J. D. Willers of Lebanon, Nebraska

At the age of 16, Johann Diedrich immigrated to the United States. He left Germany in 1888 and came to the United States. He came and stayed with the John Brunken family near Cambridge, Nebraska. This is the earliest known photo of Johann Diedrich Willers (1871 - 1967). The photo was taken at McCook, Nebraska, which is the county seat for Red Willow County.

For ten years, he worked hard in order to be able to return to Germany to marry. He borrowed money from a family named Klinkebiel to eventually start farming. On January 27, 1898, he had gone back to Germany in order to marry Helene Sophie Hagens.

Johann then returned to the United States with his bride, Helene. They moved immediately to their homestead near Lebanon, Red Willow County, Nebraska. This must have been quite a change for Helene to have come from Germany to the prairie of Nebraska.

The 1900 Red Willow County Census, lists Johann and Helene with their one year old daughter, Annie M. Living nearby was Henry Willers, born in May, 1875, which indicates that Johann's brother must have moved to Lebanon also.

Johann and Helene remained in Nebraska and raised their four children there. Here is a scan of the Willers home (view from the north) about 1909 from a post card that Johann send back to Germany.

Click on the house to read what was written on the back.

In 1920, they sold out and moved to Bronaugh, Vernon County, Missouri. They lived there the rest of their lives. J. D., Helene and Martha are buried at Newton Burial Park in Nevada, MO. For those of you who use GPS, the coordinates for the Willers graves are N 37° 51.493 W 094° 21.765 .

Here are the children of Johann and Helene:


Birth Date

Death Date


Anna Marie Willers

January 19, 1899

February 27, 1978

John G. Saathoff

George Frederick

August 27, 1900

May 7, 1970

Madge Huffman

Martha Helen Willers

April 27, 1902

June 3, 1986

never married

John Henry Willers

January 12, 1906

February 23, 1988

Eva Banks

The J. D. Willers family of Bronaugh Missouri. Click on the photo to see an enlargement.

Go back to the Willers page.

This page was designed and is maintained by Lyndon Irwin

Thanks to Dirk Oltmanns of Moorburg, Germany for sharing this photo.