Maas Family History

The earliest known ancestor of the Maass family is believed to be Pagel Maass. Pagel, who would have been born in the mid 1700's was living in Lassehne, Kr. Köslin in the state of Pommern in Prussia in 1781. Lassehne (now Lasin) is a small village along the Baltic coast between Kolberg and Köslin. Pagel was married to Elisabeth Krüger and they had a son named Christian Maass who was born September 29, 1781 in Lassehne. Nothing more is known about Christian's parents or their family. [Note - Pagel is a Platt Deutsche (Low German) variation of the first name Paul]

Christian married Johanna Catarina Noerenberg (b. September 15, 1779 in Wendhagen) on November 16, 1802 in Lassehne. Wendhagen (now Wieniotowo) is a small hamlet about one mile west of Lassehne. Johanna's parents were Martin and Sophie (Mewes) Noerenberg. Christian and Johanna were the parents of at least seven children -- a first born son who remains unknown, Wilhelmine Friedrike (b. January 20, 1808), David (b. March 6, 1810), Ernestine (b. ca. 1811), Karl Heinrich (b. July 25, 1814), Franz Ludwig Ferdinand (August 09, 1816) and Johanna Friedrike Karoline (b. ca. 1820).

Sometime between 1802-1808, Christian and Johanna moved to the county of Regenwalde where he worked at a number of different professions. They probably settled first in Obernhagen (now Lubien Gorny), a small village about three miles southeast of Regenwalde (now Resko) where David (and probably Wilhelmine) were born. Christian was a Dorfschulze u. Herrschaftl. Deputant, which translated means he was the village magistrate or mayor who collected the taxes. In 1826, Christian was working as a forester in Elvershagen just a couple of miles away. They moved again around 1830 to Ornshagen (now Zerzyno) where Christian worked as a Wirtschafter and Fabrikarbeiter, meaning he was a manager in the local factory. I once assumed he worked in the agricultural machine factory in Regenwalde, but the factory wasn't built until 1843. I have since learned that in 1829, a factory opened in Ornshagen to produce sodium acetate (Rotsalz). A short time later, an iron and steel works (Hüttenwerk) also started there. So it is likely that Christian worked at one of those factories. The factory remained in operation for nearly 70 years and when it closed in 1897, Carl Spohnholz (Wilhelmine Maass' son and Christian's grandson), was one of only four workers still working there. Christian died between 1838 and 1840, most likely in Ornshagen, although no verification of that has been found. We do know that Johanna died there on November 24,1837.

We aren't sure where David's other siblings were born or raised, but they must have been living in or near Regenwalde when they got married. Wilhelmine was living in Elvershagen when she married Wilhelm Gottlieb Spohnholz from Döbel bei Polzin/Muttrin on October 20, 1826. David, our progenitor, was living in Ornshagen at age 25 when he married Friederike Sophie Henriette Prahl on April 3, 1835. Friederike was the 24-year-old daughter of Christian Prahl and lived in Woldenburg at the time. She was born in Piepenburg on or about November 06, 1810 based on her age at death. This information is documented in the church register for Woldenburg where they were married. Woldenburg is a small village about six miles north of Regenwalde and Ornshagen is about four miles southwest of Regenwalde.

Mark Pautz posted the following observations on his website in 1999. The website has since been taken down, but the website and his trip report have been captured by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. [Click here for his photo of the church]

"Woldenburg's Catholic church is another of those humble, 19th century buildings that are so characteristic of Kreis Regenwalde - compact, "Tudor style" wood construction, white walls and a wooden bell tower capped with a tin peak. There are two large trees at the entrance gate to the church, and I would guess that they are about 150 years old. Across the road from the church is an active farmyard (occupied by chickens) with an impressive double-story, stone walled homestead. To the right is white-washed stone and brick barn. On the wall facing the road, the apex just below the roof is adorned with the head of a cow (I didn't see any horns to risk calling it a bull) and on the cornerstone are the initials J v P and the date 1875. From the Kreis Regenwalde "Heimatbuch" I deduced that this must refer to Julius von Puttkammer who was "Vorbesitzer" of Woldenburg from 1876 through 1884."

David's brother, Franz, married Ernestine Wilhelmine Johanne Christine Bain on November 07, 1840 and they also lived in Ornshagen where Franz worked as a blacksmith. Franz was 24 years old and his bride, who went by Johanna, was 29 years old. Franz and Johanna had four sons and one daughter who were born there and they are listed among Christian's descendants. Their names and births have been documented in the Regenwalde Evangelische Church records. Ornshagen didn't have a church of its own and so residents attended the Evangelical Church in Regenwalde. Little is known about David's other three siblings except for their marriages. At age 25, Ernestine married Johann Erdmann Christian Grewe (b. Nov 25, 1804) on January 15, 1836 in Regenwalde. Karl married a 30-year-old divorcee, Mrs. Johanne (Splinter) Herlen on August 31, 1838. At the time of his marriage, Karl was a 24-year-old wheelwright in Naugard. David's youngest sister, 18-year-old Johanna, married August Wilhelm Friedrich Zech on May 04, 1838 in Regenwalde. August Zech was a 22-year-old blacksmith in Ornshagen.

It is not known where David and Friederike first lived after they were married but apparently it was not in Ornshagen or Woldenburg. Their first child, Carl Friedrich Erdmann, was born on May 3, 1836 but the location is unknown because his birth was not recorded in either the Regenwalde or Woldenburg church register. Neither were the births of the next three children -- Johanne Wilhelmine Ernstine (b. ca. 1838), August Heinrich Eduard (b. February 23, 1842), and Johann Friedrich Wilhelm (b. February 03, 1840). Their names and birthdates were obtained from Regenwalde Confirmation records or from their marriages recorded in the Hohen Schönau church register. David and Friederike's fifth child, Johann August David, was born July 09, 1844 in Ackerhof, a hamlet apparently close to Regenwalde where the birth was recorded. Sometime during the next two years they must have moved to Ornshagen because their sixth child, Julius Wilhelm Albert, was born there on December 5, 1846. The next three siblings were also born in Ornshagen -- Gottlieb Ludwig Ferdinand, (b. May 24, 1849), Johanne Ernestine (b. June 23, 1850) and Eduard Franz Wilhelm, (b. February 22, 1853). The Regenwalde church register also documents the Holy Confirmation of Carl Friedrich Erdman on March 24, 1850, Johann Friedrich Wilhelm on April 9, 1854, and August Heinrich on March16, 1856. The Confirmation records also show that a Johanne Wilhelmine Karol. (b. May 1, 1838) was confirmed on April 4, 1852. It is not known if she and Johanne Wilhelmine Ernstine are one and the same person or not. The third given name could have been written in error in one of the church records, or she may have had four given names, which is not uncommon.

Apparently sometime in 1856 or 1857, the David Maass family moved to Hohen Schönau, Kr. Naugard, about 15 miles to the southwest. David was a master tailor and proprietor of his own tailor shop in Hohen Schönau. Church records indicate that he died on May 27, 1858 at the age of 48 from lungenschlag [pulmonary apoplexy or edema] and was survived by his wife, Friederike, and eight children, six sons and two daughters aged 7 to 22. The death record states that the youngest child was a 7-year-old son, but in May 1858 Eduard would have been 5 years old. Johanne, however, was 7 years old, just a month short of her 8th birthday. Gottlieb Ludwig Ferdinand died as an infant at Ornshagen on October 10, 1849. Carl, their oldest son, had also learned to be a tailor and took over the tailor shop.

The first of the David Maass offspring to marry was Johanne Wilhelmine Ernstine who married Friedrich Albert Hartwig (age 27 ½ ) on November 14, 1861 in Hohen Schönau. Three sons got married in 1867. August Heinrich Eduard married Caroline Charlotte Friederike Schulz (age 29) on May 11 1867 in Labuhn. Carl and Wilhelmine Louise Ernestine Rix were married on December 12, 1867 in Langkafel. Johann Friedrich Wilhelm married Charlotte Caroline Knaspe, the widow of Friedrich Kahlenberg, in 1867. No ages were given and both were from Sellin, Kr. Greifenberg at the time.

Johann August David Maass was a shepherd (Schäfer).in Klein Kniephof when he married Wilhelmine Louise Henriette Christian on September 21, 1871 in Pagenkopf, Kr. Naugard. August and Louise, as they were commonly known, continued to live in Klein Kniephof, a tiny hamlet just a couple of miles east of Hohen Schönau. Their first child, Bertha Wilhelmine Johanne, was born there on July 13, 1872. When she was baptized on Sunday, August 11, 1872, Julius and Johanna Maass served as Godparents for their niece. Sometime before 1876, they moved to Pflugrade, a small village about 3 miles west of Hohen Schönau where their son Gustav was born. August apparently bought property there as Gustav's civil birth record lists August as an Eigenthumer or property owner. Later they moved again. In the years between 1879 and 1894, August and Louise lived in Langkafel where they apparently owned a small farm. In the Langkafel church records, August is listed as both an Eigenthumer and a Budner (small farmer). August's sister and brother-in-law, Johanna and Heinrich Lüdke lived nearby in the adjoining village of Zampelhagen. Both villages are in Kr. Naugard just 3 or 4 miles north of Hohen Schönau. August and Louise had five girls and three boys but three of the girls and one boy died in childhood. (See Pagel's descendants)

Julius married Emilie Köhler on November 13, 1873. Emilie, who was christened Luise Mathilde Emilie,was the daughter of Friedrich and Bertha Vogelmann Köhler. She was from Steinhofel, Kr. Saatzig, and Julius had been working as a shepherd's helper on a large estate (Gut) at Braunsforth, a village about 5 miles away. His occupation was noted in the Pagenkopf church register when he served as a baptismal sponsor for his niece, Bertha, in 1872. Julius and Emilie continued to live in Braunsforth after their marriage and Julius eventually became the head shepherd of the village (Dorf). Braunsforth was also in the county of Saatzig about 11 miles southeast of Hohen Schönau.

Johanne Ernestine, the youngest sister, married Heinrich Friedrich Albert Lüdke (age 28 ½) on September 28, 1874 in Hohen Schönau and they lived in the Langkafel and Zampelhagen area. Eight years later, on March 19, 1882, Johanne and Heinrich immigrated with their three children to the United States.

Eduard Franz Wilhelm, who went by the name Franz, spent 12 years in the military, first at Stettin, and then later at Haldern, Kr. Rees/Rheinland (NW of Essen on Germany's western border). There he met Luise Minna Marie Sass (b. 19 Sep 1861) and they were married on May 31, 1888. Three boys were born there, Richard, Julius (b. ca. 1889) and Fritz (b. 23 Nov 1890). Richard died as a child. Then about 1891 they moved to Potsdam where they had two more boys, Ernst (b. 11 Mar 1892) and Bernard who also died as a child. Prior to 1897 they moved to Berlin. Three more children were born in Berlin, Johanna (b.17 Jan1897), Else (b. 23 Jun 1901), and Georg (b. 1902). [click here for family photos] After Franz left the military, he became a customs officer in Haldern. In Potsdam, he collected the "Chausseesteuer" (road tax or tolls?) and in Berlin, he collected the "Brauereisteuer", a tax on beer. Franz died a month before his 52nd birthday on January 28, 1905 in Berlin; Luise died May 23, 1944 at age 82 in Birkenwerder, near Berlin.

Friederike lived nearly 30 years after her husband, David, died. On April 20, 1887, at the age of 76 years, 5 months, and 14 days, she passed away in Hohen Schönau . This was about five years after Johanna and Heinrich had gone to America, so Friederike never saw her daughter and son-in-law again after they left.

Julius and Emilie had nine children, eight of whom were born in Germany. Pauline Bertha, the oldest, was born on January 25, 1875 followed by Anna (b. September 26, 1876), Carl Julius Franz (b. November 19, 1878), Emma (b. March 02, 1881), Martha (b. June 06, 1883), August Bernhard Franz (b. August 23, 1885), Hedwig "Hattie" Elizabeth (b. November 03, 1887), and Franz Wilhelm Julius (b. March 15, 1890). Emma and Martha died in Braunsforth at the ages of four and two years in August 1885, the same month that August was born. I assume they are buried in the old German cemetery, which is located just southeast of the intersection of the village road and Hwy 145 (0.7 mi. south of the church). When I visited Braunsforth in May 2001, the cemetery was completely over-grown with weeds, brush and trees. The gravestones were piled up and broken and the iron crosses had been removed so no identification was possible.

In November 1892, Carl and Wilhelmine Maass immigrated to the United States and spent the first winter on a farm located about 3 miles north of Minnesota Lake, MN in the NW 1/4 of section 16 in Danville township, Blue Earth county. Three years later, Julius, Emilie and their six children immigrated to the United States. They sailed from Bremen, Germany on May 16, 1895 on the SS Oldenburg and arrived at the Port of Baltimore, MD on May 31. From there they traveled to Minnesota and settled near Minnesota Lake where his brother, Carl, was living. On March 28, 1896, their youngest child, William Ernest, was born in Waseca County.

Julius and Emilie lived in the Minnesota Lake area for about two years before moving to a farm in Johnsonville township, Redwood County, MN. 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 at the age of 66. He was buried in the Trinity Lutheran Church cemetery in Johnsonville Township. Emilie died nearly 20 years later at the age of 81 on March 21, 1932 and is buried next to Julius.

In 1903 Carl married Hermine "Minnie" Rieck and the young couple moved to Douglas county near Garfield, Minnesota where they began farming. The next year their first child, William, was born on July 17. A second son, Fritz Karl, was born February 7, 1906 but he died four months later with spinal bifida. He is buried in the Ebenezer Lutheran Church cemetery in Ida township, Douglas Co. The church is located at the junction of County Roads 5 and 6 and the cemetery is about one mile east of the church on County Road 5.

Marie, Margaret, and Emma were also born in Ida township before the family moved back to Redwood County in 1912. Walter arrived on April 4, 1913 after they returned to Walnut Grove. Two years later, another son christened Carl August Walter was born but died two months later.

In 1922,Carl, Minnie and their children, who now also included Otto, Herbert, Fred and Leona, left Minnesota and moved to Millarton, North Dakota where they purchased 320 acres for $12,800. The following year in November Carl bought a larger farm with nearly a section of land near Sydney, ND. The farmstead with its large, two-story, stone block house and the huge barn was located near the center of the West 1/2 of Sec 33, T138 R64 in Sydney township.

Although there were many happy memories of life on the farm, tragedy continued to strike the Carl Maas family. In February 1923, Margaret suddenly became ill and spent the next three months in Trinity Hospital. The illness, which years later was believed to be polio, left her handicapped all her life. Bill lost his right arm in an accident while working with a hoist on a construction project. In 1933, Otto died at age 15 from leukemia and six years later Herbert died at age 19 from a brain tumor.

In 1942 Carl and Minnie moved again, to a farm just six miles northwest of Jamestown, ND. This farm was two miles south of Walter's farm. Walter helped his dad farm the half section of land until 1948 when Carl and Minnie decided it was time to retire in Jamestown, North Dakota. They lived for awhile on Tenth Street SE and then moved for the last time in 1949 to 315 Fourth Avenue SE, Jamestown. Carl died on November 24, 1949. Minnie died 14 years later on February 24, 1964.

- Gene Maas
rev. 5 Dec 2019

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