Freeport (Stephenson County), Illinois Prasse Branch
(provided by Ellice Prasse and Keith W. Prasse)

The Family Narrative
(from a written family history)

The Family Before the Immigration to America

We'll start the history of this branch of the family with two brothers and one sister in Germany. They are Konrad Prasse, Sophia Prasse, and Friederich Prasse. The family lived in the town of Bad Meinberg, in the principality of Lippe-Detmold. In the early 1800s, Lippe-Detmold was an independent state but was annexed to the kingdom of Hanover in 1842. The Weser River forms the border between Lippe-Detmold and Hanover. In German, "bad" means spring of which there are many mineral springs in the area. To this day, Prasses still live in this area of Germany.

Konrad never came to America as he died in Germany sometime between 1838 and 1842. However, his six children did come to America. Sophia went through three husbands in Germany before she, her fourth husband, and all six of her children came to America. Friederich, his wife, and his two children also came to America.

The Immigrations

In 1848, Konrad's second oldest son, Frederick, came to America to see if it would be wise for the rest of the family to follow. He made the trip by sail boat. He must have sent back a good report as Friederich, his wife, two sons, and Konrad's five other children made the journey in the fall of 1849. They sailed by steam boat and the trip took seven weeks and three days. During the voyage they saw a sail boat and wondered how Frederick could ever have made the trip safely in such a small boat. They landed in New Orleans and came up the Mississippi as far as St. Louis, Missouri. They could go no farther up river as it was now late fall and the river was frozen over.

The family spent the winter in St. Louis. Friederich's wife had fallen ill during the ocean crossing. They feared she would never see the "New Country." That winter in St. Louis, she succumbed to her illness and she was buried in either St. Louis or Alton, Illinois. When spring thawed the Mississippi, Friederich and the rest of the family, except Konrad's oldest daughter, continued up the river. They debarked the river boat in Savanna, Illinois in 1850. From there they traveled overland by team and wagon to Harlem Township, Stephenson County, Illinois. Friederich purchased 80 acres of timber land from a Mr. Thomas who had bought it from the government for $1.25 an acre. They cleared the land and built a log cabin.

Two children of Sophia Prasse's second marriage were the next family members to make the journey. In 1850, Henrietta and Bernhardt Dammeier left Germany for America. Bernhardt supposedly made the trip to escape from military service. They settled in Freeport, Illinois near Friederich Prasse, Sophia's brother.

In 1854, Sophia, her fourth husband, and her four other children arrived in Freeport, Illinois. They lived with Sophia's daughter, Henrietta, and her family for a while.

The Family of Konrad Prasse

Konrad married Sophie Tewes in Germany. Sophie's last name was also spelled as Teves and Thieves. She was from Belle im Amt Schieder also in Lippe_Detmold. They had the following children: Amelia, Konrad, Friederich, Sophie, Wilhelm, and Minnie. When Konrad died, Sophie married Konrad's brother, Friederich. So, Friederich's and Sophie's two sons were half_brothers to Konrad's six children.

The Children of Konrad Prasse

Amelia, the oldest, was born in 1826 in Germany. She met and married Ernest Wortman in 1851. She and Ernest lived in Fosterburg, Illinois until 1891 when they moved to Germania (Lakota), Iowa. They had five sons: John, Henry, Charles, August, and William. John and Henry moved to George, Iowa where Henry was pastor of the Presbyterian Church. Charles and August moved to Ramsey, Iowa where they ran a general store. When the town of Germania was started, they opened the first general store. William also lived in Germania which was renamed to Lakota during World War I. Amelia and Ernest lived with William when they came to Iowa.

Konrad or Conrad was born in Germany in 1828. He was a founding member of Salem Evangelical Church in 1854. He became an American citizen in 1856. He lived on a farm in Erin Township, Illinois. Later, his grandson, Reuben, lived on the same farm. Reuben had an adopted son.

Friederich or Frederick, who was the first member of this family to come to America, was born in 1830. He married Dorthea Thoran of Rock Run in 1857. In 1859, Fred lived in Martintown, Wisconsin where he ran a saw mill. He became an American citizen in 1860. Fred and Dorthea moved to Lena, Illinois in 1869. His farm was just south of Lena. Fred and Dorthea helped build the stone Salem Evangelical Church in 1869 and Fred was one of the first directors. Fred was also a director of St. John's Evangelical Church.

In 1833, Sophie was born in Germany. She most probably married Fred Kloepping as she lived on the Kloepping farm in Harlem Township. Fred was a founding member of the Salem Evangelical Church.

Wilhelm was also known as William. He was born in 1835 and became an American citizen with the December term of the Circuit Court in 1870. Adolph Boedeker, the husband of Sophia Prasse's daughter, Henrietta, was a witness. William lived in Kent Township, Illinois.

Minnie was born in 1838. Minnie married a Mr. Amendt and they lived on what was known as the McClain farm.

The Family of Sophia Hedwig Prasse

Sophia was born in 1801 in Bad Meinberg, Germany. She was a tall, brown_eyed lady. Her first husband was Henry Dammeier. Sophia and Henry had one son, also named Henry. After only a year of marriage, Henry died and apparently left a substantial estate. Sophia then married a Mr. Mullering. German custom dictated that when a man married a widow with a considerable estate, he had to take the last name of the deceased husband. So, Mr. Mullering changed his name to Dammeier. This marriage brought two more children: Henrietta and Bernhardt. This husband died when the children were young. Sophia again married in 1835 to a man whose name is not known. One daughter, Mary, was brought into the world. This husband only lasted for three months of marriage before he died.

In 1838, Sophia finally found a husband that would last for a while. She married Karl Johan Bernard Boedeker. He too had to change his name to Dammeier as was the custom. Karl was the brother of Adolph Boedeker, who married Sophia's daughter, Henrietta. Sophia and Karl had two sons: Charles and Adolph. Karl was a stone mason and helped build homes in the area. He also did some of the stone work on the Salem Evangelical Church. Eventually he bought a farm on the Galena Stage Road, south of Lena, Illinois. In 1866, Sophia died, followed by her husband, Karl, in 1874. Both are buried in Lena Burial Park.

The Children of Sophia Hedwig Prasse Dammeier

Nothing much is known of Henry Dammeier except that he died and is buried near Shannon, Illinois. He had six children: Louise, Elizabeth, Henry, Mary, Mildred, and Charles. Louise married Henry Elmer of Shannon, Illinois. Louise's descendents live near Shannon and in Freeport as well as Brodhead, Wisconsin. Elizabeth was nicknamed Lizzie. She never married. Mary married Clarence Miller and lived in Metz, Iowa. Mildred married Charles Lind. Charles lived south of Newton, Iowa where his three sons and their families also lived.

Henrietta was the first child of Sophia's second marriage and was born in 1828. She married Adolph Boedeker, the brother of Sophia's fourth husband, Karl Boedeker. They had several children: Charles, Henry, Fred, Amelia, Will, Louis, Caroline, and Lydia. Adolph and Henrietta lived in Freeport, Illinois. Amelia married Frank Heyer. Henry Kemple was Caroline's husband. Lydia married Bert Labre and lived in Rush City, Minnesota.

Bernhardt married Mary Paul and they had seven children: Caroline, Charles, Will, Mary, Frederick, Emma, and Benjamin. Charles lived in Amarillo, Texas. Mary married Jacob Orns and lived in Newton, Iowa. Mary's daughters lived in Long Beach, Washington and her son lived in Newton. Frederick also lived in Newton. Emma married a Henry Prasse, who was her second cousin. Benjamin had six sons and a daughter and lived in Huron, South Dakota.

Mary, the only child of Sophia's third marriage, lived with her mother and then her half_brother, Adolph, until her death in 1902.

Charles married Sophia Deppe and they had six children: Will, Mamie, Gustauf, Martha, William, and Robert. Will, Martha, and Robert lived in Chicago.

In 1842, Adolph was born. He married Mary Barbara Albright in 1871. They must have been very compatible as they had quite a brood, fifteen in all. The children were: Charles, Martha, William, August, Henry, Elizabeth, Rufus, Marie, David, Caroline, Sarah, Hilda, Benjamin, Almyra, and Luella. August, Henry and Elizabeth all died in infancy. Sarah and Hilda died when two and four years old of diptheria. Charles lived in Sutherland, Nebraska. Martha married Avery Miley. Marie married Dennis Swaney. Caroline lived in Freeport. Almyra married Wray Love and lived in Salem, Illinois. Luella became the wife of Reverend Vernon Yeich and lived in Wapwallopen, Pennsylvania.

The Family of Friederich Prasse

Friederich was born in Bad Meinberg, Germany in 1805. When his brother Konrad died, he married his brother's widow, Sophie. They had two children in Germany before coming to America. Those two sons were August and Carl Heinrich William. Sophie died during the first winter in St. Louis in 1849.

Let us digress for a moment and return to Germany. In 1820, Louise Peter was born in Warrentrup, Lippe_Detmold, Germany. She married Christoph Vehmeier and they had one son named, Johan Heinrich or Henry who was born in 1846. Christoph died and it seems that there was trouble settling the estate. In the process, Henry's life was threatened so Louise decided to come to America. According to accounts, Louise had a letter from Ludwig Heithecker of Epplyanna, Illinois asking her to come to America. The ocean voyage to New Orleans by sail boat took eleven weeks. The story of the trip contains may interesting highlights. One time the boat became grounded on a sand bar and the captain had the passengers run from side to side trying to rock the little boat free. While running back and forth, Henry fell through an open hatch and hit his head on an anchor chain. Luckily, he wasn't seriously hurt. Eventually some steam boats towed them off the sand bar and when the boat creaked and groaned, some of the passengers thought the boat was being pulled apart. Food supplies and water also ran low. There were some stowaways in the hold who had been stealing and selling food. When they were caught, they were flogged. Louise and Henry came up the Mississippi and stayed for a while with some friends in Davis, Illinois. When she finally arrived in Epplyanna, Ludwig had already married someone else. Louise found work and later met and married Friederich Prasse.

Louise and Fred were married in 1856 and they had four children: Emelie, Charles, Adolph, and Herman. In 1867, Fred died and Louise lived on until 1909.

The Children of Friederich Prasse

August was born in 1843 and lived on his farm in Harlem Township near the Kloepping homestead.

Karl or Carl was born in 1845. He lived with his half_brother, Adolph, on a farm adjoining the original farm of Fred Prasse. Carl died in 1859.

Emelie, the first child of Fred and Louise, was born in 1856. Nothing more is known of her life.

In 1858, Charles was born and events of his life are unknown.

Adolph was born in 1861 and lived with Carl on the farm adjoining his father Fred's homestead. This farm is one and a quarter miles southeast of Eleroy, Illinois.

Herman, who was born in 1864, lived on his father's farm until he sold it in 1913 to Alfred Vehmeier.

The Children of Gustave Prasse,
Son of August Prasse,
Grandson of Friederich Prasse (1)

William married Ellice, who was born in 1909. They had two daughters and a son: Charlene, Helen, and Keith W. Ellice is a descendent of the Drake family, also of the Bad Meinberg area. Keith, who was born in 1940, is a specialist in veterinary pathology and teaches at the University of Georgia.

Elmer F. Prasse has one son named Ronald. Elmer resides in Freeport, Illinois and Ronald lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Edgar is married to Barbara and they have one son named David P. Barbara is a minister and they live in Topeka, Kansas. David is on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin.

Florence, who was born in 1913, married Raymond Schoonhoven and they have one son who lives in California. Florence now lives in Forreston, Illinois.

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Last revised: Monday, May 29, 2000 12:18 PM

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