A HisTORY of the First Three Generations of the Kroschel family

In Prussia and North America
1804 to Present




Thomas G. Mortenson

Springfield, Illinois

March 1984



I have traced the origins of the Kroschel Family since 1959 when a high school teacher assigned a family history project to my American Studies class. A second set of notes that I prepared in 1973 as a Kroschel Family chronology is now so outdated and incomplete that this history must replace it.

This study has led me to travel since 1973 through Minnesota to Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota, Oregon, Georgia and Poland in search of records on the early origins of the Kroschel family. Along the way, many family members have assisted me with information, records, photographs, recollections, and even the family Bible. The four who helped me most were my grandmother, Ida (Kroschel) Mortenson, Dora (Schlafle) Kroschel, Herman Radloff, and Edith (Sperling) Wold. But in another sense, these travels have brought me to places and introduced me to people I would not otherwise have met -people whose hospitality and good will all encouraged me to search more. I owe them all thanks, and hope that this record will stand as my expression of appreciation for their kind and generous assistance.

No family as prolific as the Kroschels have been in America can ever be fully documented. Three parents produced twelve children who in turn had at least 68 children themselves. This family history will serve the descendants of Samuel, Wilhermine and Caroline Kroschel best as a record of the first three generations of the family in the United States, with a fourth generation of the grandchildren of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel somewhat more detailed. The continuing record of the Kroschels in America will require further documentation by family members scattered from coast to coast in both the United States and Canada. I hope that this history will get them started. There is another Kroschel family in the United States besides ours, and many other families with names spelled similarly to ours. All of these families have as their origin that region of Europe between what we now know as the Netherlands, across northern West and East Germany, into western Poland. At the time these families left Europe, this was largely the province of Brandenburg in Prussia.

The first section focuses on our Kroschel Family in the Province of Brandenburg, Prussia, and especially the lives and family of Samuel, Wilhelmiene and Caroline Kroschel in Brandenburg and their emigration to America in 1871. The remaining sections of this paper are devoted to recording the lives of the eight children of Samuel Kroschel who survived to adulthood and emigrated to America, and the lives of the thirteen children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel. The final section reports on the other Kroschel family of Gustav Kroschel that came to America from Berlin in 1882 or 1883.


Thomas G. Mortenson

Editor’s Notes

I converted the original document in order to provide a history that is transportable electronicaly.  Mr. Mortenson’s work is a great piece of genealogical research that should survive longer than the copies scattered amongst family members all over the United States.

Being impatient and unwilling to type a small book, I scanned it using Readiris Pro6.  I used Word 2000 to format the document and Paint Shop Pro7 for image manipulation.  I included only a few of the images from the original.  I do not possess the skill or equipment to properly include them (without terrible degradation) when converted to a pdf file.  The main problem is the moiré that is generated when printed photos are scanned. I do plan on making them available on the Web or on CD.        

The authors index is more extensive than the one I generated.  I choose to scale it down a bit.  At the time it substituted for a database index that included both married and maiden surnames.  There were a few ‘typos’ I corrected a chapter V was mislabeled.  It was my intent to convert not plagiarize or co-author. 

I have input all family members using the LDS Personal Ancestry File program.   This database is the accepted standard for maintaining a family history.  The PAF application is available free on the Web, and so is the gedcom file (.ged)  of this family.  With the table of contents and index, it should be fairly easy to locate individuals.  In addition to a substantial amount of data, Mortenson’s work provides wonderful anecdotal evidence that brings life to history.    


Christopher Kroschel

October 27, 2001

Yuba City, CA USA





Table of Contents

Background. 2

Editor’s Notes. 3

Table of Contents. 4

List of figures. 6

List of Tables. 6

I.         PRUSSIA IN THE 1800'S. 8






Notes on the Children of Theodor and Emilie (Kroschel) Ulm.. 26






The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 45

Notes of the Children of August and Hulda (Busse) Kroschel 46


The Children of Herman and Louise (Schroeder) Kroschel) 47

Notes on the children of Herman and Martha Kroschel -". 48


The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 49

Notes of the Children of Gust and Ida (Schmidt) Kroschel 49


The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 51


The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 52

Notes of the Children of Frank and Ida (Kroschel) Mortenson. 52


The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 53

Notes of the Children of Louis and Tillie (Bloemendal) Kroschel 53


The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 54

Notes on the Children of Ben and Ella Kroschel 54


The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 55

Notes on the Children of John and Milly (Kroschel) Leppink. 57


The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 58


The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 59

Notes of the Children of Emil and Julia (Mullen) Kroschel 59


The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 60

Notes on the Son of Wilhelm Henry and Martha (Kroschel) Fischer. 60


The Children and Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 61

Notes of the Children of Addie and Dora (Schlafle) Kroschel 61


The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 62

Notes on the Son of Jerry and Marie (Kroschel) Dufeck. 62



List of figures

Number                                                                                                              Page

Figure 1:  Samuel and Caroline (Gentsch) Kroschel Samuel was born February 4, 1804, in Brandenburg Province, Prussia. Caroline Gentsch was born March 3, 1815, in Brandenburg Province, Prussia. They were married in July of 1833, and emigrated to America in 1871. 11

Figure 2: This roadside marker in Jonesville, VA, is the only reminder of the battle that took place there on January 3, 1864.  This was the battle in which Louis Kroschel was captured by the Confederate Army.  He was imprisoned at Richmond, VA, on January 16, and sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia on March 8, 1864. 32

Figure 3: Herman Kroschel's birth record, dated August 18, 1871, at Gurkow.. 41

Figure 4:  John and Milly (Kroschel) Leppink both died at Helena, Montana. John died June 26, 1979, and Milly died September 14, 1979. Both are buried at Helena. 56

Figure 5:  Fritz Kroschel 58

Figure 6:  Wilhelm Fischer & Martha Kroschel 60

 List of Tables

Number                                                                                                              Page

Table 1: Caroline's Bible. 12

Table 2: Children of Wilhelmiene and August Samuel Sperling. 16

Table 3: Notes on the Children of August Samuel and Wilhelmiene (Kroschel) Sperling. 17

Table 4: Children of Auguste Kroschel & Friedrich Gehrke. 18

Table 5: Friedrich & Auguste (Kroschel) 1880 Census Sleepy Eye MN. 19

Table 6: According to the 1887-1888 Minneapolis City Directory, the following were living at 1321 N. Washington: 19

Table 7: The 1888-1889 Minneapolis City Directory identifies the following family members living at 1319 N. Washington: 20

Table 8: The 1889-1890 Minneapolis City Directory identifies the following family members living at 1402 N. Second: 20

Table 9: Notes on the Children of August and Louisa (Zermanskie) Kroschel 23

Table 10: The couple lived at Watertown from 1861 until 1867. While living here the first of their children were born: 25

Table 11: The 1870 Census for Columbus records the family as follows: 25

Table 12: While living at Columbus, the couple had four more children, all recorded in the German Methodist Church records there: 26

Table 13:  The 1880 Census for Home Township, Brown County, Minnesota, records the family (Wilhelm and Auguste (Speckman) Kroschel) as follows: 36

Table 14: Notes on the Children (Wilhelm Kroschel /Auguste Speckman. 37

Table 15:The couple (John Gehrke & Henriette Kroschel) farmed at Columbus, Wisconsin, until about 1876. While at Columbus, they had at least three children: 38

Table 16: Notes on the Children (John Gehrke & Henriette Kroschel) 39

Table 17 While living in Brown County, thirteen children were born to Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel: 43

Table 18: The 1880 Census for Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, records the family as follows: 43

Table 19: The 1895 Census for Milford Township records the family as follows: 44

Table 20:  To August and Albertina Kroschel were born 12 children: 45

Table 21: The Children of Herman and Louise (Schroeder) Kroschel) 47

Table 22:  The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 55

Table 23:  The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 59




                                                                                                                                                             I.      PRUSSIA IN THE 1800'S

Without a written record of their lives in Prussia and reasons for emigrating to the United States, the descendants of Samuel Kroschel and the Gentsch sisters can never be certain what caused our ancestors to leave their homeland for the American frontier. Oral tradition passed down within the family relates that Samuel Kroschel did not like Prussian militarism and did not want his sons to serve in the Prussian army. This was a commonly held view among Prussian emigrants. The following very brief survey of conditions in Prussia before and during the time of this family's emigration to America suggest the basis for this story.

German history during the late eighteenth and all of the nineteenth centuries was dominated by Prussia. During this period Germany was a fragmented set of principalities and kingdoms, influenced and controlled by Austria, France and other powers of the era. Wars and treaties governed political alliances, and these alliances ebbed and flowed with events. But the first half of the 1800's were a period of relative stability.

By the 1850'S, however, a sense of German nationalism came to prevail within the German states, and increasingly Prussia took the lead in guiding internal and external events toward a unified German state. By 1800 universal military service was inaugurated among other political reforms. (By 1861 the Kroschels had begun leaving Brandenburg Province in Prussia for America.)

Between 1864 and 1866 Prussia collaborated with Austria in a war with Denmark over the Danish annexation of two provinces on the Danish-Prussian border, and quickly defeated Denmark. In 1866 Prussia initiated war with Austria over rule of these provinces, and by July of 1866 had defeated Austria. In 1867 the North German Confederation was established under the Prussian king with Otto von Bismarck as chancellor.

In July of 1870 Bismarck initiated war with France, captured Napoleon in September of 1870, and by January of 1871 the Prussian Army captured Paris. Wilhelm I was crowned emperor of all Germany, now adding the southern German states to the North German confederation, and thus creating the Second Reich. This was to endure until World War I.

The Kroschels emigrated from Prussia to Wisconsin first in 1861, then again about 1865, again in 1868, and lastly in August of 1871. Their emigration at the time of the creation of modern Germany through wars with Denmark, Austria and France lends support to the oral family tradition that they left to escape Prussian militarism and conscription of the sons into the Prussian army.

The Kroschels were not at all unique in their motivation for emigration from Prussia at this time. Twice in this family history one will read of related families -the Gehrkes and the Kroschels of Chicago -that left about the same time for the same reasons. Again, records are mostly oral family tradition, but the same story appears often enough in different families to lead one to believe it was important to the Prussians of the 1860-1880 era.

 Prussian emigration to America was facilitated by the number of Prussian families participating in the migration. There may have been some reverse migration back to Prussia as well. The family names in Columbus, Wisconsin, church records from Altenfliess include the Schroeders, Sperlings, Lasse, as well as the numerous Kroschel family members.

The communities where the Kroschels settled in Wisconsin and Minnesota all had substantial Prussian populations. Watertown and Columbus, Wisconsin, had German churches and Kroschel daughters married other Prussians there. In the 1868-1871 resettlement to Brown County, Minnesota, the Kroschels chose a community that had been established by Germans and there where German language newspapers. German was undoubtedly the language of the home, and the children probably learned English at school.

The final break with German origins appears to have occurred about World War I. At that time, the immigrants largely became naturalized U. S. citizens. Few descendants survive today who can recall the native German tongue spoken at home.

                                                                                                    II.      SAMUEL KROSCHEL AND THE GENTSCH SISTERS

The progenitors of the Kroschel family in America around whom this family history has been written were Samuel Kroschel and his two wives, the sisters Wilhelmiene and Caroline Gentsch. The Kroschels and the Gentschs were prosperous Prussian farmers who lived in the Province of Brandenburg, now a part of Poland. Samuel Kroschel first married Wilhelmiene Gentsch before 1830. She died in childbirth in 1830. Samuel then waited three years, and in 1833 married Wilhelmiene's sister Caroline. Samuel and Caroline had eleven children, and then followed their seven surviving children to America in 1871 settling in Wisconsin. Samuel Kroschel died there in 1875. Caroline, his widow followed her sons to Minnesota where she died in 1910 and is buried at Kroschel, Minnesota. The chronology of their lives follows.

Johan Samuel August Kroschel was born February 4, 1804, place unrecorded. August Kroschel, Herman Kroschel's eldest son reportedly said Samuel was born in France, but there exists no record of any French association elsewhere in the family. The Kroschel name has been recognized by Germans as being from northern Germany. His birth date is from Caroline (Gentsch) Kroschel's Bible, and coincides with his age inscribed on his gravestone at Columbus, Wisconsin. However, when Samuel obtained permission to leave Prussia in August 1871, his age was recorded as 58. This would indicate a birth date in 1812 or 1813. Samuel age's was recorded as 60 on the ship's passenger list when he arrived at New York in October of 1871. This indicates his year of birth as either 1814 or 1815. The author tends to believe that Caroline recorded her husband's birth date more accurately than did these other recorders.

Wilhelmiene Gentsch was the first wife of Samuel Kroschel. When she married Samuel Kroschel is not known. However, she died in giving birth to their daughter in 1830, at Altenfliess. Their daughter was:

1.      Wilhelmiene Kroschel, born June 30, 1830

One family oral tradition is that Samuel Kroschel waited three years for Wilhelmiene's younger sister Caroline to reach age 18. Then, in July of 1833, Samuel married Caroline Gentsch, younger sister of Wilhelmiene. Hanne Karoline Christine Gentsch was born March 3, 1815, place uncertain. One family tradition relates that she was born in Altenfliess, Brandenburg Province, Prussia, where the couple lived. However, the 1895 Minnesota Census for Milford Township, Brown County, indicates that she was born in Braunschweig. Her obituary indicates that she was born in Brandenburg Province. Her death certificate records her father as Fred Gentsch.






Figure 1:  Samuel and Caroline (Gentsch) Kroschel Samuel was born February 4, 1804, in Brandenburg Province, Prussia. Caroline Gentsch was born March 3, 1815, in Brandenburg Province, Prussia. They were married in July of 1833, and emigrated to America in 1871.


Samuel Kroschel and Caroline Gentsch were married in July 1833, place unrecorded, but almost certainly Altenfliess. Precisely where the couple originated and lived is not known, except that the birth records for their youngest son, Herman Kroschel., who was born in 1855, were kept at Gurkow.

The family lived at Altenfliess, Friedeberg County, and Brandenburg Province, Prussia. However, a birth record for a son born in 1843 indicates place of birth was Saxony, a region located south of Berlin. A birth record for a daughter born in 1850 indicates place of birth as Wuckensee which was a small village located about 10 miles northwest of Altenfliess. Most records for the children of Samuel and Caroline in the United States indicate all emigrated from Altenfliess. The frequent migration of the Kroschel children about the United States may have been behavior learned from the parents in Prussia.

To Samuel and Caroline (Gentsch) Kroschel were born eleven children, seven of whom reached adulthood and eventually emigrated to America. The children who had died by the time the parents emigrated from Prussia were marked with a "+" in Caroline's handwriting in her Bible printed in Berlin in 1871, and are so marked here:


Table 1: Caroline's Bible


Johanna Caroline Auguste Kroschel, born January 24, 1835


Johan Samuel August Kroschel, born October 12, 1836


Emilie Kroschel, born July 5, 1839


Johan Karl Ludwig Kroschel, born August 10, 1841


Johan Friedrick Wilhelm Kroschel, born October 1, 1843

+ 6. 

Ernst Carl (Kardel) Kroschel, born June 1, 1846

++7 and 8.

 (Twins) Louise and Heinriette Kroschel, born April 15, 1848


Heinriette Kroschel, born June 11, 1850

+ 10

+ 10. Caroline Kroschel, born June 14, 1852


Johann Friedrich Herman Kroschel, born January 15, 1855


Several stories have been passed down through the family concerning the life of Samuel Kroschel in Altenfliess. The first is that Samuel Kroschel was a forester. The second is that he cared for the king's horses on his farm. He had a large barn, and the barn was full of horses. The horses were apparently kept for use by soldiers and had to be ready for their immediate use. A third story is that the roads through his farm were paved with stone. A fourth. story is that he built a large house with three floors with the third floor used to house a seamstress employed full time to keep the family in clothing. A fifth story is that when he built his new, large house, he was asked why not let the poor use it. Samuel reportedly replied that he did not want the poor around. As a result of a trip to Altenfliess by the author in 1975, all of these stories could be true, but no records survive to confirm any of them.

Altenfliess is now called Przyleg (pronounced Shay'-wenk) in Polish, and is located in western Poland about 50 miles northeast of Frankfurt (on the Oder River) which is now located in East Germany. During the author's three-day visit to the region in 1975, I stayed at Gorzow Wklp., about 15 miles from Przyleg, and traveled to the town by bus.

Przyleg is now clearly in a state of neglect as the railroad line through the region runs through nearby Gurkow (now called Gorki). It has perhaps a few hundred residents remaining. They are all Polish settlers brought in after World War II to resettle the region after the Germans were expelled and sent into either East or West Germany. The town is surrounded by a large forest of what we know as Scotch pine that grow like our Norway pine in Minnesota. The soil is sandy and does not appear to be well suited to agriculture. The forest is populated with deer and wild boar. The forest is carefully managed in the sophisticated tradition of European forestry, with advanced clear-cutting and reforestation practices evident everywhere I went. Judged by markings on the trees, turpentine was also produced in the forest, and there was a barrel manufacturing plant in Altenfliess.

The name Altenfliess means old flowage, and indeed a small creek went through the town. The barrel plant was located on this creek, and an impoundment provided a reservoir in which the barrels were soaked after manufacture. I was told the barrels were used to pack pickles for shipment to the Soviet Union.

The houses in Altenfliess predated Polish resettlement, and were all old German multistoried farmhouses clustered along a main street of cobblestone, many with barnyards and barns behind the houses. Most were three stories high. Any of these houses could have been the one occupied by the Kroschel family in the 1850's and 1860's. Most houses had gardens in the back yard, and a complaint heard on the 1975 visit was that a family of wild hogs had taken a taste for the garden produce. The gardens were well fenced, but the family of wild hogs would invade the gardens at night to root about the gardens. Tracks of wild hogs in the nearby forest were evidence of their presence, and I stayed with a Polish veterinarian in nearby Gorzow Wklp. who owned guns and hunted deer and boar in the forests of the region.

Altenfliess' main street of cobblestone predated the Polish resettlement, and in fact no one I talked with knew anything of the history of the town prior to World War II. Until the people realized that I was an American and not a German, they were reluctant to speak with me. (I knew only German, and that not well.) When they realized I was American, they became friendly and invited me into their homes. However, no one knew much of the town's history.

There were two old cemeteries in Altenfliess, one primarily Polish and fairly recent. The other was German. It had been deliberately destroyed by the Polish government in its attempts to eradicate the German record in the region. The gravestones had been smashed and tipped over, and most had been dumped into a depression in the middle of the cemetery. The cemetery was overgrown with brush and vines. I crawled around this cemetery for some time, reassembling where possible smashed German gravestones and finding a few upright and intact buried deep in the brush overgrowth. I found no Kroschel gravestones, such as for the four children of Samuel and Caroline who died in childhood. However, having constructed a fairly complete record of the families that the Kroschel children married, I did recognize a few family names on the surviving gravestones that represent relatives by marriage.

The church in Altenfliess was permanently closed, so I walked the few miles to Gurkow where the Kroschel family records were kept in 1871 when the parents followed their children to America. There, I talked to the Catholic priest who said he knew of no Protestant church records in the area from before World War II. From genealogical experience in East Germany, I believe such records were removed from the region, perhaps to West Germany (cathedral at Ratzeburg?) at the end of World War II. They may have been destroyed in the War, or they may be preserved somewhere in the West. This remains a line of inquiry to pursue at another time, perhaps with the help of the extensive Mormon Church records available for family history research.

The European origins of the Kroschel family remain to be more fully researched and documented.

Another family story was that each child of Samuel and Caroline Kroschel was given $1000 at the time of their marriage. This applied to the children from both sisters, mentioned below, as well.

Beginning in 1861, the Kroschel family children began emigrating to America. August Kroschel received a trip for himself and wife as a wedding present following his wedding on December 30, 1860. Perhaps this was paid for with his father's wedding gift. It appears that his sister Emilie accompanied August and his wife at that time and that they went directly to Wisconsin. In 1861 Louis Kroschel emigrated to Texas with a friend named Klaus. About 1865 Friedrich and Auguste (Kroschel) Gehrke emigrated from Prussia to Wisconsin. In 1868 Wilhelm took his wife and son to America, and he probably took his sister Henriette with him at that time. Finally in 1871 Samuel and Caroline, their youngest son Herman, and their grandson, August Sperling, departed for America.

(Note: The Prussian exit document for August Sperling, dated September 8, 1871, at Frankfurt, similar to the document for Samuel Kroschel, survives and has been handed down through the Kroschel family. This document was recently conveyed to Ethel Sperling Wold, daughter of August Sperling, who lives at Lake Oswego, Oregon.)

The motivation for the Kroschel family to leave Prussia is not completely clear. The major reason, according to a story passed down in the family, was to avoid conscription of the Kroschel sons into the Prussian military. (This motivation to emigrate to avoid military service appears again twice in this family history in two other Prussian families that emigrated to the United States about the same time.) Why the daughters also left, however, is not recorded.

In any case, in mid-August of 1871, Herman Kroschel obtained his birth record from the church at Gurkow. On August 31 Samuel Kroschel obtained the required exit document for his family at Frankfurt (on the Oder River). That document survives and has been passed down through the family. A copy appears on page 14 of this Kroschel family history. Translated, it states:

Frankfurt on the Oder River

August 31,1871

It is hereby acknowledged by the undersigned royal government that the farmer Samuel August Kroschel from Altenfliess, County Friedeberg, 58 years of age on his petition for his emigration to North America with his wife Hanne Karoline Christine, born Gentsch, 56 years old, and his minor son Johann Friedrich Hermann, born 15th January 1855, is released from the Prussian citizenship. This certificate of release means for the above named persons therein the loss of the Prussian citizenship from this point on; however this is void if the released does not take residency outside the Federation or obtains the citizenship of a different state within six months counted from the day of this certificate. (This is based on paragraph 18 of the law on the acquisition and the loss of federal and state citizenship of the first of June 1870, state law page 355.)

Royal Prussian Government

Department of the Interior

The similar Sperling document is dated September 8, 1871, suggesting that the Kroschels had not left Frankfurt until at least that date.

On October 5, 1871, Samuel and Caroline, their son Herman, and the grandson August Sperling arrived at New York aboard the ship S. S. Silesia from Hamburg. From there they probably traveled directly to Columbus, Wisconsin, where they joined their three daughters. (Louis Kroschel had died in the Civil War in Georgia in 1864.)

Samuel and Caroline lived in Columbus, Wisconsin, near their three married daughters. There, in March of 1872, Samuel Kroschel purchased six lots on the bank of the Crawfish River, on the north side of Columbus, for $600. Samuel and Caroline initiated a series of claims against the U. S. government in 1874 as a result of the death of their son Louis Kroschel in 1864 during the Civil War. The first claim was for back pay, during the period between his capture and death, and for which they received $265.59. The second claim was for the enlistment bounty, about which no resolution is recorded. The document containing the claim is the only known signature for Samuel Kroschel, his "x" indicating that he was illiterate. The handsome signature for Caroline reveals she was the one who so carefully chronicled family births and marriages in the Kroschel Family Bible.

There, on May 3, 1875, Samuel Kroschel died. His obituary, from the Columbus Democrat of May 8, reads as follows:


Mr. Samuel Kroschel, a German well advanced in years, died on Monday of this week and was buried on Wednesday. He was afflicted with asthma, and fell into a deep sleep from which he never awoke. Theodor Ulm, Frederick Gehrke and Daniel Gehrke were sons-in-law.

He was buried in Hillside Cemetery at Columbus, where his gravestone may still be seen today. (The stone is now flush with the ground.)

Caroline later moved on to Brown County, Minnesota, where she lived with her son Herman. In 1888, Caroline petitioned for and received a widowed mother's pension as a result of the death of her son Louis in the Civil War in 1864. She received $12 per month thereafter until her death.

Caroline again moved with her son Herman and his family to Kanabec County, Minnesota, in 1900. A few family recollections of her from this period was that she sat next to the stove to keep warm. She wove willow baskets, samples of which survived until recently at the Kroschel farm. One great grandson remembered getting swatted when he failed to obey her request.

Caroline Kroschel remained with her son at Kroschel, Minnesota, where she died December 24, 1910. She was buried in the cemetery at St. John's Church, Kroschel, Minnesota. Her obituary reads as follows:


At the home of her youngest son, Herman Kroschel Sr., Mrs. Caroline Kroschel, the oldest resident of either pine or Kanabec counties, passed away last Saturday morning of old age. Her end carne peacefully and without any suffering and came so peacefully that the family eating breakfast in the next room knew nothing of it. She had been visited by Mrs. Kroschel but a few minutes before and was apparently all right and had slept well during the night. She had been confined to her bed for some time because of the gradual wasting of her strength because of her extreme age, although she had sat up for a short time the day previous to her death.

The funeral was held in the German Lutheran church at Kroschel and was attended by large numbers of sorrowing friends and relatives, Rev Mueller officiating.

Mrs. Kroschel was a beautiful Christian character, a loving mother, and had always been held in high esteem by all those who knew her. She was born in Brandenburg province, Germany, March 3, 1815, and was 95 years and 9 months old at the time of her death. She has been a widow for the last 36 years her husband dying at Columbus, Wis. She was the mother of eleven children, but four of whom survive her.

Just before her death she received an invitation from her son in Oregon to attend his golden wedding anniversary on December 30. Another of her sons served in the civil war, was taken prisoner, and died after 18 months of southern torture. Because of this she has drawn a pension of $12 per month.

Those present from out of town to attend the funeral were William and August Kroschel, of Sleepy Eye, son and grandson respectively, W. Gehrke, grandson from Morgan, Minn., and Mr. and Mrs. Ben Kroschel of Woodlake, Minn.

                                                                                                                     III.      WILHELMIENE (KROSCHEL) SPERLING

Wilhelmiene Kroschel, the only child of Samuel and Wilhelmiene (Gentsch) Kroschel, was born June 18, 1839, at Altenfliess, Brandenburg Province, Prussia. Her mother died at birth. Although little is known of her life in Prussia, as the eldest daughter in what would become a large family eventually, one can imagine that she played an important role in the Kroschel family.

In 1833 Samuel Kroschel married Wilhelmiene's aunt, Caroline Gentsch. Half-siblings/half-cousins began arriving in 1835.

Wilhelmiene married August Samuel Sperling who was also from Altenfliess. Although the date of their marriage is not recorded, quite likely it occurred about 1848 when she reached age 18. To this couple were born seven children:


Table 2: Children of Wilhelmiene and August Samuel Sperling

1.      Ernst Karl August Sperling, born January 8, 1858

2.      Amelia Sperling

3.      Herman Sperling

4.      Wilhelm Sperling

5.      Anna Antonia Augusta Sperling

6.      Louise Sperling

7.      Mine Sperling


According to family tradition, August Samuel Sperling was killed while a soldier serving in the Prussian Army while fighting France. This would have occurred in 1879 as Prussia was engaged in war with France from July of 1879 until January of 1871 when Paris fell. Apparently the Sperling family was partly broken up at this time as August Ernst Sperling came to America with his grandfather, step grandmother and cousin in October of 1871. His name appears on the ship's passenger list for the S.S. Silesia when it arrived in New York on October 5. According to Sperling family tradition Wilhelmiene (Kroschel) Sperling then emigrated to the United States about 1876 as a widow.

Wilhelmiene first come to Minnesota where the Kroschels were then settled, and later moved to Oregon. She died at Portland, Oregon, on August 19, 1994, and was buried at Lone Fir Cemetery at Portland.


Table 3: Notes on the Children of August Samuel and Wilhelmiene (Kroschel) Sperling

1.      Ernst Karl August Sperling was known in the United States as August E. Sperling. He came to the United States in 1871 with his grandfather, following the death of his father. On April 16, 1912 he married Amelia Weitzel, at Portland, Oregon. She was born April 12, 1889, in Norka, Russia. To this couple were born two children: August G. W. Sperling, on May 9, 1913, and Ethel (Sperling) Wold, on January 3, 1917, both at Portland. August E. 19 Sperling died July 26, 1922, at Portland. Amelia, his wife, died there on September 11, 1979.

2.      Amelia Sperling married August Schultz.

3.      Herman Sperling had no family.

4.      Wilhelm Sperling had no family.

5.      Anna Antonia Augusta Sperling married a Mr. Rose.

6.      Louise Sperling had no family.

7.      Mine Sperling married a Mr. Schultz and lived in Oregon.


Ethel (Sperling) Wold of Lake Oswego, Oregon, is currently researching the Sperling family in the United States.



                                                                                                                                    IV.      AUGUSTE (KROSCHEL) GEHRKE

Hanne Caroline Auguste Kroschel, the first child of Samuel and Caroline (Gentsch) Kroschel, was born January 24, 1835, in Brandenburg Province, Prussia. Little is known of her life in Prussia, although as the second daughter in a large family one may assume she played a major role in the Kroschel family household.

Auguste Kroschel married Friedrich Gehrke before 1860 in Prussia. Friedrich had been born about 1835 at Hohenwalde, Tyritz, Prussia. The couple's first two children, Anna and Martha, were born in Prussia. The family quite likely emigrated to the United States about 1865. Their first two children, born in Prussia, were:


Table 4: Children of Auguste Kroschel & Friedrich Gehrke

1.      Anna Gehrke

born about 1861

  1. Martha Gehrke

born about 1864

After arriving in America, the couple settled at Columbus, Wisconsin, where Auguste's brother and sister were living, as well as many other families who listed their origin as Altenfliess. Children born after arriving at Columbus were:

3.      Friedrich L. Gehrke

born September 19, 1865

4.      Carl Hobert Gehrke

born November 3, 1868

The 1870 Census for Columbus reports the family as follows:




Place of Birth


Gehrke, Fred




real estate $800

---, Auguste


Keeping house



---, Ann


attending school



---, Martha


attending school



---, Fred


at home



---, Hobert


at home



The couple's remaining children born at Columbus were:

5.      Karl Otto Gehrke

born April 28, 1872

6.      Louise Franziska Gehrke

born August 30, 1874

7.      Emma Auguste Gehrke

born November 1, 1876


All but the first of the above children were baptized in the German Methodist Church at Columbus. A death record for a Herman Gehrke, son of Fred and Auguste (Kroschel) Gehrke exists in New Ulm, Minnesota. He died April 2, 1891, in Milford Township, Brown County, age 16 years and 5 months. He is listed as born in Wisconsin, and died of palsy. According to this information he would have been born November 2, 1874 - an unlikely event given the birth of a sister two months earlier.

By May of 1875, newspaper advertisements appear in the Columbus, Wisconsin, newspaper for Ulm and Gehrke, shoemakers. Friedrich Gehrke was a shoemaker while living in Columbus and later in Minneapolis. His partner was Charles Ulm, perhaps a relative of his brother-in-law, Theodor Ulm. The advertisement reads as follows:




Ulm & Gehrke

Manufacturers of Boots & Shoes

Next door below Luders & Krause on James Street

Custom work done promptly and in the best manner

They sell the celebrated plow boot especially adapted to farmers wear.

Repairing neatly done at low figures.

Between 1869 and 1879, Friedrich and Auguste (Kroschel) registered numerous mortgages in Columbia County, Wisconsin. By April 16, 1880, the family was living in Minnesota according to church records in Columbus, Wisconsin, and the 1880 Census which records the family as follows at Loreno (Sleepy Eye):


Table 5: Friedrich & Auguste (Kroschel) 1880 Census Sleepy Eye MN.

Name                Age          Birthplace        Occupation

Frederick Gehrke 42        Prussia            

Augusta Gehrke  42          Prussia            

Anna Gehrke      20          Prussia             Dressmaker

Martha Gehrke   16          Wisconsin        Milliner

Hobert Gehrke   11          Wisconsin       

Otto Gehrke         8          Wisconsin       

Louisa Gehrke      5          Wisconsin       


In December of 1886 the Gehrke family moved to Minneapolis. On September 16, 1887, Auguste (Kroschel) Gehrke died in Minneapolis and was buried in Laymanls Cemetery at Cedar Avenue and Lake Street there. According to her death certificate, she had lived in Minneapolis for ten months and in Minnesota for eight years prior to her death. Her cause of death was listed as cerebral apoplexy. She lived at 1321 N. Washington at the time of her death.


Table 6: According to the 1887-1888 Minneapolis City Directory, the following were living at 1321 N. Washington:

Miss Anna Gehrke



Christin F. Gehrke



Hubert Gehrke



Miss Martha Gehrke






Table 7: The 1888-1889 Minneapolis City Directory identifies the following family members living at 1319 N. Washington:

Charles F. Gehrke



Hobart Gehrke



Otto Gehrke




Table 8: The 1889-1890 Minneapolis City Directory identifies the following family members living at 1402 N. Second:

Charles F. Gehrke



Hobart Gehrke



Martha Gehrke



Otto Gehrke




The same directory also identifies Frederick Gehrke, shoemaker, living at the corner of Plymouth and N. Eighth in Minneapolis.

No further records of the Gehrke family are found in Minneapolis City Directories for later years. A nephew of Friedrich and Auguste (Kroschel) Gehrke once told me that the family moved to "East Bend" in either Wisconsin or Indiana, but he died as the result of an auto accident before he could provide me with details.


                                                                                                                                                               V.      AUGUST KROSCHEL


The second child of Samuel and Caroline (Gentsch) Kroschel was Johan Samuel August Kroschel, known in the United States as August Kroschel. He was born October 12, 1836, in Brandenburg Province, Prussia.

(Author’s note: Retracing August Kroschel's migration from Prussia, to Wisconsin in 1861, to Minnesota in 1868, and to Oregon in 1889, has proved a special challenge. While most of the Kroschels moved about North America a great deal, August seems to have set the pace.)

Virtually nothing is known of the life of August Kroschel in Prussia. Family tradition is that when each son reached draft age for the Prussian Army, Samuel would send him to the United States to escape military conscription. However, records begin about 1860.

According to her obituary, August Kroschel married Louisa Augusta Zermanskie on December 30, 1860, in Prussia. Louisa was born August 10, 1838, a daughter of Will and Louisa (Sperling) Zermanskie, according to her death certificate. The couple came to the United States on their wedding trip -early in 1861 -perhaps financed with the reported $1000 wedding gift from Samuel.

August Kroschel’s first record in the United States is the purchase of land in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. On July 24, 1861, he bought 40 acres of land for $800 in Watertown Township. This is located in southeastern Wisconsin. He is identified in land records as a resident of Watertown at the time. Why he chose Watertown, Wisconsin as a place to settle is not recorded. However, most European migration followed migration paths established by earlier settlers. In 1862 the Schroeder family from Altenfliess emigrated from Altenfliess and settled at Watertown. In 1864, August moved to Columbus, Wisconsin, whose German church records have many families from Altenfliess. Quite likely, August Kroschel’s migration followed a path blazed by other earlier emigrants and that same path was certainly later used by other migrants from Altenfliess to America.

While living at Watertown, Wisconsin, August and Louisa (Zermanskie) Kroschel had their first child:

1.      Louise Kroschel, born March 15, 1862.

On January 30, 1864, August Kroschel was issued a patent for title to 41 acres of land in Milford Township, Jefferson County, Wisconsin, for $167.80.

On September 6, 1864, August Kroschel of Jefferson County bought 90 acres of land in Columbia County, Wisconsin, for $1900. Apparently he moved his family from Jefferson County to Columbia County at this time. On January 6, 1866, he bought 11 lots in the village of Columbus, Wisconsin, in Columbia County, for $750. These lots were located on the north bank of the Crawfish River and were probably where his three sisters (two married to Gehrkes and one to an Ulm) and later his parents lived while in Columbus. Later, in 1872, his parents bought lots in Columbus across the river from his.

While living at Columbus, August and Louisa (Zermanskie) Kroschel had three more children:

2.      E. Charles Kroschel, born November 24, 1864

3.      Amelia Kroschel, born June 27, 1866

4.      Martha Kroschel, born in 1868.

On March 9, 1868, August Kroschel sold his 90 acres of land in Columbus Township, Columbia County, Wisconsin, for $3150. On June 24, 1868, August Kroschel homesteaded 240 acres of land in Section 18 of Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, just north of Essig. While living in Brown County, Minnesota, August and Louisa (Zermanskie) Kroschel had six more children:

5.      Ida Kroschel, born in 1869

6.      August Kroschel, born January 18, 1872

7.      Bertha Kroschel, born March 10, 1875

8.      Louis A. Kroschel, born September 18, 1876

9.      Albert Kroschel, born November 29, 1878

10.  Samuel August Kroschel, born February 17, 1881

According to her obituary, Louisa (Zermanskie) Kroschel had a total of twelve children. Records of the other two children have not been found.

According to the records for School District 9 of Milford Township, originally written in German script and later translated by Herman Radloff of St. Louis, August Kroschel was chairman of the school board meeting on February 14, 1873. Again on March 7, 1873, he was chairman when taxes were discussed for the purpose of erecting two new schoolhouses. August Kroschel offered land free for building a school, as long as it remained for that purpose. At the February 14 meeting, it was decided to build schoolhouses 16 feet by 20 feet with 10-foot ceilings for which architects were to be retained. One location was on the southeast corner of August Kroschel's land, and the other was on the Henle land. On March 29, August Kroschel was a member of a five man building committee, which accepted a low bid of $750 for the two frame buildings.

On November 20, 1873, August Kroschel became a naturalized United States citizen at New Ulm, Minnesota.

The New Ulm Review for April 17, 1874, reported that August Kroschel’s barn burned to the ground at a loss of $1400. The May 1 newspaper reported that he had received $750 in insurance –the barn was only partly covered.

In 1877 August Kroschel petitioned to be set off from local school District 50, and attached to the parent District 9. His petition was denied.

On June 20, 1889, August Kroschel sold his 240-acre farm in Brown County, Minnesota, for $5000. Reportedly, his reasons for leaving Minnesota had to do with the harsh winters on the prairies of southern Minnesota. (There was an infamous blizzard in January of 1888 that killed many people in the Midwest.) On November 2, 1889, he bought 200 acres of land in Benton County, Oregon, for $8000. He built there a large farmhouse for his family that is still standing but no longer occupied and in run down condition. (A daughter lived there many years and kept the house filled with birds including peacocks, after which she failed to clean up.) A newspaper article in the New Ulm Review on April 9, 1890, reported that August Kroschel had returned for a visit from Albany, Oregon, where he had bought land. There are large farm buildings near the Oregon house. The land is rolling, fertile tilled fields, in the Willamette Valley.

In 1907 August Kroschel sold 80 acres from the farm to Charles Sperling. In 1912 he sold the remaining 120 acres to August and Louise (Kroschel) Krueger.

On or about December 30, 1910, August and Louisa (Zermanskie) Kroschel celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary with their children and their families. Several photographs taken at the time of this celebration have been passed down through the family. A 1978 trip to Albany, Oregon, enabled me to locate one Otto Karstens, a resident of Albany about 90 years old, who grew up adjacent to the Kroschel farm and knew most of the people on the family pictures taken at the time of the wedding anniversary reunion.

Otto Karstens also remembered August Kroschel, even through August had been dead for 46 years (August died in 1932). Mr. Karstens described August Kroschel in generous terms, noting that he was a very likable old man. He was stout - looked like a prizefighter - but would never fight. Mr. Karstens remembered that August one time broke a young horse to a cart. He caught the horse in the Oak Grove schoolyard when the horse tried to kick him. He said, and I quote: “one of the nicest men you would ever want to meet."  August was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Albany. He chewed tobacco, and lost much of his sight in his old age. He must have been quite healthy, however, since his death certificate indicates that he worked at farming until he was 85 years old.

Louisa (Zermanskie) Kroschel died February 10, 1912, a year after her fiftieth wedding anniversary. August Kroschel died February 26, 1932, and was buried at the Masonic Cemetery in Albany, Oregon, beside his wife.

August Kroschel’s newspaper obituary from the February 27, 1932, Albany Democrat Herald, reads as follows:

August Kroschel, 97, a native of Prussia, Germany, a resident of Oregon for the last 42 years, died at the home of August Krueger, in Benton County a few miles from Albany at 5:30 p.m., Friday, February 26th. Mr. Kroschel came to the United States in his boyhood days and lived for ten years in Wisconsin, and 18 years in Minnesota, and at other places in the east before coming to Oregon. He spent his active life as a farmer and was known as a worthy and industrious citizen. Notes on the Children of August and Louisa (Zermanskie) Kroschel

Table 9: Notes on the Children of August and Louisa (Zermanskie) Kroschel

1.      Louise Kroschel, the first child, married August Krueger on May 3, 1883, at New Ulm, Minnesota. They had children Eda and Samuel. In 1912 August Kroschel sold 120 acres of his farm at Albany to the couple.

  1. Charles Kroschel married Louise Hausing, on July 14,1896, at New Ulm, Minnesota. In 1896 Charles Kroschel is identified as a merchant from Albany, Oregon. He died June 10, 1917, of stomach cancer. On his death certificate, his occupation is listed as ice manufacturer. He lived at Albany.
  2. Amelia Kroschel married Charles Essig on August 10, 1886, at New Ulm, Minnesota. Charles Essig was a partner with John Essig in founding the first store and post office, in 1885, named Essig, in Brown County. In 1890 the Essig brothers bought an implement business at Springfield. In 1896 the Essigs disposed of his business in Washington and returned to Springfield, Minnesota. In 1898 the Essigs moved from Springfield, Minnesota, to Fairhaven, Washington.
  3. Martha Kroschel is identified in the 1889-1890 Minneapolis City Directory as a dressmaker boarding at 1319 N. Washington, where her cousins the Gehrkes has been living the previous year. Married a Mercel, lived in Oakland, had two sons. All Mercels were attorneys.
  4. Ida Kroschel. Married Charlie Czarske.
  5. August Kroschel, according to Otto Karstens of Albany, Oregon, who knew him there, was a wild guy who chased women although married (and divorced). He lost $1000 entrusted to him to payoff a loan. He took money from a widow by pretending to be a minister in California. Mr. Karstens said he never earned any money himself, although his death certificate lists his occupation as carpenter. When he died February 14, 1953, only three people showed up at his funeral. He was buried in a donated plot in Memorial Cemetery at Albany. He had a black mustache, and was a spiffy dresser.
  6. Bertha Kroschel. Married September 18, 1895, to Gust Hansing, at New Ulm, according to the New Ulm Review.
  7. Louis Kroschel. Married Lena Prettyman, and lived north of Albany. According to Otto Karstens, August Kroschel lived with Louis and Lena after the death of his wife. Louis Kroschel died in 1928 and is buried at Albany. His wife died there in 1966.
  8. Albert Kroschel.
  9. Samuel August Kroschel. Lived in Medford, Oregon. Married at Portland. Had three sons: Robert, Sam and Tom. Sold for the local brewery in Medford. Took over their warehouse during prohibition and made it into a creamery. Much later he sold out and moved to San Diego, California, due to severe asthma problem.



                                                                                                                                                 VI.      EMILIE (KROSCHEL) ULM

Amelia Kroschel, the third child of Samuel and Caroline (Gentsch) Kroschel, was born July 5, 1839, in Brandenburg Province, Prussia. Emilie, as she was known in the United States, probably emigrated to the United States with her brother August Kroschel and his bride in early 1861.

On July 28, 1861, Emilie Kroschel married Theodor Ulm at Watertown, Jefferson County, Wisconsin. Emilie is identified as the daughter of Samuel and Caroline (Gensh) Kroschel. Her husband was born October 3, 1837, at Zeilow, Sonnenburg, Prussia, a son of Ferdinand and Wilhelmine Wiegand or Vegant.


Table 10: The couple lived at Watertown from 1861 until 1867. While living here the first of their children were born:

1.      Herman Ulm, born in 1863.

2.      Eda Ulm, born in 1864.

3.      Charles Ulm, born in 1865.

4.      Amelia Ulm, born in 1866.

On January 5, 1868, Theodor and Emelia (Kroschel) Ulm joined the German Methodist Church at Columbus, Wisconsin. The church record there shows another birth:


Table 11: The 1870 Census for Columbus records the family as follows:




1.      Occupation


Ulm, Theodore








keeping house





attending school





attending school





at home





at home





at home





retired housekeeper



It appears that Theodor's mother lived with the family in 1870. There was another Ulm family living in Columbus at the time of the 1870 Census, headed by Charles Ulm, a shoemaker born in Prussia. Quite possibly Charles and Theodor were brothers.




Table 12: While living at Columbus, the couple had four more children, all recorded in the German Methodist Church records there:

5.      Alvin Theodor Ulm, born October 9, 1868

6.      Gustav Albert Ulm, born April 3, 1871.

7.      Franz Leo Ulm, born March 27, 1873.

8.      Emma Alvin Ulm, born June 1, 1875.

9.      Else Atlantis Ulm, born. April 15, 1879.


In 1881 the Ulms moved to Sleepy Eye in Brown County, Minnesota, following the Kroschel brothers who had settled in the County between 1868 and 1871. At Sleepy Eye, Theodor Ulm opened a general merchandise store. While living there, the couple’s last child was born:

10.  Lillian F. Ulm, born August 9, 1883.

In 1889, Theodor Ulm's business at Sleepy Eye failed. According to records, Ulm’s General Merchandise had assets of $2000 and liabilities of $3000. In that year the family moved to Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo City Directories for the years 1891 through 1911 have been searched. Apparently Theodor Ulm had retired by then as no occupation is listed. He appears at different addresses in the directories for 1893,1904, 1905 and 1907.

A' family portrait from Fargo survives. Although members of the family are not identified, Emilie and Theodor are clearly identifiable at the center of the photograph.

Theodor Ulm died at Fargo, North Dakota, on May 21, 1908, and was buried at Riverside Cemetery at Fargo. His obituary reads as follows:

Funeral of T. J. Ulm. Services held at family residence were largely attended. The funeral services of Theo. J. Ulm, who died Thursday morning of Bright's disease, were held this afternoon from the house, 15 Fourteenth Street South, at 3 o’clock. Mr. Ulm was 71 years of age and has lived in this state since the early days and has been a resident of Fargo for the past six years. He leaves a widow and ten children, all of whom are grown. Interment was made in Riverside Cemetery…

Emilie apparently moved to Minneapolis to live. She died there on April 27, 1911, of acute lobar pneumonia and her body was returned to Fargo for burial beside her husband. The report of her death was made by Frank Ulm of Fargo, North Dakota.


Notes on the Children of Theodor and Emilie (Kroschel) Ulm

There are few records of this family beyond the parents. Frank L. Ulm appears as a grocery clerk in the 1891 and 1893 Fargo City Directories, and was still there in 1908. Lilly Ulm appears as a boarder in Fargo in the directories for 1899 through 1904. E. Ulm was a boarder in Fargo in 1893. Emilie Ulm’s moving to Minneapolis following the death of her husband in 1908 suggests that she followed one or more of her children there to live and be cared for.



                                                                                                                              VII.      THE STORY OF LOUIS KROSCHEL

Johan Karl Ludwig Kroschel, the fourth child of Samuel and Caroline (Gentsch) Kroschel, was born August 10, 1841, in Brandenburg Province, Prussia. In the United States he was known as Louis Kroschel.

Nothing is known of the life of Louis Kroschel in Prussia. According to family tradition, he emigrated to the United States with a friend named Klaus, and landed in Texas. (Another story is that he came to the United States with the Schroeder family, also from Altenfliess and to which he was related. This story is doubtful, however, since the Schroeders did not emigrate until 1862.) If his reason for emigration were to avoid conscription into the Prussian military, then Texas was the wrong place to be young, male and single in 1861.

On October 27, 1861, Louis Kroschel enlisted - family tradition is that he was forced -in the Confederate Army at Victoria, Texas. Then as now Victoria was a German community. He enlisted as a private in Capt. J. A. Rupley's Company, Lone Star Rifles. This Company was later called Company B, 6th Regiment Texas Infantry, Confederate Army. His enlistment was for the duration of the Civil War.

One record indicates that his unit was stationed near Victoria, Texas, in 1862. Another record indicates that the 6th Regiment Texas Infantry was mustered into Confederate service between September 27, 1861, and April 11, 1862. Apparently, after formation, this unit was assigned to Fort Hindman, Arkansas Post, in the fall of 1862, in Arkansas.

Fort Hindman was a bastioned fort surrounded by an 18-foot ditch and manned, in January of 1863, by about 4500 Confederate Army soldiers. Arkansas post, as the fort is commonly referred to, was located on the Arkansas River, about 50 miles away from the Mississippi, and was of concern to the Union Army because Confederate gunboats could be sent from there to the Mississippi. As a result of Union Army movements beginning in October, 1862, including the unsuccessful Union engagement at Chickasaw Bluffs and preceding an attempt to capture Vicksburg, General McClernand decided to capture Arkansas Post.

McClernand commanded a Union Army of 30,000 soldiers, 50 transports and 13 gunboats. On January 9, 1863, McClernand and his' army reached a point three miles below Fort Hindman. The troops were deployed, surrounding the Fort by 3 PM of the following day. The Union gunboats then engaged the Confederate artillery at the Fort and disabled them. The land attack began the following morning and by mid-afternoon the Union gunboats had again silenced the Confederate cannons in the Fort. By 3 PM, on January 11, Union troops had entered the Fort from the Arkansas River, and shortly thereafter the Confederate soldiers facing the land forces started showing white flags of surrender. Union losses were 1061 men out of the 29,000 engaged. All of the approximately 4500 Confederate troops were either killed or captured in the battle.

On January 11, 1863, on the fall of Arkansas post, Louis Kroschel became a prisoner of the Union Army. The prisoners were sent to Union prisons in the north. Officers were sent to Ohio, and the enlisted men were sent to Alton, Illinois, probably by riverboat. From Alton the prisoners were sent to Camp Butler, near Springfield, Illinois, probably by train in open cattle cars. (Remember, this was January and the ground was probably snow covered at the time.) A later report indicated that the health of the prisoners suffered as a result of their exposure to January weather while being transferred from Arkansas to Illinois. While the date of the prisoner’s arrival at Camp Butler is not known precisely, the Confederate prisoners had arrived by January 31 of 1863.

A record of the conditions at Camp Butler immediately after Louis Kroschel was imprisoned there is contained in a fascinating report by one H. W. Freedly to the Commissary General of prisoners in Washington D. C. in the spring of 1863. It is printed in its original form below both because it says much about the conditions Louis Kroschel faced as a prisoner, and because this account contrasts so vividly with Louis' later experience.


Col. Wm. Hoffman,

Commissary Gen. of Prisoners.

Washington, D.C.


I have the honor to submit the following report on the condition of the prisoners of war confined at Camp Butler near Springfield.

The Camp is situated about six miles east of Springfield on the G.W.R.R. and is commanded by Col. W.F. Lynch 58th Regiment Ill. Vol. There are at present confined in this camp 3,620 prisoners of war who were captured at Arkansas Post and are principally from the states of Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. These prisoners are guarded in 21 frame buildings, including hospitals, each one erected for the purpose of quartering U.s. Volunteers. These buildings are ample for their accommodation, are provided with comfortable bunks, and in every way fitted up as quarters for our own troops.

The rations issued to the prisoners I find to be quite as large as they can consume. They are cheerful and contented, and all agree in saying that their provisions are now better in quality and larger in amount than those issued to them when in service to the Confederate States. The prisoners are divided into companies. The roll is called daily under the superintendence of the Provost Marshall, and all changes and alterations reported to the commanding officer. These reports are frequently verified by counting all the prisoners when on parade. Every precaution has been adopted to secure correctness and security. The guard is detailed from the 58th. Ill. Infantry, and from the 16th. Ill. Cavalry, stationed at the post. The sentinels were quite sufficient in numbers and well posted. They appear well instructed in their duties but perform them in a loose and indifferent manner. The prisoners are, however, held securely, and few escapes have been made. They appear to have become indolent, and so contented with their treatment that they do not desire to escape.

The discipline at the camp is not good. A loose manner of performing all duties of a soldier seems to prevail. There is a decided want of force and energy among the officers and there is not sufficiently broad line of demarcation between them and the enlisted men under their command. Indolence and want of energy seem to prevail among the troops as well as among the prisoners. The police of the camp is very poor. No attention has been paid to it. Large amounts of offal have been permitted to accumulate in the vicinity of the prisoners quarters until they were almost too filthy to visit. This was partly to be excused as it has rained almost daily for some weeks. The camp has never been dry since the prisoners arrived. Roads have been almost impassable, and it has required all the transportation of the camp to supply it with wood. Such was the condition of roads that wagons were unable to reach the camp from Springfield. Had proper attention been paid to the drainage there would have been no necessity of its being in such wretched condition. I applied to Capt. Bailache, Asst. Quartermaster at Springfield, and he temporarily furnished 3 additional wagons for the use of the camp. As soon as these reached the camp they were enabled to supply it with wood and some measures were taken to have it properly policed.

The prisoner's barracks, internally and without, were exceedingly filthy, the prisoners taking no trouble to insure their own cleanliness or comfort although every means were within their reach. The officers in charge of the camp didn’t attempt cleanliness among the prisoners, and appeared not to be aware of its importance. The prisoners, on their part; were content to remain in indolence amongst filth and vermin.

The duties of the adjutant's office have been properly performed. The books and records are correct. The money accounts have been properly kept, and all remittances are recorded and receipts given. Proper economy is exercised in all accounts of the prisoners. I found everything in the office satisfactorily performed. The Quartermaster's Department is under the charge of Capt. Bailache, Asst. Quartermaster U.S. Volunteers, having for his assistant at the camp Lieutenant George Swain, Regimental Quartermaster 58th. Ill.  Volunteers. Affairs of this department have been administered with proper economy, but there has been a disposition to do as little as possible to promote the comfort of the prisoners. No expense has been incurred in their behalf. On my arrival I found many destitute of proper clothing, and succeeded in obtaining for their use a small quantity of gray clothing which had been turned over to the State of Illinois to the Quartermaster's Department. This issue supplied all their immediate wants.

The barracks occupied by the prisoners are sadly in need of repairs. New bunks should be constructed, additional modes of ventilation provided, while repairs to the floor and roof are required. The camp presents a general appearance of neglect... The repairs required by this camp do not require much expense to the government, and the labor could be all performed by the prisoners. 

The Commissary Dept. is under the charge of Capt. Ninian W. Edwards, Acting Commissary of Subsistence, U.S. Volunteers of Springfield… The rations furnished are good, and wholesome. The affairs of this department are conducted with due regard for economy, and in every respect satisfactorily. The rations are furnished by contract at a cost of $14.97 per hundred rations: Fowler and Co. of Springfield, contractors.

The medical department is under the charge of Surgeon E.A. Merrifield, 58th Ill. Vol. and is plentifully supplied with medicines and other hospital supplies. I have inspected the hospitals and find them but little improvement over the barracks as regards to cleanliness. I was indeed surprised to find such a filthy place for sick men. These hospitals have a large number of nurses and attendants, who have been detailed from the prisoners themselves, and every care and attention is given to the patients. The buildings used as prisoners hospitals are ill adapted to the purposes to which they are applied. They are not sufficiently well ventilated and are badly arranged. As cleanliness and ventilation are the great essentials of a hospital no buildings would answer the purpose in the condition I found these. I attribute their condition to the indolence of the nurses and attendants, to the want of force in the medical officers in charge of the hospitals, and to the general disregard of police regulations by the prisoners. Assistant Surgeon Merrifield is well aware of the wants of the hospitals, as that of the troops was in good condition. He has repeatedly given proper instructions, but has shown want of energy and force in not enforcing them. The officers here have given many directions to the prisoners regarding their own comfort, but have permitted their instructions to be disregarded. The prisoners, indolent from confinement, will not perform the ordinary police duties of the camp demanded by all sanitary regulations.

There are two physicians employed by contract as assistants to Dr. Merrifield in the prisoners' hospitals. There are also three prisoners who represent themselves to be medical officers in the Confederate States army, and who are employed attending the sick prisoners, and render valuable service. Mr. Merrifield appears desirous of doing his duty, is active and industrious; but there is a looseness, want of discipline and system in the hospitals. There were three buildings used as prison hospitals which contained 207 patients. All of these were seriously sick, and presented a case of suffering calculated to excite much sympathy. Besides these sick in the hospitals, there were 250 prisoners receiving medical treatment in the barracks. These prisoners were not seriously unwell, and were able to visit the hospital daily for their medicines. Besides the hospitals above referred to, there was a small building separated from the camp, and without the enclosure that was used as a smallpox hospital. It contained 7 prisoners, all very old cases.

The sanitary condition of the prisoners has improved but little since their arrival. The principal causes of their unhealthy condition are exposure in the transportation to this camp, long confinement in transports without sufficient clothing to protect them from the weather, prostration and reduction before capture, together with a total neglect of all sanitary regulations and personal cleanliness. The mortality of the camp is quite large, 103 persons died during the month of February. The prisoners' fund is rapidly accumulating and proper economy is exercised in its disbursement.

Quite a number of the prisoners have taken the oath of allegiance. Before being permitted to do so, each applicant is carefully questioned and examined, and if there is any reason to doubt the sincerity of his application the indulgence is not granted. I think that proper attention is not given this subject, and the examination is not sufficiently thorough. The commanding officer is entirely too liberal in this respect. A number of prisoners here are Texas conscripts and there is a great deal of professed loyalty among them. Quite a number of them who were released by taking the oath of renunciation and allegiance have enlisted in the u.s. service. I would not permit any of those who enlisted in the u.s. troops at the camp to be placed as guards over their late companions. 61 prisoners were released upon taking the oath of renunciation and allegiance during the month of February...

This camp might have been made a very satisfactory one in every respect, but there was an apparent neglect in everything relating to discipline. There were no police regulations established. The commanding officer, who has been a prisoner in the South, seemed to care only for the security of the prisoners. They were closely confined within limits, and no regard paid to their wants or comforts. He appeared to think that this was all that was required of him. He has permitted the prisoners to take care of themselves; they have become indolent and have lived in filth and idleness until they have lost all energy and pride. I have given every necessary instruction at this camp for the complete compliance of all your instructions. I have instituted rigid police regulations and when left everything indicated great improvement. With the aid of a few days of fine weather, I have no doubt that the police and sanitary condition of the camp will be wonderfully improved.

I am, Colonel, very respectfully,

your obedient servant.

H.W. Freedly.

The prisoner-of-war records for Camp Butler mention Louis Kroschel at several points. His Confederate Army unit, date and place of capture, and physical description are all recorded. Louise is described as having gray eyes, brown hair, and was 5 feet 6 inches tall. The final note on his Confederate Army service record reads: "Deserted while in Prison at Camp Butler, Ill."

Of the 61 prisoners released from Camp Butler in February of 1863, Louis Kroschel was one. Union Army records indicate that Louis Kroschel enlisted on February 1, 1863, at Camp Butler, and was mustered in on February 17 as a private in Company H, 16th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, for three years. He appears on the rolls of that unit through December of 1863.

The 16th Illinois Cavalry was originally organized in Chicago in 1861. At different times during the civil War its strength was increased and it was reorganized. One of these reorganizations was completed in June of 1863. In October of 1863 a portion was assigned to garrison duty at Cumberland Gap on the Kentucky Virginia line. Louis Kroschel was in this unit. The history of the 16th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry states:

A detachment under Col. Thieleman constituted the garrison at Cumberland Gap, and one Battalion, under Maj. Beers, was sent up Powell's Valley in the direction of Jonesville, Virginia. On the 3rd of January, 1864, this Battalion was attacked by three Brigades of Longstreet's command, and after maintaining its ground for ten hours, against five times its own number, and losing heavily in killed and wounded, its ammunition having become exhausted, it was compelled to surrender. The loss on this occasion was 356 men and 56 officers.

Thus, on January 3, 1864, almost exactly a year after being captured by the Union Army at Arkansas Post, Louis Kroschel became a prisoner-of-war once again. However, having deserted the Confederate Army at Camp Butler in Illinois eleven months earlier, and probably knowing that he could be shot as a deserter were he discovered, Louis Kroschel assumed the name John Thorn, another private in Company H, who had been killed in the battle at Jonesville. Louis' assumption of a different name has confused his subsequent military records in the Civil War to this day.







“This town was established in 1784 as the county seat of Lee County and was named for Frederick Jones.  Here on January 3, 1864 General William E. Jones, assisted by colonel A. L. Pridemore, defeated a Union force capturing the battalion.  Union troops burned the courthouse in 1864.  The present courthouse was erected in 1933.  The town was incorporated in 1864 and reincorporated in 1901.”

Figure 2: This roadside marker in Jonesville, VA, is the only reminder of the battle that took place there on January 3, 1864.  This was the battle in which Louis Kroschel was captured by the Confederate Army.  He was imprisoned at Richmond, VA, on January 16, and sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia on March 8, 1864.

By January 16, 1864, Louis Kroschel had been confined to prison at Richmond, Virginia. The Confederate government was at that time becoming concerned about the concentration of Union Army prisoners at Richmond. Not only were supplies, guards and transportation required for the Confederate war effort in Virginia, but the Confederates also feared Union Army attacks in attempts to free Union prisoners. Various prison sites were examined throughout the South. Finally, a prison site was decided on at Andersonville, Georgia. The first Union Army prisoners arrived there in February 1864, and Louis Kroschel was sent to Andersonville from Richmond on March 8, 1864. From other accounts it appears that the train ride to Andersonville took about a week. No records exist of Louis Kroschel at Andersonville Prison until September 1864, when he was admitted to the hospital there. But abundant accounts exist that have been compiled into histories of Andersonville Prison. These histories record the dreadful conditions there during 1864 that resulted in the deaths of about 12,000 Union soldiers. What follows has been taken from these accounts of Andersonville Prison as its existed in 1864 while Louis Kroschel was confined there.

Another prisoner-of-war from the 16th Illinois Cavalry, John McElroy, later described his arrival at Andersonville Prison as follows:

About midnight the train stopped, and we were ordered off ... Five hundred weary men moved slowly through double lines of guards. Five hundred men marched silently towards the gates that were to shut out life and hope for most of them forever. A quarter mile from the railroad, we came to a massive palisade of great squared logs standing upright in the ground. The fires blazed up and showed us a section of these, and two massive wooden gates, with heavy iron bolts and hinges. They swung open as we stood there and we passed through into the space beyond. We were in Andersonville.

McElroy arrived on February 27, 1864, in the first group of prisoners to arrive at Andersonville. Prisoners continued to arrive at the rate of 400 per day. By the time Louis Kroschel arrived in mid-March, there were probably about 6000 prisoners in the stockade. By late June there were 26,000 prisoners there. By late July there were 32,000. All were confined, without shelter, in an area designed to accommodate no more than 10,000 prisoners. The stockade at Andersonville had been constructed in six weeks by Confederate soldiers and Negro slaves from nearby plantations. The original stockade enclosed 16 acres, but was later expanded to include 26 acres. The stockade was prepared to confine enlisted soldiers, with their officers to be confined at Macon, Georgia. The stockade consisted of pine logs, 20 feet long, and buried five feet in the ground. Sentry boxes, called "pigeon roosts," were located at intervals along the top of the stockade. They were manned by guards who overlooked the enclosure. Within the stockade and parallel to the walls was a "deadline" beyond which prisoners were not permitted to pass. Those who did - either by accident or out of desperation - were shot by the sentries. A very small stream flowed through the stockade, and this was intended to provide fresh water to the prisoners as well as carry away their sewage. Late in 1864, the guard manning the prison, fearing an attack by General Sherman's army then in Atlanta, built a second stockade around the first. In large part, the prison guard feared an attack from the prisoners as much as they feared Union Army attempts to liberate the prisoners.

In August of 1864 there were over 32,000 prisoners within the stockade. Within the deadline, this provided 37 square feet of space for each man imprisoned there. But much of the enclosed stockade was uninhabitable: the area alongside the stream bank was a swamp that soon filled with the human waste of the prisoners. When this area plus the area set aside for the two roads entering from the gates along the west wall, there could not have been more than 25 square feet per prisoner during the summer of 1864. All photographs of the prison taken during 1864 show men standing close together as far as the photographs show across the prison yard.

A great deal has been written of the conditions at Andersonville Prison during 1864 while Louis Kroschel was confined there. For further reading, the author has found the following to be a reputable and readable history of Andersonville Prison: History of Andersonville Prison, by Ovid L. Futch, university of Florida Press, 1968.


The only record of Louis Kroschel at Andersonville, reads as follows:

The original Andersonville Hospital Register shows J. Thorn, Pvt. Co. "H" 16 Ill. admitted to Hospital Sept. 10 '64 where he died Sept 15 '64 of "Dysenteria."

Two thirds of those captured with Louis at the battle at Jonesville, Virginia, also died at Andersonville. All were buried in the cemetery - now a national cemetery - there. At the time Louis died, prisoners were dying faster than graves could be dug for them. Thus all were buried in a common trench, each corpse on its side, facing the corpse ahead of it, chest to back. Thus, today the gravestones marking the graves in that part of the Andersonville Cemetery are located so close that they often touch each other.

Louis Kroschel is buried in one of those trenches. The gravestone marking his burial may not be located over his body because the gravestones were erected many years later based on notes taken by prisoners who assisted in the burials. But the gravestone is marked "8863 John F. Thorn Ill." which was the name he chose upon capture in January of 1863.

Louis Kroschel’s military service later became the basis of bounty and pension claims by his parents. Until her death in 1910, Caroline (Gentsch) received a monthly pension check for $12 as a result of Louis Kroschel's military service.

                                                                                                                                                   VIII.      WILHELM KROSCHEL


Johan Friedrich Wilhelm Kroschel was born October 1, 1843, in Brandenburg Province, Prussia. By one account, he was born in Saxony. But more likely he was born at or near Altenfliess where the family was known to be living by 1855. On his petition for U.S. citizenship in 1918 he identified his place of birth as Friedeberg, Germany, which was a town about four miles from Altenfliess.

Wilhelm Kroschel married Auguste Speckman on September 6, 1866, in Prussia. Auguste was born February 9, 1846, in Prussia, a daughter of William Speckman. While living in Prussia their first child was born:

1.      August Kroschel, born July 23, 1865 (?)

The couple emigrated to the United States in 1868, following the path of August Kroschel, Emilie (Kroschel) Ulm, and Louis Kroschel in 1861, and Augusta (Kroschel) Gehrke about 1865. They arrived in New York on May 23, 1868, aboard the Germania from Hamburg according to his subsequent citizenship application. Quite likely they went immediately to Columbus, Wisconsin, where three of Wilhelm's older siblings had settled. A few months later he moved to Brown County, Minnesota. There, in Home Township (near Sleepy Eye) in Brown County, Wilhelm Kroschel bought 160 acres of farmland for about $2800 on October 15, 1868. This farm was about four miles west of the farm homesteaded by August Kroschel, Wilhelm’s older brother, four months earlier. Apparently, they came to Brown County together in the summer of 1868.

While living at Home Township, Brown County, Minnesota, eight more children were born to Wilhelm and Auguste (Speckman) Kroschel:

2.      Louisa Kroschel, born September 7, 1868.

3.      Amelia Kroschel, born?

4.      Herman Carl Kroschel, born March 23, 1873.

5.      Dett Kroschel, born June 7, 1875.

6.      Anna Kroschel, born in 1877.

7.      Ida L. Kroschel, born February 8, 1883.

8.      Lina Kroschel, born May 26, 1885.

9.      Bertha Kroschel, born December 1, 1887.



Table 13:  The 1880 Census for Home Township, Brown County, Minnesota, records the family (Wilhelm and Auguste (Speckman) Kroschel) as follows:




William Kroschel


b. Saxony

Augusta Kroschel



August Kroschel



Louisa Kroschel


Amelia Kroschel


Herman Kroschel


Anna Kroschel



Wilhelm Kroschel seems to be the only Kroschel to live all of his life in the United States in one place. He farmed for 32 years near Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, and in 1900 when he retired he moved into Sleepy Eye to live.

On May 28, 1918, Wilhelm Kroschel declared his intention to become a United States citizen at New Ulm. He listed his occupation as "retired" as he was then 74. His height was 5' 8", weight 152 pounds, with gray hair, blue eyes, and no distinctive marks according to his application.

Augusta (Speckman) Kroschel died on August 8, 1925 and was buried in the cemetery at Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. Wilhelm Kroschel died there November 7, 1935, of chronic myocarditis and general arteriosclerosis lasting some 2 years, at age 92 years


Table 14: Notes on the Children (Wilhelm Kroschel /Auguste Speckman

1.      August Kroschel came to the United States with his parents, landing at New York on May 23, 1868. By fall of that year he was living in Brown County, Minnesota. He married Augusta Heidemann on June 1, 1892, at Sleepy Eye. However, the 1895 Census shows a daughter Anny, age 7, living with the couple in Home Township." They had six children: Emil Herman born in 1893 (died 1933), Albert John born in 1895 (died 1968), Martin Henry born in 1897(married to Mathilda Heideman August 18, 1935, Stearns County, children were Thomas, Marilyn and Bonnie, died 1978), Lilly Augusta born in 1898, Elina born in 1901, and August born in 1902. He died in an automobile accident on December 29, 1933.

2.      Louisa Kroschel married Christ Menk of Nicollet, Nicollet County, Minnesota, on June 14, 1893, at Sleepy Eye. They had 2 boys, Allie and Albert, and five girls, Esther, Lilly, Olga, Hildegard, and another whose name is not known. Louisa (Kroschel) Menk lived and died at Nicollet, Minnesota.

3.      Amelia Kroschel married John Trebesch. They had 2 boys, Theodore and Ben, and 2 girls, Anna and Lina. They lived at Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.

4.      Herman Carl Kroschel married Johanna Orusch. They had four children: Kattie Ida born in 1900, Meta Augusta born in 1902, William Paul born in 1907, and Herbert born in 1916. Herman Kroschel died October 28, 1939, at Sleepy Eye.

5.      Dett Kroschel, daughter of Wilhelm and Augusta (Speckman) Kroschel, died August 20, 1875, at barely two months of age.

6.      Anna Kroschel never married. She lived in Minneapolis in 1935. She died in 1948 and was buried at Sleepy Eye.

7.      Ida L. Kroschel, also called Edith, married Oscar Prescott. They lived at Sleepy Eye and had six children: Melvin, James, Paul, Margaret, Ruth and Delores.

8.      Lina Kroschel, also called Helen, married P. Pehrsson, and lived at Upham, North Dakota. They had no children.

9.      Bertha Kroschel married Ben Hillesheim and lived in New Ulm. They had one daughter, Barbara.


                                                                                                                             IX.       HENRIETTE (KROSCHEL) GEHRKE

Henriette Kroschel, the ninth child of Samuel and Caroline (Gentsch) Kroschel, was born June 22, 1850, in Brandenburg Province, Prussia. By one account, in her marriage record at the German Methodist Church at Columbus, Wisconsin, she was born at Wuckensee, a small town about ten miles from Altenfliess.

When and how she emigrated to America is not known. Her son, Fred Gehrke of Milwaukee recalled in a telephone conversation in 1974, shortly before he died, that she had told him it was along voyage by ship and that she had come with other people.

On January 21, 1871, she married John Daniel Gehrke at Columbus, Wisconsin. This may mean that she emigrated with her brother Wilhelm in 1868. Daniel Gehrke was born August 17, 1843, at Hohenwalde or Stettin, Prussia, a son of Frederick Chr. and Sophie (Shimming) Gehrke. Daniel Gehrke had emigrated in 1867. Fred Gehrke, son of Daniel and Henriette (Kroschel) Gehrke, recalled in 1974 that his father did not like German militarism - a belief probably shared with the Kroschel family.


Table 15:The couple (John Gehrke & Henriette Kroschel) farmed at Columbus, Wisconsin, until about 1876. While at Columbus, they had at least three children:

1.      Johan Albert Gehrke, born June 21, 1872.

2.      Karl Otto Gehrke, born November 13, 1874.

3.      Herman Gehrke, born December 1875.

About 1876, the Gehrke’s moved from Columbus, Wisconsin, to Sleepy Eye in Brown County, Minnesota, and farmed in Home Township, Brown County. There, the couple had more children:

4.      Minnie Gehrke, born December 29, 1878.

5.      An unnamed son, born February l, 1881.

6.      &   7.  Twin daughters, Louise Sophia Gehrke, born December 22, 1887.

8.      Frederick Rudolph Gehrke, born March 9, 1890.

While birth records for the family are scattered and incomplete, it appears that there were other children. They were Helena, Julius, and William whose dates of birth are unknown.


Daniel Gehrke farmed over 300 acres at Sleepy Eye. He was mainly a grain farmer: wheat, corn, oats and flax, with cattle and hogs.

Henriette (Kroschel) Gehrke died July 14, 1904, at Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, and was buried in Home Cemetery there. She died of acute nephritis. Daniel Gehrke died there on November 27 or 28, 1912, of multiple sclerosis, and was buried beside his wife.

Table 16: Notes on the Children (John Gehrke & Henriette Kroschel)

 On September 30, 1974, the author had the great stroke of luck to have a telephone conversation with Fred Gehrke of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, son of Daniel and Henriette (Kroschel) Gehrke. He was then 84 years old, and although in alert then, he was to die a month later as a result of complications following an automobile accident while returning to Milwaukee from a visit to the Kroschel family farm near Hinckley, Minnesota. Many of the following notes were recorded at the time of that telephone conversation.

1.      Johan Albert Gehrke was known as Albert Gehrke. He lived and died at Morgan, Minnesota.

2.      Karl Otto Gehrke was known as Otto Gehrke. He lived and died at Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.

3.      Minnie Gehrke died in Minnesota on September 10, 1882, just short of her fourth birthday, of "summer consumption."

4.      Julius Daniel Gehrke, known as Julius Gehrke, was a soldier in World War I. He lived later in Arizona near Phoenix, and died there in 1954.

5.      &   6. The twins Louise and Sophia Gehrke died at birth.

7.      Frederick Rudolph Gehrke was known as Fred Gehrke. He lived on the family farm until 1910. Had polio. Spent much time in a hospital in St. Paul. He claimed he never did much. Lived on the bum for a couple of years. Got tired of that and settled in Denver from 1919 to 1925. Moved to Milwaukee in 1928. Sold real estate and insurance. Married in 1929 in Racine, Wisconsin, to Hazel Cathleen Tyler. No natural children, one adopted: Mrs. Arlene Wilson of Milwaukee.

8.      Helena Gehrke never married. She was in Germany at the outbreak of World War I, and was last heard from in 1914.





                                                                                                                                                             X.      HERMAN KROSCHEL

Johann Friedrich Hermann Kroschel, the eleventh and last child of Samuel and Caroline (Gentsch) Kroschel, was born January 15, 1855, at Altenfliess, Friedeberg County, Brandenburg province, Prussia. As a descendant on the family line of Herman Kroschel, more family records have been preserved with which to document his life.

According to his confirmation certificate, Herman Kroschel was confirmed before the congregation on Palm Sunday, March 21, 1869, at Gurkow, about two miles from Altenfliess. A copy of this record survives and is included here.

In August of 1871 the remaining members of the Kroschel family in Prussia were the parents Samuel and Caroline (Gentsch) Kroschel and their son Herman. The other six surviving children had all emigrated to the United States in 1861 (Auguste, August, Emilie, and Louis), or 1868 (Wilhelm and Henriette). Apparently, when young Herman reached the age at which he could be drafted into the Prussian military, the remaining family members decided to emigrate and join the three daughters settled at Columbus, Wisconsin.

On August 18, 1871, the family obtained an official church record of Herman's birth at Gurkow, which translates as follows:


According to the church book of Altenfliess, it is hereby acknowledged that to the farmer Samuel August Kroschel was born a son also there (Altenfliess) by his wife Hanne Karoline Christine born Gentsch on the 15th of January 1855 who in the holy baptism of the 26th of the same month was named Johann Friedrich Hermann.

Gurkow, 18 August 1871

Reichert, Pastor


Figure 3: Herman Kroschel's birth record, dated August 18, 1871, at Gurkow


From what was apparently intended to be a notebook of their trip to the United States, but never filled out, it appears that Samuel Kroschel left Altenfliess on August 22, 1871, for Frankfurt (on the Oder River, about 50 miles away) to obtain exit documents. Herman Kroschel left four days later, on August 28.

There exists in the family a document for Ernst Karl August Sperling, dated September 8, 1871, at Frankfurt, granting exit permission and loss of citizenship, similar to the one for Samuel, Caroline and Herman Kroschel. The document refers to his birth on January 8, 1858, that he was also from Altenfliess, and that the exit permission was the result of petition by his father who was unnamed.

From Frankfurt, the Kroschels went to the port of Hamburg, where they boarded the ship S.S. Silesia. They arrived at New York City on October 5, 1871. The ship’s passenger log shows 3395 passengers, including Sam, Carole, and Herm Kroschel and Aug Sperling, with their ages, occupations, and origin as Germany. From New York it appears that the Kroschels went to Columbus, Wisconsin. The parents remained there with their three married daughters, and in 1872 Herman went on to Brown County, Minnesota, where his older brothers August and Wilhelm had settled in 1868 (following the Sioux Indian uprising in that area a few years earlier).

On March 18, 1874, Herman Kroschel bought some land from Julius and Amalia Schroeder. The Schroeders were also from Altenfliess, and not a year later Herman was to marry their daughter, Marie, who according to family tradition was also his second cousin. Undoubtedly, the parallel migrations of the Kroschel, Gehrke and Ulm families, plus others from the same vicinity in Prussia, implies a larger pattern of migration of families that had known each other since Prussia and probably had family ties as well.

On January 15, 1875, his twentieth birthday, Herman married Marie Louise Erdmuthe Schroeder in New Ulm. Marie was the first daughter of Julius and Amelia (Haeft) Schroeder, and was born January 22, 1856, at Altenfliess. Family tradition is that Herman and Marie were second cousins. The Schroeders had come to the United states in 1862, and settled first at Watertown, Wisconsin, and four years later moved to Brown County, Minnesota. Herman and Marie (Schroeder) farmed adjacent to Essig, Minnesota, in Brown County. Their farm, a photograph of which is included with this history, eventually included 240 acres in separate parcels, and was located just south of his brother August's farm in Milford Township. He farmed this land for twenty-six years.

One relic of this era is an iron-trading hatchet, reportedly unearthed by Herman while breaking the virgin prairie with his plow. Later tests of this iron axe head by the Minnesota Historical Society indicated that it was an item used in earlier fur trade with prairie Indians, another example with similar identifying marks having been discovered in Iowa. The granary from the Kroschel farm still stands at Essig, with Herman's stenciled name on its interior walls.

On March 9, 1876, Herman Kroschel declared his intention to be come a United States citizen at New Ulm. However, he did not complete the citizenship process for many years. His certificate of citizenship is dated January 7, 1897, at Brown County.



Table 17 While living in Brown County, thirteen children were born to Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel:

1.      August Friedrich Wilhelm Kroschel, born October 16, 1875.

2.      Herman Johan Friedrich Kroschel, born April 22, 1877.

3.      Gustave Julius Adolph Kroschel, born December 4, 1878.

4.      Wilhelm Albert Bernhardt, or Wilhelm Albert August Kroschel, born November 1, 1880.

5.      Ida Marie Louise Kroschel, born August 29, 1882.

6.      Ludwig Herman Gustave Kroschel, born April 10, 1884.

7.      Bernhardt Albert Kroschel, born February 14 or 15, 1886.

8.      Emilie Caroline Johanna Kroschel, born January 22 or 29, 1888.

9.      Friedrich Julius August Kroschel, born March or May 15, 1890.

10.  Emil Edward Kroschel, born February 2, 1891 or 1892.

11.  Martha Augusta Louise Kroschel, born January 16, 1894.

12.  Adolph Gustave Johan Kroschel, born October 17, 1896.

13.  Marie Louise Kroschel, born January l, 1899.


Table 18: The 1880 Census for Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, records the family as follows:

Herman Kroschel


b. Prussia















Table 19: The 1895 Census for Milford Township records the family as follows:












b. Braunschweig














































According to Herman Kroschel (son of Herman and Marie Kroschel), he and his brother Gust started visiting east central Minnesota in 1897. They bought land in Kanabec County that year. Herman Kroschel (father) visited the area in 1898, and bought some more land for sons Gust, Bill, and Ludwig (Louis) that year. According to Herman (in his 1962 letter to the author), in the fall of 1899 or winter of 1900 he bought the land he then moved to from Brown County. According to the New Ulm Review, on February 7, 1900, Herman and William Kroschel (sons of Herman) shipped a carload of stock and implements to Hinckley. On May 2, Herman sold his farm at Essig to Herman Radloff. On September 5, 1900, Herman Kroschel left for Hinckley, according to the New Ulm newspaper.

On May 8, 1900, Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel sold their 199 acres in Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, for $7000 to Herman Radloff. In September of 1900 they moved to Kroschel Township, Kanabec County, Minnesota, to farm.

The township was created in 1899, being named for the two sons of Herman, Gust and Herman, who had first bought land there in 1897. Herman farmed on the land be bought after 1900. He remained on the farm he established for himself until his death. Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel died November 3, 1937, of dilation of the heart, at Kroschel and was buried in the cemetery of St. John's Church there. Herman Kroschel died March 23, 1938, and was buried beside his wife.


                                                                                                                                                            XI.      AUGUST KROSCHEL

The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 

August Friedrich Wilhelm Kroschel was born October 16, 1875, at Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota.

On November 22, 1897, August Kroschel signed a contract with the Theo F.  Koch Land Company to buy about 100 acres of undeveloped land in northern Kanabec County, Minnesota, for $395. 10.  August had visited the area that year with his brothers Gust and Herman, and all three brothers signed land contracts to buy in the same area about the same time.  Newspaper accounts from New Ulm at the time indicate that the Kroschel family began its migration to northern Kanabec County about this time, taking their livestock and farming tools by train to Hinckley, then overland to the Kroschel settlement area.  August Kroschel then married Hulda Albertina (Busse).

In the Kroschel Family tradition, August Kroschel moved his family from Kroschel, Minnesota, to Pueblo, Colorado, in 1916.  The family survived the flood of 1921 there, but lost their home and possessions.  Following this they moved to dry land and farmed west of Pueblo.  Later, they moved to the San Luis Valley and Del Norte, Colorado.


Table 20:  To August and Albertina Kroschel were born 12 children:

  1. Edwin E.  Kroschel

April 12, 1900.

  1. Albertina W.  Kroschel

May 2, 1902.

  1. Augusta I.  Kroschel

January 20, 1904.

  1. Else Louise Kroschel

March 4, 1906.

  1. Herbert E.  Kroschel

March 27, 1908.

  1. Ruthven A.  Kroschel

August 18, 1910.

  1. Clara Kroschel

July 3, 1912.

  1. Ruth R.  Kroschel

August 18, 1914.

  1. Eugene Kroschel.


  1. Verda Kroschel.


  1. May Kroschel.


  1. Elton Kroschel.



The record of the children has been compiled by a member of the family.  Because of its completeness, it is reproduced here as provided to the author by the family.

August Kroschel died at Del Norte, Colorado, on January 24, 1955.  His widow survived him.


Notes of the Children of August and Hulda (Busse) Kroschel

Descendants of August and Albertina Kroschel celebrated a major family reunion in 1978 at Del Norte, Colorado.  The reunion was attended by nine of their twelve children.  There were 50 grandchildren, 87 great grandchildren, and 10 great great grandchildren at the time of the family reunion in 1978.

1.      Edwin Kroschel married Rose Weaver.  They had ten children.  One of Edwin's sons, Curtis, lives at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta Canada.  They had four children, two of whom died when 4 years old.

2.      Albertina Kroschel married Neal Pennington.  They had two children.  She is now deceased.

3.      Augusta Kroschel married Oliver Pennington, and had three children.

4.      Louise Kroschel married Nelson Whitsitt.  They had 7 children. 

5.      Herbert Kroschel married Florence Bauer.  They had 5 children. 

6.      Ruthven Kroschel married Geraldine Hoffman.  They had 2 children.

7.      Mildred Kroschel married Marvin Pierson and Lester Dosch.  She had two children.

8.      Ruth Kroschel married John Miena.  They had no children. 

9.      Eugene Kroschel married Norma Off.  They had 5 children. 

10.  Verda Kroschel married Clyde Rasor.  They had four children. 

11.  May Kroschel married William Rush.  They had 3 children.

12.  Elton Kroschel married Nancy Schnitker.  They had four children.




                                                                                                                                                       XII.      HERMAN KROSCHEL

The Children of Herman and Louise (Schroeder) Kroschel)

Herman Johan Friedrich Kroschel, the second child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel, was born April 22, 1877, at Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota.  He was raised on his father's farm there.

On November 22, 1897, Herman Kroschel signed a land contract with the Theo.  F.  Koch Land Company to buy approximately 100 acres of undeveloped land in northern Kanabec County, Minnesota.  The purchase price was $395, and he paid this amount in 1906.  He agreed to buy the land about the same time that his brothers Gust and August signed similar land purchase contracts in the same area.  Land records indicate that he bought an additional 80 acres in the same area on October 15, 1900, for $480.  Again on December 9, 1901, he bought another 40 acres for $240.  Herman Kroschel married Martha Alma Weser on October 15, 1901. She was born March 24, 1884, in Dresden, Germany.  To this couple were born twelve children:


Table 21: The Children of Herman and Louise (Schroeder) Kroschel)

1.      Ida Martha Kroschel, born November 20, 1902, at Kroschel

2.      Edmund Ervin Kroschel, born May 16, 1904, at Kroschel

3.      Ella Hertha Kroschel, born October 7, 1905, at Kroschel. 

4.      Esther Maria Kroschel, born October 5, 1907, at Kroschel

5.      Lille Anne Selma Kroschel, born November 5,1909, Kroschel

6.      Martha Alma Esther Kroschel, born October 29, 1911, at Kroschel

7.      Elvir Elmer Kroschel, born April 3, 1913, at Kroschel

8.      Lorna Louise Marie Kroschel, born March 13, 1915, Kroschel

9.      Hubert William Kroschel, born April 2, 1917, at Kroschel

About 1918, Herman moved his family to Beiseker, Alberta, Canada, to farm there.  Their last three children born in Canada were:

1.      Marie Anna Kroschel, born May 6, 1919, at Beiseker, Alberta, Canada

2.      Merton Norman Robert Kroschel, born July 19, 1921, at Beiseker

3.      Herman Homer Hubert Kroschel, born October 19, 1924, at Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Herman died there on December 18, 1963.



Notes on the children of Herman and Martha Kroschel -"

1.      Ida Kroschel married William Carl Johan Eifert, on August 2, 1922.

2.      Edmund Kroschel died September 10, 1905.  Buried at Kroschel.

3.      Ella Kroschel married Robert Toole on January 23, 1924.

4.      Esther Kroschel married Frederick Schell on November 16, 1927.

5.      Lille Kroschel married Emil Gordon McArthur on October 7, 1936.  Have sons Gordon Jr., Lloyd, Lorne, and Alvin (deceased), and one daughter, Lorraine.

6.      Martha Kroschel married Fred Gehring on June 22, 1933.  Have one daughter, Doreen.

7.      ELVIRvir Kroschel married Ruby May Ringdahl on October 22, 1934.

8.      Lorna Kroschel married George Theodore Shogren on December 24, 1941.  They have one son, Loren.

9.      Hubert Kroschel did not marry.

10.  Marie Kroschel married John Daubert in 1942.  ll.  Merton Kroschel did not marry.

11.  Herman Kroschel married Marjorie Eleanor Schmidt on November 12, 1947.




                                                                                                                                                            XIII.      GUST KROSCHEL

The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel

Gustave Julius Adolph Kroschel was born December 4, 1878, in Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, the third child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel.  He was raised on his father's farm in Brown County, adjacent to Essig.

On September 22,1897, Gust Kroschel signed a contract to buy 78 acres of land in northern Kanabec County, Minnesota.  In 1908 he was issued a homestead certificate for an additional 40 acres of land in the County, although he apparently only logged timber off this land.  In 1913 he bought the 80-acre farm owned by his brother Ben who had moved to Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, for $1100.  On October 28, 1914, he married Ida Schmidt at Kroschel, Minnesota.  Ida had been born December 20, 1894.

The couple had eight children:

1.      Wilmar Kroschel, born November 12, 1915.

2.      Edward Kroschel, born February 14, 1918.

3.      Helen Kroschel, born April 6, 1920.

4.      Donald Kroschel, born July 31, 1926.

5.      Vernon Kroschel, born March 15, 1931.

6.      &   7.  Leroy and Lester Kroschel, born October 22, 1933. 

8.      Loraine Kroschel, born November 13, 1934.


Gust Kroschel died April 26, 1958, at university Hospitals in Minneapolis of a heart condition.  He was buried at St. John’s Cemetery at Kroschel, Minnesota.


Notes of the Children of Gust and Ida (Schmidt) Kroschel

1.      Wilmar Kroschel married Esther Swatzke on May 25, 1936.  They have one daughter, Susan.

2.      Edward Kroschel married Joan Judkins on February 28, 1955.  They have one daughter, Pat.

3.      Helen Kroschel married Lawrence Gustafson on February 8, 1948.  They have five children: Sharon, Debbie, Sandra, Randy and Gary. 

4.      Donald Kroschel.  He is not married.

5.      Vernon Kroschel.  He married Shirley Schubbe.  They have three children, Beth Ann, John Vernon and Danny Charles.

6.      &   7.  Leroy and Lester Kroschel, twins.  Leroy married Beverly Currie and they have three sons: Leroy Ronald, Eugene Vernon and James Clayton.  Lester married Barbara Cyr.  They have six children: Kathryn, Julie, Jeffry, Timothy, Lester Michael and Kimberly.  Another son Steven died at about two years.

8.      Loraine Kroschel.  She is not married.




                                                                                                                                                              XIV.      BILL KROSCHEL

 The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel

Wilhelm Albert Bernhardt Kroschel was born November 1, 1880, at Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, near Essig, the fourth child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel.  He was raised on his father's farm there.

Following his brothers Herman and Gust, Bill Kroschel bought farm land in Kanabec County, Minnesota, and moved there to live.  Land records for Kanabec County first show Bill Kroschel homesteading land in 1908, and again in 1909, but he may have bought land there when his older brothers first settled there.  Bill Kroschel married Annie Ausmaus on June 1, 1909, at Pine City, Minnesota.  She was born February 3, 1888.  To this couple were born seven children:

1.  Raymond Emil Kroschel, born July 20, 1910.

2.  Clarence Albert Gustav Kroschel, born April 24, 1912.  3.  Gladys Marie Kroschel, born May 5, 1914.

4.  Myrtle Anna Kroschel, born October 4, 1916.

5.  Kenneth William Kroschel, born January 5, 1922.

6.  Clayton Otto Kroschel, born January 26, 1926.

7.  Jeanette Lucille Kroschel, born August 26, 1929.

Bill Kroschel lived his adult life in the Kroschel area.  Annie (Ausmaus) Kroschel died October 9, 1929.  Bill Kroschel died February 22, 1975, at Mora, Minnesota.  Bill was buried at Kroschel.

Notes on the Children of Bill and Annie (Ausmaus) Kroschel


1.  Raymond Kroschel married Margaret Hickle in January 1932.  They have four children: Milton, Jeanette, Joanne and Patricia.

2.  Clarence Kroschel married Elsie Lick on October 20, 1934.  They have three children: Carrie, Katie and Gregory.

3.  Gladys Kroschel married Oscar Foss on October 19, 1932.  They have three children: Lavalle, Bernadine, Gerald and Terrance.  4.  Myrtle Kroschel married Rudolph Lick on October 20, 1934.  They have three children: Richard, Geraldine and Larry.

5.  Kenneth Kroschel married Myrtle Loftness on February 28, 1942.  They have four children: Lynette, Glenda, Kevin and Jolene.

6.  Clayton Kroschel married Irene Greenly on March 28, 1946.  They have four children: Billy, Keith, Jeffrey and Jon Scot.

7.  Jeanette Kroschel married Sidney Dees, and has five children: Mark, Barbara, Colleen, Constance, and Sean, and lives in Washington.




                                                                                                                                   XV.      IDA (KROSCHEL) MORTENSON

The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel

Ida Marie Louise Kroschel was born August 29, 1882, at Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, the fifth child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel.  She was raised on her father's farm near Essig, Minnesota, and moved to Kanabec County with the family in 1900.  Ida Kroschel married Frank Nels Mortenson of Hinckley on June 10, 1902, at St. John’s Church at Kroschel.  The couple lived at Hinckley, and to them were born three sons:

1.      Hugo William Mortenson, born March 30, 1903.

2.      Franklin Willard Mortenson, born March 10, 1905.

3.      Walter Allen Mortenson, born October 21, 1907.

When the eldest son reached college age, the family moved to Minneapolis to enroll each son at the University of Minnesota..  Frank Mortenson worked as a shipping clerk for candy manufacturers in the Twin Cities.  Frank Mortenson died in Minneapolis on April 2, 1944.  Ida continued to live in Minneapolis until her death on April 27, 1966.  Both are buried in the National Cemetery at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis.

Notes of the Children of Frank and Ida (Kroschel) Mortenson

1.      Hugo Mortenson married Helen Peterson on August 7, 1929, at Plainview, Minnesota, where the couple lived.  They had no children.  Hugo Mortenson died at Rochester and was buried at Plainview.

2.      Willard Mortenson married Marjorie Davis at Minneapolis.  The couple lives in Minneapolis.

3.      Allen Mortenson married Josephine Francis Glenn on August 27, 1938, in St. Paul.  Al sold insurance until he retired.  The couple has three children: Thomas Glenn Mortenson, Mary Jo (Mortenson) Giles, and Jane Ann (Mortenson) Sweeney.




                                                                                                                                                           XVI.      LOUIS KROSCHEL

The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel 

Ludwig Herman Gustave Kroschel was born April 10, 1884, at Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, the sixth child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel.  He was raised on his father's farm there.

Land records at Mora, Minnesota, indicate that on February 25, 1913, Louis Kroschel bought 20 acres of land from his older brother August.  Louis paid his brother $300.  Later that same year, on May 5, Louis bought from his parents for $1 80 acres of land near where his brothers had settled earlier.

Louis Kroschel married Otilda Marie Bloemendal on December 5, 1917, at Sandstone, Minnesota.  Tillie was born February 22, 1896, at Hector, Renville, Minnesota.

The couple lived and raised their family on their farm at Kroschel, Minnesota.  To them were born two children:

1.      Elizabeth Martha Kroschel, born April 5, 1919.

2.      Lila Otilda Louise Kroschel, born May 3, 1921.

Louis Kroschel died January 8, 1969, and was buried at Kroschel.


Notes of the Children of Louis and Tillie (Bloemendal) Kroschel

1.      Betty Kroschel married Edmund Erickson at St. Paul on February 12, 1949.  The couple has two children, Gail and Brian.

2.      Lila Kroschel married Richard Fountain in Iowa on March 5, 1948.  The couple has two sons and lives in California.



                                                                                                                                                           XVII.      BEN KROSCHEL

The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel  


Bernhardt Albert Kroschel was born February 14, 1886, at Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, the sixth child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel.

Probably about 1900, Ben Kroschel moved with his parents from Brown County to northern Kanabec County where his brothers had begun resettlement in 1897.  There, on April 30, 1910, Ben Kroschel bought from his parents 80 acres for $1.  Ben and his wife Ella, now of Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, sold this land to his brother Louis in 1913 for $1100.

The author has almost no records for Ben.  He was married to Ella Elke.  They had three children: Kermit, Clara and Luann.  A photograph of Ben standing beside his grandfather's gravestone at Columbus, Wisconsin, appears on page 16 of this family history.  Ben died June 27, 1936, in the railroad yard at Laurel, Montana.  He was buried at Billings.  His widow lived at Fort Shaw.

Notes on the Children of Ben and Ella Kroschel

1.      Kermit Kroschel's last known address was in New Jersey.

2.      Clara Kroschel married several times, and lived in California.  She had two sons, Warren and Bob.


                                                                                                                              XVIII.      MILLY (KROSCHEL) LEPPINK

The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel

Emilie Caroline Johanna Kroschel was born January 29, 1888, at Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, the eight child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel. Milly moved to Kanabec County, Minnesota, with her family in 1900.

Milly Kroschel married John Leppink on September 27, 1910, at Kroschel. They lived first at Kroschel, and later moved to Helena, Montana. To this couple were born seven children:




Table 22:  The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel

1.      Ruth Louise Leppink, born August 20, 1911.

2.      Alton John Leppink, born April 28, 1913.

3.      Gerrit Kendall Leppink, born May 26, 1915.

4.      Lloyd Herman Leppink, born June 16, 1917.

5.      Herman Fredrick Leppink, born February 5, 1919.

6.      Vernon Gustave Leppink, born July 12, 1921.

7.      John Armon Leppink, born July 3, 1931.




Figure 4:  John and Milly (Kroschel) Leppink both died at Helena, Montana. John died June 26, 1979, and Milly died September 14, 1979. Both are buried at Helena.

Notes on the Children of John and Milly (Kroschel) Leppink

1.      Ruth Leppink married Victor Hesselroth on October 8, 1938.

2.      Alton Leppink married Mary Gin Ashley on July 1, 1936. They have three sons: Ashley, Allen and Gary.

3.      Gerrit Leppink married Maxine Cooper on May 9, 1948. They have no children.

4.      Lloyd Leppink married Nancy Cosgriffe in June of 1947. They have two daughters.

5.      Herman Leppink married Bette Lee McCallum on August 8, 1953. They have a daughter, Lori Jane Leppink.

6.      Vernon Leppink. Vernon was in World War II. He was in the Death March in the Philippines, and died shortly after the March. His body was returned to Helena, Montana, where he was buried.

7.      Jack Leppink married Colleen Johnson on June 5, 1954. They have four children: Clifford, Kimberly, Vernon and Rhonda Marie.



                                                                                                                                                           XIX.      FRITZ KROSCHEL

The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel



Friedrich Julius August Kroschel was born March 15, 1890, in Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, the ninth child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel. He was raised on his father's farm there, near Essig, until 1900 when the family moved to Kanabec County, Minnesota.

Fritz Kroschel never married. He was a mink rancher, and continued to live on his parent's farm, in Kanabec County. He served in the armed forces during World War I. He often made hunting trips with the Leppinks in Montana. A photograph of Fritz is included with this history.

Fritz Kroschel died September 1, 1973, at Mora, Minnesota, and was buried in the cemetery at Kroschel.



Figure 5:  Fritz Kroschel


                                                                                                                                                                XX.      EMIL KROSCHEL

The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel

Emil Edward Kroschel was born February 2, 1892, at Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, the tenth child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel. He was raised on his father's farm there until 1910 when the family moved to Kanabec County, Minnesota.

Emil Kroschel married Julia Inez Mullen on June 17, 1919, in St. Paul. She was born December 31, 1893, at St. Paul. He was employed by the railroad, for which he worked 23 years. The family lived in St. Paul. The couple had two children:


Table 23:  The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel

1.      Jean Louise Kroschel, born June 10, 1920.

2.      James Elliott Kroschel, born March 13, 1925.

Emil Kroschel died June 13, 1939, at St. Paul, and he was buried at Fairview Cemetery.

Notes of the Children of Emil and Julia (Mullen) Kroschel

1.      Jean Kroschel married Roland Otto Koch on January 20, 1945, at St. Paul. The couple has three children: Judith Jean Koch, Thomas John Koch, and Lawrence Alan Koch.

2.      Jim Kroschel was married to Jane Hopkins on February 14, 1948. They had one son, Michael Kroschel. Jim married Donna Hollinger on February 18, 1955.


                                                                                                                               XXI.      MARTHA (KROSCHEL) FISCHER

The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel


Martha Augusta Louise Kroschel was born January 16, 1894, at Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, the eleventh child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel. She was raised on her father's farm there near Essig until 1900 when the family moved to Kanabec County, Minnesota.

Martha Kroschel married Wilhelm Henry Fischer on August 31, 1917, at Kroschel. He was born June 11, 1888, at Fairfax, Minnesota.


Figure 6:  Wilhelm Fischer & Martha Kroschel

To this couple was born one son:

1.      Robert Adolph Fischer, born June 9, 1918, at Spokane, Washington.

Martha (Kroschel) Fischer died May 1, 1964, and is buried at Denver, Colorado.


Notes on the Son of Wilhelm Henry and Martha (Kroschel) Fischer.

Robert Fischer married Martha Ann Hull on July 1, 1950, at Austin, Texas. She had been born December 14, 1920, at Baring, Missouri. To this couple were born three children:

1.      Francis Waverly Fischer, born August 17, 1951.

2.      Byron William Fischer, born February 13, 1953.

3.      Virginia Susan Fischer, born July 19, 1955.

In 1973 Robert Fischer was living at Novato, California, and working in San Francisco.



                                                                                                                                                       XXII.      ADDlE KROSCHEL

The Children and Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel

Adolph Gustave Johan Kroschel was born October 17, 1896, at Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, the twelfth child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel. He moved with the family to Kanabec County, Minnesota, in 1900.

Addie Kroschel married Dora Margretta Schlafle on August 18, 1926, at St. John's Church at Kroschel. Dora had been born July 22, 1900. To this couple were born four children:

1.      Dorine Addie Kroschel, born June 6, 1928.

2.      Robert Adolph Kroschel, born October 14, 1929.

3.      Hugo Emil Kroschel, born August 20, 1931.

4.      Rosa Marie Kroschel, born December 9, 1935.

The couple continues to live on the farm Addie's father Herman built for his family after moving from Brown County in 1900. Addie has retired from farming and Hugo now runs a combined dairying, mink and beef operation on the farm.


Notes of the Children of Addie and Dora (Schlafle) Kroschel

1.      Dorine Kroschel married Paul Hedtke on October 11, 1952. They lived for a while at Baudette, Minnesota, and now live at Hinckley. They have four children: Lori Ann, Mary Dorine, Paul Alan, and Fred. All children now live in California.

2.      Bob Kroschel married Patricia Ann Fluegge Schultz and lives at Mora, Minnesota.

3.      Hugo Kroschel married Francis Amy Dixon on January 21, 1955. They have three sons: Richard Marvin, Wayne and Stephen. They farm Herman Kroschel's farm that he bought in 1900.

4.      Rosa Kroschel married Ronald Walter Swanson on January 21, 1956, at Kroschel. They have two children: Rhonda Marie and Brenda Dorine. They live near Grasston, Minnesota.



                                                                                                                               XXIII.      MARIE (KROSCHEL) DUFECK

The Children of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel

Marie Louise Kroschel was born January 1, 1899, at Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota, the thirteenth and last child of Herman and Marie (Schroeder) Kroschel. Marie moved to Kanabec County with her family in 1900.

Marie Kroschel married Jerry Dufeck of Hinckley on July 9, 1921, at Kroschel.

The couple lived for a time in Hinckley, then in Minneapolis and in 1937 to Duluth. To this couple was born one son:

1.      Eugene Dufeck, born September 27, 1922. The couple also raised Jeanette Kroschel, the daughter of Bill Kroschel, Marie's brother, since she was six years old. Jerry Dufeck died suddenly at Duluth on May 27, 1941. In 1946

Marie moved to Helena, Montana, where she worked for Montgomery Ward. She died suddenly there on April 30, 1955, and was buried at Kroschel.


Notes on the Son of Jerry and Marie (Kroschel) Dufeck

Eugene Dufeck, son of Jerry and Marie (Kroschel) Dufeck, married Elizabeth Stickney on February 7, 1944. The couple has eleven children: Jerry Lee, Claudia Gene, Stephen James, Jeffrey David, David Allen, Gregory Eugene, James Lewis, Joanna Marie, Barbara Arline, Richard William, and Nancy.



                                                                                                                       XXIV.      OTHER KROSCHELS IN AMERICA

There are others in America with names similar to Kroschel.  There are those with family names like Krosch, and Krasch. In Minnesota there is a family based in Edgerton - a Dutch community - that spells its names Krosschell. But there is also a second Kroschel family in America.

The second Kroschel family is scattered around the southern end of Lake Michigan, from Milwaukee to southern Michigan, and is centered on the north side of Chicago. Correspondence with this family suggests that they may well be related to ours. The two families came from about 50 miles from each other in Prussia. Here is what is known of the second Kroschel family to emigrate from Prussia to America.

Gustav Kroschel was born in Prussia on October 17, 1833, according to a descendant, while his gravestone says 1834. He married Amelia or Emilia Lowinsky, daughter of Frank Lowinsky, born December 2, 1835, although her gravestone says 1834. The couple settled in Berlin, or Wilkau, near Berlin. There they had three children:

1.      Paul Kroschel, born September 2, 1865.

2.      Albert Kroschel, born in 1867 or 1868.

3.      Anna Kroschel, born?

In 1882 or 1883 the family resettled in Chicago. A family member relates that Gustave Kroschel took his family out of Prussia because he had been in the Prussian Army and did not want his sons to go to war. According to his death certificate, he earned a living as a bricklayer in Chicago. Gustav or Gustaf died there on July 30, 1902, and was buried at St. Boniface Cemetery there. Amelia (Lowinsky) Kroschel died in Chicago on August 17, 1918, and was also buried at St. Boniface Cemetery. This is a Catholic cemetery at Lawrence and Clark Streets on the north side of Chicago, and was visited by the author in 1983. Six Kroschels from this family are buried in the family plot there.

Son Paul Kroschel married Margaret Zeivel, and daughter Anna Kroschel married Jake Zeivel in a double wedding on November 12, 1889. The Kroschel and Zeivel burial plots are combined at St. Boniface Cemetery.

Paul and Margaret (Zeivel) Kroschel had thirteen children:

1.      Anna, born January 12, 1891, living in 1974 in Milwaukee.

2.      Robert, born July 5, 1892.

3.      Albert, born October 15, 1893.

4.      Gustave, born May 10, 1895.

5.      Emelia, born September, 1897.

6.      Bertha Ann, born April 8, 1899.

7.      Theodore Albert, born November 9, 1900.

8.      Rose, born October 24, 1902.

9.      Joseph, born May 11, 1905.

10.  Olga, born July 10, 1906.

11.  Agnes Gertrude, born April 17, 1908.

12.  Henry Otto, born July 20, 1910.

13.  Marie Elizabeth, born January 25, 1913.

Paul Kroschel died in 1948 and is buried at the St. Boniface cemetery. Margaret, his wife, died in 1964 and was buried there too.

Son Albert Kroschel married Sophia Smith. They had three sons:

1.      Paul

2.      Emil

3.      Arthur

They also had four daughters whose names are not known to the author. All married. Albert Kroschel died in 1916 and is buried in the St. Boniface Cemetery. Sophia, his wife, who was born in 1869, died in 1956 and was buried in the family plot at St. Boniface Cemetery.

This family is Catholic, and pronounces its name "crow shell'," as do some in our family. There is some interest in family history in this family as well, since records of earlier generations are well kept by a Catholic nun living in Milwaukee, and several descendants knew an oral history of the Prussian origins of the family.



(KROSCHEL) PIERSON, Mildred                        46

(WEAVER) KROSCHEL, Rose                            46

Ausmaus, Annie                                                       51

Busse      45, 46

Caroline Gentsch                                                 10, 11

Cooper, Maxine                                                         57

Cosgriffe, Nancy                                                        57

Currie, Beverly                                                           49

Cyr, Barbara                                                               49

Czarske, Charlie                                                         24

Daubert, John                                                           48

Davis, Marjorie                                                          52

Dees, Sidney                                                              51

Dixon, Francis Amy                                                  61

Dosch, Lester                                                             46

Dufeck, Jerry                                                              62

Eifert, William Carl Johan                                        48

Elke, Ella                                                                   54

Erickson, Edmund                                                   53

Essig, Charles                                                            23

Ferdinand Wiegand                                                  25

Fischer, Wilhelm Henry                                            60

Florence Bauer                                                           46

Foss, Oscar                                                                51

Fountain , Richard                                                    53

Gehring, Fred                                                            48

Gehrke , Sophie (Shimming)                                   38

Gehrke, Auguste (Kroschel)                  13, 18, 19, 20

Gehrke, Friedrich                                                   6, 18

Gentsch, Caroline                                                10, 16

Giles, Mary Jo (Mortenson)                                     52

Glenn, Josephine Francis                                         52

Greenly, Irene                                                            51

Gustafson, Lawrence                                                49

Hansing, Gust                                                           24

Hausing, Louise                                                        23

Hedtke, Paul                                                              61

Heidemann, Augusta                                               37

Henry Otto                                                                64

Hesselroth, Victor                                                     57

Hickle, Margaret                                                         51

Hillesheim, Ben                                                         37

Hoffman, Col. Wm.                                                 28

Hoffman, Geraldine                                                 46

Hollinger, Donna                                                      59

Hopkins, Jane                                                           59

Hull, Martha Ann                                                     60

Jake Zeivel                                                                 63

Johnson, Colleen                                                      57

Judkins, Joan                                                            49

Koch , Roland Otto                                                  59

Kroschel , Caroline                                          2, 12, 15

Kroschel , Ernst Carl (Kardel)                                 12

Kroschel , Louise and Heinriette                             12

Kroschel ,Samuel                                                      10

Kroschel, Amelia (Lowinsky)                                   63

Kroschel, Caroline                                           2, 13, 15

Kroschel, Dora (Schlafle)                                      2, 61

Kroschel, Emilie                                                       12

Kroschel, Heinriette                                                  12

Kroschel, Johan Friedrick Wilhelm                         12

Kroschel, Johan Karl Ludwig                            12, 27

Kroschel, Johan Samuel August                 10, 12, 21

Kroschel, Johann Friedrich Herman                       12

Kroschel, Johanna Caroline Auguste                      12

Kroschel, Ludwig Herman Gustave                  43, 53

Kroschel, Marie (Schroeder) 2, 43, 44, 45, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62

Kroschel, Samuel                                              2, 8, 10

Kroschel, Samuel                              10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Kroschel, Tillie (Bloemendal)                                  53

Kroschel, Wilhelmiene                                             10

Kroschel, Wilhelmiene (Sperling)                            16

Krueger, August                                                       23

Krueger, August and Louise (Kroschel)                 22

Leppink, Alton John                                                55

Leppink, John                                                           55

Lick, Elsie                                                                   51

Loftness, Myrtle                                                        51

Louisa (Sperling) Zermanskie                                  21

Louisa (Zermanskie) Kroschel                     21, 22, 23

Louisa Augusta Zermanskie                                    21

Lowinsky, Amelia or Emilia                                    63

Mary Gin Ashley                                                       57

McArthur, Emil Gordon                                         48

McCallum, Bette Lee                                                 57

Menk, Christ                                                              37

Menk, Louisa (Kroschel)                                          37

Miena , John                                                              46

Mortenson , Franklin Willard                                  52

Mortenson , Walter Allen                                         52

Mortenson, Frank Nels                                            52

Mortenson, Hugo                                                     52

Mortenson, Hugo William                                      52

Mortenson, Thomas Glenn                                     52

Mullen, Julia Inez                                                     59

Off, Norma                                                               46

Paul and Margaret (Zeivel)                                       63

Pehrsson , P.                                                              37

Pennington, Neal                                                      46

Pennington, Oliver                                                   46

Peterson, Helen                                                         52

Pierson, Marvin                                                         46

Prescott , Oscar                                                          37

Prettyman, Lena                                                        24

Rasor, Clyde                                                               46

Ringdahl, Ruby May                                                 48

Rush, William                                                           46

Samuel Kroschel                                           15, 16, 41

Schell, Frederick                                                         48

Schmidt, Marjorie Eleanor                                       48

Schnitker, Nancy                                                        46

Schroeder, Amelia (Haeft)                                        42

Schubbe, Shirley                                                        49

Schultz, August                                                         17

Shogren, George Theodore                                      48

Smith, Sophia                                                            64

Speckman, Auguste                                            35, 37

Sperling , Amelia                                                 16, 17

Sperling , Anna Antonia Augusta                     16, 17

Sperling , Ernst Karl August                                   16

Sperling , Herman                                               16, 17

Sperling , Wilhelm                                              16, 17

Sperling, August                                     13, 14, 17, 41

Sperling, August Samuel                                          16

Sperling, Louise                                                   16, 17

Sperling, Mine                                                     16, 17

Swanson, Ronald Walter                                          61

Sweeney, Jane Ann (Mortenson)                             52

Toole, Robert                                                            48

Trebesch , John                                                         37

Ulm, Amelia                                                              25

Ulm, Charles                                                        18, 25

Ulm, Eda                                                                   25

Ulm, Else Atlantis                                                    26

Ulm, Emma Alvin                                                    26

Ulm, Franz Leo                                                         26

Ulm, Gustav Albert                                                  26

Ulm, Herman                                                            25

Ulm, Lillian F.                                                           26

ULM, Theodor                                        15, 18, 25, 26

Vegant, Wilhelmine                                                  25

Whitsitt, Nelson                                                       46

Wilhelmine Wiegand                                                25

Will and Louisa (Sperling) Zermanskie                   21

Wold, Edith (Sperling)                                               2

Wold, Ethel (Sperling)                                             17