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Photo of the Friesen Family in 1883
The Friesen Family in 1883. Front: Anna (mother), Isaac, Peter, and Jacob (father). Back: Jacob, Anna, Katharina, John. Peter, Katharina and Isaac were the three children rescued.

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Jacob Friesen and the Blizzard of 1888
A Local Legacy

How much do you know about your local history? The fourth-graders at the Heartland Community School in Henderson, Nebraska, researched their local history and discovered a hero.

On January 12, 1888, a huge blizzard suddenly hit the state of Nebraska. A fierce northwest wind blew and the temperature fell to 40 degrees below zero in some places! The storm lasted a long time -- 12 to 18 hours. In those days, there weren't any radios or televisions to warn people about severe weather, so everyone was caught off-guard.

That afternoon, three of Jacob and Anna Friesen's children went to visit their older brother a mile and a half away. Later that day, when the blizzard hit, the children decided they had better go home. The blizzard was so harsh that it blinded them. They got lost and ended up digging themselves into a haystack just to keep warm. Meanwhile, their parents were worried about them. Their mother placed a lamp in the window and hoped they would see it and find their way home. Finally, their father went out to find the children. He followed along a barbed wire fence for a half a mile and then started calling their names. Luckily, the haystack was close enough that the children could hear him, and they all found each other. They followed the fence back to the farm and then could see their way safely to the house because of the light in the window. No doubt the children knew their dad was a hero that night.

Why not do some research into your local history? You just might find a hero, too.

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