Nebraska Historical Marker: The Haumann Sisters

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Haumann Family photo from about 1892 or 1893. William (Bill), Henrietta holding Anna, Carl August holding Fred, Retta, and Gustav (Gus).


Main & Walnut (W side of County Courthouse), Thedford, Thomas County, Nebraska

View this marker's location 41.977649, -100.574111

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Marker Text

On May 10, 1891, eight-year-old Matilda (Tillie) Haumann and her four-year-old sister, Anna Henrietta (Retta), became lost in the Sandhills while returning home from visiting their sister who was helping a neighbor. Their parents, Carl and Henrietta Haumann, were German immigrants who moved from Illinois to Thomas County, Nebraska, in March 1891 and homesteaded approximately five miles north of Thedford.

The parents reported the girls missing on May 11 and search parties were organized. Three days later, searchers found Retta alive some twenty-five miles east of her parents’ house. Although suffering from dehydration and exposure, she recovered. Joined by scores of area residents, the search for Tillie continued until her lifeless body was discovered some seven miles from Dunning on Sunday, May 17. The child walked an estimated seventy-five miles before her death. She is buried in the Thedford Cemetery.

This tragedy reveals how neighbors and strangers can join together in times of need and validates the challenges new settlers faced in adapting to life in the treeless, roadless, and sparsely-settled Nebraska Sandhills.

Further Information


Marker program

See Nebraska Historical Marker Program for more information.