May 25, 1988
Johanna Ochsner died on 12 April 1988 shortly before her 90th birthday after a time of suffering of several weeks. She was a teacher of handicraft and housekeeping and well known in the village and countryside. Johanna was born 30 September 1898 in St. Sebastian called the “Alte Wiege” (Old Cradle) in the house of her Great-Grand Uncle Melchior Kaelin (1829 – 1897) the well-known “Wiegae Melk”. She was the only daughter of Postman Meinrad Ochsner (1863 – 1953) and Josepha Kaelin 1856 – 1932). She led a simple life in her youth at Luegeten and Waid and went to school in Einsiedeln. Later she attended a finishing school in Bulle (in the French speaking part of Switzerland) and then studied at the Housekeeper and Handicraft College in St. Gallen to become a teacher.
In 1922 she was elected to the “Viertelsschule” and village school and was teacher there until 1975. She was known to be an accurate and well-meaning teacher. Many old people of Einsiedeln remember her going on foot to the “Viertelsschulen”.
Johanna loved everything beautiful in nature and art and had an open eye for our nearer home country. She not only climbed 350 times the Hochetzel and knew all of Switzerland well especially the Tessin and the Wallis which were her favorite regions. Her big passion besides walking in free nature was the far away USA. She never wanted to visit “The New World” and so she compensated by writing often to her American relations. She was also proud that her relations visited her almost every year. She cherished her Great-Grand Uncle of her Mother’s side, the Pioneer of Emigrants from Einsiedeln, Joseph Alois Steinauer (1834 – 1907), “S’Ankaedrueselers”, whom she knew personally from his visits to Einsiedeln.
Joseph Alois Steinauer was originally from “Langruetibach”. He was the youngest of seven children and could go to school only 3 years as he had to help his family financially because his father died in 1849. By looking after the goats in Waegital and Kloental and giving a hand to the woodcutters.
There was no future for him in Einsiedeln and as many did in these bad years he made his mind up to emigrate to America in 1852 when he was only 18 years old. He possessed a mere few “Batzen” (coins) and the emigration fee of 10 Louisdors was provided by the community of Binzen. There was no friend and no acquaintance to help the young emigrant in the far away land. He went to the states Kentucky, Indiana and Wisconsin. By letters he convinced his brothers Anton (1820 – 1891) and Nikolaus (1825 – 1890) to join him in the USA. The three of them went to Nebraska. It took them 3 weeks to get from Louisville to the state of Nebraska with their 2 horses, 1 cart and some agricultural equipment. They travelled in stages of 25 miles per day to Nebraska where Uncle Sam had plenty of land for everybody at that time. They settled in the non urbanized region of Pawnee County near the planned Pacific Railway New York – San Francisco.
The Steinauer brothers urbanized and fertilized the land and built-up farms for cattlebreeding, corn, fruit and vineyards. They were almost continuously threatened by the Indians.
They named their growing settlement “Steinauer” a Catholic little town which is still in full economic bloom and where many of their offspring live today.
Johanna Ochsner was fascinated by this spirit of the pioneers. This may be because she herself had some mercenary’s blood in her from her father’s side (S’Waenimichels).
Johanna Ochsner was a representative of the old times of Einsiedeln. She loved her kin and was very fond of young people and open for anything new to the end of her life. May she rest in the peace of God.