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Elizabeth ( nee Hoffmann ) Wulfmann,

The Story of the of Elizabeth Wulfmann, nee Hoffmann,
as Related by her at different times during her life
to her daughter Meta Juergens
and translated by her granddaughter Elsa Juergens.
Annotated by her great grandson David S. Wulfman.

      Over one hundred years ago, there lived a young woman named Carolina Boeker, who was an orphan, in Lippe-Detmold, Westphalia, Germany, with her Aunt and Uncle Boeker. She had sweetheart named Johann (Friedrich Wilhelm) Hoffmann (the younger). He, with his father and a number of men set out by sailing ship set out to find the new land across the ocean, about which they heard a great deal in those days-- America. They were gone many months, and were supposed to have been lost at sea. Eventually the father of Johann Hoffmann (Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Hoffmann, the elder), with several other men returned and gave glowing accounts of the new country. They had returned to persuade the wives and sweethearts to go back to America with them. This was in the year l838. The girl Caroline was forbidden by her uncle to leave. She appealed to her aunt, and was told to rest assured of her aunt's help. During the night before the vessel was set to sail, her aunt helped Caroline to leave the house by means of a second story window, a porch roof and a ladder, and she sped to the boat and boarded it. In the morning when the uncle called her and there was no answer, his wife told him that by this time his niece was far out at sea on her way to America and Johann Hoffmann. On arrival in America, Caroline. and Johann were married. The party lived in Newark, just how long we do not know.

      (From other sources it is clear that she meant Newark Ohio
      and not New York or Newark NJ)

      A party of men set out to explore the west, because they felt they would never make great headway in Newark, and it was said there were rich farm lands farther west. Again they were gone many months and the people in Newark thought they must have been killed or lost in the wilderness. One day they returned and immediately began to make plans and prepared to go to the unclaimed lands of Illinois. Among these were Caroline and Johann Hoffmann and Hoffmann's parents. They traveled by means of the covered wagon, afoot and horseback. They were on the way for many weeks, encountered many difficulties and endured many hardships. On arrival in Illinois, they settled and named the place New Minden. They cleared away trees, using the timber to build log houses. They worked and cleared their lands and obtained land grants from the Government. They planted and worked the farms, from which they derived their sustenance, hunting and fishing for their source of meat. Johann Hoffmann's father was farmer, school teacher, and "doctored man and beast." The first child born to Johann and Caroline Hoffmann was Marie Elizabeth. She always said that she was the first child born "on the prairie" (to the German settlers) ,May 17, l840 Other children followed, some of whom died in infancy, but those who grew to manhood and womanhood were a son, Fred and four daughters. Elizabeth helped her father on the farm. Castor beans were raised and sold in St. Louis. She rode the wagon and helped pick the beans. These were spread out in a large place in the sun. As the bean pods dried they popped and the beans flew out and had to be raked up. She often rode the horses that pulled the drag on the farm. One time the horse ran away pulling the drag. The frantic father kept calling, "hold fast" for fear she would fall off and be killed under the drag. The horse was caught and Elizabeth had indeed "held fast." Her lifelong joy was working out of doors in field and garden -- a trait that is strong in many of her descendants. When Elizabeth was fourteen years old she was sent out to work for other people as hired girl, and had to work in the fields as well as do housework.

      At the age of seventeen she met Heinrich Wulfmann and was married to him in 1858. After her marriage she went to live with the Wulfmann family on a farm in Washington County, Illinois (Plum Hill). Her life there was a very pleasant one, and she said that she never again had to work in the fields, Her mother-in-law was very good to her during the years they lived there. During the second year of their marriage a son was born, named Johann, who died at the age of one year. Heinrich Wulfman felt called to the ministry and after the death of the boy he decided to go to the seminary of Marthasville, Mo. to study. He was there for five years, returning each summer to work on his father's farm, During this time Elizabeth stayed at home with his parents, and was very happy. During these years two little girls were born, Mary in 1861 and Anna in 1864. (While at seminary he and the other seminarians had to mount picket duty at nights during the Civil War., dsw) After Heinrich's ordination, the family moved to Vincennes, Indiana, where he had a small charge. A year later he took another charge located in Dutch Run, near Coshocton, Ohio. Here, in 1866 a son, Samuel, was born. In 1868 a daughter, Meta. In 1870 another son, Gustave. The family was growing, and Heinrich Wulfman, needing a bigger income no doubt, looked further for a larger charge, and moved to Calhoun County, Illinois. While there, another son was born; Benjamin, 1871. Then another move was made to Carlyle, Illinois where Emil was born in 1874. Twins were born in 1875, Jacob and Daniel. Still the family moved on, and in 1876 moved to Breeze, Illinois. Here were born Martha in 1878, Selma. in 1880, Laura in 1883, and another son, Armin, in 1885. In 1886 the family moved to Huntingburg, Indiana. Here they lived for ten years, and all the children grew up there, and left from there to go their various ways -- the boys into their chosen walks of life and the girls to marry and establish their own homes. (Emil died of typhoid fever in 90 and that is perhaps why many of the family are buried there. dsw) In 1896 the remaining family moved to Newburgh, Indiana where they remained for six years. In 1902 they went to Cable, Indiana near Huntingburg. In 1907 they went to live in Cincinnati with their children Selma, Laura and Armin. For the balance of her life Elizabeth lived in Cincinnati, except for two years just prior to the death of husband when they lived in Cleveland, Ohio, with their daughter, Anna. Elizabeth then returned to Cincinnati to live with her daughter, Selma. Shortly before her death, she and Selma moved to Newburgh. Here Elizabeth passed on in July, 1942.

Fourteen children were born of the union of Elizabeth and Heinrich Wulfman, of whom at this writing, July 1942, nine are still living, with 33 grandchildren, 36 great grand children, and four great-great grandchildren.

Elizabeth Wulfman was born May 17, l840 died July 17, 1942 Heinrich Wulfmann born Sept. 23, 1835 (Osnabruck, Ger.) d. Sept. 17, 1919


Heinrich Wulfmann was born at Wimmer, Amt Wittlage, Pfarrbezirk Lintorf, Koenigreich Hannover, Preuss in what is presently the Lander of Niedersachsen Germany. He was born Christoph Heinrich Wulf and the name change occurred sometime after 1848 when the Wulf family came to Plum Hill Illinois via Bremen and New Orleans. His mother was Marie Eleonor Ankesheil Wulf and his father was Johann Friedrich Wulf. They left Germany in the month of September the week following the confirmation of Cristoph Heinrich. There was a daughter as well, Marie Elizabeth Wulf who married a Brink and after the death of her first husband, a. Hoffmann. The area containing Wimmer was known until at least 1940 as Osnabuckerland. Friedericke Wilhelmiene Boeker Hoffmann was born at Kroppeloh, Pfarrbezirk Bergkirchen, Westfalen. Kroppeloh is a very small village is close to Wulferdingsen and the Hoffmanns were from Rothenuffeln, Pfarrbezirk Bergkirchen. In 1838 Lippe-Detmold was a German state located somewhat south Minden which was the principle city of the area due to its position on the Weser River. One assumes Caroline sailed down the Weser to Bremen. I have not been able to establish where the Hoffmanns landed in the USA but another oral history in the family makes it sound as if it was Philadelphia or Baltimore on Christmas Day and they went through the Cumberland Gap on their way west to Newark. Marie Eleanor nee Ankesheil Wulfmann was born at Wimmer. Her father, brother and family emigrated to Plum Hill, Illinois via Bremen and New Orleans in September of 1846 and arrived at New Orleans in December or early January (records are lost) Two children died on the trip up the Mississippi and her father died of pneumonia in 1847. The mother died in Germany sometime before September 1848 but after 1846. From the presence of Ankesheiln in the New Orleans area it seems likely that other members of the family were along on the first wave and because of weather decided to remain in New Orleans. The date of their arrival is also unknown and for the period 1840-1850 there is only a 2 month window for which the immigration records have been lost. dsw The life of Elizabeth Hoffman Wulfmann, after her marriage is known to all of her children and to many of her descendants, and needs no recording; how through all the years, along with her care of the children and household duties she made garden, raising vegetables for the family's use, always keeping a cow to supply milk and butter, and chickens for eggs and meat; how also knitted stockings and mittens, and after the children had been put to bed at night, worked far into the night sewing and patching pants and waists and little girls' dresses, and assisting her husband in church work whenever she could. In later years she was able to hire some help to assist in the care of the children, but she was never idle, -and her hands always found something to do. Even in her last days, the habit of a lifetime was strong, and she never sat idle -- as long as she could see well enough, she made quilts. One of the hardest tasks was when she was no longer able to do anything and had to content herself with reading her Bible and Prayer books, or just sit and dream of days of long ago. his is merely a history of' the family, so that there may be some record of a life, rich and overflowing with life's experiences, with a never failing strength and courage to go on and on, meeting and overcoming each obstacle, until at long last she was called Home to an everlasting rest and peace, at the age of 102 years and 2 months.

                                                Elsa Juergens , daughter of
                                                July 1942

      Part of the oral history passed down by her son Jacob was that she enjoyed riding bare back across the prairie in Washington County. Although born and bred in the USA she never found it necessary to learn English. Two of her sons became ministers and 4 of her daughters married ministers (all in the German Evangelical Church.) Sadly I was only 8 when she died and my only recollection of her was sleeping in her chair in 1940.                 dsw

Contact Dr. David S. Wulfman

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