Here is a transcription of the newspaper clipping from Agnes Springsteen’s scrapbook about her mother’s life experiences.
Katherine Keck’s Life Reads Like Romance
Mrs. Katherine Keck, whose maiden name was Kurtz, was born in Hesse, Dravenstadt, Germany, January 19, 1837. While still a young child she was bereft of her mother and lived with relatives. In 1853, when 16 years of age, she received a letter from an older brother who had come to America and settled in Holt, Ingham county, several years previous, asking her to come to America and live with him and sent the money to defray her expenses.
Mrs. Keck has often told how pleased she was on receiving this letter, as her work was very hard and the outlook for anything different in the future did not look very promising to her. She has often said among her many duties she had to assist in herding 200 or more geese, as raising geese was the main occupation in that part of Germany. For these reasons the young lady decided to make the change and leave at once for America. Among her belongings of homespun clothing and linen, she brought her feather bed—an article every girl of her age possessed. She never had any desire to return to Germany. As the three weeks’ voyage was a very rough and stormy one, everyone was seasick and several passengers sickened and died and were buried at sea, making an impression on her mind that time has never erased. When she reached Erie, N. Y.,—near Lake Erie—she had to stay for a while, and engage in work to earn money for the remainder of her journey. She said she used to go out to the beach and look at the rough waters of Lake Erie and wonder if she would ever be brave enough to cross its waters to Detroit, then finish her journey to Holt.
While residing in Holt she met George Keck and January 1, 1858, they were united in marriage at Holt. Mr. Keck was born in Wertenburg, Germany, February 11, 1824, coming to America when he was 21 years old, residing in Holt. Soon after their marriage they came to Dewitt, Clinton county, and located on a 60-acre farm south of Gunnisonville, which they cleared from its forests and were well versed in the privations and hardships of pioneer life. To this union seven children were born, four sons and three daughters. George passed away seven years ago and Henry 24 years ago, the other sons, Charles Keck, lives near Wolverine. Jake near Lansing, Mrs. Eva Andrews south of Lansing, Mrs. Agnes Springsteen in Watertown and Mrs. Anna Heeb in Lansing. The father, George Keck, passed away April 6, 1908, aged 84 years.
Mrs. Keck remained on the farm until 10 years ago, when she went to Lansing to reside with her daughter, Mrs. Edward Heeb. April 13, 1922, Mrs. Keck had a stroke of paralysis and fell and broke her hip. Since that time she has been bedridden and is given the best of care by her devoted daughters, who have taken turns caring for her. Mrs. Keck was made very happy Friday, January 19, 1923, when the Gunnisonville Aid society gave her a post card shower and her friends in different localities sent her choice fruits and flowers to remind her of her 86th birthday.
Card of Thanks
I wish to thank the Gunnisonville Aid society for the post card[s] and for the fruits and flowers sen[t] by other friends on my 86th birthday.—Mrs. Kate Keck.