Elizabeth Word Adkisson and husband Bill are looking forward to carrying on family traditions in a home that was built 104 years ago by Elizabeth’s great-grandfather in 1916 and has remained in the family ever since.
“I was thrilled to find out that under some paneling in part of the house, there is still a floral border designed and hand-stenciled by my great-grandfather. I hope to restore the walls to include the original border,” Adkisson said.
She talked about some of her earliest memories in the family home that holds so much history.
“”My great-grandmother, Katherine (Kate) Kroeger, was still living in the house when I was young. …As a child, some of my earliest memories were a jar of ribbon candy on my Grandma Kroeger’s nightstand, a forbidden closet upstairs where the ‘Boogie Man’ resided, and a record player plugged into a bare light bulb over the dining table spinning 45’s. We couldn’t get enough of those classic hits and Christmas music,” Adkisson said. “My favorite thing was playing in the large yard with my siblings and having my cousins Elaine and Buddy teach us games like Red Rover, Simon Says, and Red Light Green Light. My Great-Aunt Hortense was a wonderful cook and I remember her rolling out cookie dough in the kitchen while we waited for the yummy treats. It was also on the rough road around the house that I learned to ride a bicycle.”
She is looking forward to making many more family memories.
“Between us, my husband and I have 16 grandchildren; twelve girls and four boys ranging in age from 2 to 14. I have been hosting Gramz Camp for the oldest ones since they were 6 and 7 yrs old. They come to Texas for a week and we have a great time. I am looking forward to having Gramz Camp at the Kroeger house this year and extending the fun to the next round of 6 and 7 year olds as well. We will definitely be baking some cookies, playing games, planting some flower beds, and going to local activities,” Adkisson Kroeger said, adding with a laugh, “I think they will appreciate that I’ve evicted the Boogie Man from upstairs!”
According to hand-written notes found in the house, my Great-grandfather, Gustave Kroeger was born in Cologne Germany in 1872 and immigrated to the United States in 1890 at the age of 18. He became a US citizen and was naturalized in 1896. In 1905 he married Kate Kauffman, a La Coste native, and had three sons and a daughter: my grandfather James, his brothers Walter and Ernest, and sister Julia. Gustave was a carpenter, painter and artist. He built their home himself between 1912 and 1916.
Tragedy struck the family in 1917 when their daughter, almost three, died suddenly. Three months later the baby they were expecting, another girl, was stillborn. The Kroeger couple continued raising their sons. In 1948, their youngest—who by then was married and had baby Elaine, moved into the home with his parents. Gustave died in 1950.
Elizabeth’s great-grandparents, Gustave and Kate Kroeger were the original owners of the home . . . When Kate Kroeger died in 1964, she left the house to her youngest son Cotton. When he passed away in 1982, the house was willed to his wife great-aunt Hortense. She and her son both passed away in 2017 leaving the home to Elaine. Since then, health issues have required Elaine to move into assisted living and she was no longer able to take care of the home.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to pass my love of the homestead to my kids and grandkids and they’ll want to keep it in the family in the future,” Adkisson said.
Elizabeth is the daughter of Joyce Kroeger Word, the oldest granddaughter of the Kroeger clan.