We looked and ordered a simple stone to commemorate her life.  It was expected to be placed by Memorial Day 2019. We had decided to have a family reunion of some of Caroline’s descendants to celebrate the occasion with the reunion starting at Caroline newly-installed tombstone.  You know the family reunion was planned by a genealogist when a reunion originates in a cemetery! But Mother Nature had other plans and extremely wet weather delayed the installation. And, despite plans to gather at the cemetery anyway, two weeks prior to the planned reunion, the road to the cemetery was closed for repair, making access impossible.  (A great demonstration of Murphy’s Laws.)

Instead, we gathered at the parish hall of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church and cousins who had not seen each other in nearly forty-years reconnected.  Relatives also came from across the country and Canada! About fifty people attended. It was also the first time my five siblings were together in a number of years.

And the stone for Caroline?  It was finally able to be placed in early August 2019 (pictured below), “only” 126 years after her death.  Rest in peace, Caroline Nipp Naescher Schaefers!

About maryjlohr

Avid genealogist.
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2 Responses to A Stone for Caroline

  1. Karen Engesser says:

    Beautifully written, Mary. This is a great tribute to both Caroline AND to Mary, the Genealogist.

  2. Laura says:

    A lovely thing to do. Glad the reunion worked out also.

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