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The Early Hohlts of Washington County, IL: 1840-1880
By Bob Voelker ©

Note: Persons who desire additional information may contact : Bob Voelker
      Although the correct spelling of the original surname of the early settlers in Washington County was Hohlt, variations in spelling occurred, particularly among the early records that document their presence. The earliest Hohlts were members of St. Salvator Lutheran Church, Venedy, and, in addition to the correct spelling, the variations "Hold" and "Hohld" are found among those records. The most common misspelling of Hohlt was "Holt," and it was found in the Washington County marriage license records, in the 1850-1880 US censuses, and in the early land ownership records. From about 1900 on the correct spelling seems almost always to have been used.
      The Hohlts immigrated to Washington County from Stemwede municipality in Minden-Lubbecke in North Rhineland-Westfalen in northwestern Germany. Most of the Hohlts came from the villages of Wehdem and Westrup, but others came from nearby Oppendorf and Mehnen (present-day Niedermehnen). Passenger lists have been found for some of them. The times when others came to the US was documented from Wehdem parish records that were kept because the Prussian government required that each parish record the names of males of military service age who emigrated from that parish.
Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1806-1850) Family

      Wehdem parish emigration records indicate that the earliest to arrive in Washington County from the Wehdem, Westfalen area was the Heinrich Wilhelm "William" Hohlt (1806-1850) family; his registration to emigrate was dated 29.09.1841. He, his wife Grethe Elisabeth Hohlt nee Hohlt (1797-1843), and her two sons [Johann Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1824-1855) and Carl Friedrich Heinrich Hohlt (1830-1886)] from a previous marriage presumably left soon after he registered to emigrate. [The father of Grethe's two sons was her first husband, Johann Christoph Hohlt (1790-1832), who was the uncle of Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1806-1850); thus, Friedrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1824-1855) and Carl Friedrich Heinrich Hohlt (1830-1886) were first cousins as well as his step-sons of Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1806-1850)]. Following Johann Christoph Hohlt's death in Germany in 1832, Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt and Grethe Elisabeth Hohlt nee Hohlt were married in 1833. The first documented event of their life in America was Grethe Elisabeth's 1843 death record (listed as Marie Henriette Elisabeth Hold) in the St. Salvator, Venedy records. The next year Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1806-1850) married Caroline Wilhelmina Sophia Segelhorst nee Fledderman/Flettherman (~1813-1870), a widow who with her daughter, Sophia Maria Dorothea Segelhorst (1835-1918), had come to America in 1842 aboard the ship Pioneer, landing in Baltimore. Between 1846 and 1849 Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt purchased five tracts of land totaling about 260 acres in the region where Okawville, Plum Hill, Johannisburg and Venedy Townships adjoin. He and his family apparently resided on the SW¼ of Section 31 of Okawville Township. Only about a year later Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt died in 1850 of cholera. His wife and children apparently continued to live on that farm.
      After Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt's death in 1850, his estate was managed by his older step-son, Johann Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Hohlt ("Fred" or "Wm. = Fred/Wm." 1824-1855). Earlier, Fred/Wm. had also purchased and was living on the SE¼NW¼ (62.5 acres) of Section 6 of Plum Hill Township. In 1852 he also purchased the NE¼NW¼ (62.5 acres), which adjoined his earlier purchase; apparently a farmhouse was not built on that farm until 40-50 years later. Fred/Wm. married Anna Maria Caroline Brettewather in 1853 and they had a daughter, Charlotte Caroline Wilhelmina "Mina" Hohlt in 1854. About thirteen months later in 1855, Fred/Wm. Hohlt died of a stroke. The properties that had been in his father's estate and his own properties were divided between his heirs (his wife and daughter) and his brother, Carl Friedrich Heinrich Hohlt ("C. H.," "Henry"; 1830-1886). Later in 1855, Fred/Wm.'s widow, Anna Hohlt nee Brettewather, married Carl Schaal; they apparently continued to live on the SE¼NW¼ of Section 6 of Plum Hill until sometime after 1866, when they sold it to Henry Hohlt and moved to Fayette County, IL Henry Hohlt continued to own that tract of land until he sold it to Fritz Hohlt in 1879.
      Information from the Wehdem church records is available about at least two earlier generations of ancestors of Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1806-1850). They were Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1780-1829; married Marie Louise Kohlwes) and Johann Friedrich Hohlt (1745-1799; married Anne Marie Elisabeth Heuer, 1746-?). No efforts were made to trace earlier records than those two ancestors, although they should be further traceable in the Wehdem church records.
      Over time the members of the Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1806-1850) family were members of St. Salvator Lutheran, Venedy; Ebenezer Lutheran, Grand Prairie/Okawville; and St. John's Lutheran, New Minden.
Herman Friedrich Wilhelm "Herman" "William" Hohlt (1829- after 1880)
(Johann) Friedrich "Fred" Hohlt (1836- after 1880)
Heinrich Christoph "Chris" "Christopher" Hohlt (1839- after 1900)

      According to the Wehdem parish emigration records, the next Hohlt family to come to Washington County was the Heinrich Carl Lud(e)wig Hohlt (1803-1842) family. Heinrich Carl Ludwig was the older brother of Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1806-1850, above). The Wehdem parish emigration record indicates that Heinrich Carl Ludewig Hohlt, his wife Marie Elisabeth Hohlt nee Grube and their six children (Herman Friedrich Wilhelm, b. 1829; Marie Louise, b. 1831; Marie Charlotte Henriette, b. 1834; Johann Friedrich, b. 1836; Heinrich Christoph, b. 1839; Henriette Charlotte Caroline, b. 1841) registered to emigrate to the US in 1842 (no month and date were given). That same parish record reported that Heinrich Carl Ludewig drowned at sea on their way to America; thus, his wife arrived in America as a widow with their six children. The earliest record pertaining to that family in the St. Salvator records is an 1845 entry of the marriage of widow Elisabeth Hohld (Hohlt) to Heinrich Hermann Niengerd (in the St. Salvator records, but listed as "Negengard" in the Washington County marriage license records). He had emigrated to the US from the same region of Westfalen in 1835. However, in the 1850 census, Mary E. (Marie Elisabeth) Hotts (Hohlt) was listed with four children: Herman F. W., Herman F., Henry C. and Charlotte H. The status of the two older daughters at the time of the 1850 census is unknown. That Marie Elisabeth was using her first married (and maiden) name by 1850 suggests that her marriage to Mr. Niengerd had somehow ended; perhaps he had died. That five of the six children of Karl Heinrich Ludwig and Anne Marie Elisabeth nee Grube Hohlt were listed as heirs of Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1806-1850) in his 1851 estate settlement indicates that a rather close relationship continued between the families. Perhaps by then the mother had also died and the Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt family felt a sense of responsibility towards their cousins. Although the eventual fates of Marie Louise (b. 1831), Marie Charlotte Henriette (b. 1834) and Henriette Charlotte Caroline (b. 1841) are not known, the following was learned about the three sons.
      Oldest son Herman Friedrich Wilhelm "Herman" "Wilhelm" Hohlt (1829- died after 1880) had by 1860 married Louisa Schaefer, and they had two children, the older of whom (Lizzie) was 4 years old and had been born in IL. By 1870 they had moved to Plum Hill Township (T2SR4W), where they probably owned property. Sometime around 1871-2 they left Washington County and moved to Marion Township, Sebastian County, Arkansas, where they had additional children and probably spent the remainder of their lives. While in Illinois the affiliated with Ebenezer Lutheran Church.
      Middle son (?Herman) Johann Friedrich "Fred Hohlt (1836- died after 1880) was also living in Washington County at the times of the 1860 and 1870 censuses. His wife Emiline was born in IL. By 1874-5 this family had also moved to Marion Township, Sebastian County, Arkansas, where they had additional children and apparently spent the remainder of their lives.
      Youngest son Heinrich Christoph "Chris" "Christopher" Hohlt (1839- after 1900) appeared in the 1860 census of Washington County, where he was listed as Christopher Hohlt, 20, who was working as a laborer in Plum Hill Township. By 1880 he too had moved to Marion Township, Sebastian County Arkansas, where he had married and had a two-year-old son. He was still listed in the 1900 census in the same county.
      The father of this family, Heinrich Carl Ludwig Hohlt (1803-1842), was also a son of Heinrich Wilhelm (1780-1829) and Anne Marie Louise nee Kohlwes Hohlt. Thus, his children were first cousins of Herman Friedrich Christoph "Herman" Hohlt (1845-1915) and his sisters (see below) and step-first cousins of Fred/Wm Hohlt (1824-1855) and Henry Hohlt (1830-1886; see above)
Johann Frederick Christoph "Fred" Hohlt (1799-1873) Family

      The Johann Frederick Christoph "Fred" Hohlt (1799-1873) family emigrated from Wehdem, Westfalen to Washington County in 1848. Fred, his wife Maria Sophia Louise "Louise," "Eliza" nee Maluk (1816-1873), son Johann Christoph Heinrich Wilhelm "John Henry" (1841-1918), and daughters Henriette Wilhelmine Caroline (1844-1909) and Henriette Caroline (1846-?) came aboard the ship George Washington that landed in New Orleans. At first they may have affiliated with St. Salvator Lutheran Church, Venedy, where a year-old child Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt (Hohld), "son of Friedrich Hohlt," died in 1849. Later they affiliated with St. Paul's UCC, Okawville, where daughter Marie Karoline Margaretha was baptized in 1852. They purchased 160 acres of land (SE¼ of Section 20 in Okawville Township, T1SR4W); that property was located on the southwest corner of the town of Okawville. They later affiliated with St. Peter's UCC, Okawville. After Fred's and Louise's deaths in 1873, John Henry inherited the farm. He and his three wives (Catherine Clasing, Louise Muehlenkamp, and Margaret Louise Moehlenkamp) had at least ten children. Daughter Henriette married Frederich Gaebe, and daughter Marie married Christian Altsmansberger. Most of this family appears to have remained in the Okawville area, where they affiliated with St. Peter's UCC.
      Although Johann Frederick's parents from the Wehdem, Westfalen are known, as far back as his ancestors have been traced in the middle and late 1700s, they have no known direct relationship with the ancestors of the other Hohlts of Washington County. However, there were numerous Hohlts in the Wehdem area, which probably means that any common ancestor would have lived in the early 1700s or even earlier.
Johann Friedrich Wilhelm "John W.," "Wm.," "Little Bill" Hohlt (1834-1904)

      Johann Friedrich Wilhelm "Little Bill" Hohlt came with his parents (Herman Friedrich and Charlotte nee Winkelmann Hohlt) to the US in 1860 aboard the ship Carl, landing in New Orleans. Several cousins (see below) were also aboard that ship. Their indicated destination on the passenger list was MO. Although his parents apparently stayed in the St. Louis area, Wilhelm and his cousins who came with the family made their way to Washington County, IL There in 1863 he purchased the SW¼NW¼ of Plum Hill Section 6.from the C. Beckmeier estate. That same year "Little Bill" married Wilhelmine Charlotte Henrietta Beckmeier nee Koester, a widow who was about 12 years older and who had a son from her first marriage; she was the widow of Christian Beckmeier of the Beckmeier estate. They had no children, and his wife died in 1878. Later in 1878 he married Caroline Friedrica "Anna" Hausschild nee Wiemann, who had two sons from her first marriage. "Little Bill" and Anna had 8 children of their own. That Wilhelm's two wives came from the St. Louis area and that his death (from a fall from a wagon while hauling wheat to Addieville) in 1904 was reported in the St. Louis Post Dispatch indicates that he retained important connections in the St. Louis area.
      His church affiliation throughout his life in Washington County was with Ebenezer Lutheran Church, Grand Prairie/Okawville. Apparently, he was known as "Little Bill" because physically he was smaller than "Big Bill" Hohlt (see below), a cousin who was for a time also a member of Ebenezer congregation.
      According to the Wehdem church records, Herman Friedrich Hohlt (1807/8-after 1860; "Little Bill's" father) was the son of Johann Friedrich and Margarethe Henriette Lehnker Hohlt.
Friedrich Carl Herman "Fred," "Fritz" Hohlt (1845-1910)
Christoph Friedrich Wilhelm "Big Bill" Hohlt (1843-1893

      Fritz, listed as "Herman, 15" was one of the cousins aboard the ship Carl, when it landed in New Orleans in 1860. He was the son of Carl Friedrich (1811-1854) and Marie Henriette nee Tattenhorst (1814/5-1897) Hohlt. Carl Friedrich died in Germany, and Henriette came to the US sometime before 1870. Several of their children also came to Washington County, IL where they affiliated with Ebenezer Lutheran Church, while still others settled in the St. Louis area.
      Friedrich "Fred" Hohlt, 25, a laborer, was living with his mother Henriette in Okawville Township (probably Section 31) at the time of the 1870 census. Later that year he married Wilhelmina "Mina" Rennegarbe. By 1880 he was most likely living on and had purchased the SE¼NW¼ of Plum Hill Section 6 from Henry Hohlt (1830-1886; above). Sometime around C. H. Hohlt's death in 1886, Fritz Hohlt had also purchased the SW¼ of Okawville Section 31; he apparently lived on the latter until his death in 1910. Fritz and Mina had 10 children, the eldest of whom (Fred) was apparently living on the SE¼NW¼ of Plum Hill Section 6 at the time of the 1900 census.
      One of Fritz Hohlt's brothers and two of his sisters also settled for a while in Washington County before moving on to the St. Louis, MO area. Christoph Friedrich Wilhelm "Big Bill" Hohlt (1843-1893) farmed for a while in Okawville Township. In 1875 he married Dorothea Hulshorst. They had 5 children while living in Washington County. They later moved to St. Louis, where "Big Bill" died in 1893.
      Fritz Hohlt's oldest sister, Charlotte Caroline Wilhelmine Hohlt (1838-1922), came to the US aboard the Astronom in 1867, landing in New Orleans. Shortly thereafter, she married Herman Leimkuehler. She died at Addieville, IL in 1922.
      Fritz Hohlt's younger sister Marie Louise Hohlt (1851-1929) came to the US in 1869. After her first husband (Mr. Schepmann) died, she married Nicholas Hedemann in 1874. They farmed in Okawville Township for a while, but by 1900 they had moved to Dade County, MO, where he was farming. Louise died there in 1929.
      Two of Fritz's brothers, Christoph Heinrich Wilhelm (1848-1924) and Herman Friedrich Wilhelm (1854-?) also came to the US, where they likely settled and lived the rest of their lives in the St. Louis area.
      Fritz Hohlt's father, Carl Friedrich Hohlt (1811-1854), was the son of Johann Friedrich Hohlt and Margarethe Henriette Lehnker (from the Wehdem/Westrup area of Westfalen, Germany); the same was true of Little Bill Hohlt's father, Herman Friedrich Hohlt (1807/8-?). Thus, Fritz Hohlt and "Big Bill" Hohlt were first cousins of "Little Bill" Hohlt.
Herman Friedrich Christoph "Herman" Hohlt (1845-19??)

      Herman Friedrich Christoph Hohlt was the son of Johann Friedrich Hohlt (1811-1866) and Sophie Margaretha Ahlers (1814-1895). He came to the US in (1867; Wehdem records) or 1868 (1900 census) with his mother. He married Margarethe "Maggie" Peter (Petri) (1851-1928) in 1875; according to the 1900 census, they had eight children, six of whom were alive at the time of the census. A bricklayer/mason/plasterer by trade, he and his family lived various places in Washington County and, at least in 1880, in nearby Clinton County.
      Herman Hohlt's oldest sister, Sophia Maria Charlotte Henriette Hohlt (1842-?) came to the US in 1860 on the ship Carl with the Herman Hohlt family (see above). In 1864 she married Herman Friedrich W. Storck; (1840-1923); they had at least four children. They farmed in Okawville Township.
      Herman's next youngest sister was Caroline Wilhelmine Hohlt (1849-1872). After coming to the US, she married Heinrich August Wernecke in 1871; she died in 1872, apparently from complications from pregnancy or childbirth.
      Herman's youngest sister Friedrieca Louisa (1855-?) came to the US in 1867. In 1874 she married Wilhelm Martens (1842-?); they had at least six children. They farmed in Okawville Township.
      Herman Hohlt's father, Johann Friedrich Hohlt (1811-1866), was a son of Heinrich Wilhelm Hohlt (1780-1829). Thus, Herman Hohlt and his sisters were step-first cousins of Johann Fred/Wm. Hohlt (1824-1855) and Henry Hohlt (1830-1886; see above)
Christian Ludwig "Louis" Hohlt (1845/6-1929)
Heinrich Carl "Charles" Hohlt (1854-?)

      According to the 1900 census, Louis Hohlt came to the US in 1867. In 1877 he married Maria P. C. "Minna" Finke; by 1900 they had 9 children, all of whom were still alive. According to the same census, Charles Hohlt came to the US in 1873. Around 1880 he married Minna nee ?; by 1900 they had 9 children, seven of whom were still alive. Folk knowledge in the community holds that Louis and Charles were brothers. This conclusion seems reasonable, considering that they owned farms adjacent to each other in Plum Hill Township.
      Unlike the other Hohlts in the community who came from the Wehdem/Westrup area, Louis and Charles came from Mehnen (present-day Niedermehnen); that village was located a short distance southeast of the Wehdem/Westrup area.
The following persons have contributed information to this Hohlt ancestry project:
Mildred Barkau, Rev. Bill Cummins, Gloria Dettleff, Rev. Art Eichhorn, Monica Hahn, Wayne Hinton, Ed. and Ruth Holtgrewe, Rev. Don Jones, Janis Mayer, Rev. Tim Mueller, Wilhelm Niermann, Darlene Ostendorf, Rev. Jeff Schwab, LuAnn Sprehe
Note: Persons who desire additional information may contact : Bob Voelker


© 2011    Wayne Hinton

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