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RG0902.AM:  Buck-Hoerger Family (Sutton, Nebraska)

Papers:  1889-1936, mostly 1910-1930

Sutton, Clay County, Nebraska:  Business and property owners

Size:  2.0 cu.ft.; 2 boxes


Frederick J. Hoerger operated a Sutton, Nebraska, hardware and furniture store until his death in 1914. He and his wife Catherine, who both moved to Sutton from Ohio, had three children: Mabel (sometimes spelled Mable) Louise (born in 1879), Minnie V., and William F. Hoerger. In 1905 Mabel married Ralph Buck (1878-1940), born in Illinois but brought up in Sutton, son of Civil War veteran John Mortimer Buck (1847-1925), who kept a ledger of Sutton accounts now housed in the Clay County collection, and Susie Zadee Clute Buck (born in 1857). Ralph graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1904 and taught science in Red Oak, Iowa. In 1908 he and Mabel moved to Idaho, where he worked at Gem State Lumber Company in McCammon. They returned to live in Sutton in 1921. Mabel and Ralph’s daughter, Kathryn Louise Buck, was born in 1913. She attended Doane College and became a librarian at Chadron State Teachers College.

Frederick Hoerger’s sister, Caroline Marie Hoerger Braun, was born in 1843 in Ohio. After her marriage to Captain Joseph Braun she lived in Sutton. Her children included Charles, Mollie, Lena, and Lucile Braun. Caroline died in 1920.

Frederick Hoerger also had a brother Henry, who lived in Linnton and Portland, Oregon, and in Baker, South Dakota (subsequently Nebraska), and Butte, Nebraska. Henry and his wife Caroline had two children, Charles and Lena. Henry died in 1890.


This collection relates to the Buck and Hoerger families of Sutton, Nebraska and is arranged in four subgroups: 1) correspondence; 2) bound materials, including diaries of weather conditions and daily activities, scrapbooks, cookbooks and miscellaneous items; 3) photographs; and 4) legal and financial records.

The correspondence of Subgroup 1 includes letters written in the 1890s to Frederick J. Hoerger by his brother’s wife Caroline Hoerger. Henry and Caroline moved frequently during that time in Oregon and Nebraska. Caroline wrote almost exclusively about financial transactions that Frederick arranged for her in Sutton.

Most of the other letters in the collection deal with personal matters. Before he married into the Hoerger family, Ralph Buck saved letters from hometown friends written to him at the University of Nebraska in 1900. Family members and friends wrote often to Caroline Hoerger Braun in the early years of the 20th century. Letters from Caroline’s daughter Lena, working in an Ohio plant manufacturing gas masks, provide a glimpse of American life during World War I. In the summer of 1914, when Mabel Buck was making an extended visit to her parents and parents-in-law in Sutton while Ralph was working in Idaho, he described for her everyday life in their small town in the West. Mabel also kept during the years in Idaho letters from Sutton family members. Finally Kathryn Buck wrote frequently to her parents from Doane College in the early 1930s, commenting on classes, friends, and outings.

In addition to personal letters Subgroup 1 includes large numbers of greeting cards, picture post cards, and invitations, as well as business letters about the genealogy of the Buck family and Susie Buck’s application for D.A.R. membership, her membership card and certificate.

Susie Buck’s country diaries are in Subgroup 2 with other bound and/or printed materials. They emphasize the role that the weather plays in a farmer’s life and describe visits made and received. There is also a scrapbook of clippings and illustrations compiled by Frederick’s son Willie and pasted into an 1889 Great Western Stove Company catalog from his father’s store; he filled only the first pages of the catalog, leaving visible many of the elaborately decorated stoves of the time. Similarly, a Buck family scrapbook was made by pasting clippings into a Sutton town account book from the 1890s.

Subgroup 2 also includes cookbooks, some with protective oilcloth covers, and household manuals. Most of the cookbooks were produced in the 1920s by a Sutton women’s association to which Mabel Buck belonged. In the blank pages of the 1926 edition, she listed her accounts of cookbook sales.

The Buck-Hoerger families had kept a Civil War memoir, Nurse & Spy, 1864, and provided a Smithsonian article from 1994 explaining its significance. Both are in Subgroup 2 with miscellaneous printed but unbound documents retained by Ralph Buck while he was a student at the University of Nebraska.

The photographs of Subgroup 3, filed in the Photo Collection, date from 1879 to 1912: they show the Buck family homes in Illinois and in Sutton, Ralph Buck as a young teacher, the town of Sutton, and the Hoerger home there.

Mable Buck’s account books in Subgroup 4, begun in Idaho and continued in Sutton, record financial information for the years 1915-1932. Papers related to the estates of her father, her uncle Henry Hoerger, and her husband’s great-uncle James Clute accompany them.


Subgroup 1: Correspondence

Series 1 – General Correspondence

Box 1


  1. Letters to Frederick J. Hoerger from/regarding Caroline (Mrs. Henry) Hoerger, 1889-1896

  2. Letters to Catherine (Mrs. Frederick J.) Hoerger, 1898-1921

  3. Letters to/from Minnie Hoerger, visiting Mabel Buck in Idaho, 1913-1914

  4. Letters to Mabel Hoerger Buck and Ralph Buck, 1898-1936, mostly from family

  5. Letters to Mabel Buck in Sutton from Ralph Buck in Idaho, summer 1914

  6. Letters to Mabel Buck from her brother Will regarding their father’s estate, 1915-1917

  7. Letters to Ralph and Mabel Buck from their daughter Kathryn Buck, Doane College, 1931-1933

  8. Letters to Caroline Hoerger Braun from her daughter Lena Braun, 1913-1918

  9. Letters to Caroline Hoerger Braun from other family members and friends, 1909-1920

  10. Letters to Charles Braun, 1895-1907

  11. Letters to Lucile Braun, 1901-1906

  12. Letters to/from Susie Buck, 1885-1930

  13. Letters to Ralph Buck at the University of Nebraska, 1900

Series 2 – Correspondence concerning Buck Family Genealogy

Box 1


  1. Letters requesting/providing information about Susie Buck’s family, 1913-1944

  2. Susie Buck’s family genealogy (see OB126)

  3. Susie Buck’s D.A.R. application and certificate (see OB126)

Series 3 – Miscellaneous

Box 1


  1. Holiday greeting cards, 1911-1929

  2. Undated holiday cards

  3. Nebraska post cards, 1905-1931

  4. Non-Nebraska post cards, 1910-1928

  5. Invitations, 1901-1917

  6. Materials related to student life at University of Nebraska, 1901-1904

  7. Miscellaneous

Subgroup 2: Bound/Printed Materials

Series 1 – Susie Buck’s Diaries, 1911-1937

Box 1

Susie Buck’s diaries (years missing: 1913, 1916, 1929, 1930, 1934)

Series 2 – Scrapbooks


  1. Willie Hoerger’s scrapbook (see oversize)

Series 3 – Cookbooks

Box 2


  1. Sutton cookbooks

  2. Household Manuals

Series 4 – Miscellaneous

Box 2

  1. 1994 article re memoir Nurse & Spy,

  2. Nurse & Spy, 1864 (see oversize)

Subgroup 3: Photographs

Original photographs are housed in the HN photo collections

Subgroup 4: Financial/Legal Materials

Box 2

  1. Mabel Buck’s unbound accounts

  2. Mabel Buck’s account book, 1913-1932

  3. Henry Hoerger estate papers, 1879-1897

  4. Frederick J. Hoerger receipts and estate papers, 1809-1914

  5. James Clute estate papers, 1904-1906


Subject headings:

Buck family (Sutton, Nebraska)

Hoerger family (Sutton, Nebraska)

Sutton (Nebraska) — History


Revised TMM        04-13-2007