East Cleveland, Ohio Prasse Branch
(compiled by F.C. Prasse)

The Original Immigrants

This branch of the Prasse family in the United States originated with the immigration of three brothers and two sisters to America1, most probably around 1855. The family came from the sovereign state of Hanover, confederation of German states. The oldest of the boys, Ernst Prasse, was thought by some to be the father of the others, Frank H., Mary, Elizabeth, and Frederick Ludwig1. The family obtained farmland in the vicinity of Mayfield Rd. and Belvoir in what is now South Euclid. In 18522 or 18533 (date depends on the particular history you read), 12 German families founded St. John's Lutheran Church, now at 4386 Mayfield Rd. Prominent family names in this group were Schaefer, Huge, Melcher, Elbrecht, Wulf, Miller, and Fibich. The first pastor was Reverend H. Kuehn. He was succeeded in 1860 by John Adam Ernst and Frederick W. Husman then replaced him in 1863. All these family names can be found in the church cemetery. When the Prasse family came to Cleveland they soon joined St. John's.

Ernst married a girl named Maria Brueggemeier and settled into his life on his farm. The old farmhouse was on what is now called Prasse Rd. By 1857, he and Maria had their first son, Henry. Their second child, Annie, arrived in 1861. By this time, the clouds of civil discord hung over the nation.

The Civil War

Soon after the Civil War broke out, Frank and Fred joined the ranks of the the Union blue. Frank enlisted on August 22, 1862 in Company B of the 107th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Fred soon followed him to the same unit on October 9, 18624. Company B was originally formed in July and August of 1862 at Camp Taylor in Cleveland. It consisted of 108 men, most of German ancestry. The unit originally trained in September 1862 at Covington, Kentucky. They moved to Washington D.C. in about October. It was here that Frank was promoted to Corporal on October 28, 18624. In November 1862, the unit was officially attached to XI Corps, Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General Franz Sigel5. The majority of the XI Corps was made up of "Dutchmen". The Corps wintered at Brooks Station, Virginia. In the spring of 1863, General Sigel was replaced by Major General Oliver Otis Howard.

The Army of the Potomac, commanded by General Joseph Hooker, broke winter camp on April 27th 1863 and crossed the Rappahannock and Rapidan to strike the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederate) in the rear. The Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, was camped just southwest of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Hooker's battle front stretched in a long east-west line from just east of Chancellor House (Chancellorsville) along the Old Turnpike and Plank Road to a heavily wooded area known as the Wilderness. This was the line on May 2nd 1863 after brief fighting on May 1st.

General Lee sent General "Stonewall" Jackson on his famous flanking march across the Union front to strike the Union right flank on May 2nd. The XI Corps held the right flank straddling the Old Turnpike. The 1st Division, under Brigadier General Charles Devens, was at the extreme right. The 1st Brigade, under Colonel Leopold von Gilsa, was in a north-south line just north of the Old Turnpike. The 2nd Brigade, under Colonel Nathaniel C. McLean, was in an east-west line just south of the Old Turnpike. The 2nd Brigade was made up of the 55th Ohio, 107th Ohio, 75th Ohio, 25th Ohio, and 17th Connecticut Regiments. At the time each regiment was made up of 10 companies and totaled approximately 450 men.

The Germans reported the enemy troop movement all day to Division, Corps, and Army headquarters, however, the feeling at the time was that this movement by General Jackson was the entire Army of Northern Virginia retreating to the southwest. General Hooker believed that his right flank was protected by the natural barrier of the tangled brush of the Wilderness. It was about 5:30PM, as the troops of XI Corps began to prepare the evening meal, when the "Rebel yell" came out of the woods followed by the 26,000 men of General Jackson's army. The 1st Brigade was rolled over in minutes and suffered 80 percent casualties. The 2nd Brigade made a vain effort to stem the gray tide but were overwhelmed in five minutes. Sometime during this attack, Frank became a Color Sergeant6, although no official record substantiates the family verbal history. The remnants of the 1st Division formed up with the 2nd Division and tried to make a stand again, but less than 15 minutes later, the XI Corps was in full retreat toward Chancellor House. Most probably sometime during this action, Frank was slain. Family verbal history6, says that Frank was killed covering the retreat. Most probably, Frank was killed near the Old Turnpike, between Talley Farm and and Dowdall Tavern. The 2nd Brigade lost more than 50 percent of its men. The 107th Ohio had 150 taken prisoner and 75 killed or wounded. Frank is supposed to be buried in the cemetery at Fredericksburg, Virginia7.

Fred stayed with the 107th and most probably fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. Again XI Corps bore the heavy onslaught of the Confederates on July 1st 1863, the first day of the battle. They fell back to Cemetery Hill and held the Union right flank for the battle. When the battle was over, only 111 men remained of the 107th Ohio.

The 107th Ohio went to Folly Island, South Carolina on August 1st 1863. Sometime in 1864 they went to Jacksonville, Florida and stayed until December. March to July 1865 the 107th did provost duty in Charleston, South Carolina. In July, the 107th returned home to Cleveland but Fred transferred to the 25th Ohio5. This unit returned in August and Fred left the service of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) on August 4th 18654. A GAR medallion is mounted at his gravesite in St. John's Cemetery.

Putting the family together

Mary married a man by the name of Fricke from the west side of Cleveland. They had no children. No traces of Mary and her husband can be found.

Elizabeth married a man with the last name of Dehuvel who was also from the west side of Cleveland. They moved to Chicago and were caught in the Great Fire. Elizabeth was separated from her family for three months as a result of the confusion due to the fire. After the Great Fire, they moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Nothing is known of the family after this.

Fred married Elizabeth Schaefer soon after his return from the war and they settled down to a life of farming and making babies. His farming was moderately successful and his baby making business was thoroughly successful as he and Elizabeth had an even dozen children. Five of the children were boys and seven were girls. Two of the children died very young. Johannes and Herbert, one of a pair of twins, died in infancy. Their headstones in St. John's Cemetery (northeast corner) are among the oldest remaining markers, circa 1890. Fred and Elizabeth's ten other children were, Frederick, Anna, Mary, Martha, Helena, Louise, Ida, Dorothea, Albert (Herbert's twin), and Paul.

Meanwhile, Ernst and Maria had seven more children, for a total of three boys and six girls. The other seven children's names were Mary, Elizabeth, Emma, William, Lydia, Hattie, and Edward.

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Last revised: Monday, May 29, 2000 12:20 PM

E-mail to F.C. Prasse - fc@prasse.org