The Hissem-Montague Family
The Offerman name is found mainly in Germany, there are over 5000 listings in the LDS database, but also in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, England, Poland, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, reflecting the wide scattering of the German people across Europe. In Germany they are found mainly in the Rhineland and Westphalia.
The family name does not appear to have evolved considerably over time, being spelled Offerman, Offermann, and Offermans back to the 1500’s. Opferman, Opfferman and Oppermann are linguistic cousins.
I don't know if Offerman has any intrinsic meaning, but in German, mann means you or one. Opfer means victim or offering. I at first thought this meant that Opfermann would mean, literally, 'the victimized one,' which sounds like any farmer/serf/peasant in any European country of the previous few centuries. However, I've been told it actually refers to a priest, as in one who makes a religious offering, though the German-English dictionary I referred to doesn't have that definition. Priests of the Catholic church were supposed to be celibate, though that wasn't always true, so I'm not sure how the surname developed. It may refer to a priest's bastard children, a defrocked priest, or perhaps to a non-celibate aide to the priest. It more probably refers to one who receives the offering, the monetary donation, during a church service. Another source claims it refers to a sexton, a church officer in charge of the space where sacred vessels and vestements are kept, or sacristan, a church janitor in charge of ringing the bell, overseeing burials and digging graves. Rolf Offermann, a German citizen of Dockenhuden/Blankenese in Holstein, believes it refers to the man who collected the church tax. It may, however, have no more meaning than Joseph Priestly's last name.
The name Offermann continues in northern Germany today. There is a "Gartencenter Offermann" in Wismar, east of Lübeck, in Mechlinburg; an Offermann auto repair in Lübeck; Hartmut Offermann has a travel bus service in Cuxhaven, on the southern mouth of the Elbe river; Reimer Offermann is mayor of the town of Heede, which is west of Bermstedt on the Northsea coast of Holstein; Professor Helmut Offermann teaches at the University of Applied Sciences in Kiel.Offermann's in Germany
In the second half of the 14th century, the Offermanns were Burgers of the town of Wesel, on the north bank of the Rhine river, near the border with the Netherlands, in what was the Duchy of Cleves - Ann of Cleves would be the 4th wife of Henry VIII of England in 1540. This region is north of Dusseldorf on the map to the right. Burgers were merchants and tradesmen, the richer class of commoners who ruled the towns, while the nobility ruled the duchy. Goswin, Henrich and Johan Offermann were burgers between 1373 and 1391, while Johan was the mayor in 1401.
Goswin the younger, the son of an Offermann of Wesel, moved his business to the city of Lübeck, in Holstein, on the Baltic sea. This region is located on the neck of land connecting Denmark with Germany. By 1410 Goswin was a burger of Lübeck. Goswin Offerman, called zu Lübeck, had a brother, synen brueder, Henrick, called "Rm. zu Wesel" in the "Stadtrechnungen von Wesel." Both Wesel and Lübeck were members of the Hanseatic League of merchant cities.
Just upriver from Lübeck, that is to the southwest, is the village of Oldesloe, see the red arrow on the map to the right. In 1425 Goswin Offermann had an interest in the Oldesloe salt mine. In this same village, four centuries later, was born the first member of the family to come to America, Johann Offermann.
Was Johann a descendent of Goswin Offermann of Lübeck? It's possible. Note that Goswin had two families, one that of his mistress. Our Offermann family may have come from the wrong side of the sheets.Offerman's of Wesel, Cleves
|Duchy of Cleves
The County of Cleves was a State in the Holy Roman Empire located on both sides of the lower Rhine river, just east of the Netherlands. Its capital was Cleves; Wesel was the other major town. Count Johann ruled until 1368, when his nephew, Adolf III of the Marck, inherited and united the two counties. Adolph's son, Adolph IV, inherited in 1394. He went on to conquer Ravenstein and then expanded his influence by marrying a daughter of the Duke of Burgundy. As a result, Cleves was raised to a Duchy in 1417.Wesel
From the 12th century the town of Wesel had been part of the Duchy of Cleves and became the country's second most important town. It was well placed as a transhipment point for goods from the Rhine and Lippe rivers, and its economy, based on the manufacture of cloth, boomed in the 14th century. In 1407 the town joined the Hanse trading league and gained a great deal of influence.
A Burger of Wesel?
"Die Stadt Wesel verleiht eine Hälfte des Schrodamts dem Dietrich Offerman auf Lebenszeit 1345 April 3" - from "Weseler Urkunden 1252-1713: Texte aud den Weseler Burgerbuchern" by Wilhelm ClassenTranslation: The town of Wesel gives one half of the [schrodamts] to Dietrich Offerman for life.
The following are three Offerman's living in Wesel at about the same time. They may have been brothers or cousins, or at a stretch Goswin might have been a son of Johan or Henrich.(10) Johan Offerman (c1340)
Johan Offerman was a burger of Wesel from 1373 to 1391, and the mayor in 1401. As in England, the mayor was elected from the council of burghers for a one-year term.(10) Henrich Offerman (c1340)
Henric Offerman, a burger of Wesel 1373-1386. Perhaps the brother of Johan.(11) Goswin Offerman the Elder (c1360)
Goeswin Offerman was a burger of Wesel, 1386-1391. The document below reports a dispute between the church of Xanten and Goswin for non-payment of tithes (I think). Xanten is across the river from Wesel.
13 December 1403. "Beschreibung : Klageforderung des Dekans und Kapitels der Kirche von Xanten (Zanten) gegen Goswin Offerman von Wesel (Wessele): Erstens sagen sie, dass die Kornzehnten mit dem Fass [gemessen] und auch andere Renten von hogengelende im Kirchspiel Bislich (Bislicke) dem Kapitel gehören. Es hat diese seit weit mehr als 100 Jahren besessen und erhoben, bis Goswin und andere es darin zu Unrecht verkürzt haben. Ferner sagen sie, daß Goswin sich des Erbguts und hogelandes gen. tho Gropwich unterwindet, das dem + Rotger von Berck gehörte. Goswin schuldet dem Stift jährlich Zehnten und Renten von diesem Erbe und Gelände, wie man diese von den umliegenden Erbgütern zufolge der Register des Stifts schuldet. - Ferner sagen sie, dass Goswin von dem Gut tho Gropwich laut der Register des Stifts diesem oder dessen Pächter (pensionario) jährlich 3 Scheffel Weizen, 6 Scheffel Gerste und 6 Scheffel Hafer schuldet. Sie fordern die Rückstände von 18 Jahren ein. Sie berufen sich auf die Beweiskraft der Register ihrer Kirche. - Falls Goswin behauptet, dass das Gut tho Grupwich Zehnten an die Kirche von Bislich zahlt und daher der Xantener Kirche weder Zehnten noch Renten schuldet, antworten sie, dass viele Güter im Kirchspiel Bislich ihrer Kirche Zehnten und Renten zahlen und außerdem auch an die Bislicher Kirche. Sie kompromittieren wegen dieser Punkte auf den Jungherrn Dietrich von der Mark. - Auf diese Klageforderung der Kanoniker von St. Viktor, dass sie Gülten und Zehnten aus seinem Eigen und Erbe tho Gruppwich im Kirchspiel Bislich hätten, antwortet Goswin Offerman, dass das Gut tho Gruppingen sein Erbe ist und seine Vorfahren und er dieses Gut in rechter Were unbestritten innehatten und haben und Jahr um Jahr und länger, als rechtens erforderlich ist, in unangefochtenem Besitz hatten. Er will sein Erbe frei von Pacht, Zehnten und Schulden und sein Eigentumsrecht behalten. Niemand sonst hat Gülten oder Zehnten aus dem Gut, ausgenommen 9 Scheffel Schafzehnten für die Kirche zu Bislich. Auf weitergehende Ansprüche des Stiftes muss er nicht antworten, da solche ihm nicht mitgeteilt wurden. Er kompromittiert auf den Jungherrn von der Mark, der ihm Recht weisen und dies schriftlich und besiegelt zusenden möge. - Auf diese Klageforderung des Dekans und Kapitels und die Antwort des Goswin Offerman, Bürgers zu Wesel, spricht Dietrich von der Mark nach Befragung kundiger Leute und nach bestem Wissen für Recht: Können Dekan und Kapitel erweisen, wie Recht ist, dass sie das Gut tho Gropwich in Besitz hatten und die fraglichen Renten erhoben haben, sollen sie das genießen, es sei denn, dass Goswin erweisen kann, dass das Gut so gefreit ist, dass er ihnen den Besitz und Rentenempfang mit Recht entwinden kann. - Er kündigt sein innen unten aufgedrücktes Siegel an.Datum 1403 ipso die Lucie virginis.His sons were,
Google translation: Description: Action request of the dean and chapter of the church of Xanten (Zanten) against Goswin Offerman of Wesel (Wessels): First, they say that the Kornzehnten the barrel [measured] and other pensions of hogengelende in the parish Bislich (Bislicke) the chapter belong. It has owned this for well over 100 years and raised, and others have reduced it wrong to Goswin. They also say that Goswin to the genetic heritage and Hogeland gen tho unterwindet Gropwich that belonged to the + Rotger of Berck. Goswin owes the pencil and pensions annual tithe of this heritage site and how those surrounding the legacies that the register of the congregation owes. - They also say that Goswin of the estate tho Gropwich owes, according to the register of the congregation that or the tenant (pensionario) 3 bushels of wheat annually, 6 bushels of barley and 6 bushels of oats. They call us the residue of 18 years. Sie berufen sich auf die Beweiskraft der Register ihrer Kirche. They rely on the evidentiary value of the register of their church. - If Goswin claims that the estate tho Grupwich pay tithes to the Church of Bislich and therefore owes the church Xantener neither tithes nor pensions, they say that pay much property in the parish Bislich their church tithes and pensions and also even to the church Bislicher. You compromise because of this points to the young Mr. Dietrich von der Mark. - In this action requirement of the Canons of St. Victor, that they ground rents and tithes from his own and heritage tho Gruppwich in the parish had Bislich answers Goswin Offerman, that the estate tho Grupp singing is his heritage and his ancestors and he this good in right Were have held undisputed, and year after year and longer than necessary is legal, were in undisputed possession. He wants to keep his inheritance free of rent, tithe and liabilities and his rights. No one else has ground rents or tithes from the estate, other than 9 bushels Schafzehnten for the church to Bislich. On further claims of the pen, he must answer not, as such were not reported to him. He compromised on the young Lord of the Mark, the wise and may send him right in writing and sealed. - This action requested by the dean and chapter and the response of the Goswin Offerman, citizens of Wesel, Dietrich speaks of the Mark after consulting knowledgeable people and to the best knowledge rules: Can prove dean and chapter, as is right that it does well tho Gropwich in possession and had brought the issue bonds, they should enjoy it, unless that Goswin can prove that the property is so wed that he can wrest from them the possession and receipt of pension law. - He announced his seal pressed on the inside bottom of the ipso 1403 an. Datum virginis Lucie.
Or Derck Offermann. Of Wesel. The son of Goswin [Goisswyns soen or Goswinssoen]. Also known as Derik Offerman Goissenss. A burger of Wesel 1419-1425, 1419-22, 1424-25, and, under the name Goissens, 1423-1456. Mayor of Wesel 1429-1430, and in 1448. For his proposed birth year I assume he would have been at least 40 years old when first made mayor, and not much more than 60 when he held the post for the last time. Derik's first term as mayor was almost exactly 30 years, or one generation, after the service of Johan Offerman.
From a footnote, "1) Derk Offerman, Sohn Goswins, und seine Frau Lutgard stifteten in Wesel ein kleines Hospital." - from "Annalen des Historischen Vereins fur den Niederrhein Inbesondere"The little hospital was a charity that Derik and his wife founded in Wesel in 1443. This footnote refers to a citation of 6 October 1460 that mentions Derik's widow, Wittwe Derick Offermans."
Derik died in 1456.
Deric, Henric and Goswin Offerman were all mentioned in the reference about Wesel, below. I can see only snippet, so I cannot tell for certain what the dates mean, though these are probably dates they were burghers of the city.
"Johan Overman 1365-1381and,
Henric Offerman 1373-1386
1373 I 1-0-0
Johan Offerman 1373-1391 . . . "
"Johan Overman 1365-1381and,
1381 IV 0-4-6 (uxor)
Goeswin Offerman 1386-1391 . . ."
"Derik Offerman 1419-1425(12) Henrich Offerman (c1390)
BM 1421 . . .
Derik Offerman Goissenss.
1423-1456 (died 1456)
1423" - from "Stadtrechnungen von Wesel" by Friedrich Gorissen
Of Wesel. The brother of Goswin Offerman of Lübeck.
(12) Goswin Offerman the Younger(c1390)
Born in Wesel, he became a Burger of Lübeck. Perhaps Goswin was a second, or third, son and so set off to make his own way. Also as Goeswin, Goswinus, Goesen, Goissen & Giessen. The brother of Derik and Henrick Offerman of Wesel. In 1410 he was listed as a "Lübecker Burger."
I have another early document, the Diplomatarium Danicum, of 2 May 1416 which mentions Goswin. He, and 39 other Lübeck citizens, Hanseatic merchants, were being held in captivity at Lund Erik, the King of Denmark, for transgressions unmentioned, though probably for trading without permission. Note that at this time Lübeck was part of the German Empire. Lübeck and the Hanseatic League had several conflicts with Denmark and Norway about trade privileges. Goswin was required to leave a guarantee, or bail, of 700 Lübeck marks with a futher sum of 2000 marks to be paid the next summer.
"Goswin Offerman: Kautionen for godset andrager 700 mark lybsk. Den anden sum 2000 mark lybsk."He was apparently a Hanseatic merchant.
Google translation: The guarantee of the estate amounts to 700 marks Liibecker. Den anden sum 2000 mark lybsk. The second sum in 2000 arable Liibecker. . . .
The Offerman's were associated with Oldesloe from very early times. I have Goswino, or Goswinus, Offerman in a document of 15 August 1425 dealing with the Saline, or salt mine, in Oldesloe.
"Saline in Oldesloe. 1425. Aug. 15.I haven't got all the Latin down obviously, but this may be a deed transferring some part of the salt mine to Goswin, or putting a mining operation into motion. The Springhorns were burgers of Oldesloe in the 15th and 19th centuries. Adolf was Adolf VIII, the last Count of Holstein-Rendsburg and Duke of Schleswig. He died without heirs in 1459.
Johannes Springhorn pro se et suis heredibus coram libro recognouit, se habere duas appertas litteras per illustrem principem dominum Adolffum, ducem Sleswicesem et comitem Holtzacie, sibi et suis heredibus sigillatas, sonantes super tribus sartaginibus salinariis in et sub salina Odeslo cum tribus kotsteden et aliis eorum appertinenciis juxta et secundum tenorem dictarum litterarum. Tatnen antedictus Johannes Springhorn coram libro recognouit, quod medietas antedictarum sartaginum et kotsteden cum eorum appertinenciis appertineat Goswino Offerman et suis heredibus et alia medietas appertineat sibe et suis heredibus et nulli alteri, promisitque eciam dictus Johannes Springhorn cum suis heredibus, se velle et debere prefatas litteras ad usum dictorum amborum fideliter custodire." - from the "Urkundenbuch der Stadt Lübeck"
My translation: Johannes Springhorn for himself and his heirs personally recognizes, himself holds two appertas letters of the illustrious prince Sir Adolf, Duke of Schleswig and Count of Holstein, to them and their heirs confirm, express over three salt pans in and under the Oldesloe Salt when three kotsteden and others they close and follow course letters declare. Tainen declare Johannes Springhron publicly recognizes, with respect to middle before mentioned pan and kotsteden when they appertinenciis appertineat Goswin Offerman and his heirs and other middle appertineat sibe and his heirs and no others, promise to set in motion the declaration of Johannes Springhorn when his heir, wishes and owes . . . letter to use declare both faithfully to preserve.
I have another reference Goswin Offerman of Lübeck on 10 April 1429.
Goswin Offerman of Lübeck had a brother, Henrich Offerman of Wesel. I think this effectively makes the link between Lübeck and Wesel.
29 January 1430. "11. Item had hie hir to gelient to Lubeke van Goissen Offerman, dat heren Henrick Offerman, synen brueder, hier weder is gegeven, 18 Arn. gulden, vor den gulden 18 s., maket 28 mr. 6 s." - from "Hanserecesse"Heinrich Offerman was called "Rm. zu Wesel" (719), while Goswin Offerman was called "zu Lübeck" (179) in the "Stadtrechnungen von Wesel" by Friedrich Gorissen.
I've also found the following refernce that mentions Goswin's other brother, Derik, the son of Goswin the elder.
"In Lübeck wohnte in der ersten Hälfte des 15. Jahrhunderts auch Goswin, der Bruder des bedeutenden Weseler Kaufmanns Derik Offerman Goswinsson." - from "Geschicte der Stadt Wesel" Volume 2 by Jutta Prieur and Werner Arand
Medieval Lübeck, an important port in the Hanseatic League, was located on an island in the middle of the Trave river. Salzpeicher, salt wareshouses, stored one of the city's main exports prior to shipment to Baltic ports. Some of this salt came from Oldesloe, up the Trave river. Salt, an important preservative, was the most important export of the League.
Goswin died in circa 1457. Below, in the name of King Alfonso of Aragon [why invoke him? was Johann a member of the king's household?], a testamentary disposition of Goswin Offerman was requested/
19 April 1457. "Alfons, König von Arragonien, ersucht den Bath von Lübeck, gegen eine ungesetz- liche testamentarische Verfügung des Goswin Offermann Bemedur eintreten zu lassen. 1457. Apr. 19.Apparently Goswin had a mistress named Ghesken who conceived his bastard son. I'm not certain, but it may be that Goswin transferred his affection to this second son, perhaps disinheriting Johann. If that reading is correct, then Johann is attempting to reverse those affairs, declaring himself the legitimate heir. It also mentions that Johann had a legitimate sister. The deposition was taken at Castle Nuovo in Naples.
Kex Aragonum et vtriusque Sicilie etc.
Mobiles et egregii viri deuoti nobis dilecti. Expositione dilecti familiaris nostri Johanni8 Offerman, ciuis vestre ciuitatis Lubicensis, intelleximus, qualiter Gosuwinus Offerman, quondam pater ipsius Johannis, dum in humanis ageret, ad seductionem cuiusdam mulieris, cui nomen Ghesken, suum ultimum condidit testamentum , in quo eiusdem mulieris filios degeneres ac spurios ex illioito coitu procreatos instituit, exheredatis ipso Johanne et eius sorore, quibus bona ipsa jure hereditario ex successione materna proueniunt, nee dictus quondam Goswinus ea bona alienare aut aliter de eis disponere potuit, cum, ut asseritur, solum vsufruetuarius fuerit Et quia dictus Johannes ea bona recuperare velle pretendat et coram vobis super eisdem per suos procuratores subiturus sit Judi- cium, vos precamur et rogamus, quatinus tum nostri contemplatione et amore tum vel maxime contemplacione justicie, cuius vos maximi eultores estis, eundem Johannem, familiärem nostrum, circa adeptionem sue justicie fauorabiliter recom- missum suseipere velitis. Quicquid enim in predictis in ipsum Johannem circa celerem expeditionem sue justicie collatum fuerit, in nos collatum esse reputa- bimus, qui pro vobis parati sumus morem gerere. Datum in Castellonouo ciuitatis nostre Neapolis, die deeimonono mensis Aprilis, quinte indictionis, anno a natiuitate Domini millesimo quadringentesimo quinquagesimo septimo."
15 May 1457. "Papst Calixtus III. schreibt dem Rathe von Lübeck wegen eines Testaments des Gosurin Offermartn. 1457. Mai 15. Calistus papa tertius. Dilecti filii. Salutera et apostolicam benedictionem. Scripsit nobis carissi- mus in Christo filius noster Alfonsus, rex Aragonum illustris, in commendationem dilecti filii Johannis Offerman, familiaris sui, quod, cum quidam Gosuinus Offer- man, ciuis Lubicensis, condiderit testamentum de certis bonis suis vsufruetuariis, que post ipsius mortem de jure, ut asseritur, prefato Johanni, fiüo suo legittimo speetabant et illa indebite legauit quibusdam filiis suis spuriis spreto et excluso dicto Johanne legittimo, ut premittitur, filio, dignaremur de benignitate apostolica indemnitati ipsius Johannis, serenitati sue ob grata seruitia fideliter impensa cari et aeeepti, opportune prouidere. Nos uero de premissis certam notitiam non habentes et uolentes preeibus ipsius regis annuere et commendationes suas exaudire, hortamur ac rogamus nobilitates uestras, ut uocatis uocandis simpliciter et de piano auditis omnibus, que partes hincinde dicere et allegare voluerint in pre- missis, eidem Johanni justiciam expeditam administrari faciatis, habentes eum in huiusmodi causa et omnibus aliis, quantum honestas pacietur, in sua justicia fauorabiliter commendatum. In qua re nobis eiusdem regis intuitu ualde com- placebitis. Datum Kome, apud Sanctum Petrum, sub annulo piscatoris, die XV Maji MCCCCLVH, pontificatus nostri anno tertio."Johann is covered in smiles in the document above and I believe, especially since the illegimate brother is never named, he won his case to be acknowledged as the rightful heir.
19 May 1457. "Der Kardinal Jacob van Sanct Eustachius schreibt dem Rathe hinsichtlich des Testaments des Goswin Offerman. 1457. Mai 19.I think this means that Johann had one or more half-brothers whom he was attempting to keep from his father's estate. This opens the possibility that our Offerman family may be descendents from Goswin's mistress, Ghesken. (13) Johann Offerman (c1420)
Honorandi ac spectabiles uiri. Intellexi, quod Gosuynus Offerman, uester conciuis, certos suos spurios filios vniuersales heredes in suo testamento instituit et quendam Johannem Offerman, suum legittiraum filium, in quinque florenis seu quinque marcis jure legati aut alias instituit in ipsius Johannis graue preiu- dicium. Que res si sie se habuit, nulli dubium, quod dictus Johannes grauatus magnopere existit. Yerum ne legittimus filius sua defraudetur ac spolietur hereditate et hü, ad quos bona non speetant, contra Deum et eorum conscienciam aliena oecupent, vos rogo, ut tum propter Deum tum etiam mei contemplacione dictum Johannem Offerman in sua iustitia defendere placeat neque permittere uelitis, quod per prefatos spurios sua spolietur hereditate, quia indecens esset, ut, ubi iustitia semper conseruatur, tanta iniustitia locum sibi uendicaret. Quod ad gratiam a vobis aeeipiam, quos summa felicitate gaudere desidero. Ex Vrbe, XIX Maji. Cardinalis saneti Eustachii f Jacobus." - from "Urkundenbuch der Stadt Lübeck" Volume 9
Google translation: The Cardinal Jacob van St. Eustace wrote to the council regarding the will of the Goswin Offerman. 19 May 1457
Honorable and spectabiles men. Understand, with respect to Gosuynus Offerman, your fellow citizen, certain of his illegitimate son(s) vniuersales heirs in accordance with his will institute and one Johannem Offerman, his legitimate son, in five florens or five marks by right bequeath or otherwise institue in himself Johannis grave form. . . .
Of Lübeck. "Suum legittimum filium" of Gosuynus Offerman who died circa 1457. Also called filii Johannis Offerman, familiaris sui, quod, cum quidam Gosuinus Offerman, ciuis Lubicensis.(14) Hinricus Offerman (c1450)
Of Lübeck. A grandson of Goswin who did not inherit the family business. Perhaps the son of one of Goswin's bastards. Hinricus Offerman, clericus Lubecensis. A clerk, or cleric, of Lübeck. 1468.
1466-1467. "Hinricus Offerman, clericus Lubecensis, nona Maii, gratis ad peticionnem magistri Johannis Petzkowen, notarii civitatis, cuius est familiaris, quia pauper."(14) Hans Offerman (c1450)
1468. "Nomina baccalariandorum sunt het:
. . .
Hinricus Offerman, de Lubeke. - from "Publicationen aus den k. Preussischen Staatsarchiven Volume 52"
"Offerman, Hans 1485." - from the Register of "Die Hamburgisch-Lubischen Pfundgeldlisten 1485-1486."(14) Gretchen Offerman (c1450)
Jacob Fretz, born on 4 September 1472 in Lübeck, Holstein, married a Gretchen Offerman. She may have been from a south German town, however.
There is today an Offerman family in Oldesloe, including a student, Chris Fabian Offerman, who did the 2009 Trave river mile run in 7:52. His sister is probably Anna Katharina Offerman, another runner.
(23) Johann Offermann (1827)
My G-G-Grandfather. John, or Johann, was born on 29 February 1827, in the town of Oldesloe, in the Duchy of Holstein which was then ruled by the King of Denmark. So John was one of those odd fellows who had a birthday only once every four years, like the apprentice, Frederic, in "The Pirates of Penzance."
"Offerman, Johann: b 2/29/1827, Oldesloe, Schleswig, Holstein, Germany; d 12/28/1906, Davenport, Scott Co., Iowa; m Dorathea Brues/Brus/Haase; Settled 1856 in Scott Co.; Ch: Henry Haase, Fredrick Haase, William Haase, Charles J. Offerman, Louis Offerman, Adolph Offerman, Herman Offerman." - from "Hawkeye Heritage"
Oldesloe, pictured to the left in a map of 1641, sits at the confluence of the Trave and Best rivers, which provided some measure of protection for its people at this turbulent crossroads.
This small town achieved success on the busy trade route between the Hanseatic towns of Hamburg and Lübeck. It was located at the furthest navigable point up the Trave river from Lübeck and, as such, was a distribution point for goods brought in from the Baltic. An important source of income for the town until the end of the 16th century was the brewing of beer. There were about 60 brewers amongst its 450 burghers.
The local Counts of Schauenburg, beginning with Adolf I in 1111, promoted the town as a commercial center to offset the influence of Lübeck, with minor success. However, when the Hanseatic League declined so did Oldesloe's fortunes.
The Black death struck the region in about 1350. Of an estimated population of 420,000 in both duchies in 1340, there were only 230,000 remaining in 1353.
After the death of the last Schauenburg Count, Adolf VIII, in 1460 the King of Denmark was installed as the Duke of Schleswig and Count of Holstein. Holstein became a duchy in 1474.
In 1477 the town was destroyed by fire.
In 1527, during the Reformation, Oldesloe was headquarters of the new creed in Holstein. Hundreds of Lubeck burghers traveled to Oldesloe to hear the popular minister Friemersheim, who had come from the Netherlands.
After about 1550 Schleswig-Holstein moved from the German Crown to that of Denmark.
During the Thirty Years War (1618–1648) the Swedish general Tortensen reduced the town with the usual destruction, looting and rapine. The plague followed and the town recovered only very slowly. There was a salt spring nearby which had been mined since the medieval period, but this played out and in the 19th century the town attempted to sell itself as a mineral bath and spa. Today the town is known as Bad Oldesloe, the Bad, or Bath, harking back to its brief days as a resort.
The Nordic War, 1700-1721, between Sweden on one side and Denmark, Poland and Russia on the other, saw Schleswig and Holstein as a battlefield once more. Marauding troops devastated large parts of the duchies.
The latter half of the 18th century was a peaceful time. Old farming methods were reformed: common fields were split up into individual property, and the whole territory belonging to a village was restructured into larger units and with new roads. Moors and bogs were drained. New crops were also introduced, most significantly the potato. Before the populace had survived on buckwheat, oats, and cabbage. At about this time serfdom was finally abolished in the duchies.
After the Napleonic Wars, Denmark, and the duchies, were bankrupt. Prussian, Swedish and Russian armies invaded and the Russians only left at the end of 1814.
In the aftermath of Napoleon's wars, and his humiliation of Prussia and Austria, many Germans began to push for a unification of all German peoples into a single nation. In 1848, in response to the Danish King's attempt to pull Schleswig into a closer union with Denmark, there was a nationalistic uprising and war against Denmark from 1848 to 1851. Denmark was victorious in the end and the King used his increased power to impose the Danish language on the native Germans and to remove pro-German officials from the army, schools, and other public offices. Many Schleswig-Holsteiners chose to emigrate at this time.
"A small and pretty town in the midst of an almost perfectly level country, exceedingly well cultivated, indeed so much as to resemble one continuous garden, on the Trave, at and near the junction of three other small streams, 16 miles W.S.W. from Lübeck." - from "The History of the Life of Leonard Torstenson." The painting to the left is a bucolic 19th century view of the countryside near Oldesloe.
Below is a postcard view of Oldesloe.
Below is a vista of the relatively flat land around Oldesloe.
John was of German stock, despite his Danish King, and a Catholic. Due to the Reformation of Martin Luther, and the Counter-Reformation of the Catholic church, Germany is split between a Protestant north and a Catholic south. The state religion of Holstein was Lutheranism, so the Offermann's were a minority, and persecuted for their beliefs. Holstein was ruled more liberally than Schleswig and a few Catholic communities were permitted to remain in existence, however, outside these communities Catholics in Holstein did not have freedom of worship until 1863. See Catholic Encyclopedia for a more extensive discussion of the region's religious history.
If the Offerman's were descendents of Goswin Offerman, then they had to defend their personal religion for almost 300 years. Does this argue for a later emigration for the family's orgins? As a point of reference, in 1709 there were still 100 Catholics living in nearby Lubeck.
|The Catholic Church in Schleswig-Holstein
The Reformation of the sixteenth century resulted in the loss of almost all of Northern Germany and Scandanavia to the Catholic church. In 1536 Lutheranism was declared the religion of the state by King Christian III of Denmark. The exercise of the Catholic faith was forbidden and the property of the diocese was confiscated. While the Catholic Church was entirely suppressed in Schleswig, in Holstein a few Catholic communities were permitted to remain in existence. Catholic merchants and residents of Hamburg managed to re-establish themselves gradually and as early as 1581 incorporated themselves as an independent community under the protection of the Emperor. They found a home in the neighbouring city of Altona. Mennonites and Jews also found religious freedom there. The name of the street Große Freiheit (Great Freedom) in Altona is a remembrance of those times. A second Catholic community was founded in 1625 at Friedrichstadt, in Schleswig. To these was added a church on Nordstrand island in 1661 and a chapel at Glückstadt in 1662. In 1784, after many intervening years of persecution, the Catholics of Hamburg were officially recognized by the civic authorities and authorized to celebrate Divine worship. Around 1850 there were, however, only 1,000 - 2,000 Catholics in the duchies.
- Altona, in the province of Pinneberg, in Holstein, was established as a fishing village on the Elbe in the 16th century, just downstream from Hamburg. It was later one of the first free ports in Northern Europe and has grown to be one of the two largest cities in the province, Kiel being the other. Altona was incorporated into Hamburg in 1937. Large quantities of apples and other fruit are raised nearby. Note that the Echof's, who married into the first generation of Denglers in America, were from Neustadt, also a suburb of modern Hamburg. Above is a lithograph of Altona in 1860.
- Glückstadt [or Fortune City], also Gloeckstadt or Glueckstadt, is a little further down the Elbe, close to the open sea. It was founded in 1617 by the Danish King in the province of Steinburg in Holstein as competition to Hamburg. For a time it was the capital of Danish Holstein. In 1619 it began its tolerant policy, welcoming persecuted religious sects and offering them special priveleges as citizens of their new city. Like Altona, it hosted a large Sephardic Jew populaton. Its growth was hampered by frequent flooding.
- Friedrichstadt is in the province of Nordfriesland, on the west coast of Schleswig. It nestles between the rivers Eider and Treene. It was founded in 1621 by Duke Friedrich II von Gottorp of Holstein for Dutch religious refugees. The settlers named the new town after the duke. Its a small town which to this day looks like a piece of Holland. Famously tolerant, it also hosted Mennonites and a community of Quakers for a time.
- Nordstrand is one of the North Frisian islands, today a penisula, off the west coast in the province of Husum, in Schleswig. It is just northwest of Friedrichstadt. It is a low, sandy island, subject to the high tides and rough weather of the North sea. Its church is also of Dutch origin, built by Dutch Catholic dike builders brought in after the flood of 1634. The photo above shows a Nordstrand village sheltering behind a dike. As a reward for their work they were given the right to rule the island and to practice the Roman Catholic religion within the Lutheran duchy. Since 1723 their church has been schismatic. They refer to themselves as "Old Catholics" and follow a variety of old and new practices not in accordance with papal direction.
The Catholic church in the north of Germany remains small to this day. In 1909 the Prefecture Apostolic of Schlewsig-Holstein counted 35,900 members, compared with 550,000 members of other congregations, or just 6% of the population. For all of Germany, Catholics made up about half of the population. According to a Catholic Encyclopedia of the era, "The spiritual interests of the faithful are inadequately attended to owing to the extent of the parishes, the lack of priests, the poverty of the majority of the Catholics, and, in many places, owing to the intolerance of the Protestant state or municipal governments."
In later documents Johann was identified as a farmer and a carpenter; he probably learned this trade while still living in Germany.
See Rootdigger for an excellent source on emigrees from Holstein. Amongst the emigree's was,
"Offerman, Jochim Christoph, born about 1829, the son of Hans, a carpenter. Carpenter himself, too. Permission for emigration was denied in 1851, destination USA."See also,
"Offermann, Johann, born in about 1841, the son of Peter & Catharina nee Bomhorst or Bomholdt. A brother in America: Peter* born in about 1850, destination USA."
Johann Offermann came to America in 1853. He probably emigrated as a result of the unsettled times in Holstein. Between 1848 and 1865 Danish and German nationalists battled over whether the duchy would remain with Denmark or become more closely aligned with the rising nationalism of Germany. Another push to emigration was the rising population spurred by improved food and sanitary conditions. As family sizes increased, 'land hunger' by the young was exacerbated. Holstein was dominated by a landed aristocracy who controlled most of the arable property.
The term "Holstein" comes from the Old Saxon, Holseta Land, meaning "woodland." This was to distinguish it from neighbouring regions in the area which were either marshy or green pasture lands. The Saxons called the inhabitants Holsaten. From that the Romans derived the name Holsatae. The other Saxon tribes in the region north of the Elbe river were the Tedmarsgoi, or Dithmarschers [Thietmarshers] who settled in the west of the country on the North Sea coast, and Sturmarii/Sturmera, or Stormaren, who settled in the south of Holstein. The Germanic tribe known to history as the Angles, invaders of England in the Fifth century, came from this region. Note that the Angles settled predominantly in northern England, including Lancashire, creating an early link between the Offermans and the Hissem/Heysham family.
Holstein is located at the base of the Jutland penisula, the neck of land between Denmark and Germany. The Baltic sea lies to the east and the North sea to the west. Its southern border is defined by the Elbe river. The countryside is lowlands with virtually no mountains, the highest elevation being the Bungsberg which is only 168 meters high. There are many lakes, especially in the eastern part of the region. It is a fertile agricultural land except at its center, where heaths and moors predominate. Farming of grains, potatoes, and vegetables, and cattle raising have been pursued for generations. Shipping and fishing are important along the coasts.
The people historically spoke a dialect of German known as Low Saxon or Low German, also referred to as Plattdeutsch. When the Prussians seized the duchy in 1866 the populace was forced to adopt the High German language, the modern German language of today. The major cities are Kiel and Lübeck, with the major urban center of Hamburg lying just outside the region to the south, on the Elbe.
Holstein, and its northern neighbor Schleswig, have always been torn between their Germanic and Scandavian roots. Peopled by Saxons, Danes, Jutes, Frisians and Slavs, they have been ruled by the dominant power in the region. From 1773 the Kings of Denmark held both duchies; Schleswig as full sovereign, Holstein as a prince of the Holy Roman Empire. Both duchies were in personal union with, but not part of, Denmark. The Congress of Vienna, held after the end of the Napoleanic Wars in 1814–15, did not change the status of the two duchies, except that the German Confederation, which had succeeded the Holy Roman Empire, now became suzerain over Holstein.
Because of the growing national consciousness of the German people in the 19th century, and of the predominantly German population in the two duchies, any change in their status that would tie them more closely to Denmark was a potentially explosive issue. When King Christian VIII announced, in 1846, that succession by females was to apply not only to the Danish throne but to Schleswig as well, there was violent opposition among German nationalists who feared the complete incorporation of Schleswig into Denmark. Nevertheless, under pressure from Danish nationalists, Frederick VII, who had succeeded Christian, declared the complete union of Schleswig with Denmark in 1848. Revolution broke out in both duchies, a provisional government was established in Kiel, and the German Confederation came to the aid of the rebels and occupied the duchies in what became known as the First War of Schleswig. British intervention led to an armistice in the German-Danish fighting, but in 1849 the war was resumed. After inconclusive fighting, peace was made in 1850 between Prussia, which had been commissioned by the Confederation to conduct the war, and Denmark. Nothing had been solved however and tension continued to run high in the duchies.
In 1855 pressure from Danish nationalists forced Frederick VII to proclaim the Danish constitution as valid for both duchies. The protest of the German Confederation led to the withdrawal of that measure, but in November 1863, just before Frederick's death, a common constitution for Denmark and Schleswig was drawn up. His successor, Christian IX, signed the constitution, which the German diet declared in violation of the protocol. In January 1864 Prussia and Austria declared war on Denmark, which was easily defeated. Austria was initially given control of Holstein, while Prussia was given Schleswig, but as a result of Prussia's victory over Austria in the Seven Weeks War, both duchies were annexed by the Prussian's in 1866.
After World War I a plebescite was held. Northern Schleswig voted to reunite with Denmark while southern Schleswig and Holstein voted to remain part of Germany.
John Offermann would most likely have embarked for America from the great port city of Hamburg, which is on the Elbe river, at the southern end of the duchy. Up until 1847 Bremen was the German port of choice, but after that time the merchants of Hamburg became more aggressive in seeking the emigration business. Emigrants reached the port by boat and, after 1847, by train. In order to attract more emigrants the shipping companies in Hamburg established a network of emigration agencies throughout Germany and the neighbouring countries, enticing people to move to America. Between 1836 and 1914 more than four million people left the continent via Hamburg. From an advertisement of the time:
"The passengers from the day of embarkation to the day of disembarkation at the port of destination receive free board on the scale usual on seagoing ships. This consists of sustaining and nutritious food such as salt beef, salt pork, herrings, peas, beans, pearl barley, oats, rice, sauerkraut, butter, plums, pastries, pudding, etc., all in sufficient quantity and of the best quality. Coffee is served in the mornings, and in the evenings tea and ship's bread with butter. In accordance with the decree of the local authority, the ships are provisioned for 90 days so that the passengers will not lack for anything on the longest voyage."
Hamburg was not necessarily a good city for the emigrants, however, and there were no regulations about their treatment during their stay in the city. Most emigrants arrived in Hamburg by rail. Every landlord tried to entice as many emigrants as he could to his inn or lodging house. Sometimes the landlords hired "litzer" (runners) who handled this. Runners were also hired by the clerks of shipping lines, by moneychangers, by stores selling utensils for the voyage, etc. The runners were paid a commission on each customer they brought. The emigrants, who were naturally not familiar with Hamburg conditions, were frequently the victims of fraud. They were charged very high prices for board and lodging or were sold unneeded utensils for the voyage. Many lost much of their money before they even left Europe.
In order to stop the "runner's racket," a private association, the Association for the Protection of Emigrants, was founded in Hamburg in 1850. From that date forward, on their arrival at the railroad station, most emigrants received information on the average price of board and accommmodation, how to transfer baggage, the necessary utensils for the voyage, the current rates of exchange, and the different types of passage available to America. However, by the year 1854, the number of emigrants leaving Hamburg rose to nearly 51,000 and the private association could no longer keep up. Finally, in 1855, the City of Hamburg took over the Information Office. At the same time, the Emigration Office was given the judicial authority to quickly settle disputes between emigrants and landlords or businessmen before the emigrant sailed.
The hardest and most dangerous part of emigration was the voyage by sailing ship. Most Hamburg sailing ships in 1850 were approximately 124 x 20 x 15 feet (length x beam x depth of hold), by modern standards, extremely small. The length of the voyage between Hamburg and New York depended on wind conditions and the weather. An emigrant never knew exactly how long the voyage would take. The average crossing took 43 days and the longer crossings often took 63 days. An exceptionally long voyage might take 70 days. If an emigrant had booked passage to California, the voyage would take six months. First and second class cabins were available, but these cost from three to as much as ten times the steerage passage, depending upon the accommodations and the size of the ship.
Most of the emigrants traveled in steerage accommodations which were in the space between the upper deck and the cargo hold. Shipowners had found in the emigrants a new source of profit and built a flimsy, temporary floor beneath the main deck and on top of the cargo hold. Sometimes this flooring was set so far down in the hold that bilge water would seep up through the planking. Rats scurried about. Ventilation and light came only from the hatches when they were open. The only lights in the compartment were a few hanging lamps along the side which could be lit at night. During a storm, emigrants were denied access to the main deck and the hatches were battened down tightly, leaving no source of ventilation, except for a few pinhole or strainer sized holes which were in the cover (Usually the hatches were not tightened down before a few waves had poured in and soaked all the bedding and clothing, however.) The storm could last for a few days or up to a week or more and the hatches would stay down. Lights could not be used during the storm because of the danger of fire.
Provisions were measured and doled out carefully to ensure they would last the required ninety days if necessary. Water was carefully rationed and only a small amount given to each passenger which had to suffice for drinking, cooking, and washing of themselves. The diet given passengers was sufficient to keep off starvation, but not healthy or appetizing. The quality of the provisions suffered during the lengthy voyages and from inadequate food preservation methods. The bread was moldy by the end of the voyage, the butter and pork fat rancid, the flour full of bugs, and the water almost undrinkable.
In the middle 1800's the steam engine began to take over. On 29 May 1850 the first Hamburg steamship sailed to America. In 1856 there were two 2400 ton steamships put into service on the direct route from Hamburg to New York. More steamers followed, but the cost of passage was more than that of the sailing ships. The direct voyage between Hamburg and New York, which had lasted 43 to 63 days, was shortened to a maximum of 12 to 14 days. However, in 1856 only 5% of the emigrants landing in New York came by steamship.
The following is an interesting extract from a diary of a crossing in 1847 from Hamburg to New Orleans and thence up the Mississippi to Davenport:
Note that the Stoltenbergs, below, came over on the HENRIETTA on this route.
"On March 30, 1847 I traveled from Barsbeck to Rensburg. I stayed only one day in Rensburg. From there I took the train to Hamburg. However, because of an unfavorable wind, we had still to stay there till Monday, April 12th.
At 11 o'clock in the morning, we lifted anchor and sailed to Gloeckstadt. It was a friendly day and a fresh breeze blew into our sails. Everybody was pleased and gay; on leaving we fired six canons. On the second day we rode at anchor at Gloeckstadt. On April 15th the wind went to S.E. and we lifted anchor. A fresh breeze blew and we soon entered the North Sea. Now sea sickness came up. Until now nobody had felt anything of it. One lay here, another lay there for a place where he could spit. Captain and Helmsman said that some overcame it more easily but others had to fight it harder. I suffered little of it. I went to bed at 4 o'clock and slept till the next morning. With the help of a fortunate wind the North Sea was soon Passed through. On April 17th we had the pleasure to look at England with the naked eye. We had aboard a pilot from Hamburg. He went ashore at Dover in England. All followed him with their eyes longingly. Several of wrote letters to their left friends and acquaintances which he offered to take care of. On April 18th we had a favorable wind. On the 19th we were pleased to hear from our Captain that we already had passed half of the Channel. On the 20th a lull occurred and we hardly moved from the spot. Now we were at our leisure to look at all the fishing boats. One day we could count more than a hundred. Sometimes they approached us closely enough to make a deal with them, but they asked so unreasonably that we did not buy anything from them.The next page is missing.
and prayer. We had songs and a sermon. After the service was over, we had dancing or a baptism on the deck. On the 3rd of May we saw a large fish. It jumped merrily out of the water, and again we had some dancing or a baptism. We made 42 miles that day. On May 4th we enjoyed wonderful weather, but the wind came from the S.W. and we could make only 5 miles in a watch. We also sighted a brig on this day, and we had not seen any ships for 8 days. Up to here we lost 2 hours on this day and now our trip went along fast. The wind came usually from the North till May 18 (or 16). On this evening the wind came from the East and we noticed we entered Ost...?. From now on we had always the same wind and we enjoyed a very happy trip. Every day we sighted a lot of flying fish. On the 19th of May we hit upon the 50th degree west longitude. On the 20th a strong breeze blew and we could make 9 miles in a watch. The wind still came from the East and on the first Whitsunday at 2 o'clock in the night, we were pleased to sight land. On the 29th we sighted St. Domingo. Now we were on the 73rd degree west longitude. On the 30th we sighted Jamaica. The shore line was high and rocky. We had now always a favorable wind, but only a moderate breeze was blowing. On June 2nd we sighted Cuba. We traveled very close along the shore and as far as the eye could reach the island was covered with bushes. We noticed also some houses close to the beach but we did not sight any people. Here we sighted 5 ships. This was something new to us because for a long time we had not seen so many together. We hit upon the 83rd degree west longitude and 23 north latitude. The heat is rising with every day and now we have already 40 degrees in the air and 22 degrees in the water. The Helmsman caught a big dolphin, which had yellow stripes over its entire body and offered a fine sight. However, it soon lost its color and became white. It weighed approximately 15 pounds. From now on we had only a moderate breeze and we had to stay four days in the Mexican Bay. On Sunday morning a steamship approached us from the front. We arrived at New Orleans on June 8, 1847, we proceeded up the Mississippi River and landed at St. Louis June 19th. Then we proceeded on up the Mississippi River and reached Davenport, Iowa Monday, June 21st. The name of the sailing ship on which we came over was HENRIETTA, with captain Hunker in charge. The fare from Hamburg to New Orleans was 92 marks or $29.45. Fare from New Orleans to St. Louis was $2.50 without board and fare from St. Louis to Davenport was $1.00 without board."
In 1853 141,928 German immigrants arrived in America, 108,903 in New York City, 18,718 in New Orleans, 9,326 in Baltimore, 2,079 in Galveston, Texas, 2,030 in Philadelphia, 869 in Boston, and 3 in other ports.
Johann Offermann, a 22 year old farmer, arrived in New York City on 26 April 1853. The Ancestry.com site calls the year 1852, but looking at the source document it looks more like 1853 to me, though poorly written. He came from Germany alone on the ship ELIZABETH DENISON, out of Antwerp, Belgium for New York. The master of the vessel was M.L. Carpenter. Johann's destination was blank. Those who had a destination listed either Buffalo, New York or Wisconsin.
|New York City in 1853
In July 1853 New York City opened a World's Fair, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations. It was a 'crystal palace' in imitation of the great exposition of 1851 in London.
Walt Whitman's poem, "The Song of the Exposition," captures the excitement of the event and the confidence of the young nation:
... a Palace,
Am I certain this was our John?
- Note that our John Offerman became a naturalized citizen in 1858, meaning he must have arrived in this country no later than 1853 to give him the 5 years residency required, so the date of arrival is good. The Iowa state census of 1856 also indicates that John had been in the country for three years.
Points against this being 'our' John Offerman include:
- Our John was born in 1827 so this Johann is about three years too young.
- Why would a citizen of Holstein take ship from Antwerp rather than Hamburg? Antwerp would be a better choice for someone emigrating from the Rhineland. I suppose I shouldn't be too dogmatic about this, however. There was a Henry Offerman, of Prussia, who emigrated through Le Havre, France in 1852, that's even more illogical. One more observation: Antwerp may not be where Johann took ship, simply the last European port the ship visited before arriving at New York. In this scenario, Johann boarded the ELIZABETH DENISON in Hamburg, then the ship, not yet filled to capacity, stopped at one or more other European ports to load more emigree's, including a last stop in Antwerp.
It was a crowded ship, with 363 passengers listed on the manifest.
|The ELIZABETH DENISON
She was a ship-rigged vessel of 645 tons built on the Connecticutt river by Noah Starkey in 1839, and, starting in 1847, operated by Samuel Thompson, of the Black Star Line of 173 Pearl Street, New York City. At left is an advertisement for the Line.
A ship-rigged vessel has square sails on all three of her masts, with a gaff sail on the mizzen, or aft mast. The painting at right is of the CALEB GRIMSHAW, sister-ship of the ELIZABETH DENISON, operated by the same shipping line.
Below is a map of the Black Star line's dock, Pier 30 on the East River at South Street, in lower Manhatten where Johann Offermann got off the ELIZABETH DENISON. I worried that this map was for a later period, that of Marcus Garvey's Black Star Line in the 20th century, but note Dunham & Dimon, they were a mid-19th century New York shipping firm, as was the Black Ball Line.
South Street, New York City circa 1827
How did John get from New York City to Iowa? In the 1850's wagon trains were still leaving for the far west from the states along the Mississippi river, including Missouri and Iowa. In 1853 there were no railroads into Iowa, though the New York Central got as far as Illinois.
John settled in Scott county, Iowa. During the 1850's a very large influx of immigrants from Holstein settled in Davenport, many in a western suburb that became known as Hamburg. It is not unlikely that John arrived in company with a number of his fellow-Holsteiners. Whole villages may even have emigrated together. A marvelous website for Scott county, and for the story of the German settlers, is located at Scott county, Iowa.
|The Holstein Emigration to Davenport, Scott County, Iowa
Early German settlements in Iowa were largely in the areas that became the counties of Scott, Clinton, Cedar, Muscatine, Johnson, Iowa, Washington, Des Moines, Lee, Buchanan, Clayton, Osceola, O'Brien, Grundy and Tama. The first great emigration from Holstein reached Davenport in 1847. In April 1847, 17 German families arrived in Davenport, followed by another 250 Germans that summer. By 1854, one third of Davenport's population was German, supporting a German-language newspaper, several musical societies, a German free school, and a theater.
The German settlers planted many vinyards in the Blackhawk neighborhood, southwest of the city. However, it was in the northwest of the city that a real Little-Germany was established. Holsteiners or their descendants almost exclusively constituted its population. For that reason it was named "Hamburg" after their port of embarkation.
Several German societies were established in Davenport. The largest and most well-known was the Turner Society, the Davenport Turngemeinde. Turnen means 'to perform gymnastic exercises' and Turnverein was the name given to the clubs formed in Germany beginning in the early 1800's that followed the ideals of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. The members of these clubs, commonly known as Turners, were interested not only in physical education but also in liberal political and social issues. This movement was part of a pan-European unrest that led to the revolutions of 1848, and, eventually, to the unification of Germany. A more radical variant of the movement, unwilling to accept the gradualism of the Turnverein, were called the Turngemeinde.
The Davenport Turngemeinde was organizied in 1852. It cultivated physical and mental exercise, German song, the 'low' German language, folk festivals and dramatic art. They were leaders in the effort to make physical education a standard part of public school curricula in the United States in the late nineteenth century. The 'Turners' also promoted the development of public parks and playgrounds and supported legislation to improve conditions for working people. At the height of the Turner movement in the 1890s there were more than 300 gymnastic societies in 150 cities around the United States with over 40,000 members. Turner halls had served as community centers, providing assembly space for neighborhood groups, music and theater societies, unions and political groups, and for new German immigrants to learn American ways, but also to speak German and teach it to their children. This society is still in existence today. For more information on this movement, see History of the American Turners by Henry Metzner.
The American/Schleswig-Holstein Heritage Society, founded in 1989 promotes the heritage and language of the region. It is located in Davenport.
German emigration dried up at the end of the 19th century as an industrialized, unified Germany became able to protect and provide jobs for its people.
The Offerman's were Roman Catholics and there was a large German Catholic population in Davenport. The Bishop of the See of Dubuque had actively promoted the immigration of German and Irish Catholics to Iowa starting in 1840. There is a story in my family that my grandfather, Elmer Offerman, was excommunicated for allowing his children to be raised as Lutherans by his wife, Edna Dengler Offerman.
In America John met a widow, Dorothea Haase [Haas, Hasse]. Her maiden name was Brus or Brues. She was born on 24 December 1821 in Vismar, Mecklenburg Schwerin, Germany. She married Fritz Haase in Mecklenburg and came to America in 1853.
"Haase, Dorathea [sic] Brus: b 24 Dec 1821 in Vismar [Wismar], Mecklenburg Schwerin, Germany; d 24 Jan 1909; buried in Fairmount Cemetery, Davenport, IA; m Johann Offerman; Settled by 1856 in Scott Co.; Ch: Adolph, Charles J., Louis, Herman; Children of Dorathea by Mr. Haase: Henry, Fritz, William." - from "Hawkeye Heritage"Wismar is a small port and one-time Hanseatic League town in Northern Germany, on the Baltic sea. It is about 45 miles east of Lübeck.
A low lying area along the Baltic sea in northeastern Germany. To the west is Holstein, on the southwest is Lower Saxony, south is Brandenburg, and east is Poland. It was once the land of great estates and farms, but is now dominated by small holdings. The land was divided between the two duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, in the west, and Mecklenburg-Strelitz, in the east. In 1759 they were briefly occupied by Prussia, the kingdom to the south. In the aftermath of the Napoleanic Wars they both joined the German Confederation, the successor to the Holy Roman Empire, sided with Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, and became part of the German Empire in 1871. This region was in East Germany after World War II. The modern state is known as Mecklenburg Vorpommern [West Pommerania].
Emigration from Mecklenburg to the United States began in earnest in the early 1800's, accelerated through mid century and began slowing after the unification in 1871. It is estimated that during the peak years from 1850-1860 as many as 50,000 Mecklenburgers, or about 9% of the population, emigrated, primarily through the port of Hamburg. The total number of emigrees in the 19th century topped 260,000, the third highest count in Europe, after Ireland and Galicia, in the Ukraine.
Mass emigration like this is a sign of severe social crisis in any country. In Mecklenburg many people, especially those from the lower social classes, suddenly found they had no prospects. Their lives were being uprooted by the transition from a feudal society to a civil-capitalist one. In 1820 serfdom had been abolished and many landowners took the opportunity to get rid of their tenants, seeking to run their estates with the minimum of permanent staff. Many became homeless in their own land. Many of those sought to emigrate and the landed gentry encouraged them to do so. It was only with the growth of industrialization later in the century, under the German Empire, that enough jobs were created for the population. At that point the mass exodus slowed to a trickle.
As a result of the Reformation the Mass, pilgrimages, vows of religion etc., were forbidden, and in 1570 the public profession of the Catholic faith was prohibited in Mecklenburg. It was not until 1811 that the Catholic religion was placed in legal parity with the Lutheran. In 1905 there were 15,000 Catholics in a population of 730,000, or just 2% of the Mecklenburg total.
Dorothea had three sons with her first husband while still living in Mecklenburg, Germany. I have a Dorothea Haase, aged 32, of Mecklenburg, who departed Germany from Hamburg and arrived in New York City on 12 November 1853 in the ship ELISE. She was part of an extended Haase family who were listed in the following order: Johann, 55, Anna, 36, Johanna, 36, William, 26, Marie, 6, Wilhelmine, 2 6/12, and Mathilde, 3/12. Next came Dorothea's family, Fritz, 39, the only one noted to be a farmer, Dorothea, 32, Fritz, 7, Henori [Henry], 5, and Anton, 2 6/12. I suspect that Johann, William and Fritz Sr. were brothers.
The Danish bark NORDEN was built at Nyborg, Denmark, in 1842. On 14 January 1850 the NORDEN was purchased from Kruse, of Nyborg, by the Hamburg firm of C. Rübcke & Woellmer, who renamed her ELISE. Measurements (Hamburg): 129 Commerzlasten; 110 x 28,7 x 15,10 Hamburg Füße (1 Hamburg Fuß = .28657 meter), length x beam x depth of hold, zwischen den Steven. Burthen 325 tons. She could hold about 135 passengers and the voyage took about 40-45 days.
The photograph at left is of a bark or barque. While not the ELISE of Hamburg, its rigging was typical of the type, that is, it had three, or more, masts with square sails on the fore and main masts, but only fore and aft, or gaff sails on the aft, or mizzen mast. A ship-rigged vessel would have square sails on the mizzen as well. Barques became popular because they were easier to handle than ships. The wooden three-masted barque was the most common type of deep-water cargo-carrier in the middle of the 19th century. If both the main and mizzen had fore and aft rigs, the vessel was known as a barquentine.
The Masters of the ELISE were:
1850-1852 - H. H. D. N. I. Trautmann
The known voyages of the ELISE were:
1850 - New York (2 x)Source: Walter Kresse, ed., Seeschiffs-Verzeichnis der Hamburger Reedereien, 1824-1888, Mitteilungen aus dem Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte, N. F., Bd. 5. (Hamburg: Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte, 1969), vol. 1, p. 157.
Note that in September 1857 the ELISE, under the command of Captain Nielson, was one of the ships that saved passengers off the famous wreck CENTRAL AMERICA, a steamer that went down in a hurricane with millions of gold and silver from California onboard. Also note that there was a Bremen ship called the ELISE, built in 1835. It was originally ship-rigged, but later changed to a brig-fit. It was also in service in 1853 on the Atlantic route.
After moving to America Dorothea's husband, Fritz, died. According to the biography of his son, Frederick, Fritz died two years after arriving in Scott county, Iowa, or in 1853.
Dorothea was listed as a widow in the City Directory of Davenport in 1856. The LDS web site lists a Dorothy Haas [sic] who married a John Offerman [sic] on 4 April 1856 in Scott county, Iowa - from the International Genealogical Index (IGI).
Were both Dorothea and John Catholic? Note that Henry Haase, Dorothea's son, was buried in the Holy Family Catholic church cemetary as was John's son, Charles Offerman. Louis Offerman, another son, was noted to be a Catholic in the census and the family's of both Charles & his brother, Herman, were baptized at St Joseph's Catholic Church. If both were Catholic, despite being from northern Germany, then it would make sense that they found each other. They might even have been brought together by the local priest to ensure that the Haase children were raised Catholic.
From the Iowa census for Scott county of 1856 we have John Ofermann [sic], a 29 year old carpenter, and Dorathy Ofermann, a 33 year old housewife. Both were born in Germany and had lived in Iowa for 3 years, in DT [Davenport township?], household #200. Living with them were the Hass [sic] boys, Fritz, 14, Henry, 9, and William, 6 [was this Anton?]. By the time of the 1860 census John was a farmer. Did he come over from Germany with a trade and give that up after he'd saved enough to buy a farm?
There was another Hass family living in DT township, in household #201. I'm guessing this means they lived 'next door' to John and Dorothea. These were Henry, 33, William, 28, and William's wife, Christiana, 23. They had been in Iowa for 2 years. William is probably the William who came over on the ELISE ["about" 3 years prior]. Henry, another brother?, and Christinia may have come over the next year.
|The Haase Boys
(24) Fritz (Friederich) Haase (1842/3)
Fritz was born in Mecklenburg, Germany and emigrated to America in 1853 with his family onboard the ELISE. He was shown as 7 years old in 1853  when the family landed in New York City and 17 years old at the time of the 1860 census. He married Lena Stoltenberg on 18 December 1869. John Offermann, Fritz' step-father, was a witness at the wedding. Lena was born on 9 October 1838 and died on 3 April 1900. Notice on the Dengler page that the mother of Emma Dengler (Rochan) was also a Stoltenberg.
The Stoltenbergs were an old family of the Probstei in Holstein. This is a 36 square mile area with, in 1855, 20 towns and 7700 inhabitants. It is located east of the city of Kiel near the Baltic Sea. The Probstei were famous for productive agriculture and rich farms, but in the mid-19th century overpopulation caused many people to leave. The early emigration of people from Schleswig-Holstein started in the Probstei in the late 1840’s. Among them were many Stoltenbergs who came to the Davenport area as farmhands and workmen.(24) Henry J. Haase (1849)
The name is sometimes rendered Hasse, Hass and even Hasso [though this is more likely a transcription error]. Henry was born on 7 February 1849 in Mecklenburg, Germany and emigrated to America in 1853 with his family onboard the ELISE. They located in Davenport, Iowa. He was shown as 5 years old in 1853  when the family landed in New York City and 9 years old in the 1856 census [born 1847], but 12 years old at the time of the 1860 census [born 1848]. In the 1870 census he was shown as Heinrich Offermann, 22 years old with no occupation, living with his step-father, John Offermann.
Henry married Marguerite Wolf [Wulff] on 14 April 1879. In the 1880 census Maggy was Henry's wife. She was born in 1856 around Davenport and died in 1912. Maggy's parentage was listed as Father: France, Mother: Austria. Henry was a farmer. Note that John Offermann was also a witness at this wedding. In 1900 Henry J. Haase, and his wife Maggie were living on Rockingham road nearr Lincoln avenenue. Henry was a 'tmstr' [teamster?]. In the 1910 census he was living in Davenport, a 63 year old man. Henry died on 6 February 1918 and was buried in the Holy Family Catholic church cemetary of Davenport.
Henry was the father of Cecelia Edgley, Theresa Steiner, Clara Beck, Martha Winfield, and sons Henry L., John J., Louis Leo., George, John F., and Adolph.(24) Anton Haase (1851)
He was on the 1853 manifest of the Hamburg ship, ELISE, aged 2 6/12.(24) William Haase (1850)
He was not shown on the manifest of the Hamburg ship, ELISE. It may be that William and Anton are the same person, the name William having been assumed as more 'American.' He was 10 years old at the time of the 1860 census. William was living with his brother, Henry, at the time of the 1880 census. He was 27 years old [sic], an unmarried farm laborer. He was born in Mecklinburg, like his mother and father. William is included in an 1892 Scott County Farm Directory for Davenport.
He may have married Agnes Klug, the daughter of Otto Klug. Otto, born on 1 August 1822 in Burg auf Fehman, Schleswig-Holstein, immigrated in 1849 and died on 24 May 1899, a resident of Davenport, Iowa. His daughter married 'a' Wm. Haase - Based on the Book by Jospeh Eiboeck titled: "Die Deutschen von Iowa und deren Errungenschaften" (Des Moines, Iowa: des Iowa Staats-Anzeiger, 1900). In the Iowa census of 1895 we have a Wm. Haase of Scott county, born in Germany, age 40 [sic].
The Haase boys were raised as step-sons by John Offermann and continued to live in Scott county long thereafter, attested to by numerous mentions as witnesses to marriages.
In 1858 John Offermann, immigrant, of Scott county, Iowa became a naturalized citizen - per Janet Greenlee, "Naturalization Index of Scott County, Iowa," 1842-1930, Des Moines, Iowa Genealogical Society, 1981. I assume this means that John must have arrived in America no later than 1853, which is in line with the state census of 1856.
In the United States citizenship may be acquired in one of two ways, either as a "natural" citizen or as a "naturalized" citizen. Those that obtain their citizenship at birth are referred to as "natural" citizens, while those that become citizens at some time after their birth are referred to as "naturalized" citizens.
The first naturalization act, passed by Congress on 16 March 1790, provided that any free, white, adult male or female, who had resided within the jurisdiction of the United States for a period of 2 years was eligible for citizenship. Citizenship was granted to those who proved to a common law court's satisfaction that they were of good moral character and who took an oath of allegiance to the Constitution. The act of 29 January 1795 increased the period of residence required for citizenship from 2 to 5 years.
To become a naturalized citizen today a person must be over 18 years old and must have lived in the United States for five years, without leaving for more than a total of 30 months, and not more than twelve consecutive months, throughout that five-year period. People who wish to become U.S. citizens must file a petition for naturalization and take an examination that shows that they can read, speak, and write simple English and have a fair knowledge of American history, government, and the Constitution. They must be able to prove that they are of good, moral character. Two American citizens whom they know well must verify that the applicant will be a good citizen and loyal to the United States. Once an applicant has passed the requirements and examination, he or she may become a U.S. citizen by taking an oath of allegiance.
|Holsteiners at Arms
In 1857 a number of German born citizens of Davenport, previously soldiers in Germany, organized themselves as citizen soldiers and called themselves the Davenport Rifle Corps. An artillery unit, the Davenport City Artillery, with a single 6-pound cannon, was added a few months later. The veterans of the Schleswig-Holstein uprising formed the nucleus and furnished the officers for the Davenport City Guards, organized in March 1858. These volunteer companies may have enjoyed picnics more often than target practice, but they gave the state a substantial body of men who possessed at least some military training in the years before the Civil War.
In the 1860 census of Davenport township, Scott county, Iowa as John Offermann, a 32 year old farmer, from Holstein. He had real property worth $1500 and movable property worth $200. Living with him were his wife, Dorothy, 36, from Mecklenburg, and children, Fritz, 17, listed as a farm laborer, Henry, 12, William, 10 [these were the Haase boys, all listed as born in Mecklinburg, but not shown with the Haase name], Charles, 4, and Louis, 1 [both born in Iowa]. It is interesting that after less than 7 years in the country John already owned his own farm.
John was 33 years old when the Civil War began. The Holsteiners tended to be fairly liberal in their political beliefs and were early supporters of the abolition of slavery. John registered for the draft.
"Consolidatd List of all persons of Class II, subject to do military duty in the Second Congressional DistrictAll able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 45 were eligible for the draft and no exemptions were made due to family size or ages of family members, but because of the number of volunteer enlistments, Iowa only once resorted to a draft, in 1864. I don't show that John served.
. . . Davenport, Scott Co., Offerman John, 37, Farmer, Germany"
|Iowa in the Civil War
Scott county had been at the center of the dispute over the slavery question. Dr. John Emerson, the owner of the slave Dred Scott whose Supreme Court case had so inflamed the North, had lived in Davenport. John Brown, the fiery abolitionist, had visited the town in 1858, secretly buying weapons. His raid, capture, trial and execution made a tremendous sensation and the great mass of the county's people sympathized with him.
When the Federal government called for troops after the attack on Fort Sumter, the people responded enthusiastically. The population of Iowa included about 150,000 men when the Civil War began in April 1861. The state raised for general service thirty-nine regiments of infantry, nine regiments of cavalry, and four companies of artillery, composed of three years' men, one regiment of infantry composed of three months' men, and four regiments and one battalion of infantry composed of 100 days' men. Iowa did not have to pay a bounty to get volunteers and on only one occasion, in July 1864, was a draft required. These men fought at Shiloh and in the Mississippi campaign, culminating in the capture of Vicksburg.
During the war there were 5 military camps in and around Davenport. In 1863 Rock island was made a military prison for Confederate soldiers. Of 12,000 men confined there, almost 2,000 died of disease and poor treatment. There is a large Confederate cemetary, and a smaller Union one, on the island.
At some point the Offermann’s moved to a farm between Slopertown road and Harrison street. This is northwest of Davenport. The farm was later known as the Nick Rogge farm - from my Grandmother's memoirs. Today Slopertown road, running basically west to east, and North Harrison street meet just north of the Davenport Municipal Airport. Does the Offermann farm now lie beneath the airport? Nicholas H. Rogge, 1852-1910, owned a farm in Section 27, Sheridan township, just north of Davenport, where the airport now lies. I'm assuming this was John Offerman's old place. A section totals 640 acres. In 1882, the earliest Platt map available, 7 men owned property in Section 27, meaning the farms were about 90 acres each.
Cram Field was Davenport's municipal airport from 1926 to 1949. It was named in honor of Ralph W. Cram, editor of the Davenport Democrat and Leader newspaper. He was a pioneer aviation booster and one-time Vice President of the National Aeronautic Association. This was a grass stip located on Division Street, which runs north to south through the western part of the city. My Father remembers learning to fly there. This was at Elliott Aviation, owned by pioneer Iowa pilots Herbert and Arlene Elliott. My father learned to fly in the Piper Cub, probably one of those pictured at the left. My dad reports that Herbert Elliott is still alive, one of the few men to have made money in general aviation.
In 1948 a new Municipal airport was built in the hamlet of Mount Joy, between Slopertown road, on the north, and today's Interstate 80, on the south.
A Quad-Cities airport, across the river in Moline, is the international hub.
John and Dorothea had four sons. When the youngest, Herman, was five years old, in about 1868, the family moved again and bought Offerman island, which is now owned by the city and known as Credit Island. Offerman's Island is part of Rockingham township in Scott county. The island went by this name from at least 1868 to 1894, when John was still shown as the owner.
Also known as Suburban Island, Grand Island, Manhattan Island, and Offerman's Island. This was a fur trading post, so named as Indians were extended credit for supplies to get them through the trapping season until they could pay off their credit with furs in the spring. Part of the island was used as an Indian burial ground. On 6 September 1814, during the War of 1812, Credit Island was a battle site for the only international conflict in Iowa. Blackhawk and his braves, with British assistance, defeated American troops under the command of Major Zachary Taylor. Taylor later became the twelfth President of the United States in 1849.”
The island is located in the Mississippi river, just below Davenport, and north of the village of Nahant. Once a true island, it has now been joined to the west bank of the river via a causeway.
On 16 December 1868 Johann became one of the 50 founding members of the Schuetzen Society, a marksmen's group.
"The Twenty-Fifth Anniversy
The Davenport Marksmen Celebrate It Yesterday
Yesterday the Davenport "Schuetzen" society celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversery of the organization . . . During the afternoon the targets were perforated by the marksmen, whose best efforts were called into play by various prizes, such as fat turkey and venison roasts . . . Toastmaster Blunck then delivered an elegant address urging that the younger members follow the example of the older marksmen and sketched the value of the society in upholding the German language and the German customs . . . From the address of John F. Bredow is gleaned the following list of the original members of the Davenport Schuetzen Society, Dec. 16 1868.
. . .
28. John Offerman" - from the Davenport Dailer Leader of 18 December 1893
To the right is John Offerman's photograph, which was apparently reproduced in a magazine where someone cut it out and saved it. He appears to be in his mid-thirties. Nice goatee, huh? It looks like he's wearing some kind of uniform - notice the epaulets and the crossed-pistols pin on contrasting lapels. This may be the uniform of the Schuetzen Society, the hat included.
And what do you know, I've found a poster of the winners of the King medal for best shot with the Davenport Schuetzenverein, from 1870 through 1893. See the man in the top right corner. If the photo's are in order, the uniform was current in 1873. The medal winner in that year was John Wagner . . . and he has a goatee as well!
|Schuetzenpark or "Shooting Park"
This is a privately owned 23-acre park located in the west end of Davenport, just above Telegraph road, in the Black Hawk community. It was developed by the Davenport Schuetzengesellschaft as a location for the practice of target shooting in the traditional German style called "Schuetzen".
The park opened on June 12, 1870. At its zenith, the park consisted of an Inn, music pavilion, dance hall, shooting range, refreshment stands, roller coaster, bowling alleys and a zoo. Many organizations are associated with Schuetzen Park, however, the best known of these is the Davenport Turngemeinde. Many Turngemeinde members were also members of the Schuetzengesellschaft and the Turners also had an athletic field at the park for their outdoor track events. - from Wikikpedia.
In 1885, Theodore Jansen wrote of the park, "In the charming area of Blackhawk lies the magnificent Shooting Park (Schützen Park) with its spacious shooting gallery and twenty gun stands......You cannot feel better anywhere than you do in the fresh, woods-scented and shady lap of (Mother) Nature, with the jolly crack of rifles, the deep rumble of bowling balls, the endearing charm of the mighty German men’s chorus, the intoxicating sounds of superb German music added to which is the happy sound of our dear mother tongue falling on our ear almost everywhere. You believe that you have been transported back to the dear, old German motherland, and forget entirely that you are separated from it by a trivial five thousand miles."
In the 1870 census of Davenport [not Rockingham township?], Scott county as John Offermann, a 42 year old farmer, born in Holstein. Living with him were his wife, Dorothea, 46, also born in Holstein [sic], and children, Charles, 12, Louis, 10, Adolphus, 8, Herman, 6, and Heinrich, 22. This latter was probably John's step-son, Henry Haase. The age is correct, however, no occupation was shown for him and was born in Iowa.
In the 1873 City Directory of Davenport as "Offermann Johann, lab, res Locust ns 2 w Washington." Apparently this at or near the junction of Locust and Washington streets. This was no where near Offerman Island.
John and Dorothea now had seven sons, including the Haase boys. In about 1880 John Offerman sold the island to Mr. Mengel and one other, unknown, and the family moved to the village of Black Hawk, south of Davenport. However, a plat map of Rochingham township in 1882 and 1894 still shows John in possession of the island [sections 4 and 9]. In 1905 the plat map refers to Suburban island and it is owned by the West Davenport Investment company. The plat map may have been out-of-date or John kept possession of the tract longer than thought [renting it to Mengel, et al?]. Black Hawk is today a small town on Black Hawk creek, about 3 miles northwest of Credit Island.
In the 1880 census of Davenport, Scott county, Iowa as John Offerman [sic], a 52 year old gardener, born in Prussia [sic], as were both of his parents. Living with him were his wife, Dorothea, 58, also born in Prussia, and son, Adolph, an 18 year old blacksmith. What happened to Holstein & Mecklenburg? A possible answer is that both states had by this time been absorbed by Prussia; Holstein in 1864 and Mecklenburg in 1871. The answer to the census taker's question, "Where were you born?," could easily be answered either way. That John said Prussia, and his sons Louis and Herman said Holstein in a separate interview below, is not necessarily peculiar, since both are true. It may also indicate John's politics, that is, he accepted and was perhaps proud of the position Prussia had achieved in the world. In 1880 a united Germany was a dream fulfilled for many Germans around the world. Note also that all the Germans on this page of the census were listed as from Prussia via ditto's, so this might have just been the census takers shorthand. John's sons, Louis and Herman, lived with their step-brothers, Henry and William Haase, in Rockingham at the time of the 1880 census.
"Offermann's island, the former "Credit Island," (which name has been restored after the city of Davenport in 1919 acquired the island for park purposes) was sold by John and Dorothea Offermann in December, 1882, for $20,000 to a Rev. Benjamin Frankland, supposedly for the Western Seaman's Friends' association, for the purpose of establishing a "Sailors' Sung Harbor," a haven of rest for veteran seamen . . . But when for several years no interest was paid, the property reverted to the former owners." - from The Davenport Democrat and Leader of 26 March 1922
In the 1885 state census of Davenport, Iowa as John Offermann, a 56 year old Justice of the Peace. Living with him were his wife, Dora, 62, and sons Hermann, a 21 year old blacksmith, and William Haase, a 32 year old teamster. Adolph lived next door.
John was a Justice of the Peace in the mid-1880’s. His name appears several times in the Marriage registers of Scott county in 1885 & 1886. He was also a frequent witness to marriages.
In the Davenport City Directory of 1888 as "Offermann John, r. 1820 W. 2d." Adolph, Charles, Herman and Louis were also listed.
In the 1892 & 1894 Directories of Davenport as "Offermann John f 1420 Rockingham rd." Louis was at 1418 and Adolph at 1412.
In 1894 the county land ownership maps still showed John as the owner of Credit Island.
In the 1895 state census of Davenport as John Offerman [sic], 66. Living with him was his wife, Dorethea [sic], 73.
In the Davenport Times of 23 March 1900 was published the "The Times 20th Century Directory." Included was John Offerman, wife Dorathea, r 1420 Rockingham road.
In the 1900 census of Davenport, Iowa as John Offermann, 72 years old, from Germany. While hard to read, under occupation it seems to say that he was hospitalized. Living with him was his wife, Dora, 77, from Germany. They resided at 1420 Rockingham road. Again, while hard to read, it seems to indicate that John emigrated to the United States in 1849, 51 [? hard to read, looks more like 57] years previous, and Dorathea in 1863, 47 years ago [huh?]. Certainly they meant 1853, which would be as expected. The date for John is much earlier than previously thought. Could this be right? I don't see John in the 1850 federal census and this runs counter to the state census of 1856 so he was perhaps exagerating.
In the 1905 state census of Davenport, Iowa as John Offermann. He and wife, Dorothea, were living with son Louis at 1418 Rockingham Road. The 1905 plat map now called Credit or Offerman Island, Suburban Island, and Johann was no longer shown as the owner. However, John Offerman still owned the land in the town of Zuma, but now called Blackhawk.
In later years the Offermans lived in the 1400 block of West Rockingham road, where the last member died in about 1906. John would have been 78 years old. This address is just a couple of miles northeast of Credit Island. Their home was a little house about 3 up from the corner. John and Dorothea were buried in the Fairmount cemetary of Davenport. The Index to the "Register of Deaths 1906-1911," Volume 5, 977.769, #1004412, Item 3, lists the deaths of John and Dorothea, but without precise dates. Below is their tombstone which lists a death date of 28 December 1906 for Johann and 24 January 1909 for Dorathea.
I'm told that the name was shortened to Offerman, dropping the second "n," to "American-ize" the name at the time of World War I, when anti-German sentiment was high. John's sons were,
(24) Charles Joseph Offermann (1857)
(24) Louis Offermann (1859)
(24) Adolph Offermann (1861)
(24) Herman Offermann (1863)
Also known as Carl. John's first son, he was born in January 1857, almost exactly 9 months after his parent's marriage. In the 1860 census of Davenport, Scott county, Iowa as Charles Offermann, 4. In the 1870 census of Davenport as Charles Offermann, 12.
In the 1880 census as Charles Offerman [sic], a 20 year old servant in the family of Heinrich Struck. Servant meant in this context, I imagine, a laborer. Oddly, Charles kept getting younger as the census rolled by. Interestingly, it was in the 1880 census that Charles' father, John, was also first referred to as Offerman vice Offermann.
Carl Joseph Offerman married Eva [Renetta] Beck on 12 [15?] November 1881 in Davenport. The ceremony was performed by Monseignor Niermann at St. Joseph's church - from Eva's obituary. She was born on 20 April 1854 in Wittenburg, Germany, though her tombstone shows 1856, to which her obituary agrees. She was the daughter of Anton Beck and Renatha Struker. The Beck's emigrated in 1854, when Eva was only 3 months old, and settled in Davenport.
In the 1885 state census of Davenport, Iowa as Charles Offermann, 26. Living with him were his wife Eva, 28, and children, Dora, 2, and John, 1.
In the 1888 through 1890 Davenport City Directories as "Offermann Charles, fireman Glucose Mnfg. Co. r. Black Hawk." In the 1892 through 1894 directories as "Offermann Charles, fireman, Christian Mueller, r. Black Hawk." Mueller operated a sawmill and lumber yard.
In the 1895 state census of Davenport township as Chas Offerman, aged 37. Oddly Ancestry.com shows him as born in Scotland. I would like to see the original document, not available online, because I'm sure this is a transcription error for Scott county. Living with him were his wife, Eva, 38, and children, Dora, 12, Carl, 7, Appolina, 7, Theressa, 6, and John, 0 [!].
In the Davenport City Directory of 1898-99 as "Offermann Charles J, mngr Black Hawk Brick Co r es Indian rd s Telegraph rd (BH)."
In the 1900 census of the city of Davenport, Iowa as Charles J. Offerman, a 43 year old [January 1857] fireman, living on Indian Road & Scott street. Living with him were his wife, Eva R. Offerman, 46 [April 1854], and children, Dorothy R., a 17 year old [November 1882] milliner, Carl, a 15 year old [April 1885] laborer in a florest [?], Apolonia, 13 [February 1887], Theresa, 10 [June 1889], John, 6 [March 1894], and Sarah, 3 [November 1896]. Charles was born in Iowa and Eva in Germany. She had emigrated to America in 1854 while still a baby. They had been married for 19 years. Eva had 7 children, 6 of whom were living. I've not been able to ascertain the name of child who died young. Charles also had two boarders, Harry Lamberin and Henry Peters. This must have been a large house.
Was Charles still a fireman for a private company, like the Glucose factory, or for the city?
|The Davenport Fire Department
In the earliest days of the city of Davenport the threat of fire was met by bucket-brigades who assembled as the need required to meet the emergency. Starting in 1856 Volunteer Fire Departments began to be organized. Twelve were formed and dissolved through 1882. Of note was the Eagle Hook and Ladder company.
"This old company was located on the lot now occupied by the handsome Public School Building in Northwest Davenport. It had an old style ladder wagon which resembled a band wagon, and old rubber buckets to douze out fires with. That portion of the city was sparsely settled and without water; so the company was often handicapped in quenching the flames, despite of the fact that they had a "Little Giant" hand engine along with their "truck". The members were of the sturdy old "Schleswig Holsteiners", who helped to make our beautiful city and country as prosperous as it is. Peter Nicolaus Jacobsen Sr., the self styled "mayor" of Northwest Davenport, or Hamburg was its long time foreman. It is said he put out a dwelling with beer and milk these liquids being more abundant than water at that time. The city council legislated the Hooks out of existence in 1882."- From "Davenport Fire Department History," believed to have been written in 1902 and transcribed to HTML by Leon Rowell in 2003.
In 1882 the City established a professional, paid, fire department and by 1905 could boast of seven pumper companies and two truck companies providing protection. The photo to the left, above, is one of seven fire houses in the city. The pay for captains and drivers was $45 per month, and pipemen $40 per month. Each had six hours off every twelve days and one half hour for meals.
In the Davenport Times of 23 March 1900 was published the "The Times 20th Century Directory." Included was Charles J. Offerman, wife Eva, helper, Ind Malting Co, r, Indian road near Telegraph road." Above Charles was listed as a fireman. This may mean that, either Charles had two jobs, or Eva worked at the Malting company. Could fireman be a job title at the Malt company, that is someone who fed the fire? In the 1901 City Directory Charles was working at the Glucose plant.
In the 1908 through 1910 City Directories of Davenport as "Offermann Charles J. tmstr r ss Indian rd 1 e Telegrph rd (Eva)."
In the 1910 census of the 1st Ward, Davenport, Scott county Iowa as Charles Offermann. He was 53 years old, living on his own income, at Telegraph road and Indian road. Living with him were his wife, Eva, 55, born in Germany, and children, John, 16, and Sarah, 13. There were also seven boarders living in the house who probably provided a big portion of his income. This was a big house. Charles' father, Johann, had died in 1906. Did his inheritance allow Charles to live "on his own income?" In the 1911 City Directory Charles had no occupation.
In the 1915 state census as Charles Offermann, a retired man, aged 58. He was a Catholic.
In the 1920 census of Davenport as Charles R. [sic] Offermann, a 62 year old retired man. He, and his wife, Eva, 63, were living with his son, Karl [sic], a 34 year old die setter at a Linograph company. Also living there were Karl's wife, Clara, 31, and their children, Don, 10, Helen, 9, and Lewis, 6. Two boarders also shared the house.
Eva Offerman died on 12 January 1925 and was buried in the Holy Family cemetery in Davenport. The Holy Family church was Catholic. Her obituary:
"Mrs. Eva Offermann Died at Her Home Monday After a Short Illness
Death occurred to Mrs. Eva Offermann at her home, 241 Clark street, Monday afternoon at 1:50 o'clock. Her death terminated an illness of one week's duration.
The deceased was born April 20, 1856, at Wittenburg, Germany. When three months old, she came with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Antone Beck, to the United States, direct to Davenport, where she grew to womanhood. On Nov. 15, 1881, she was united in marriage to Charles Offermann, the ceremony being performed by the late Monseignor Niermann at St. Joseph's church. She has resided in Davenport her entire life, and has always been a devoted wife and mother.
Surviving are her husband, three daughters; Mrs. Henry Kraftmeyer, Mrs. Harry Thode, both of Davenport, and Mrs. Charles Davidson of Vienna, La., two sons; Carl Offermann of Davenport, and John Offermann of Crosby, Tex., and one brother, John Beck of Davenport. Twelve grandchildren also survive. One daughter, Sarah, preceded her mother in death in 1918.
The body was removed to the Runge mortuary pending funeral arrangements.
The Davenport Democrat and Leader; Wednesday Evening; January 14, 1925:
The funeral of Mrs. Eva Offermann will be held Friday morning at 9:30 o'clock from the late home, 241 Clark street, with services at St. Alphonsus church at 10 o'clock.
Interment will take place in Holy Family cemetery." - from The Davenport Democrat and Leader; Tuesday Evening; January 13, 1925
In the 1925 state census of Davenport as Charles Offermann, the son of John Offermann. His son, Carl W., and daughter-in-law, Clara, were living with him.
In the 1930 Census of Davenport as Charles Offermann, a 72 year old retired widower, living with his son, Carl, on Telegraph road.
Chas J. Offerman died on 24 June 1937 and was buried in the Holy Family cemetery in Davenport. There is a tombstone for Eva, but not one by name for Charles. There is a large monument that simply says, Offerman. Charles' wife was Eva Beck, and children were, Mrs. Dorothy Krafymeyer, Carl W., Mrs. Chas. Davidson, and John R. - per Tombstone Records of Scott county, Iowa. By this time Sarah had died. While I don't know this for certain, Theresa had probably died as well.
Charles' children were,
(25) Dorothy R. Offerman (1882)
(25) John Offermann (1883)
(25) Carl William Offermann (1885)
(25) Appolonia J. Offermann (1887)
(25) Theresa Offermann (1889)
(25) John R. Offermann (1894)
(25) Sarah E. Offermann (1896)
She was born in November 1882. In the 1895 state census of Davenport township as Dora Offerman, 12. The 1900 census of the city of Davenport, Iowa as Dorothy R. Offerman, a 17 year old [November 1882] milliner.
She married Henry Kraftmeyer, a stock buyer, in about 1903.(25) Carl William Offermann (1885)
Carl William Offerman, the son of Charles Offerman and Eva Beck, was bon on 14 April 1885 in Davenport township, Scott county, Iowa, and baptized at St. Joseph's Catholic church. In the 1895 state census of Davenport township as Carl Offerman, 7. In the 1900 census of the city of Davenport, Iowa as Carl Offerman, a 15 year old [April 1885] laborer in a florist [?] shop.
Carl W. Offermann married Clara J. Sissel [Sisel] on 1 May 1907. She was born in 1888 in Davenport.
In the 1910 census of the 1st Ward of Davenport as Carl Offerman, a 25 year old pressman at the Rock Island Arsenal. Based on his occupation in 1920, below, I'd say this meant he was operating a printing press. Living with him were his wife, Clara, 21, and son, Don Carlos, 10/12. Carl and Clara had been married for 3 years. Clara had 1 child, still living.
In the 1920 census of Davenport as Karl Offermann, a 34 year old die setter at a Linograph company. A linograph, right, is a type-setting machine used by newspapers [think of the classic Twilight Zone episode where Burgess Meredith, as the devil, operated a linograph like an organ]. I'm not sure if this means Carl built the machines or operated them. As a die setter, perhaps he cast new characters for the linograph operators to use. Living with him were his wife, Clara, 31, and children, Don, 10, Helen, 9, and Lewis, 6. Carl's mother and father, Charles and Eva, were also living with him.
Clara J. Offerman died in 1928 and was buried in the Fairmount cemetery in Davenport.
In the 1930 census of Davenport as Carl Offermann, a 45 year old widower, residing on 2339 Telegraph road. He was a machinist at the Micro [?, garbled] Machine Works. Living with him were his children, Don, 21, whose occupation was listed as Oil Station, Tire Works [?], Helen, 19, a Telephone operator, Lewis, 17, a clerk at a bonding company, and his father, Charles, 72, retired.
In the 1940 census of Davenport, Iowas as Carl W. Offerman, a 55 year old caretaker in the home of Elizabeth Miclot. He was also listed as a machinist at the Grinders and Slicers [well maybe, it's garbled] company. A Henrietta E. Offerman, a 52 year old housekeeper, lived there as well. Was Henrietta a second wife?
Carl died in 1945.
His children were,
(26) Don Carlos Offermann (1909)
(26) Helen Offermann (1911)
(26) Lewis Eugene Offermann (1913)
Don Carlos Offerman, the son of Carl Offerman and Clara Jane Sissel, was born on 15 May 1909. In the 1910 census of the 1st Ward of Davenport as Don Carlos Offerman, 10 months old. In the 1920 census of Davenport as Don Offermann, 10.
In the 1927 and 1928 City Directories of Davenport as "Offerman Don C appr Micro Mach Co r2339 Telegraph rd."
In the 1930 census of Davenport as Don Offermann, 21, occupation: Oil Station, Tire Works [?]. Hard to be sure what this means. He was still living at home.
In the 1940 City Directory of Davenport as "Offerman Don C bartndr East Side Tavern r424 Brown." However, in 1942 Don was a "car greaser" at the Lytle Motor Company.
In the 1947 & 1949 City Directoiesy as "Offerman Don." His wife was Ila L. In the latter directory he was a "heat treater J I Case Co."
There is an obituary in the Davenport Democrat for Don C. Offerman on 11 December 1955. Apparently he had no children.(26) Helen Offermann (1911)
In the 1920 census of Davenport as Helen Offermann, 9. In the 1930 census of Davenport as Helen Offermann, 19, a Telephone operator.(26) Lewis Eugene Offermann (1913)
Lewis, the son of Carl William Offermann and Clara Jane Sissell, was born on 14 April 1913 in Davenport, Iowa. In the 1920 census of Davenport as Lewis Offermann, 6. In the 1930 census of Davenport as Lewis Offermann, 17, a clerk at a bonding company.
He married Pearl Ellen Fisk.
He died on 22 March 1983 in Glendale, Arizona. I recently received the following email,
Steve, I just finished reading your family history The Hissem - Montage Family and was blown away with all of it. To clarify my interest, my husband is Kent Edward Offerman - son of Lewis Eugene Offerman (26) born 1913 and Pearl Ellen Fisk. I have been working on his Offermann family off and on, for the last couple of years on ancestry.com. I was thrilled to see their picture on your work. Don't know if is one I added to ancestry or from another source. I have just made alot of progress in the last week or so after finding a picture of Lewis's mother (Clara Jane Sissell) and grandmother (Eva Beck) among Pearl's papers. It was nice to find my work was verified in your work. If you are truly updating this work, you are more than welcome to use any of the pictures I have of the Offermans. Thanks for all your hard work. Janice Nelson Utay Offerman
She was born in February 1887 and baptized, as Appolonia J. Offermann, at St Josephs Catholic church. She was known as Leonia or Leona. In the 1895 state census of Davenport township as Appolina Offerman, 7. In the 1900 census of the city of Davenport, Iowa as Apolonia Offerman, 13 [February 1887], at school.
Leona J. Offermann married Charles J. Davidson on 18 June 1909 in Davenport.(25) Theresa Offermann (1889)
She was born in June 1889 in Davenport. In the 1895 state census of Davenport township as Theressa Offerman, 6. In the 1900 census of the city of Davenport, Iowa as Theresa Offerman, 10 [June 1889], at school. I don't see her in the 1910 or 1920 census. She also wasn't mentioned in the record of her father's family at the time of his death in 1937. I presume she died between 1900 and 1910.(25) John Rupert Offermann (1894)
John Rupert Offermann, the son of Carl Offermann and Eva Beck, was born on 24 March 1894 in Black Hawk, Scott countym, Iowa. A John A. [sic] Offermann, the son of Carl Offermann and Eva Beck, was baptized at the St Joseph Catholic church in 1894. In the 1895 state census of Davenport township as John Offerman, 0 [!] years old. In the 1900 census of the city of Davenport, Iowa as John Offerman, 6 [March 1894], at school. In the notice below, John had his first communion in 1909. Also receiving communion was his sister, Sarah Offerman, and step-cousin, Martha Haase.
1909. "On June 20th, 15 young boys and girls made their first Holy Communion. This is the first such exercise of this kind recorded. 7 boys (Earl Doyle, Leonard Schmitt, William Porth, William Trainor, Aloysius Cawiezell, George Leonard, John Offerman) and 8 girls (Martha Haase, Irene Thompson, Marie Fanning, Sarah Offerman, Katie Shinner, Louise Rombaut, Gertrude Schebler and Grace Goldermann). The Soladity of Our Lady of Perpetual help was established at this time also. There were two divisions: one for the single and one for the married." - from the records of St. Alphonsus Parish Davenport, IowaIn the 1910 census of the 1st Ward, Davenport, Scott county Iowa as John Offermann, 16, living at home with his parents.
John R. A. Offermann, a 23 year old machine operator at the Red Jacket Pump Company, of Davenport, registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. He was described as tall and of medium build, with dark brown eyes and dark brown hair.
I don't see John in the 1920 census. His parents were living with his older brother, Carl, so John may have been living with relatives as well. Ancestry.com lists only heads-of-households for the 1920 census at this time, so John could easily be hidden under another's name.
John married Edith. In the 1930 census of Davenport as John R. Offerman, a 36 year old machine operator in a tractor works. Living with him were his wife, Edith A., 31, and children, Lois E., 9, and Kenneth C., 4 10/12. He was referred to as John R. in the record of his father's family in 1937.
In the 1940 census of Crosby, Harris county, Texas as John R. Offermann, a 46 year old compresserman in an oil refinery. Living with him were his wife, Edith A., 42, and children, Lois, a 19 year old typist in the public school, and Kenneth, 14. Kenneth was born in Texas [sic].
John's children were,
(26) Lois E. Offermann (1921)
(26) Kenneth C. Offermann (1925)
In the 1930 census of Davenport as Lois E. Offerman, 9.(26) Kenneth C. Offermann (1925)
He was born on 9 June 1925.
In the 1930 census of Davenport as Kenneth C. Offerman, 4 10/12. In the 1940 census of Crosby, Harris county, Texas as Kenneth Offermann, 14, living at home with his folks. Kenneth was shown as born in Texas [sic].
Kenneth served in the Navy from 1 July 1943 to 16 August 1946.
Kenneth Offermann died on 15  October 1993 in Baytown, Harris county, Texas.(25) Sarah E. Offermann (1896)
She was born on 10 November 1896 in Davenport. The 1900 census of the city of Davenport, Iowa as Sarah Offerman, 3 [November 1896]. In the notice below, Sarah had her first communion in 1909. Also receiving communion was her brother, John R. Offerman, and her step-cousin, Martha Haase.
1909. "On June 20th, 15 young boys and girls made their first Holy Communion. This is the first such exercise of this kind recorded. 7 boys (Earl Doyle, Leonard Schmitt, William Porth, William Trainor, Aloysius Cawiezell, George Leonard, John Offerman) and 8 girls (Martha Haase, Irene Thompson, Marie Fanning, Sarah Offerman, Katie Shinner, Louise Rombaut, Gertrude Schebler and Grace Goldermann). The Soladity of Our Lady of Perpetual help was established at this time also. There were two divisions: one for the single and one for the married." - from the records of St. Alphonsus Parish Davenport, Iowa
In the 1910 census of the 1st Ward, Davenport, Scott county Iowa as Sarah Offermann, 13.
She died on 18 November 1918 in Davenport and was buried in the Holy Family cemetary.(24) Louis Offermann (1859)
He was born in September 1859 in Scott county, Iowa. In the 1860 census of Davenport, Scott county as Louis Offermann, 1, born in Iowa. In the 1870 census of Davenport as Louis Offermann, 10.
In the 1880 census of Rockingham township, Scott county, Iowa as Lewis Offerman, a 20 year old farm laborer. Note that Rockingham township comprised the area south of Davenport and Offerman Island. He was living in the home of his step-brother [so called in the census], Henry Haase. Another step-brother, William Haase, and his little brother, Herman, were also living there. Lewis' mother was born in Mecklinburg and his father in Holstein.
Louis married Amelia Riehle on 25 September 1883 in Scott county. She was born in about 1859 in Germany, the daughter of Mathia and Catherine Riehle. Mathia was a prominent businessman who owned the St. Charles hotel. He had emigrated from Berghaupton, Baden, Germany.
The Iowa Gazetteer and Business Directory of 1884-1885 lists a Louis Offerman who had a tavern in Davenport which served Franz Falk Brewing Company's "Superior Export Beer." Note that Louis' brother, Herman, also had a tavern at one point.
|The Falk Brewing Company
A Wisconsin brewery founded by an emigrant from Miltenberg, Bavaria, also the birthplace of the Blatz brothers. Franz Falk, originally a cooper, learned the art of brewing while working at the Miltenberg brewery. In 1848 he emigrated to Milwaukee, where the Pabst, Schlitz, Miller and Blatz companies were already producing beer. In 1855 Franz established his own firm, originally named the Bavaria Brewery. Since Falk is German for Falcon, the company included that bird atop a mountain peak on its logo. By 1872 his was the 4th largest Milwaukee brewer, behind Best, Schlitz and Blatz. In the 1880's the brand went nation-wide. Following a disastrous fire in 1892 the firm was bought-out by Pabst.
Falk's Export Beer was an award winning premium beer.
In the 1892-3 Directory of Davenport as Louis Offerman, living at 1418 Rockingham Road (from 2d and Fillmore to west limits). Adolph was at 1412 and John at 1420.
In the 1895 census for Scott county as Louis Offerman, a 37 year old laborer. Louis and his family were listed as Catholic. Living with him were his wife, Amelia, 36, and children, Harry, 9, and Hazel, 1.
In the Davenport City Directory of 1898-99 as "Offermann Louis, saloon 2060 Rockingham rd."
In the 1900 census of Davenport, Iowa as Louis Offermann, again with 2-N's. He was a 42 year old laborer at the Glucose company, probably as a carpenter, his trade. Living with him were his wife, Emily [was this Amelia?], 41 [June 1858], and children, Harry, 15 [June 1889], also working at the Glucose company, and Hazel M., 7 [January 1893]. Louis and Emily had been married for 15 years. Emily had 2 children, both living.
In the Davenport Times of 23 March 1900 was published "The Times 20th Century Directory." Included was "Louis Offermann, wife Amelia, wks Glucose Co, r, 104 Rockingham."
|Davenport Glucose Manufacturing Company
In the fall of 1872 H. G. Weinert had succeeded in producing grape sugar out of corn starch in small quantities on a cooking stove. He laid his results and samples before the Board of Trade who a committee to examine the merits of this inventin. They sent samples to 40 or 50 wine growers, beer brewers and to Professor Henrickson for evaluation. They all came back favorably. A company was formed with a capitalization of $20,000. Buildings and machinery were constructed under H. G. Weinert, superintendent, and after having operated about 15 months the company suspended operations, having sunk over $15,000 in the venture. In the fall of 1874 Mr. L. P. Best, the present superintendent, opened correspondence representing himself as an expert in the manufacture of grape sugar and glucose and offered to invest $3,000 if the company would furnish the balance of needed capital. A new company was formed and new works constructed. Their company operated about two years without material success, but it satisfied interested parties that its long-term prospects were good. A new building, five-story brick, and new machinery were erected and the capital doubled in the summer of 1876. The enterprise now became self-sustaining and was consuming 700 bushels corn daily and had accumulated a large surplus by July 1877 when the works were destroyed by fire, which wiped out nearly all accumulations, but left the capital intact and paid the old stockholders the first cash dividend of 6 - 1/2 per cent. The stockholders, having great confidence in the growing demand of the product at once resolved to rebuild on a greatly increased capacity and work was begun immediately clearing away the debris. In six months the new works were again in operation with a daily consumption of 2,000 bushels of corn. Since then until the present time there have been large buildings and improved machinery added until the full capacity of the works today amounts to 3,300 bushels corn daily. The works consist of four and six story brick buildings and have a floor room of 131,000 square feet, besides corn-crib capacity for 150,000 bushels, and give steady employment to 75 hands, besides four teams, office help, and about 25 coopers making barrels and kegs. The quantity and quality of water being of great importance the company have sunk two artesian wells, one to a depth of 960 feet, which flows about 300 gallons of water per minute, and a second, now over 1,500 feet deep, throwing about 450 gallons of excellent pure water per minute, and this well when finished is expected to force the water through stand pipes to the top of the highest building at the rate of 500 gallons per minute. The standard quality of the grape sugar, glucose and table sirups of the Davenport Glucose Manufacturing Company has a wide reputation and is being sold to all the principal cities in the United States, and when corn is ruling at average price can be successfully exported to Europe and Australia. The works have nine large boiler engines of 250 horse-power and consume about 6,000 tons of coal per annum and 400 tons of coke.
In the 1910 census of Davenport as Lewis Offerman, a 51 year old commercial property carpenter. Living with him were his wife, Amelia, 51, and children, Harry, a 25 year old bar tender in a tavern, and Hazel, 17.
In the 1920 census of Davenport, Iowa as Louis Offerman, a 62 year old house carpenter. Living with him was his wife, Amelia, 62. In the 1923 through 1929 City Directories of Davenport as "Offerman Louis carp Dav Loco Wks h2016 W 1st (Emilie)."
In the 1930 census of Davenport, Iowa as Louis Offerman, a 71 year old building carpenter. Living with him was his wife, Emelia, 71. I think Louis died in 1937. Below is his headstone at the Fairmount cemetery in Davenport. However, Amelia is not next to him.
Louis' children were,
(25) Harry Offermann (1884)
(25) Hazel M. Offermann (1893)
Harry Grover Offerman was born on 23 June 1884 in Davenport. In the 1895 census for Scott county as Harry Offerman, 9. In the 1900 census of Davenport, Iowa as Harry Offermann, a 15 [June 1889] year old laborer working at the Glucose company. In the 1910 census of Davenport as Harry Offerman, a 25 year old bar tender in a tavern.
Harry Offerman married Emma P. Doering on 7 September 1910 - Quad-Cities Memory Project. She was born in Germany and emigrated in 1897. She was naturalized in 1910. In the 1910 through 1912 City Directories of Davenport as "Offermann Harry, bartndr W B Bahls r 221 1/2 Ainsworth (Emma)." In the 1918 directory Harry had moved on to being a machine operator at the Arsenal.
In the 1920 census of Davenport as Harry A. [G?] Offermann, a 35 year old machine operator at the U.S. Arsenal, probably Rock Island. Living with him were his wife, Emma P., 32, and children, Martha C., 8, Mildred H., 7, and Leon B., 2 10/12.
In the 1930 census of Davenport, Iowa as Harry G. Offerman, a 45 year old clerical worker in a manufacturing company [of Grind?]. Living with him were his wife, Emma P., 41, a waitress at the Chamber of Commerce, and children, Martha C., 19, an apprentice librarian at the Public Library, Mildred H., 17, a saleslady in a department store, and Leon B., 13. The City Directory of the period seems to show this company was the Micro machine company.
In the 1940 census of Davenport, Iowa as Harry G. Offermann, a 55 year old assembler at a Specialty Plant. Living with him were his wife, Emma, 52, and son, Leon, 23. The city directory shows this specialty plant to be the Micro-Westco company.
There is an obituary for Harry G. Offerman in the Davenport Democrat on 19 November 1952. Harry's children were,
(26) Martha C. Offermann (1911)
(26) Mildred H. Offermann (1913)
(26) Leon Bismark Offermann (1917)
In the 1920 census of Davenport as Martha C. Offermann, 8. In the 1930 census of Davenport, Iowa as Martha C. Offerman, 19, an apprentice librarian at the Public Library.(26) Mildred H. Offermann (1913)
In the 1920 census of Davenport as Mildred H. Offermann, 7. In the 1930 census of Davenport, Iowa as Mildred H. Offerman, 17, a saleslady in a department store.(26) Leon Bismark Offermann (1917)
Leon Bismark Offerman, the son of Harry G. Offermann and Edna Doering, was born on 18 February 1917. In the 1920 census as Leon B. Offermann, 2 10/12. In the 1930 census of Davenport, Iowa as Leon B. Offerman, 13.
In the 1939 City Directory of Davenport as "Offerman Leon B (Inez E) burner h3206 Boles." His father, Harry, was living at 206 North Lincoln avenue. This is odd because Leon didn't marry Inez Elizabeth Campbell, the daughter of Samuel Campbell and Ruth Jones, until 11 August 1940.
In the 1940 census of Davenport, Iowa as Leon Offermann, a 23 year old assembler and in Specialty Plant. He was living with his parents, Harry G. and Emma Offermann. Where was Inez?
Leon died on 25 November 1964 in Davenport.
After Leon's death Inez Elizabeth Offermann married Harold Joseph Buehl on 15 June 1966. Before making this correction, I received the following from Jana Oliver (Mrs. Harold Buehl),
"Thought I might make a correction to one of your entries on the truly remarkable Hissem-Offerman site regarding Leon B. Offerman. You mention that Inez Elizabeth Campbell had been married before. Actually that's not true. She married Harold Buehl a few years after Leon's death. They (Leon & Inez) had two baby girls who died in infancy [Sharon and Karen Offermann], but no other offspring. Inez is still alive and I'm her daughter-in-law, married to Harold's son who also a Harold. Once the holidays settle down I'm keen to spend some time reading through the Offerman family history. Just the last time we visited mom told us how she and Leon met for the first time. Thanks so much for all this hard work. I'll pass the site info onto the "historian" in our family (Inez's youngest brother). He may well already know about your site, but it won't hurt to mention it."(25) Hazel M. Offermann (1893)
She was born in January 1893 and baptized at St Joseph Catholic church in 1893. In the 1895 census for Scott county as Hazel Offeman, 2. In the 1900 census of Davenport, Iowa as Hazel M. Offermann, 7 [January 1893]. In the 1910 census of Davenport as Hazel Offerman, 17.
Hazel Maria Offermann married Alva Roy Heesch on 20 June 1912.(24) Adolph Offermann (1861)
He was born in June 1861. In the 1870 census of Davenport as Adolphus Offermann, 8. In the 1880 census of Davenport as Adolph Offerman, an 18 year old blacksmith, living in the home of his father. His parents were both born in Prussia.
Adolph married Laura Springmeier on 10 June 1884 in Scott county, Iowa. Henry Hass [sic], his step-brother, was a witness. Laura was born in November 1864. In the 1885 state census as Adolph Offermann, a 23 year old blacksmith. Living with him was his wife, Laura, 20.
In the Davenport City Directory of 1888-89 as "Offermann Adolph, horseshoer, 1402 W. 2d." His father, John, resided here as well.
In the 1892-3 Directory of Davenport as Adolph Offerman, living at 1412 Rockingham Road (from 2d and Fillmore to west limits). Louis was at 1418 and John at 1420. Adolph as a "horsehoer", at 206 Fillmore and a "blksmth" at 1412 Rockingham rd. I have another refernce that indicates that he resided at 1402 Rockingham.
In the 1895 state census of Davenport as Adolf Offerman, 28. Ancestry.com shows his place of birth, and that of his whole family, as Scotland, but as with his brother, Charles, above, I think this was a transcription error for Scott county. Living with him were his wife, Loura, 20, and children, Grace, 3, and Albert, 1.
In the Davenport City Directory of 1898-99 as "Offermann Adolph, (Offermann & Schilling) r 1402 1/2 Rockingham rd."
In the Davenport Times of 23 March 1900 was published the "The Times 20th Century Directory." Included was Adolph Offermann, wife Laura (Offermann & Schilling) 208 Fillmore r 1402 Rockingham road. Offermann & Schilling refers to the firm of Adolph Offermann and Alvin Schilling, "horse shoers" [blacksmiths], located at 208 Fillmore.
In the 1900 census of Davenport, Iowa as Adolph Offermann, a 38 year old "horse shoer." Living with him were his wife, Laura, 35, and children, Grace, 8, born in August 1891, and Albert, 6, born in August 1893.
In the 1910 census of the 2nd Ward of Davenport, Iowa as Adolph Offerman, a 48 year old blacksmith. Living with him were his wife, Laura, 45, and children, Grace, 18, a bookeeper in a grocery store, and Albert, 16.
In the 1915 state census of Davenport, Iowa as Adolph Offermann, 50, a married man. Some time after this Adolph and Laura divorced, a startling step in those days. Using the City Directory, Adolph and Laura were living apart as early as 1914.
In the 1920 census of Davenport as Adolph Offermann, a 61 year old divorced man with no occupation. He was living alone at the corner of Rockingham and Fillmore streets. Laura Offerman [Oppman in Ancestry.com], was a 55 year old "widow" living in Davenport on West 8th street. Living with her were the children, Grace, 28, and Albert L., a 26 year old druggist in a drug store. Laura's mother, Catherine Sprinmeir, a 78 year old widow, also lived with her.
Adolph married for a second time on 17 June 1923, to Ethel Barry.
Adolph died on 2 April 1928 and was buried in the Fairmount cemetery in Davenport. His obituary,
"Adolph Offerman, 1410 Rockingham road, died at 7:45 a.m. today at the family home following a long illness. Mr. Offerman was born in Davenport on June 15, 1861 and was a life resident of the city. He received his education in the schools of Davenport and was united in marriage to Miss Ethel Barry at Trenton, Mo., on June 17, 1923. Mr. Offerman was a blacksmith by trade but had been retired for a number of years. He was a membber of Davenport lodge, No. 37, A. F. & A. M." - 2 April 1928
In the 1930 census of Davenport, Iowa as Laura Offermann, a 64 year old widow, living with her son, Albert.
Adolph's children were,
(25) Grace Offermann (1891)
(25) Albert L. Offermann (1893)
Grace Offermann, the daughter of Adolph Offerman and Laura Springmeyer, was born on 10 August 1891. In the 1895 state census of Davenport as Grace Offerman, 3. In the 1900 census of Davenport, Iowa as Grace Offermann, 8, born in August 1891. In the 1910 census of the 2nd Ward of Davenport, Iowa as Grace Offerman, 18, a bookeeper in a grocery store.
Grace Agnes Louis Offermann married Joseph F. Gaukler on 20 January 1915. However, in the 1920 census of Davenport as Grace Offerman [Oppman in Ancestry.com], a 28 year old married woman, living with her mother, Laura, brother, Albert, and grandmother, Catherine Springmeir. There was also a Grace Gaukler, 28, in Davenport living with her husband, Joseph, and son, Francis. This looks like another double count.(25) Albert Lorenz Offermann (1893)
Albert Lorenz Offerman, the son of Adolph Offermann and Laura Springmeyer, was born on 16 August 1893 in Scott county, Iowa. In the 1895 state census of Davenport as Albert Offerman, 1. In the 1900 census of Davenport, Iowa as Albert Offermann, 6. In the 1910 census of the 2nd Ward of Davenport, Iowa as Albert Offerman, 16.
Albert L. Offermann, a 23 year old druggist, registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. He was employed by John J. Foley of Rock Island. He was of medium height and weight with brown eyes and black hair. According to the 1918 City Directory of Davenport, Albert was in the US Army.
In the 1920 census of Davenport as Albert L. Offerman [Oppman in Ancestry.com], a 26 year old druggist in a drug store. He was living with his mother, Laura.
In the 1930 census of Davenport, Iowa as Albert L. Offermann, a 36 year old pharmacist in a drug store, living with his mother, Laura, 64. He was single. Albert died in February 1971 in Davenport.
Laura Anderson wrote, "Steve I just came across your website with the history of Offerman. I found it most interesting since I was an Offerman and my father was Albert L. Offerman the druggist. Albert was married to Violet Sebelien on Dec. 27, 1937 and they had two children my brother and me. What a great website and thanks for doing all the research. Sincerely Laura Lu Offerman Anderson ( I was named after my Grandmother Laura Springmeier Offerman)."
Albert worked at the Schlegel Drug store from as early as 1938. In the 1960 City Directory of Davenport Albert was shown as that firm's "v-pres-treas."
In the 1940 census of Davenport, Iowa Alfred [sic] Offermman, a 46 year old druggist in a retail shop. His name is clearly shown as Alfred, but I leave him here because not only is he the right age, in the right profession and in the right place, but his wife is Violet, 26. At this time they had no children.
Albert died in 1971 and Violet in 1987.
Their children were,
(26) Laura Lu Offerman, who married Judd Anderson
(26) David Rudolph Offerman, born 3 November 1942, the son of Albert L. and Violet L. (Sebelien) Offerman. He married Patricia A. Ritter on 11 September 1965. He died on 1 August 2007 in Muscatine, Iowa. His children were David A., Adam C., and Annie P. Offerman.
My G-Grandfather on the Offerman side. He was born on 10 October 1863 on what later was known as the Nick Rogge farm, south of the Slopertown road. At the age of five his family moved to Offerman island, now known as Credit island. He went to school in Davenport. His journey every day took him in a boat across the water. He told my grandmother that he tried to upset the boat, thinking this would be fun. In the 1870 census of Davenport as Herman Offermann, 6.
Recently my uncle, Leroy, confirmed that Herman was Catholic.
In the 1880 census I have a Herman Offerman, age 17, then residing in the home of his step-brother, Henry Haase, in Rockingham, Scott county, Iowa. He was a farm laborer. His parents were from Holstein and Mecklenburg. Another step-brother, William Haase, was also living there as was Herman's brother Louis.
In the Davenport City Directory of 1888-89 as "Offermann Herman (Offermann & Weiss), r. 1420 W. 2d." Herman Offermann and Henry Weiss were wagonmakers at 1414 W. 2d.
Herman Offerman married Mary Ann, the daughter of Francis Joseph Drexel, of Austria, and Anna Marie Schallert, on 25 April 1889. Mary was born on 4 March 1868 in Davenport.
"Drexel, Mary Ann: b 4 March 1868 in Davenport, Scott Co., IA; d 27 Jan 1917; buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Davenport, IA; m Herman Offerman; Settled by 1868 in Scott Co.; Ch: Estella Anna (Rahn), Elmer Victor, Edward Joseph, Frank J., Clarence, Flora Katie, Lily Mae, Josephine Katherine (Grobman), Alice Johanna (Yeager), Raymond Herman, Lester Christian, LeRoy John." - from "Hawkeye Heritage"Mt. Calvary was a Catholic cemetery.
They lived on Fillmore, between Rockingham and Second street. He ran a saloon down stairs while his family lived upstairs. Out of twelve children Elmer was the only one who was breast fed [its interesting what things Edna Offerman, my grandmother thought were important to include in her memoirs]. Herman was employed at the Fleischman Malting Company for 45 years when he retired in 1933 and the job was given to Elmer, his son. I assume that the Davenport Malting Company, above, was absorbed by Fleischman at some point. Though there remains a Fleischman Malt company in Chicago, I'm not sure they're related.
My father remembered that Herman had run a tavern for many years. His only other memory of the man was that he lived with his son, Elmer, during the last years of his life, and during that time was wholly silent and uncommunicative. What sadness, anger, regret or illness drove him into silence was unclear.
In the Davenport City Directory of 1892-93 as "Offermann Herman, engnr. Frahm-Reupke Mngf. Co. r 510 Gaines." In the 1894 City Directory as "Offermann Herman, engnr Davenport Malt & Grain Co r 510 Gaines."
In the 1895 state census of the city of Davenport as Herman H. Offerman, 30, of Scott county. Living with him were his wife, Mary, 26, and children, Stella, 5, Elmer, 4, Edward, 1, and Clarence, annotated as "??."
In the Davenport City Directories of 1896-99 as "Offermann Herman, engnr Dav Malt & Grain Co r 1905 W 6th."
In the 1900 census as Herman Offerman, a 36 year old stationary engineer. Stationary engineers are responsible for heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems, as well as electrical power, steam and other services for large commercial facilities. Living with him were his wife, Mary A., 32 [March 1867], and children, Stella A., 10 [January 1890], Elmer V., 9 [April 1891], Edward A., 7 [December 1892], Florence H., 4 [March 1895], Lillie, 3 [May 1897], Josie, 1 [November 1898], and Frank J., 4/12 [January 1900].
In the 1900 City Directory as "Offermann Herman, wife Mary A. eng Dav. Malt & G Co. r 1502 w 7th." In 1901-1908 directories living at 1622 W 7th. In 1909 Herman was listed as a foreman at the Malt Company. He continues to be referenced through the 1930's. In 1934, after his retirement, Herman was shown with no occupation.
Three of Herman's children died in 1902.
"Three children of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Offerman died from eating green grapes while sufferinng from scarlatina. Cholera morbus caused complications that quickly resulted fatally. A fourth child is seriously ill from the same [garbled]." - from the Humeston [Iowa] New Era of 3 July 1902.\
Herman built many houses, according to Edna Offerman, and many were sold at a loss. He finally built a house at 1622 W Seventh street. It was a large house of seven rooms. Later one room, which was considered a store room was remodeled into a bath room, with a stool (!).
Herman rented a farm out near Maysville and supplied the horses, cattle and machinery. His sons Elmer and Edward were the hired hands. Ed went to work for a neighbor which helped when there was a slack in the winter work and it also added cash to the household. These farms must have been side-lines, pursued to build the family fortunes and keep young sons fully employed.
In the Davenport Times of 23 March 1900 was published the "The Times 20th Century Directory." Included was Herman Offermann, wife Mary A., engineer, Davenport Malt & G. [Glucose?] Co., r, 1502 West 7th.
|Davenport Malting Company
The following is drawn from the "Scott Co, Iowa USGenWeb Project," and refers to the status of manufacturing in Davenport in 1900.
"Davenport beer, wherever known is liked. No better beer is made anywhere than in old German Davenport. The method used in the manufacture of beer have been greatly improved in the past decade and particularly in the past few years owing to the wonderful advancement that has been made in the way of better machinery, and today it is an absolute fact that the large breweries of the land have as nearly reached perfection in the making of beer as it is possible for human skill to do.
"Recognizing the necessity of having a plant established here that could produce a first-class beer, which the breweries in operation in this city at that time could not do because of their inadequate equipments, some of the leading business men organized the Davenport Malting company, Nov. 1, 1894. This was virtually a consolidation of the five small plants namely the breweries of M. Frahm & Son, Koehler & Lange, Mengel, Klindt & Co., Julius Lehrkladt and Aug. Zoller & Bros. Some of these had been in operation for more than 40 years and had a state wide reputation. The new plant was established on West Second street at the foot of Taylor and it has a frontage of 500 feet running back 400 feet to the switching facilities of the B.C.R. & N., the C.M. & St. P. and the D.R.I. & N W. This large brewery is equipped with absolutely modern machinery and its storage capacity is so large that no keg of beer is ever sold that is less than five months old, and bottled beer from eight to ten months old. The brands manufactured by this concern are keg beer-Davenport Malt Standard and Muenchner and the bottled beer-Pale Export and Muenchner. Iowa barley and New York hops are used in the manufacture of the company's keg beer and in the manufacture of the bottled beer, Iowa barley, India rice and Bohemian hops are used.
"The Davenport Malting company is now producing a beer that is unequalled and never excelled. Lager beer is today the popular beverage but it is not alone as a beverage that it has won its popularity. It has become an absolute necessity in nearly every household, no matter what station in life its people may occupy, considering the extraordinary cheap price at which it is sold and the feeling of contentment and enjoyment it gives all the tired workers.
"The brewery of this company is the second largest in the state, the most complete in this city and well worthy of a visit of inspection. The temperature in the cold storage rooms is maintained at a certain degree so that the beer is kept cool, sparkling and invigorating throughout the year. The company employs 60 men and has 15 agencies located at different points in Iowa to which it ships its product in carload lots. Its beer is sold in all parts of the state and in southwestern Minnesota. The plant has a capacity of 100,000 barrels and last year the sales were over 50,000 barrels. Through various causes the consumption of beer has increased in recent years, especially by families. Very frequently the beer of the Davenport Malting company is ordered by physicians for their patients. It might be stated that beer of all kinds has grown steadily in favor with the American people. In that regard Dr. Rainsford of St. George's Episcopal church, New York city, advocates the establishment of saloons that would be compelled to sell the best beer obtainable. Davenport Malting beer is of such quality that it is only necessary to introduce it into any locality and the public in every case will prefer it above all others. It is found on sale, not only in this city, but in almost every enterprising town in Iowa. That the efforts of the Davenport Malting company to produce a standard quality of beer have been highly successful, ample evidence is shown in the increase of its annual production and sale.
"The officers of the company are O.C. Koehler, president; Geo. Mengel, vice president; Geo. Klindt, secretary. The offices of the company are next to the brewery."
In the 1910 census of the 2nd Ward, Davenport, Iowa as Herman Offerman, as 42 year old salesman for a grain company. Living with him were his wife, Marie A., 48, and children, Stella, 20, a worker at Sorter Cotton, Elmer, 19, laborer, Edward, 18, machinist, Josephine, 11, Alice, 8, and Lester, 3.
"Herman rented a farm from Herman Diedrich for a year, also one from Mr. Fellner. Then he rented one near Long Grove. It was very hilly, but cheap. The land washed very badly like most all hills. For a city man to rent a farm is not always easy as one who has had years of farm work in his youth. After two years the two sons decided on marriage and to rent farms on their own. So Mary and her family moved again back to their home on Seventh street. Mary was not well and needed an operation. It was discovered to be cancer of the uterus." - Edna Dengler Offerman.
Mary died on 28  January 1917 and was buried in St. Marguerite's cemetary, now known as Mount Calvary cemetary. However, I don't find a tombstone there, nor for any other Offerman's or Drexel's. St. Marguerite's was a Roman Catholic church, first erected in 1856. It was the cathedral church of the Bishop of Davenport from the 1880's.
In the 1920 census of Davenport, Iowa as Herman Offerman, a 56 year old stationary engineer. Living with him were his children, Josephine, 21, Lester, 12, and Leroy, 9. Alice, 17, and her husband, Oral Chrissinger, 19, were also living with him. While I don't know this,
In the 1930 census of Davenport as Herman Offermann, a 65 year old stationary engineer, working in [probably] Malting. He was living on West Seventh street. Living with him were his daugther, Josephine, 31, and son, Lester, 23, a machinist working in a machine shop, with his wife, Helen, 18.
In the 1940 census of Davenport as Herman Offerman, a 76 year old of no occupation, widowed. He was living with his son, Lester, at 1622 West Seventh street.
Per the city directory of 1951 Herman was living with his son Elmer, on Elmwood.
I have an obituary for Herman in the Davenport Democrat dated 28 September 1951, when he would have been 88. He was buried at Fairmount cemetary, Mount Carmel, Davenport. I haven't found a tombstone for Herman. Why wasn't Herman buried with Mary Ann, at the Mount Calvary cemetary? I was recently told that this was because Herman committed suicide.
Herman's children were,
(25) Estelle Anna Offerman (1890)
(25) Elmer Victor Offerman (1891)
(25) Edward Joseph Offerman (1892)
(25) Clarence Offerman (1894)
(25) Florence Katherine Offerman (1895)
(25) Lily May Offerman (1897)
(25) Josephine Catherine Offerman (1898)
(25) Frank J. Offerman (1900)
(25) Alice Johanna Offerman (1902)
(25) Raymond Herman Offerman
(25) Lester Christian Offerman (1906)
(25) Leroy John Offerman (1910)
Or Estella. She was born on 23 January 1890 and baptized at St Josephs Catholic church under the name of Stella. In the 1900 census as Stella A. Offerman, 10, born in January 1890. In the 1910 census of the 2nd Ward, Davenport, Iowa as Stella Offerman, 20, a worker at Sorter Cotton.
She married John A. Rahn. Estelle's grand-daughter recently wrote to me.
"Steve, My daughter, Madeline Cook age 13, is working on a geneolgy project. She researched her ancestry with my mother Bonnie Jean (Rahn) Cook. She is the daughter of Estelle (Offerman) Rahn, wife of John E. Rahn of Moline, IL. Our family references to Offerman Island and knowing that ancestors came from Schleiswig-Holstein, Germany led Madeline to your most detailed and fascinating Offerman ancestry website. I have attached a ppt file with Estelle's wedding photo to John Rahn which you are free to add to your geneology site. Estelle lived to be 105 and died in 1995. They had 5 children.(25) Elmer Victor Offerman (1891)
Genevieve (sp?) deceased
John Jr. (Jack)
Bonnie Jean (1925-present)
My maternal Grandfather. Elmer Victor Offerman, the son Herman Offermann and Mary Ann Drexel, was born on 5 April 1891 in Davenport and baptized at St. Joseph's Catholic church. In the 1895 state census of the city of Davenport as Elmer Offerman, 4. In the 1900 census as Elmer V. Offerman, 9, born in April 1891.
At right are Herman, Elmer, and Elmer's sons, Robert and Leroy, circa 1940.
|St. Joseph's Church
St. Joseph's Church was established in 1855 under the name of St. Kunegunda Church. Prior to that German Catholics had worshiped at St. Anthony's Church, founded in 1838, the Catholic church of the Italians and Irish of the city. St. Joseph's did not have its own parish, but was for Germans all over the city. There was a parish school, grades 1-8, conducted by the Sisters of St. Francis.
In the 1910 census of the 2nd Ward, Davenport township, Scott county, Iowa as Elmer Offerman, a 19 year old laborer, living at home with his father. Elmer's early occupation was as farm laborer. He and his brother, Edward, were 'hired' hands on their father's rented farm. During the winter of 1911-12 Elmer worked at the American Can Company.
In the 1915 and 1916 City Directories of Davenport, Iowa as "Offerman Elmer, Dav R R 4." At the same address were his father, Herman, and younger brother, Edward.
Elmer V. Offerman married Edna A. Dengler on 30 June 1915 - Quad-Cities Memory Project. She was born on 9 May 1897, in Iowa. Family lore has it that Elmer was excommunicated for allowing his children to be raised as Lutherans, Edna's relgion. I understand theirs was an unhappy marriage.
In the 1920 census of Lincoln township, Scott county, Iowa as Elmer Offermann, a 28 year old farmer. Lincoln township is just northeast of Davenport in what is now the town of Bettendorf. It was excellent farmland. I don't see his name on the Platt map of the township so I assume he was renting the land. Elmer's home was on Utica Ridge road. Living with him were his wife, Edna, 22, and children, Evelyn, 4 1/2, Robert, 1 11/12, and Marie, 1/12.
In the 1924 City Directory of Davenport, Iowa as "Offerman Elmer trucker Nichols Wire Sheet & Hdw Co r1748 W 4th (Edna)." In the 1925 directory as "Offerman Elmer V lab[orer] Nichols Wire Sheet & Hdw Co h101 E [sic] Elmwood av (Edna A)." Elmer worked for the same company through 1928.
|The Nichols Wire Company
"The Nichols Wire Company, an old established firm in Davenport, has a yearly output of more than $4,000,000. Their chief products are wire nails, all kinds of woven wire fencing, steel fence posts, corrugated sheets, all kinds of sheet metal products, composition roofing, wall board, bolts and miscellaneous hardware. The Nicholas Company is an exclusive agents for Rubberoid products in this section." - from The Milwaukee Magazine of December 1929
In the 1929 City Directory as "Offerman Elmer V mach[ine] opr[ator] h101 S Elmwood av (Edna A)." In the 1930 directory as a "mech[anic]."
In the 1930 census of Davenport as Elmer V. Offerman, a 38 year old machinist in a railroad shop. He had moved into town, probably after 1923, and was living at 101 South Elmwood avenue where he spent the rest of his life. Living with him were his wife, Edna A., 32, and children, Evelyn F., 14, Robert H., 12, Marie F., 10, Lillie M., 6, and Jeanne K. Offerman, 5. The railroad shop where he was working was at Silvis.
|The Silvis Shops
The city of Silvis, Illinois, across the river from Davenport, owes its existence to the Rock Island Line railroad. Richard Shippen Silvis helped the railroad company purchase about 900 acres of land, which was later named after him. A complex of repair shops was built in 1904 which became the largest such complex in the nation. The shops employed over 2000 men and included huge buildings with railroad lines running through them that allowed the workers easy access to the huge locomotives, snowplows, and cars they worked on.
In the memoirs of one worker who was employed from 1969 to 1979, it was remembered as not only a great place to work, but also a fun place. The people that worked there were like family. In 1979 the shops were sold to another company.
In the 1931 City Directory as "Offerman Elmer V (Edna A) mach[inist] h101 S Elmwood av." In 1932 no occupation was shown and in 1933 as a "mech[anic]." At about this time Elmer's father, Herman, retired from his long-term job at the Fleischmann Malting company and the job was passed on to Elmer.
In the 1934 City Directory of Davenport as "Offerman Elmer V (Edna A) eng[ineer] Fleischmann Malting Co h101 S Elmwood av." Elmer worked there through at least 1937.
In the 1940 census of Davenport, Scott county, Iowa as Elmer Offerman, a 49 year old engineer with in the railroad industry, living at 101 South Elmwood avenue. He had an 8th grade education and had worked 35 weeks in 1939. Living with him were his wife, Edna, 49, and children, Robert, a 21 year old machine operator in the Candy Works, Lillian, 16, Gene [sic], 15, and Leroy, 7, and daughter in law, Robert's wife, Katherine, 20. A "mach[inist]" in the City Directory.
In the 1942 & 1944 City Directories Elmer was shown as a "hlpr Arsenal." That would have been the Rock Island Arsenal, just east of Davenport. In 1945 he had moved up to "asmblr Arsenal."
|The Rock Island Arsenal
The Arsenal made a wide variety of military equipment, including machine guns, gun belts, artillery carriages, recoiless mechanisms, and leather materials, like holsters and gun covers. It was also a repair depot for trucks and tanks. Employment at the Arsenal swelled from 2,846 in 1939 to a peak of 18,675 in 1943.
After the war Elmer went to work at the Blackhawk Brewery. In the 1947 City Directory of Davenport as "Offerman Elmer V (Edna) mtcemn [maintenance man] Blackhawk Brew h101 S Elmwood av." In 1949 he was "mtce eng [maintenance engineer] Blackhawk Brew." Elmer continued to work at the brewery through at least 1951.
Prohibition had closed the doors of all the breweries in Davenport. In 1935 Zoeller Brewery opened and soon became the largest brewer in the state. The company changed its name to the Blackhawk Brewery in 1945. Production ended in 1952 with the rise of the national brands.
In the 1953 and 1954 City Directories of Davenport as "Offerman Elmer V (Edna) mtcemn Uchtorff Brew h101 S Elmwood av." This brewery attempted to carry on the Blackhawk tradition, operating out of the old facility for several years, selling a Blackhawk Premium beer.
In the 1956 directory Elmer was listed with no occupation. He was 64 years old at the time. He had a similar listing in 1960.
Elmer died on 28 May 1968 at the age of 77 in the Colonial Manor nursing home, Davenport, Scott county, Iowa. He was the last of the sons of Herman Offerman surviving. Edna died in December 1978 while living with her daughter, Jeanne, in Tempe, Arizona.
Elmer's children were,
She was born on 28 November 1915. In the 1920 census of Lincoln township, Scott county, Iowa as Evelyn Offermann, 4 1/2. In the 1930 census of Davenport as Evelyn F. Offerman, 14.
She married Clifford L. Link in 1939 in Peoria, Illinois. His obituary:
Services will be at 2:30 .m. Tuesday in Runge Chapel for Clifford L. Link, 59, of 2034 N. Lincoln Ave., Davenport, who died Saturday in St. Luke's Hospital. Burial will be in the Matherville, Ill., cemetery.
Born in Sunnyhill, Ill., he married Evelyn Offerman in 1939 in Peoria. The couple resided in Davenport 18 years. Mr. Link was a machinist for 35 years and was employed as a maintenance man for Sirota Investment Corporation.
Survivors include his wife; a daughter, Mrs. Maureen Kandarian San Jose, Calif.; a son, Clifford Jr., Davenport; four sisters, Mrs. Elsie Brown, and Mrs. Treva Smith, both of Moline, Mrs. Laura Stanforth, Andalusia, and Mrs. Lillian Maynard, Mathervile; and three brothers, John of Mountain View, Mo., len of East moline and Kendall of Bettendorf.
Evelyn was a kind and gentle woman, and my favorite aunt. She died on 24 September 2000 in Davenport. Cousin Clifford was much like his mother; kind and considerate. Perhaps because he was such a big man he was especially careful of other people.(26) Robert Harold Offerman (1918)
He was born on 5 January 1918. In the 1920 census of Lincoln township, Scott county, Iowa as Robert Offermann, 1 11/12. In the 1930 census of Davenport as Robert H. Offerman, 12.
He married Katherine Louise Dean, the daugther of Leo and Mabel Snowbarger Dean, on 9 March 1940.
In the 1940 census of Davenport, Iowa as Robert Offerman, a 21 year old machine operator in the Candy Works. Living with him was his wife, Katherine. There were staying with his parents, Elmer and Edna. I remember the house at 101 South Elmwood and it would have been bursting its seams with seven people living there. The 1944 City Directory of Davenport identifies where Robert worked, "Offerman Robt H (Kath) mtcemn Ucanco Candy Co h2019 E 11th."
|UCanCo Candy Company
This was a Delaware corporation, orignally called the United Candy Company of course, formed in 1922 which had its manufacturing plant in Davenport. Their most popular candies were the Ol Timer, the Broadway bar, the Oh Johnnie (a rip-off of the Oh Henry! bar), and the Wonder Bar.
He died on 1 January 1984 in Orange City, Volusia, Florida. Katherine died on 6 May 2003 in East Moline, Iowa.
Their children were Roberta Joan (1940-2008), Joyce, Jeanne (who was named for my mom), and James Dean (1944-2005).
I recently received the following email,
Hi,(26) Marie Offerman (1920)
I am one of Robert Offerman's grandsons and would like to let you know I found your site today and went through it. Very interesting and entertaining. My mom, Roberta, would be your cousin? She was born in 1940 and died 2008. Her brother Jim died, I think, two years before that. I still have two aunts, Joyce and Jeanne. One minor editorial note, the place of death for my grandmother is East Moline, Illinois.
Thanks, Matt Clark
Just an update on the indian princess. I talked to my dad recently and his story was that my grandmother at one time showed him an old photo of two women, dressed in long dresses of that time period, standing together and my grandmother (Katherine Offerman) said one was the indian but she didnt know which. Then she said that the family was ashamed of her (or the fact she was an indian) and no one discussed it.
She was born in 1920. In the 1920 census of Lincoln township, Scott county, Iowa as Marie Offermann, 1/12. In the 1930 census of Davenport as Marie E. Offerman, 10. She married and lived in Reno, Nevada for many years.(26) Lillian Mae Offerman (1923)
She was born on 16 May 1923 in Bettendorf, Iowa. She was probably named for her aunt, Lily Mae, below. In the 1930 census of Davenport as Lillie M. Offerman, 6. In the 1940 census as Lillian Offerman, 16. During the ware she worked at the Rock Island Arsenal as a "hlpr," just as her father did.
She married Robert L. Schmidt, a dairy farmer. He was born on 28 January 1922 in Blue Grass township, Scott county, Iowa. They had three children. She died on 15 June 1980 in Davenport. Bob died on 22 May 1996.(26) Jeanne Katherine Offerman (1925)
My mother, the most beautiful and graceful of the Offerman daughters. She was born on 17 March 1925. In the 1930 census of Davenport as Jeanne K. Offerman, 5.
Early in 1946 she was living in West Des Moines, Iowa as "Offerman Jeanne K ofc sec Birds Eye-Snider Inc r3616 University ave." The latter residence is a brick apartment building, still standing.
She married Darrell Dean Hissem in 1946. He was born on 7 December 1924. They had two children.My Mom:
Jeanne grew up in a suburban neighborhood in Davenport, Iowa, on Elmwood street. Her parents' home was a green stucco, neo-gothic that I remember from visits as a child as being huge, but which was in actuality a small, three bedroom tract home built soon after World War I. Downstairs was a living room, dining room and kitchen. Up a glassed-in staircase were the bedrooms. As a young boy I was intrigued by the basement - living most of my live in the south and west I had no experience with such a thing. The largest space in the house, this was where people congregated during parties and reunions. I remember that my grandmother had many shelves of preserves down there and also had a corner dedicated to growing violets.
In my favorite picture of her Mom looks like a waif, her face dominated by her large expressive eyes. Mom never liked that picture. Where Mom is with one of her sisters, it was Lil.
Her early dreams had included becoming a journalist and she had thought to go to college, but, though she completed high school, the surreptitious look I got at her last year's report card indicated that Mom had lost interest in school. Of course, this was an early war year and many people changed their life plans at this point.
One memory of her's that Mom shared with me was of riding her bicycle from her house on Elmwood to Cram Airfield, in the western part of the city, on Division road. She said she was fascinated by the aircraft taking off and landing there. This memory may have been affected by the later fact that my Dad learned to fly there.
I don't know exactly when or how she met my Dad, but I know that on their first date she was awfully glad that Dad's car had a radio to help fill the silence. While Dad was gone to war, Mom worked at the Iowana dairy, in Bettendorf, where beginning in 1937 Bettendorf youth used to stop for "Iowana Special" ice cream, a fruity and nutty concoction. This was a retail shop (she didn't milk cows) and I believe she worked the counter - I may have confused this with a later job she had with Iowana when my Dad was in Okinawa, in the early fifties. She wanted to become a WASP, one of the female pilots used to ferry aircraft during the war, but my Dad vetoed the idea. They weren't married yet, but clearly they had made their plans. When my Dad came home they got married.
As a young boy I adored my mother, who, to my eyes, was a dead-ringer for Loretta Young, who had a popular TV show at the time. We never had much money, but never lacked for anything, mainly due to Mom's fiscal management. When we moved to Mississippi and I entered the first grade, Mom took a job at the Air Force Base working as a secretary in the Civil Service. From then on Mom always had a job outside the house, but also cooked & cleaned, becoming an early 'super-mom.'
As with any military family, it was Mom who marshalled the clan for moves every couple of years, ensuring that a new home was made out of the quite often dismal housing available.
When Dad, Georgia and I bought an airplane together in 1973 Mom complained of feeling left out of family discussions that became increasingly centered on flying. Finally Mom decided she would have to learn to fly and did so using the Citabria under the instruction of Cliff Sterrenberg, who had been my and Georgia's aerobatic instructor. She accomplished this at the age of fifty. One of my great memories is joining Mom as her navigator on air races flying in the Debonair and later in the Bonanza. She joined a local chapter of the Ninety-Nines, a woman's aviation group founded by Amelia Earhart. She helped lead a coup and formed a new chapter and became one of their officers. She also worked with my Dad in the local aerobatic group, helping run their contests.
My Mom and Dad retired to the eastern side of Phoenix, within about a mile of Falcon Airfield. Mom took up golfing and proved to be an excellent player with a very strong shot off the tee. Always the sociable sort, she enjoyed the company of women's leagues and, as with the aviation groups she was affiliated with, had many leadership positions.
While she had had heart bypass surgery earlier, her death of heart failure in 2001 still came as a great shock. Her childen were,
(27) Georgia Jean Hissem (1948)
(27) Steven Dean Hissem (1952)
He was born on 16 February 1933. He was probably named for his uncle, Leroy John Offerman, below, who died in 1932. In the 1953 & 1954 City Directories of Davenport as "Offerman Leroy E USA [US Army] r101 S Elmwood av." In the 1956 directory as "Offerman LeRoy E elect Deluhery Electric r101 S Elmwood av."
Leroy married Roma L. She was born on 28 July 1933. In the 1960 City Directory of Davenport as "Offerman Leroy E (Roma) journeymn Deluhery Elec h2809 1/2 Sheridan." They lived in Davenport and had one child,
(27) Sherri L. Offerman (1961)
Sherri was born on 8 Jun 1961. She married Joseph Wade Allen, the son of Earl Allen and Faye Farmer, on 15 April 1991. He was born on 21 December 1961. Mason. They live in Mason, Ohio. They had three children, two daughters and a son.(25) Edward Joseph Offerman (1892)
He was born on 12 December 1892 and was baptized at St. Joseph's Catholic church. In the 1895 state census of the city of Davenport as Edward Offerman, 1. In the 1900 census as Edward A. Offerman, 7 [December 1892].
He and his brother, Elmer, were the hired hands on his father's farm in Maysville. "Ed went to work for a neighbor which helped when there was a slack in the winter work and it also added cash to the household" - from the memoirs of Edna Offerman.
In the 1910 census of the 2nd Ward, Davenport, Iowa as Edward Offerman, an 18 year old machinist, living at home with his father. Oddly, there was also an Edward Offermann, an 18 year old hired man working on the farm of William Schmidt. I think it was possible that both of these are "our" man, counted twice.
Edward J. Offerman married Louise Ewoldt on 6 December 1916 - Quad-Cities Memory Project. She was born in about 1888. Both of her parents were born in Germany.
In the 1920 census of Lincoln township, Scott county, Iowa as Edward Offerman, a 27 year old farmer. Note that his brother, Elmer, was also farming in Lincoln township at this time. He was living on Mount Joy road. Living with him were his wife, Louise, 22, and daughter, Dorothy, 1 3/12.
In the 1930 census of Butler township, Scott county, Iowa as Edd [sic] J. Offerman, a 37 year old farmer. Living with him were his wife, Louise, 32, and children, Dorothy L., 11, and Phyllis M., 9. Edward and Louise had been married for 13 years.
In the 1940 census of Davenport, Iowas a Edward Offerman, a 47 year old truck driver for a farm implement manufacturer. Living with him were his wife, Louise, 42, and children, Dorothy, a 21 year old working with the WPA, and Phyllis, a 19 year old office clerk at the high school.
Edward died in 1951 at the age of 59 and was buried in the Davenport Memorial Park. There is an obituary for Edward J. Offerman in the Davenport Democrat on 7 June 1951. Louisa died in 1886.
His children were,
(26) Dorothy Lois Offerman (1918)
(26) Phyllis M. Offerman (1921)
She was born on 22 September 1918 in LeClaire, Scott county, Iowa. In the 1920 census of Lincoln township, Scott county, Iowa as Dorothy Offerman, 1 3/12. In the 1930 census of Butler township, Scott county, Iowa as Dorothy L. Offerman, 11.
Dorothy Offerman married Sergeant Robert Waldon Woody on 28 February 1952 in Davenport. He was born on 18 January 1919 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. She died on 22 August 1979 in Davenport.(26) Phyllis M. Offerman (1921)
In the 1930 census of Butler township, Scott county, Iowa as Phyllis M. Offerman, 9.(25) Clarence La Roy Offerman (1894)
Clarence La Roy Offerman, the son of Herman Offerman and Mary A. Drexel, was baptized at St Josephs Catholic church on 19 May 1894. In the state census of 1895 of Scott county as Clarence Offerman, no age. He was not in the 1900 or later census'.(25) Florence Offerman (1895)
In the 1900 census as Florence H. Offerman, 4 [March 1895]. She was not in subsequent census'. She died in 1902.
"Three children of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Offerman died from eating green grapes while sufferinng from scarlatina. Cholera morbus caused complications that quickly resulted fatally. A fourth child is seriously ill from the same [garbled]." - from the Humeston [Iowa] New Era of 3 July 1902.(25) Lily May Offerman (1897)
Of Lily Mae. She was baptized at St Josephs Catholic church in 1897. In the 1900 census as Lillie M. Offerman, 3, born in May 1897. She was not in subsequent census. She died in 1902.
"Three children of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Offerman died from eating green grapes while sufferinng from scarlatina. Cholera morbus caused complications that quickly resulted fatally. A fourth child is seriously ill from the same [garbled]." - from the Humeston [Iowa] New Era of 3 July 1902.I wonder if my Aunt Lillian, above, was named for her? (25) Josephine Catherine Offerman (1898)
Or Josephine Katherine. She was born on 21 November 1898. I have a Josephine C. Offermann who was baptized at St Josephs Catholic church in 1898. In the 1900 census as Josie C. Offerman, 1, born in November 1898. In the 1910 census of the 2nd Ward, Davenport, Iowa as Josephine Offerman, 11. In the 1920 census of Davenport, Iowa as Josephine Offerman, 21. In the 1930 census as Josephine Offerman, 31, still living at home with her father.
She married a Grobman.(25) Frank J. Offerman (1900)
He was baptized at St Josephs Catholic church in 1900. In the 1900 census of Davenport as Frank J. Offerman, 4 months old, born in January 1900. He was not in subsequent census' so I assume he died young, but I've found no record of his death. He probably died in 1902.
"Three children of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Offerman died from eating green grapes while sufferinng from scarlatina. Cholera morbus caused complications that quickly resulted fatally. A fourth child is seriously ill from the same [garbled]." - from the Humeston [Iowa] New Era of 3 July 1902.(25) Alice Johanna Offerman (1902)
She was born on 18 January 1902 and baptized at St Josephs Catholic church. In the 1910 census of the 2nd Ward, Davenport, Iowa as Alice Offerman, 8.
Alice Offerman married Oral J. Chrissinger on 27 November 1919 in Davenport. In the 1920 census of Davenport as Oral Chrissinger, 19, and his wife, Alice, 17. They were living with Alice's father, Herman. I have another document that says Alice married a Yeager, so that may be a second marriage.(25) Lester Christian Offerman (1906)
He was born on 11 July 1906. In the 1910 census of the 2nd Ward, Davenport, Iowa as Lester Offerman, 3. In the 1920 census of Davenport, Iowas as Lester Offerman, 12. In the 1925 state census as Lester C. Offerman, 17, living at home with his parents, Herman Offerman and Mary Drexel.
He married Helen R. Billings in 1929 in Muscatine, Iowa. She was born on 15 February 1912 in Nichols, Iowa.
In the 1930 census of Davenport as Lester Offermann, 23, a machinist working in a machine shop. He was living at home with his father, Herman. Living with him was his wife, Helen, 18. In the 1930 City Directory of Davenport as "Offerman Lester mach r1622 W 7th (Helen)."
In the City Directories of Davenport from 1932 through 1953. In 1935 Lester was shown as a "mach Arsenal." While Lester worked at various places over the years, Helen was an employee of the Rock Island Arsenal for 23 years.
In the 1940 census of Davenport, Iowa as Lester [Lester in Ancestry.com] Offerman, a 32 year old machinist at the Arsenal, living at 1622 West Seventh street. Living with him were his wife, Helen, 28, children Janice, 9, and M. Delores, 7, and his father, Herman, 76.
There is an obituary in the Davenport Democrat for Lester C. Offerman on 10 July 1953. Helen married Raymond Thiering in 1954. Lester and Mary's children were,
(26) Janice Offerman
(26) Mary Delores Offerman
She married a Plock. She died on 14 April 1998.(26) Mary Delores Offerman
Mary Delores Offerman married Lieutenant Eugene DeVilder on 9 February 1952.(25) Leroy John Offerman (1910)
Leroy J. Offerman, the son of Herman Offerman and Mary Drexel, was born on 3 November 1910 in Davenport, Scott county, Iowa. In the 1920 census of Davenport, Iowa as Leroy Offerman, 9. In the 1925 state census of Scott county, Iowa as Leroy J. Offerman, 14. He was living with his widowed father, Herman Offerman, 61.
In the 1927 City Directory of Davenport as "Offerman LeRoy J clk H J Heinz Co (R I) r1622 W 7th." This was Herman's house.
He married Genevieve. In the 1930 census of Rock Island, Illinois as Le Roy J. Offerman, a 19 year old bookeeper with a wholesale merchant. He and his young wife, Genevieve R., a 19 year old stenographer with a wholesale merchant (apparently at the same firm), were living with his in-laws, Carl J. and Sophia E. Lundberg, of Sweden. In the 1930 through 1932 City Directories of Rock Island as "Offerman Leroy J clk H J Heinz Co r1235 15th (Genevieve R)."
Leroy, a bookeeper for the H.J. Heinz Company, died on 1 September 1932, at the age of 21, in Moline, Rock Island, Illinois.
In the 1933 through 1937 City Directories of Rock Island as "Offerman Genevieve R Mrs sten Royal Neighbors of Am r1235 15th." Royal Neighbors of America of Rock Island is a non-profit fraternal membership organization offering life insurance, annuities and medicare supplement. It is still in business today.