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Esperke and Niederstocken

 
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roger.pape
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:56 pm    Post subject: Esperke and Niederstocken Reply with quote

Of the various German villages from which the early settlers of Concordia emigrated perhaps the best known is Esperke. Robert Frizzell's book, "Independent Immigrants", contains considerable information about the area. At the beginning of Loberta Runge's Frerking Family History there are several letters from Concordia area Frerkings describing their visits to Esperke.

As posted earlier, the very first settlers of the Concordia area were the Friedrich Dierking family, four of the Frerking brothers, Ferdinand and Charlotte Bruns, and Friedrich and Charlotte Niemeyer who were all related and living in Esperke. They traveled to the US as a group in 1837. After arriving in the US they first stopped in St. Louis where they purchased land in Freedom Township and finally settled in the Concordia area. [note. While Ferdinand Bruns purchased property in Freedom Township, he died in St. Louis before he could settle there.]

The village of Esperke is located in the province of Hanover along the Leine River eighteen miles NNW of the city of Hannover and sixty miles south of Bremen. According to Wikipedia, Esperke was first mentioned in the year 1268. Meyersgaziteer notes that it had a population of about 350 in the 1800's. Statistics indicate that the current population is 743.

An interesting structure in the village is the small Ev. Lutheran chapel. Because Esperke celebrated the 700th anniversary of this chapel recently https://www.translatetheweb.com/?from=&to=en&ref=SERP&dl=en&rr=UC&a=https%3a%2f%2fwww.myheimat.de%2fneustadt-am-ruebenberge%2fkultur%2f700-jahre-gotische-kapelle-in-esperke-d2638733.html, it was built in the early 1300's. The structure is of an architectural type known as brick gothic. This style was common in northern Germany during the twelfth through the fourteenth centuries. While baptisms, weddings, and funerals were held in this chapel, the records were not stored there. They were kept in another church in Niederstocken less than 2 miles west of Esperke across the Leine River. (see photo of that church below) So, someone researching the vital records for Esperke would find them in the Niederstocken church records.

Several recent photos of the chapel are shown below. (You can find more photos of the chapel at WikiMedia.) Several other pictures of the Esperke area are also posted below. The couple in the picture are Adolf and Hildegarde Niemeyer. Adolf's mother was a Frerking, apparently the same person that Raymond and Ruby Dean Frerking met on their trip to Germany see pg. 3 Loberta Runge's history. In several of the pictures you can see the inscriptions over the doorways of the homes. This is a typical custom in that area where the farm name and possibly some history about the farm were inscribed. Farms remained in the same family for many years. Retaining the family farm name was important to them. Farms would be referred to by the name over the doorway. In some cases, when a man without property married a woman who had inherited a farm he would change his surname to that of the family farm. See an example near the end of the posting of the Baumeister Family.
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