Ear: Carl Nebe

In May, there was mention of Raimo Riedel inquiring about his grandmother’s great-uncle, Carl Nebe (1864-1923), who arrived at Ellis Island, New York, in 1893.

But his life from 1893 to 1897 was a mystery. Did he live in Astoria? Astorian and genealogical researcher Lauri Krämer Serafin got to work.

“Looks like Herr Nebe made his way out West via the northern states,” she noted. There was a notice of a general delivery letter waiting for him to pick up in the May 31, 1895 edition of the Bismark (North Dakota) Tribune.

The next clipping she found was in the Dec. 17, 1895 edition of The Daily Morning Astorian, in which Nebe declared his intention to become an American citizen. An announcement in the next day’s edition mentioned he filed for land under the homestead law. You can see the clippings at bit.ly/cnebe

“He did not finish the process and become a U.S. citizen in Oregon,” Lauri noted, but “he had to file an intent (to be able to buy) homestead land.”

There’s no evidence Nebe lived in Astoria. The homestead lot was on what is now U.S. Highway 26, and forested, which suggests some kind of logging occupation. His neighbor, Paul Hansel, a logger, was from Astoria, though.

In 1897, Nebe probably left for Canada. While there, Lauri’s research revealed he was a miner (although not a very successful one), filing at least six claims.

“He is listed in the 1911 Yukon Census on Middle Hunker Creek with his probable associate, James McCallister,” Laurie noted. “Unattached men in the logging, mining and carpentry trades are difficult to follow.”

When he returned to the U.S. in late 1920, Nebe only had about $450 (about $5,700 now).

Mr. Nebe came to a sad end, alone. His body was found April 6, 1923. It was thought he fell in the river and drowned — crossing boom sticks from a lumber mill — while on his way to work as a dredge carpenter at the Port of Grays Harbor, Washington.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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