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Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Niermann (1799-1870)

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:59 pm    Post subject: Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Niermann (1799-1870) Reply with quote

One can sometimes find stories about their ancestors in some unexpected places. The following example is a narrative about Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Niermann, father of the Heinrich Ludwig Niermann (1830-1881) who came with his family to the Dunksburg area south of Concordia, MO in the fall of 1868. Heinrich, his wife Sophie, and oldest son William had immigrated to the U.S. on 16 Dec 1856 onboard the bark New Orleans and first lived in Madison County, IL.

Edwin Langewisch (originally from Sweet Springs, MO) was researching the Nierman(n) families and came across an interesting story in a German church’s centennial booklet. The booklet was entitled Festschrift zum 100. Kirchweihjubilaum der kirchengemeinde Isenstedt-Frothem (Commemorative publication of the 100th anniversary of the church dedication of the Isenstedt-Frotheim Church Parish). It was published in September 1980 and included the following [translated] narrative written by Friedrich Huefer, pastor of the Isenstedt-Frotheim Parish from 1949 to 1978:

During the reading of the old documents I encountered both in the report of the government of 1841 and again in the report of the President Jacobi from 1842 on the effectiveness of Karl Niermann about whom much was told in our district. According to the narrations of our old people, he took charge of the farmers quota of butter and eggs, put it in his large Kiepe (wicker basket backpack), and took it to the market in Minden, in order to sell it there. His honesty and sincerity are praised. In addition an old man, who had been born in 1857, told me the following occurence: If Niermann received more for his products in Minden than expected, then he fully disbursed this gain to his suppliers. For two of his occupation colleagues this honesty simply went too far. In order to cure him, they ambushed him in a lonely place and wanted to thoroughly flog him. Niermann struck neither of them in defense, nor did he try to flee, but advanced toward them fearlessly. He challenged them to hit him. He said to one that he would die within the next two years, and he announced to the other one that he would get curvature of the backbone in old age. Both predictions came true. The fearlessness of the old Niermann however impressed the rogues in such a way that they gave up their scheme and immediately took to their heels. What do the reports say about him? In the 1841 government report is found: 'over his character nothing unfavorable is reported.' Thus also his many opponents could not charge him with any offenses. What one had to criticise him however, comes from the following: 'the Häusler (cottager, landless laborer) Niermann leads the questionable meetings (note: referring to the Conventikel meetings) not only at his residence but in many neighbouring municipalities.' He is untiring in his efforts to provide the same to participants and followers, works for this reason on the detail, especially on the Kranke (sick or ill), whom he still wants to convert, and dedicates his whole time partly to such conversion work, partly Conventikel work. He tells, how first on 22 December 1838 that (the conversion work?) revealed itself to him! He is then reported still of some visions, which appeared to him. Also the report of the President Jacobi mentions him in different places and calls him a visionary, i.e. a man, who has visions. What happened to Niermann after 1842, nothing more can be determined from the official documents. According to the narrations he emigrated around 1850 to America with his relatives. Unfortunately the documents about the Niermann hearing can no longer be found in Lübbecke. Whether in it still more visions were specified, other than the report of the government has took over? However, it becomes clear from the reports: Karl Niermann led a different Conventikel and with express approval of Pastor Redeker in Gehlenbeck. If Jacobi calls him a visionary, then he engages it thereby into the number of the men and women, whom he gave again and again in our church. Were humans, who felt quite intimately connected with Jesus, who sank themselves again and again first of all in the suffering and dying. Thus it comes from the demand to look what they believe, to such a vision. These appearances are marked in Revelations by John, where also by the coming men, by the gathering strength of the disbelief (note: Rationalism) and by the battle of Armagedon (Revelations 16:16) it is reported. So Niermann is to have told much even of this last battle. In this connection also his visions belong over our church in Isenstedt. It is told: in the years between 1840 and 1850 Niermann heard organ sound and group singing and saw the new church in the place where our church is now. In the last large battle of Armagedon, this church should become the military hospital. In addition, nothing pointed at that time to the fact that this vision would be fulfilled, because in the place, which Niermann marked and at which our church now is, was a pond, in which one washed sheep before shearing. He is also to have indicated details about the ministers, who would be active at this church. So he said that the first minister would remain only some years, who would remain second for a long time and would bring several lawsuits. Both forecasts arrived. But already the excessive quantity of his predictions about the third minister of our parish cannot be determined exactly. He said now: "with the third minister (i.e. into our parish) the disbelief comes on the pulpit." or: "with the third minister the disbelief comes on the pulpits" (i.e. during the term of office of the third minister of our parish on some of the pulpits one will preach disbelief). Now: in our parish the disbelief did not come with the third minister (my predecesor, minister Johannes Reinecke, 1928-1949) on the pulpit of our church; but at many places the disbelief came on the pulpit, because ministers do not separate any more the gospel from the nationalist ideology (note: German nationalism as promoted by the Nazis) preached from the pulpit. In summary, we can determine: even if religious life were again "erblueht" (?), even if this prophecy of the old Niermann were true, then no one thought it would be fulfilled.

As noted in the narrative, Karl did emigrate from Germany to the U.S but it is not clear if he came with his son Heinrich in 1856. There is an unidentified older male Niermann in the passenger list for that voyage listed as “Wilh.”, age 52. He may have been using his third christened name at that time, but the age is off by about five years (although that is not unusual in passenger lists). On 28 Oct 1865, a 16 year old Carl Niermann from Isenstedt arrived in New Orleans onboard the ship Johann Kepler. That is a good match for Karl Friedrich Wilhelm’s youngest son to Karl Sr’s second wife, i.e. Heinrich Ludwig’s half-brother.. There was also a 65 year old Carl Niermann from Isenstedt who arrived onboard the ship Hermann on 10 Sep 1866. (Could that have been Karl Sr ?) Whenever he did arrive, the 1870 Madison County, Illinois census records (dated 29 Aug 1870) show a 71 year old “Charles” Niermann living with his 20 year old son “Charles” and next door to 27 year old Ernst Niermann. However, his entry appears to have been partially erased. The two younger men are a good match to Karl Friedrich Wilhelm’s two youngest sons.

Other research indicates that Karl Sr. died on 25 Aug 1870 in Worden, Madison Co. IL. [Note. This is four days before the census records were dated which may explain the erasure.] Karl Jr. (or Charles) subsequently moved to the Concordia, MO area where he married Anna Margaretha Borchers on 29 Jul 1874 in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. They subsequently moved to Polk County Nebraska when Karl Jr. died on 15 Apr 1915.
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