The Wishek Family of Ashley

The manuscript titled “Ashley Diamond Jubilee” is a comprehensive historical account focusing on Ashley, North Dakota, and its surrounding communities. The document, spanning 279 pages, begins by discussing the Ashley Diamond Jubilee, a celebration of 75 years of progress in North Dakota. It includes various historical and administrative details about Ashley and McIntosh County, including the establishment of towns, early settlers, and the development of the area. Found on pages 154-156 is the following genealogy of the Wishek Family:

Joseph Wishek came to Pennsylvania in 1848 from Baden, Germany. He was married to Barbara Salathe. They had three children, a boy and two girls.

John Henry Wishek, born April 17, 1855, at Warren, Pennsylvania. Came to McIntosh County, North Dakota, May, 1884. Married December 26, 1891. Died January 13, 1932.

John H. Wishek Sr., was a typical example of the early pioneer. He was frugal, strong-willed and forceful in word and deed. Coupled with these qualities was a driving ambition and keen foresight. He proved an ideal leader in the virgin and challenging new county of McIntosh which he helped to start and organize. He lived to the age of 76. He carried the respect of everyone to his grave. A more complete biography is to be found in the 1938 Ashley Jubilee Book.

Nina Farley, born January 3, 1869 at Almont, Michigan. Came to McIntosh County in 1887. Died June 23, 1957.

Nina Farley Wishek as a young girl came to Hoskins in 1887 with her parents and brothers and sisters. The next year the town was moved to its present site and named Ashley. She was a graduate of the high school in Almont, Michigan. Mrs. Wishek had an unusually artistic temperament. She played the piano, and also painted in both oil and china. She was the first school teacher in Ashley and also taught country school in Moscow, Antelope Valley, Jewell and Hoskins school districts. Not the least of her talents was in the field of writing. Over a long period of her life she composed verse which was later collected and printed in a book of poems under the title of “Roseberries in Autumn.” In the same manner and after years of intensive research she wrote and had published by the Ashley Tribune in 1941 her history of McIntosh County, “Along the Trails of Yesterday.” She also materially assisted in some of the work of the 1938 Jubilee book. She wrote “The Golden Jubilee” poem on page two of the 1938 book and, being very modest, insisted that she remain the anonymous author and the poem was signed “Anin Yelraf”’ which is Nina Farley spelled backwards. She was always interested and active in community affairs, a devoted church member, and a member of many women’s organizations. While she lived many years in California, she retained her voting residence in Ashley and continued to follow the activities and affairs of the people of this community.

Mrs. Wishek was of a quiet and understanding disposition, full of kindness and charity to all. Her death at Whittier, California June 23, 1957, at the age of 88, came as a distinct loss to the community where she had spent so many years of her life. She rests along with the remains of her husband, John H. Wishek Sr., in the family plot in the Ashley Cemetery.

They had the following children:

I. Esther Wishek

Esther Wishek, born March 25, 1894. Married Carl Tange, November 21, 1919 at Ashley. Mr. and Mrs. Tange operated farms at Outlook, Montana prior to moving to Whittier, California. Mr. Tange is active in real estate and investments. Their children are:

  1. Nina Maren Tange, born March 20, 1927. Married Verlyn Gail Marth, March 30, 1950. They have three children: Julie Elizabeth, David William, and Peter Jon.
  2. Margaret Ann Tange, married Richard George in 1958. They have a daughter: Maren Tange George.
  3. Helen Joyce Tange, daughter, born November 11, 1938.
  4. Carl Tange Jr., born December 30, 1923. Married to Helen Seibert on December 22, 1945. They have two children: Carla Elaine and Christian Curtis.
  5. John Kristin Tange, Outlook, Montana, born January 6, 1922. Married Margaret Gutsch, who was born January 22, 1921. They were married February 27, 1944. John operates the farm of his parents at Outlook, Montana. They have five children: Jerry William born May 17, 1945; John Carl born July 5, 1946; Patrick Allen born October 1, 1949; Carl Peter born February 27, 1953; and Robert Sten born October 6, 1957.

II. Anna Wishek

Anna Wishek, born July 3, 1896. Married April 26, 1918 to Ryland Benson who died May 7, 1934. Mrs. Benson never remarried, but devoted her life to her children and of late to many grandchildren. Their children are: Twin girls, Barbara and Louise, born March 30, 1919.

  1. Barbara Benson, married Richard M. Thomas February 7, 1943. Their children are: Laurel Lynn Thomas, Richard M. Thomas and Rebecca Louise Thomas.
  2. Louise Anne Benson Peterson Wiese has the following children: Nicholas Bernhard Peterson, Caroline Anne Peterson and Robert Allen Peterson.
  3. Joan Farley Benson, born September 7, 1924, and married to Noel I. Olson on February 24, 1946. They have the following children: Barbara Louise Olson, Eric Donald Olson, Nancy Suzanne Olson and ‘David Reese Olson.
  4. Ryland Reese Benson, born April 2, 1926, and married to Rosemary Pierce on March 29, 1952.

III. Carl Allison Wishek

Carl Allison Wishek, born October 14, 1898 at Ashley, was married to Eva Campanella. After graduation from the Wharton School of Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania, Carl associated with the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Lodi, California where he has become a business leader and successful banker.

Their children are:

  1. Sheila Marie Wishek, born November 28, 1936, and
  2. Carl Allison Wishek, born October 6, 1938.

IV. John Henry Wishek

John Henry Wishek (deceased), born April 2, 1900, and was married March 21, 1926 to Lillian Mielke (deceased). He was killed in an airplane crash at Bismarck, North Dakota, on September 10, 1949.

John Wishek, Jr., was graduated from Ashley High School in 1920. He attended the University of Minnesota for a time, but returned to Ashley to engage in business. He also taught in a rural school near Ashley. He worked at the First State Bank of Wishek in the early 1920’s, and after his marriage to Lillian Mielke in 1926 established his permanent home there. His main interests and activities centered around the family grain elevator business which he managed. He enjoyed outdoor work and in 1939 he became buyer at the Wishek elevator. Another of his interests was the Wishek Concrete Products and Lumber business which he organized and headed until his unfortunate death in an airplane crash at the Bismarck airport on September 10, 1949. He worked closely with his brother Max and after the death of their father in 1932, the brothers continued to manage the family properties. John Wishek was a civic leader and was a recognized booster for his community and the county. He was very active in Republican politics and for a while served as head of the North Dakota Securities Commission under appointment of Governor Walter Welford. He always wanted a son, but fate decreed that they were to have five girls and no boy. It seems somewhat unusual that fate was to do just the opposite when one of his daughters, Lillian, (Mrs. Lester Dempsey) became the mother of six sons and no daughter. After the death of Mr. Wishek, his widow, Lillian Wishek, continued to maintain the home in Wishek until her death on November 18, 1961.

Their children are:

  1. Lillian Wishek who was married to Lester Dempsey on June 15, 1950. They have the following children: John Michael, born July 8, 1951; Steven Wayne born October 4, 1952; Paul Lester born July 17, 1954; James Calvin born April 12, 1958; David Allison born September 16, 1960; and Mark Robert born January 18, 1962.
  2. Virginia Wishek, born January 8, 1931 and married to Joseph N. Anderson on January 12, 1929. They have the following children: Jode Jean Anderson, born January 2, 1956; Ninnette Virginia Anderson, born March 12, 1958; and Madeline Lillian Anderson, born January 29, 1963.
  3. Jonna Helene Wishek, born August 16, 1936, and married to Solomon Hochhalter on October 21, 1956. They have two daughters: Gale Sue Hochhalter, born December 2, 1957; and Karen Anna Hochhalter born August 19, 1959.
  4. Roberta Wishek, born February 8, 1933.
  5. Nina Wishek, born January 16, 1939, and married to John M. Mead of Lisbon, North Dakota, on June 20, 1958. They have one child: John M. Mead 2nd.

V. Max Albert Wishek

Max Albert Wishek was born in Ashley, August 29, 1901, the third son of John H. Wishek and Nina Farley Wishek. He attended the Ashley schools, graduating from the Ashley High School in June, 1919. He attended the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks for two years, then enrolled at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in the fall of 1921. His father graduated from this same law school in 1878. Max was graduated from the law school in 1924 with a degree of LLB. He was admitted to practice law in the State of North Dakota in July, 1924, and returned to practice in Ashley with his father. Max Albert Wishek married to Viola Louise Hezel on April 8, 1925.

Max Albert Wishek and Viola Louise Hezel
Max Albert Wishek, born August 29, 1901, and married to Viola Louise Hezel on April 8, 1925. Between Mr. and Mrs. Max Wishek is a portrait of Nina Wishek.

After the death of his father in 1932, he practiced for a time with his brother, Homer C. Wishek, and after Homer moved to California he continued the practice alone. He was elected States Attorney of McIntosh County in the 1930 election and served six years, and for two more years in 1939 and 1940. He was defeated by A. O. Ginnow in the November, 1940 election and retired from local politics, but continued his interest in state politics as a staunch Republican. He at no time harbored political ambitions on the state or national levels, but devoted much of his time over many years in helping to maintain a strong Republican organization in the county. He gained a good deal of satisfaction in being elected Republican precinct committeeman in his ward in the June 1962 primary election. He felt it was in recognition of his work for the party in past years.

In 1959 and 1960, Mr. Wishek and a group of citizens opposed the location of the building of the new school west of town favoring a site in the northeastern part of the city. Their group lost out. He feels that this book is not the proper place to review the costly school controversy, but he hopes that some day someone will, for posterity, write a history of the events that stirred the people of this area more than any occurrence in the past fifty years.

Mr. Wishek was active in helping to promote the growth and development of the city and with other members of the family is responsible for a number of new business buildings, including the Union Elevator, Post office building, Cities Service Station, the Ashley Implement Company building, and with others the new bowling alley building. The Wishek family have been heavy taxpayers which has caused Max to become quite critical of unnecessary public spending. He is a director of the North Dakota Taxpayers Association and is active in its work.

Their children are:

  1. Max Albert Wishek Jr., born September 7, 1926, who was married to Mary Ann Brosz on October 29, 1955. They have three children: Maren Louise Wishek, born December 8, 1956; John Adams Wishek, born December 22, 1957, named for his grandfathers; and Robert Farley Wishek, born October 26, 1961. Max, Jr. is engaged in grain farming and the cattle business and lives at Ashley.
  2. Saloma (Sally) Louise Wishek was born September 30, 1928, and in June, 1951, was married to Orrin Lovell, an attorney. They live in Beach, North Dakota, where Mr. Lovell is serving as States Attorney of Golden Valley County. They have five children: James Bruce, born February 12, 1952; Faith Louise, born July 29, 1954; Kent Wishek, born May 26, 1956; Christopher Charles, born June 19, 1959; and Gregory Max, born March 23, 1961.

Mrs. Max Wishek was very active in library work especially at the time the library was reorganized. She has put much time and effort in rebuilding and improving the old Wishek homestead and grounds on the east side of town, an effort in which she has taken justifiable pride.

Mr. and Mrs. Wishek are members of the Zion Lutheran Church.

Mr. Wishek has been in a position to note the vast change in the city and the people of Ashley. He well remembers, as a small boy, when the baseball diamond was on the site of the city grade school, then the southern edge of town. As the city grew, the diamond was moved two more times, once to the south and then to the northwestern part of town near the present Ed Rau residence. Since then it has been moved to the fair-grounds site where it is today. The present hospital site and all of the area north of the Wishek homestead was a cow pasture until about 1930.

Mr. Wishek also remembers the wooden sidewalks in the business district, and how the small boys of the period would work to extract coins that had fallen between the boards. Some were expert at retrieving them with a pair of sticks. He also recalls that the boys in those days went barefoot from the end of school in June to the first day of school in September.

VI. Jean Marion Wishek

Jean Marion Wishek, born December 15, 1902, and married to Norman Ofsthun on February 24, 1927. They live in Palm Springs, California, and have one child: Mr. Ofsthun, a successful building estimator, is now retired.

  1. Jeanette Ofsthun, married to George G. Congdon of San Diego, California. They have one child: Karen Lyn Congdon, of Escondido, California.

VII. Homer Cedric Wishek

Homer Cedric Wishek, born January 29, 1906, married June 28, 1930 to Justine McCarthy. Homer for a while practiced law in Ashley with his brother Max, and is now in the real estate and escrow business in California. He is a graduate of Ashley High School and attended the University at Grand Forks and the University of Southern California Law School. They have two children:

  1. Homer C. Wishek, Jr., who is married and lives in LaMirada, California. He and his wife have two children: Stephen B. Wishek and Bradley M. Wishek.
  2. Susan Ann Wishek, married to Charles D. Pappert, La. Mesa, California. They have a son: Michael D. Pappert.

VIII. Paul Joseph Wishek

Paul Joseph Wishek, born October 24, 1908, and married December 3, 1929 to Kathryn Prophet. Paul and his wife lived in Ashley until 1937 when he moved to California. He is in the escrow business.

They had three children:

  1. Barbara Ann Wishek, born September 6, 1930, and married to Stanley Z. Goodfarb, attorney, Phoenix, Arizona. They have one child: Joanna Goodfarb.
  2. Paula Josephine Wishek, born March 27, 1932, and married to Floyd Frederick Nietert. They have two children: Floyd Frederick Nietert and Heidi Ann Nietert.
  3. Catherine Jane Wishek, born April 20, 1937, and married to Eric Gustaf Brelin.

Paul Joseph Wishek was later married to Audrey Whisler and they had two children:

  1. Nicholas Paul Wishek and Cherie Estelle Wishek.
  2. Paul lives at Buena Park, California.


Diamond Jubilee Historical Book Committee (Ashley, N.D.); Ashley diamond jubilee, Ashley, North Dakota : June 19-20-21, 1963, 1888-1963; Fargo, North Dakota : Richtman’s Printing, 1963.

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