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Dierking, Frerking, Bruns, Niemeyer Connections (copy)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:41 pm    Post subject: Dierking, Frerking, Bruns, Niemeyer Connections (copy) Reply with quote

The 1837 voyage of the sailing ship Burmah was a pivotal event in the history of Concordia, MO. As noted in Frizzell’s book Independent Immigrants and a number of postings on this website, five of the pioneer families in the Concordia area came to the U.S. on that ship. The passenger list included the Friedrich Dierking family, four of the Frerking brothers (Henry, William, Louis, and Adolph), Frederick Niemeyer and his wife, Ferdinand Bruns and his wife, and Conrad Stuenkel. The first four families were closely related back in Esperke, Germany. Friedrich Dierking’s mother was a Frerking. So the Frerking brothers were his nephews. Both the Niemeyer and Bruns wives were Dierkings. Conrad Stuenkel was from the neighboring village of Metel, but no direct connections to the other families have been established. However, the mother of Conrad’s wife Marie Gerberding was a Bruns.

After arriving in New York City on Sept. 29, 1837, they all made their way to Missouri, initially staying in St. Louis, but almost all of them continued on to Lafayette County eventually. According to Frizzell, Friedrich Dierking appears to be the first of the group to settle in the Concordia area. He was attracted to the area after striking up a friendship with Dick Mulkey in St. Louis and returned with Mulkey to visit Lafayette County in late 1838. Friedrich decided to buy a large amount property in the southeast part of the county during early Nov. 1838 and probably moved his family there the following spring.

The next Hanoverian immigrant to move into the area was Christian Oetting. He purchased several plots of land during the middle of July 1839. He was not one of the Burmah passengers but probably was acquainted with Dierking, who may have influenced him to move to Lafayette County also.

Others in the group continued to work in St. Louis for a while, but were also interested in following Friedrich Dierking. Some of this story can be pieced together from a somewhat unusual source. That can be found in the probate records of St. Louis, posted on-line at Frederick Niemeyer apparently died early in 1840. Scanned images of the microfilm records of the pages in a folder containing his probate records were downloaded and can be found in the following file: Niemeyer Probate Records (4.4Mb).

One interesting thing to note is that the administrator of the estate was William Frerking (christened Georg Wilhelm), one of the Frerking boys on the Burmah voyage. I had previously found a record indicating that William Frerking was married to a Niemeyer widow on July 1, 1840 by George Wendelin Wall, pastor of Holy Ghost German Protestant Church, St. Louis, MO. See the clip below. [Sidenote. Conrad Stuenkel and Marie Gerberding were married in the same church by the same pastor earlier that year. Conrad came to St. Louis but then worked on a farm in southern Illinois for several years before returning to marry Marie on February 15, 1840. They soon moved to Lafayette County where Conrad began buying property in the immediate area of Concordia , starting in June 1840.]

The last page of the attached probate papers clarifies the relationship. See the second figure below. It states that the heirs of the estate are “Wilhelmina – his widow now the wife of William Frerking – and Mary Niemeyer, child of said deceased both of whom reside in the county of Saint Louis.” In William Frerking’s marriage record, the bride is named as “Mrs. Wilhelmine Niemeyer nee Dierking”. Frederick’s wife was named Charlotte in the ship’s passenger list but she must have switched given names, not uncommon at that time. Several documents list doctor bills; one for child of the deceased and another appears to be the same doctor bill identifying her as Marie Niemeyer. Since no child was listed in the Burmah passenger list, Marie must have been born in St. Louis. In the 1850 census, after the Frerking family had moved to Lafayette Co., they are listed as William Frerking age 36 M, William [sic] age 36 F, and Mary age 10 F, along with two younger children Charlott age 8 and Henry age 7. (In that same census there was a 13 year old William Frerking, born in Germany, living next door with Frederich Dierking.)

The inventory in the probate papers provides some insight into their lives in St. Louis. It lists a number of wood-working tools, so Frederick must have been working as a carpenter/woodworker in St. Louis. (Note that Ferdinand Bruns was also a carpenter, based on the occupation he had declared on the Burmah manifest.). The inventory also lists the three parcels of land in Lafayette Co. that Frederick had purchased in the year before he died. So, while Frederick had purchased land in Lafayette Co., he did not live long enough to move there. The 1877 plat map for Lafayette Co. shows that land belonging to William Frerking.

The probate papers also list other close relationships among the group that immigrated on the Burmah. Frederick Niemeyer and Ferdinand Bruns appear to have jointly loaned money to Adolphus Kehr. There is a bill for the lawyer’s fee for a joint suit with Ferd. Bruns to recover the loan from the Kehr estate. Frederick’s portion of the principal of the loan was $350. This amount plus interest is including in the evaluation of Frederick’s estate. The loan would suggest that the two were either well-off when they arrived in America or had earned enough money while working in St. Louis. Part of the suit involved a lien covering labor expenses for a grist mill Frederick and Ferdinand built on the Kehr farm outside St. Louis.

The land patent records indicate that the first parcel of land that Frederick Niemeyer bought was directly north of Ferdinand Bruns’ parcel. Frederick’s purchase was filed two days before Ferdinand’s. So it is quite possible that the two of them traveled to Lafayette Co. together to look at the land and make their purchases.

Ferdinand did not appear to move his family from St. Louis immediately. The 1840 records for Lafayette County contain only three familiar names, i.e. Friedrich Dierking, Conrad Stuenkel, and Henry Bruns (note the given name Henry rather than Ferdinand). Henry (christened Johann Heinrich) is assumed to be related to Ferdinand. He arrived in the Concordia area early in 1840 and began buying a lot of land east and north of the property owned by Ferdinand and that of Friedrich Dierking, but close to Conrad Stuenkel. Later in 1840, the elusive Friedrich Frerking, oldest of the Frerking brothers (but not on the Burmah), appears in the area buying land just east of present day Concordia at the same time as Conrad Stuenkel.

William Frerking and his other brothers remained in St. Louis for some time. William spent five years settling the Niemeyer estate. After that, he and his family moved to Lafayette Co. where he bought considerably more land in addition to that inherited by his wife. The trace of Juergen Heinrich (Henry?) Frerking is lost. According to the 1850 census, Heinrich Ludewig (a.k.a. Louis), still single, had moved in with his brother Friedrich but had headed out as a “gold hunter”, dying on the journey to California. The rest of the Frerking family had arrived in the U.S. via the ship Geo Washington on Nov. 24, 1845. After a stay in St. Louis for a while, the remainder of them eventually moved to Concordia in the late 1840s and early 50s. Adolph (youngest of the Burmah group) married Anna Maria Baumeister at Immanuel Lutheran Church in downtown St. Louis on Sept. 26, 1848 after which they moved to a farm west of Concordia. Another brother Otto Georg (a.k.a. Scharze), one of the later group immigrating to the U.S., was also married at Trinity, St. Louis, about that time and later remarried at Immanuel in the spring of 1851 before joining the rest of the family.

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