Don and Cecelia Albers: Three generations and counting
Don Albers is a member of the third generation of the Albers family to thrive in Oliver County. His grandfather, Johann Albers, left his native Germany for a reason that impelled many immigrants to leave their homelands: religious freedom. Johann traveled with his sister, Dorothea, and his fiancé, Margaretha Wegner, for two months by boat to reach America, where he and Margaretha married.
Johann and Margaretha farmed rented land, and also grew their family of seven children: Henry, Anna, John, Fred, George, Theodore, and Christ. The desire to own his own land prompted Johann to travel with a friend and fellow immigrant, Christian Bornemann, to the Dakota Territories where land was available to homestead. Their search led them to land in what would become Oliver County.
Johann returned to gather his family and possessions, moving them west in an immigrant car, which housed the family in one part and their household goods and livestock in the other. They arrived with two horses, two cows, three sheep, some farming implements, and materials to build their house on a homestead along Square Butte Creek two miles north of Hannover.
Johann and Margaretha’s youngest child, Christ, would grow up to also homestead in Oliver County, becoming a farmer and sub-rural mail carrier. He would eventually marry Mabel Vogel, who was a teacher before becoming one of North Dakota’s first female mail carriers.
Christ and Mabel raised a family of five children: Ramon, Joyce, Gordon, Dewey, and Donald. Don graduated from Lincoln High School #18 in 1950. He attended college and, when his mother retired after 27 years of service as a rural mail carrier, Don wrote the civil service exam and was awarded the only rural route in the county.
Don married Cecelia Staigle, daughter of George and Frances Staigle. They still have the home in Center where they raised their five children: Curt, Carla, Scott, Jeff, and Karen.
Cecelia’s roots also run deep in Oliver County. Her grandparents, John Martin and Elizabeth Staigle, came to Oliver County in 1901 and homesteaded about 13 miles northeast of Center. The Seroco Post Office was located on her parent’s farm. She graduated in 1955 from Center High School.
After her marriage to Don, Cecelia was employed in the Oliver County Welfare Office and the Oliver County Impact Office, where she worked to obtain federal funds for the construction of the school, the courthouse and the heath and dental clinic. Cecelia later became a substitute rural mail carrier until she was appointed a regular carrier in Bismarck, where she received a special achievement award.
Don’s special interest in the community was education. He was elected to a position on the Lincoln School District school board, and worked many hours with other board members to increase the size of the district, which later became the Center School District. New school buildings also replaced the old Lincoln High School and the Quonset that served as a gym. Don served on the board for 15 years, then chose not to run for reelection. In 1985, he was elected to the Oliver County Commission, where he served for 16 years, most of those years as chairman.