Paul Emmett Wirth was born February 13, 1912, the 11th child of John and Kate Wirth. On January 6, 1923 Paul lost 3 fingers on his right hand in a gasoline engine accident. It did not hinder Paul from achieving anything he wished to accomplish. Paul loved to travel, visiting South America (twice), New Zealand, Australia, Africa and Europe. Paul passed away on January 27, 2006.
John Rudolph Wirth was born July 23, 1914, the 12th child of John and Kate Wirth. John was very instrumental in teaching numerous nieces and nephews the finer points of reading as they sat on the basement stairs of the home place. John loved puzzles and would often recreate puzzles and brain teaser games into gifts which he shared with anyone who stopped by the house. John passed away on May 10, 2001.
Anton Fredolin Wirth was born April 23, 1919, the 13th child of John and Kate Wirth. Anton worked briefly in oil fields in Kansas, where he honed his skills as a welder, before returning the Nebraska to farm along with his brothers. Anton married Doris Christiansen, on January 10, 1959 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Nebraska City, NE. Doris was born December 30, 1915, in Nebraska City, NE. In 2001, Anton was interviewed by students from his primary education alma mater, District #17 McCartney School. The students wrote and illustrated a book named “Anton and the Little Red Schoolhouse” which told the story of Anton and his siblings’ schooling adventures. Doris passed away on April 10, 2001 and Anton passed away on January 5, 2007.
On December 31, 1965 Paul, John and Anton acquired the family farm, Spring Valley Farm. All 3 brothers farmed as well as operated heavy machinery, such as bulldozers. They often purchased sections of ground along the river bottom in Cass and Otoe counties, clearing the land to use for crop production expanding on their family farm operation.
A neighbor introduced Paul into the world of restoring antique tractors and small engines. John and Anton soon joined in this pastime. They accumulated a large collection of varied makes, models and styles of tractors and engines’, filling numerous machine sheds. They enjoyed showing their tractors and engines at local events and displayed their refurbished tractors in many parades. Paul’s favorite being a crawler tractor.
Carrying on the family tradition of growing produce, they became avid gardeners after retiring from farming around 1980. Numerous neighbors and family would often return home to find their porches or kitchen tables laden with garden produce such as sweet corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, squash and tomatoes.
In 1983, Anton created The Paul, John, Anton & Doris Wirth Foundation, Inc.
Their Family History
Paul, John & Anton’s parents were John Wirth, who was born on September 15, 1866 and Katherine (Kate) Kressen, who was born on November 1, 1875. Both John and Kate were born in Nebraska City, NE. John and Kate were married on September 8, 1896 at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Nebraska City, NE. They resided at Spring Valley Farm which was acquired from John Wirth’s parents; Anton and Walbugra Brandt Wirth. John and Kate raised 13 children: Walburga, Eugene, Ralph, Irene, Charles, Mark, Katherine, Marie, Julia, Caroline, Paul, John and Anton. In 1905, John built Kate a large modern house, piping spring water 120 rods to the house via gravity flow.
John raised purebred cattle, hogs and poultry. Each year they had an advertised public cattle sale on the farm. They had a large orchard, vineyard and truck farm, selling sweetcorn, peas, pumpkins and tomatoes. John was a road supervisor, county assessor, collected World War I bonds, and served on election, school, church and elevator boards. John was one of three gentlemen who started the Farmers Co-op Elevator. Kate was very active in church organizations were she was a charter member and officer of Catholic Daughters in Nebraska City. John passed away on January 24, 1939 and Kate passed away on September 12, 1965. Paul, John, Anton and Doris are interred at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Nebraska City, NE on the family plot next to John and Kate.
Anton Wirth was born on April 11, 1823 in Bavaria Germany and Walburga Brandt was born on May 4, 1824, also in Bavaria Germany. They immigrated to the United States in 1850, and after arriving in St. Louis, Missouri they traveled via steamboat to settle in Sonora, Missouri, which was located about 1 ½ miles west of present Watson, Missouri. They resided in Missouri for 12 years before purchasing a 120-acre farm 2 miles west of Nebraska City, NE called Spring Valley Farm in 1862. Anton and Walburga raised 9 children and chose to move to Nebraska in order for their children to receive a Catholic education. Anton was a road overseer, fixing bridges and culverts, and served as an election official. In 1870 his farm was valued at $8,000 with 100 acres under cultivation, 12 acres timber and 48 acres pasture. Walburga was submitted to the Nebraska International Women’s Year Coalition Hall of Fame. Known for her charitable contributions of food and lodging to new immigrants, she provided baskets of meat to poor families and baking wedding cakes for young couples. Anton and Walburga promoted the construction of St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Nebraska City, with Anton shipping and installing the Tower Bell from an abandoned steamboat in Missouri. Anton and Walburga are interred at St. Benedict’s Catholic Cemetery in Nebraska City, NE.