Family German heritage preserved in material artifacts

By Alexa Horn My great-great-great-grandfather branded his free-roaming livestock with the monogram “JL.” While Johann Leitow marked his cattle, the United States marked him with the name “John Leitem.” The land office had misspelled his last name as “Leitem” on his homesteading papers. They later corrected it in their cursive, nearly unreadable script. The mistake most likely came about because Johann only spoke German, according to my grandmother. Although the homestead offices corrected his last name, his first name remained on the books as John. I don’t know if losing his original name bothered him, or if it made...

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