Johann Friedrich Senechal was born in Prussia, and served in the compulsory military training required of all German males. He took the opportunity to come to the USA with his parents, Jean and Henrietta Senechal at the close of the Civil War in America. Prussia under King Wilhelm I and Otto Von Bismarck, was gearing up for another war with France.
In 1866, when Johann was 18, his family immigrated to St.Paul, MN where he purchased 80 acres of land. After 5 years, he sold the land, and bought 160 acres one half mile from Atwater, MN. The Meyer family had moved to Atwater; Johann and Elizabeth Meyer were married there. They farmed there until 1890, when they moved to Todd County, MN and filed on a homestead which they occupied and improved for seven years. They then sold that property and bought a farm in Swift County, MN. About five years later, in 1902, they came to North Dakota and purchased 320 acres in McHenry County, ten miles north of Drake, ND. It is told that the elder boys went to Drake first in 1901, where they built the house. Albert Kind (Emilie's husband) was the carpenter. Johann arrived later with a threshing machine and worked his way to Drake from the train station threshing all the way.