Harm Gastmann was 9 months old when his father Egbert, a commercial fisherman in northwest Germany, took his family to America. Egbert, born in Ihlowerfehn Ostfriesland, Germany on Sept. 30, 1897, was 27 when he with his family boarded the ship SS Columbus, a German ocean liner which had made its maiden voyage earlier that year in April, 1924. With Egbert were his wife Folke H. (Reiter) Gastmann, 2-year-old daughter Jenny, and Harm. Egbert and Folke had married after the war on Jan. 14, 1921.

Egbert, who had been a soldier in the German Army in World War I, arrived with his family in the U.S. on Nov. 9, 1924, and headed directly to the rural town of Wymore in southeast Nebraska near the Nebraska-Kansas state line. The ship’s manifest indicated that Egbert had a cousin, John A. Saathoff, who lived near Wymore. Egbert had decided to take up farming as a profession.