Christian Maass was born September 29, 1781 in Lassehne, Kr. Köslin in the state of Pommern in Prussia. It is believed that he is the son of Pagel and Elisabeth (Krüger) Maass. Lassehne is a small village along the Baltic coast between Kolberg and Köslin. The information about Christian's parents comes from the family records of Stefan Karnop, a 3rd great grandson of Christian. Christian married Johanna Catarina Noerenberg (b. September 15, 1779 in Wendhagen) on November 16, 1802 in Lassehne. Johanna's parents were Martin and Sophie ( Mewes) Noerenberg. At some point Christian and Johanna moved to Obernhagen, in the county (Kreis) of Regenwalde where their son, David, was born in 1810. In 1835 Christian's occupation was listed as Fabrikarbeiter or factory worker and he probably worked in Regenwalde. Christian and Johanna were the parents of at least six children -- David (b. March 06, 1810), Ernestine (b. ca. 1811), Karl Heinrich (b. July 25, 1814), Franz Ludwig Ferdinand (August 09, 1816) and Johanna Friedrike Karoline (b. ca. 1820). An older brother remains unidentified. It is also likely, but unconfirmed, that there was an older sister too, Wilhelmine born ca. 1807. All of the children were married in or near Regenwalde so it is assumed they all lived in that area at that time. It is not known how long Christian lived but Johanna died at the age of 58 on November 24, 1837 in Ornshagen, Kr. Regenwalde.
- Gene Maas (3rd great grandson)
David Maass was born March 06, 1810 in Obernhagen, Kr. Regenwalde. On April 3, 1835, at age 25, he married Friederike Sophie Henriette Prahl (also spelled Prohl) in Woldenburg. Friederike was born on or about November 06, 1810, the daughter of Christian Prahl. David was living in Ornshagen, a small village in the county (Kreis) of Regenwalde, when he got married but it appears they lived somewhere else the first ten years of their marriage. Then about 1845 they returned to Ornshagen and lived there until about 1857 when the family moved to Hohen Schönau, Kr. Naugard, about 15 miles to the southwest. David would have been a contemporary of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck who was born in 1815. In 1816, the Bismarck family moved to Kniephof, a small village only nine miles southwest of Obernhagen. At age six Otto was sent to Berlin to school, but he returned to his home in Kniephof whenever school was out. Ornshagen is even closer to Kniephof, about five miles away so David and Otto von Bismarck would have been practically neighbors. The earliest documentation showing that the Maasses lived in Ornshagen was found in the Regenwalde Church register in 1835.
David and Friederike's first child, Carl Friedrich Erdmann, was born on May 3, 1836. The names and birth dates of the other known children are: Johanne Wilhelmine Ernstine (b. ca. 1838), Johann Friedrich Wilhelm (b. February 03, 1840), August Heinrich Eduard (b. February 23, 1842), Johann August David (b. July 09, 1844), Julius Wilhelm Albert (b. December 5, 1846), Gottlieb Ludwig Ferdinand,(b.May 24, 1849), Johanne Ernestine (b. June 23, 1850) and Eduard Franz Wilhelm, (b. February 22, 1853) Gottlieb died as an infant at Ornshagen on October 10, 1849. Births of the last five children were documented in the Regenwalde Church baptismal register, which stated they were from Ornshagen. The church register also recorded the dates of Confirmation for three, or possibly four, of the oldest children. On March 16, 1856, August was the last to be confirmed in Regenwalde and it is assumed the family moved to Hohen Schönau sometime during that year or the next.
David's occupation was given as a proprietor and master tailor (Eigenthumer & Schneider meister) when he died of Lungenschlag [pulmonary apoplexy or edema] on May 27, 1858 at the age of 48. The Hohen Schönau church register stated that at the time of his death, David was survived by his wife and eight children, six sons and two daughters. Friederike, lived nearly 30 years longer and died April 20, 1887 at age 76 years, 5 months, 14 days. This was about five years after her youngest daughter, Johanna Ernestine, immigrated to the United States with her husband Heinrich Luedtke.
- Gene Maas (2nd great grandson)
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Carl Friedrich Erdmann Maass was born on May 3, 1836, the first child of David and Friederike Maass, in the province of Pommern in Germany. The actual birthplace remains unsubstantiated, but it was likely in the county (Kreis) of Regenwalde. Carl (also spelled Karl) was living in Ornshagen when he was confirmed March 24,1850 in the Evangelische Church of Regenwalde. Around 1857, he moved with parents to Hohen Schönau, Kr. Naugard. Like his father, Carl was training to be a tailor and when his father died in 1858, he took over the tailor shop. He married Wilhelmine Louise Ernestine Rix (also spelled Riex) on December 12, 1867 in Langkafel, Kr. Naugard. Wilhelmine was born May 12, 1846, the daughter of Friedrich Rix.
Carl and Wilhelmine had 16 children, all of whom were born in Hohen Schönau, Kr. Naugard, Germany: Augusta Wilhelmine Emilie Rix (adopted by Carl), Wilhelm Julius Albert (b. May 15, 1869), Herman August Emil (b. December 06, 1870), Emilie Johanne Louise (b. January 12, 1873), Martha Friederike Wilhelmine (b. October 27, 1874); Albertine Alvine Wilhelmine (b. September 06, 1876), Bertha Auguste Wilhelmine (b. January 30, 1878), Minna Bertha Marie (b. April 27, 1879), Bertha Marie (b. May 14, 1881), Marie Therese Franziska (b. February 27, 1883), Franz Wilhelm Albert (b. September 09, 1884), Hedwig Ernestine Catharina (b. November 25, 1886), Carl Friedrich Antonio, Jr. (b. October 06, 1887), John (b. October 06, 1887), Reinhard Ernst Ehrich (b. June 04, 1889), and Bernadine Bertha Louise (b. September 01, 1890). Three of the girls and one son died as infants or children. Albertine died of whooping cough at eight months, Bertha Auguste and John, the twin brother of Carl, lived less than one week, and Bertha Marie died of diphtheria at age three.
According to the Hohen Schönau church register, Wilhelm Julius Albert died at the age of 18 from Drüsenentzündung [translated as inflammation of a gland or adenitis] on November 23, 1887. Curiously, an undocumented family story said that Wilhelm died one day after seeing a ball of fire while walking home through the forest. He had been in perfect health but was pale and trembling when he returned home. Wilhelm was learning to be a tailor like his father and his grandfather, David, before him.
Carl was described as being a quiet man, dignified, hard working, and small in stature. He and his family lived in the village of Hohen Schönau where he was the proprietor and master tailor.
The family, including ten children, immigrated to the United States in 1892. The oldest child, Augusta had married Max August Wilhelm Lemke on December 5, 1890 and remained behind in Germany. According to the German manifest, they departed Germany on November 13, 1892 and sailed to New York aboard the SS Rhaetia. The U. S. passenger list indicates that the port of embarkation was Cuxhaven, a port at the mouth of the Elbe river, about 100 km (60 mi) down river from Hamburg. The Rhaetia arrived at the port of New York on November 28, 1892. Carl, Wilhelmine and their family traveled as steerage-class passengers, amid ship in section B on the main deck and carried only two pieces of baggage.
Carl and his family continued their trip West to Minnesota to join his sister, Johanna and her husband, Heinrich Luedtke. They settled on a farm north of Minnesota Lake, Minnesota. According to Gerald Proehl, the farm was located in the NW ¼ of section 16 in Danville township of Blue Earth county. But Wilhelmine had little time to enjoy her new life in America. She died of tuberculosis in 1895, about three years after arriving and was buried in Zoars Cemetery about three miles southwest of Waldorf, Minnesota. Two of their children were raised by foster parents. Reinhard, who was six years old, was raised by Don Benz of Mapleton, Minnesota. Bernadine, who was five, lived with Martha and Carl Besser, her sister and brother-in-law. According to the 1900 census, Carl and two of his children, Frank and Bernadine, were all living with the Bessers on June 1, 1900.
In his later years, Carl lived with his daughter and son-in-law, Minnie and Carl Proehl. He died on April 4, 1909 of erysipelas (a streptococcus infection which causes inflammation of the skin and tissues). When Carl died, the roads were in such poor condition that they couldn't travel to Zoars Cemetery. Instead, Carl was buried in the Union Cemetery at Mapleton, Minnesota. According to Leonard Proehl, a gravestone was bought for Wilhelmine's grave after Carl's death. Leonard accompanied several adults who took the stone to Zoars Cemetery by horse and buggy. That original stone has since been replaced with a round stone.
-- This biography was compiled from information found in German archives by Gene Maas and from information provided by Charlotte Dobie, Carl's great granddaughter.
Julius Wilhelm Albert Maass was born on December 5, 1846 in Ornshagen in the county (Kreis) of Regenwalde, Pommern, Germany. He was baptized on December 20, 1846 in the Evangelische Church at Regenwalde. Sometime between March 1856 and May 1858, his parents, David and Friederike, moved and settled in Hohen Schönau, Kr. Naugard. He was 11 years old when his father died there on May 27, 1858. In June of 1869, while working as a shepherd's helper (Schäferknecht) at Daberkow, a village about 10 miles northeast of Hohen Schönau, it is recorded that Julius was a sponsor at the baptism of his nephew, Wilhelm Julius Albert Maass. By 1872, he had moved to Braunsforth, a village about 11 miles southeast of Hohen Schönau, where he continued work as a shepherd's helper, While there he met Emilie Köhler and they were married on November 13, 1873. Emilie, who was christened Luise Mathilde Emilie, was the daughter of Friedrich and Bertha Vogelman Köhler who were living in Steinhoefel, a village that is about 5 miles southeast of Braunsforth.
The birth certificate for August Maass, dated August 27, 1885, confirms that Julius was a shepherd living in Braunsforth, Kr. Saatzig, Germany. Walter Maas recalled his father, Carl, telling him that his Grandfather Julius was the head shepherd of the village (or "Dorf" as it is called in German). The detailed map of the Braunsforth area shows that the sheep (Schäf) were located just south of Braunsforth. [While visiting the area in May 2001, I (Gene) located the remnants of rock and tile foundations of the sheep barn as well as that of a smaller structure that appeared to be the foundation of a house.]
Julius had several men working with him to care for the sheep indicating that he was in charge of a very large flock. The dorf and the surrounding land was owned by one aristocratic family and all the people living there worked for them. Some took care of the cattle, others raised crops, and still others cared for the gardens, chickens and geese. In return for their work, they were provided with a house and food, wool and flax to make their clothes, and some salary.
Julius was said to be short in stature but extraordinarily agile. According to his son, Carl, he was able to jump over any fence that stood as tall as he was. Carl once told his son Walter that Julius, while a young man still living in Germany, happened to get into a misunderstanding with another fellow who was much larger than he. This individual was the type who was usually looking for trouble and was generally given a fairly wide berth by others who knew him. As the disagreement became more heated, it became apparent to the others present that there was going to be a fight. Considering the relative size of the two men, it appeared that the best that Julius could hope for was that his short legs might somehow allow him to outrun the bigger man, who by now was becoming quite bellicose. However, after listening to the other man describe in some detail what he was planning to do to him, Julius responded, "I am not one bit afraid of you. In fact, I can whip you with both hands behind my back." This immediately aroused everyone's interest and the antagonist promptly announced that he would accept the challenge.
Thereupon, Julius placed both hands behind his back to show that he meant what he said. Julius' rival grinned as he began to move in on him. Julius waited until he was just the right distance and in one split second landed both feet into the other man's chest, knocking him to the ground and leaving him gasping for breath. The fight was over and, as far as Julius was concerned, that fellow was a much more agreeable character from that point on.
Julius and Emilie had nine children, eight of whom were born in Germany. Bertha, the oldest, was born on January 25, 1875. Two children, Emma and Martha, died at the ages of four and two years in August 1885, the same month that August was born. In 1895, Julius, Emilie and their six children immigrated to the United States. They sailed from Bremen, Germany on May 16 on the SS Oldenburg. Unfortunately, all the German passenger lists of emigrants sailing from Bremen were destroyed by fire. However, a copy of the American passenger list documents the village they came from, the time and ports they sailed from and arrived at, and the name of the ship. The manifest shows that Julius (age 48), Emilie (44), Bertha (20), Anna (18), Carl (16), August (8), Hedwig (7), and Franz (4) were passengers on the SS Oldenburg, a ship of the Norddeutsher Lloyd, Bremen, Steamship Co. It lists their nationality as German, the last residence as Braunsforth, and their destination as Minnesota Lake. The manifest also records Julius' occupation as a laborer and that he had $1050.00 in his possession. Considering that land in southern Minnesota was selling for about $15.00 an acre at that time, this was a considerable sum of money. In a letter written in 1949 to his cousin, August Maas, Franz Koehler recalls watching Julius count his gold coins before leaving for America.
The ship arrived in the Port of Baltimore, Maryland on May 31, 1895. From there they traveled to Minnesota and settled near his brother at Minnesota Lake south of Mankato. On March 28, 1897, their youngest child, William Ernest, was born in Vivian township, Waseca county.
Julius and Emilie lived in the Minnesota Lake area for about two years until they moved to Johnsonville township, Redwood County, Minnesota. A deed dated October 19, 1897, states that Julius bought the northwest quarter section of land in Section 17, Township 110, and Range 38 for $2800.00. This farm became the hub for several other Maas farms in the ensuing years. Three additional farms across the road to the north were eventually bought and farmed by his sons, Carl, August, and Bill.
Julius remained on the farm at Walnut Grove until his death on December 29, 1912. He died at the age of 66 from chronic interstitial nephritis. The funeral was held January 2, 1913 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Johnsonville Township and he was buried in the church cemetery. After Julius died, Emilie stayed on the home place and kept house for Frank and Bill. When Frank married Martha in 1917, they remained on the home place and Bill and his mother moved. When Bill and Lilly were married in 1920, Emilie again left the newlyweds and moved to live with the August Maas family in their newly-built farmhouse. Emilie died at the age of 81 on March 21, 1932 and is buried next to Julius.
-- Gene and Duane Maas (great grandsons)
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Johanna was born June 23, 1850, the eighth child and second daughter of David and Friederike (Prahl) Maass in Ornshagen, a small village in the county (Kreis) of Regenwalde,Pommern, Germany. She was baptized July 14, 1850 in the Evangelische Church in the city of Regenwalde. Sometime between March 1856 and May 1858, her parents, David and Friederike, moved and settled in Hohen Schönau, Kr. Naugard. They were living there when her father died on May 27, 1858, one month before her eighth birthday.
On September 28, 1873, Johanna married Heinrich Friedrich Albert Lüdke (see photo). On March 16, 1875, their first child, Bertha, was born at Langkafel. It appears that they may have moved sometime in the next year because Anna, their second child, was born at Zampelhagen on October 27, 1876. The following year on August 18, Bertha died at the age of two. Church records and copies of the original birth certificate of Anna and the death certificate of Bertha document the time and locations of these events. They also indicate that Heinrich was working as a laborer at that time.
Two other children were also born in Germany, Emilie on November 25,1878 and Ida on April 09, 1881. In March of 1882,Heinrich, Johanna, and the three girls left their home and their families for a new life in America. Johanna's mother was still living in Hohen Schönau. It is believed that they immigrated to the United States because of Heinrich's experiences while serving in the Prussian Army from 1869 to 1872. They sailed from Hamburg, Germany on March 19, 1882 aboard the SS Allemania. The ship arrived in New York 19 days later on April 7, 1882. The trip across the Atlantic was miserable and both Heinrich and Johanna became very sea sick during the nearly three-week crossing.
The Lüdke (now spelled Luedtke) family settled at Faribault, MN. Heinrich got a job working on the railroad helping to build the rails in different parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas and was gone from home all week. After living in Faribault for about seven years, Johanna had saved about $500.00 which they used to start farming at Minnesota Lake, MN.
In 1895 or 1896, they bought a farm located in Waterbury township southwest of Wabasso, MN and northwest of Lamberton, MN. Gladys Timm said that her mother, Anna Luedtke, was 19 years old at the time and helped move the livestock across the country on foot, stopping in New Ulm, MN where they stayed in the Dakota Hotel. The Waterbury township farm located on the N ½ of the SW ¼ of section 8 was their home until Heinrich died on January 14, 1917.
Johanna continued to live on the farm with her son Werner and his wife Ella until 1919 when both Werner and Ella died from the flu. She bought a house in Wabasso where she lived the rest of her life. Johanna died of influenza at the age of 78 on January 8, 1929. Both Johanna and Heinrich are buried in St. Matthew's Cemetery at Wabasso, Minnesota.
-- This biography was compiled by Gene Maas from information provided by Gladys Timm and Paul Timm, Johanna's grandchildren.
- Gene Maas
rev. 14 June 2005
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