Conrad and Sophia Brase Dankenbring

(Margarethe) Sophia Brase

Conrad Heinrich Friedrich Dankenbring

Parents: Ilse M. Margarethe Heidorn and Joh. Heinrich Brase

Parents: (Anna) Catherine M. Margarethe Wegener and Johann Heinrich Dankenbrink

Born: April 10, 1810 in Mardorf (Hannover), Germany

Born: October 18, 1814 in Mardorf (Hannover), Germany

Married: 1- Burie 2- 7/5/1829 Hsl. H. Dankenbrink, 3- 1838-1842 Conrad Dankenbrink 4- 1/28/1849 Henry Dankenbring, 5- 11/12/1873 William Frerking

Married: circa 1838-1842 Sophia Brase

Emigrated: October 24, 1848 (Passenger List and ship)

Died: April 4, 1883 in Concordia, MO

Died: October-December, 1846

Interred: Church of the Cross in Emma, MO (picture)

Interred: unknown -- Germany/at sea/New Orleans?

Occupation: farmer, shoemaker

By about age 29, Sophia had buried two husbands and at least two babies. How hard life was in those days! She emigrated to America in 1848 with her sister-in-law (Dorothy Dankenbring Heidorn), on what I think was a hope she would find a husband -- why else leave behind two of her four sons (Henry and William)? Henry was 18 but his half-brother William was only five! Plus, she did not marry Henry, her third Dankenbring husband, until 3 months after her arrival -- in those days, that was a long wait if the marriage had been prearranged! Husband #4 had married Sophia Laeschen in St. Louis 5 days after he landed in New Orleans! We probably will never know why it took eleven years for the other two sons to emigrate, or if Sophia ever saw William again (or if he died before making it to Concordia). Even considering how different life was in those days, I cannot imagine leaving a five year old behind, and taking the 16-year-old and 2-year-old. Likewise will we probably never know why Sophia did not live with her fifth husband William Frerking (at least as of the 1880 census).

It is my guess that August never knew that Henry Dankenbring was not his natural father (he even told a reporter in 1942 that Henry was his father). For that matter, it is not certain who his father was: on the churchbook Cord Heinrich Friedrich Dankenbrink is listed as the father, while in the community book it is Neubauer Heinrich Blanke (who also died in 1846). Perhaps Sophia may have even married both men (Blanke could have been another very brief marriage!). Early deaths were common, so it was also common for a younger brother to marry his older brotherís widow, and be a father to his brotherís children. Perhaps Henry (husband #4) had wanted to marry Sophia in Germany when his brother (#2) died, but she chose the younger cousin (#3) instead -- we assuredly will never know. Henry emigrated in 1844 with his brother-in-law Frederick Heidorn. Four years later in 1848, Sophia emigrated with Dorothy Heidorn, Henryís sister. Henry was a shoemaker in Germany and St. Louis, prior to turning to farming. Henry died in 1872 and is buried at the Church of the Cross in Emma, near Sophia.

Census: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880



Date of Birth, Place

Date of Death, Place

Married - date and to whom

# children

1. Heinrich "Henry" Wilhelm²

8/18/1830 Mardorf, Ger

12/9/1895 Lafayette, MO

circa1857 Caroline Heidorn


2. (Heinrich) Frederick "Fritz" W.²

4/26/1832 Mardorf, Ger

8/21/1885 Lafayette, MO

12/23/1853 Dorothea Louise Fiene


3. Marie D.²

12/22/1834 Mardorf, Ger

1/29/1836 Mardorf, Ger



4. Dorothea²

6/9/1837 Mardorf, Ger

9/7/1837 Mardorf, Ger



5. William³

circa 1843, Mardorf, Ger

1859-1870, LA/MO ?



6. August Henry³

4/26/1846 Mardorf, Ger

October 5, 1944 in Sweet Springs, MO

1/14/1868 Maria Dickenhorst



² -- Sophia's first four children were by husband #2, her first Dankenbring husband -- Hsl. J. Heinrich Dankenbrink was born in Mardorf#44 7/11/1809 and died 7/5/1837. (His younger brother, Cord [an abbreviation of Conrad] H. Dankenbrink was born in Mardorf#44 on 1/20/1812 (tombstone birthdate is 2/12/1812) and emigrated in 1844 (landing 12/23/1844 in New Orleans), married (1) Sophia Laeschen om 12/28/1844 (just 5 days later!) and (2) Sophia Brase in 1849 -- her 4th husband and 3rd Dankenbring husband -- Cord Henry Dankenbring apparently had no children by either wife (see further notes below)).
³ -- Sophia's last two children were by husband #3, her second Dankenbring husband -- who was a cousin to the first Dankenbring husband -- C. H Friedrich Dankenbring was born in Mardorf#5 10/18/1814. Although there is no mention in the Mardorf book, he supposedly also emigrated to America in October 1846 to New Orleans, apparently alone, and probably to join cousin Henry Dankenbring (husband #4) and Henry's brother-in-law Fred Heidorn who had emigrated in 1844; he died enroute or shortly after -- he has not been found in any records outside of Marburg. Also not mentioned in the book is the son William, born circa 1843 -- he is added to the list above based on the travel pass of his older half-brother Henry.
-- It is certain that Sophia married husband #4 Henry Dankenbring (a younger brother to the first Dankenbring husband) in America in St. Louis in January, 1849, and that this Henry, whom August always identified as his father, emigrated in 1844, 18 months before August's birth. (Emigration: Husband #4 Henry with his Heidorn brother-in-law -- 12/23/1844 on the Astracan, Bremen to New Orleans; Sophia and sons Fred and August with Henry's sister Dorothy Heidorn -- 10/24/1848 on the Oneco, Bremen to New Orleans; Sophia's sons Henry and William -- 6/11/1859 on the Olbers, Bremen to New Orleans). Note that William is specified as son Henry's brother on the travel pass. It is curious that on this documentation of August's older half-brother Henry, his descendants also list husband #4 Henry Dankenbring (1812-1872 buried at Church of the Cross, Emma MO) as the father of the younger Henry -- adding to the intrigue and suspicion that perhaps August was never told who his true father was. The younger Henry was 7 when his father died, 14 when uncle Henry emigrated, 16 when his uncle/stepfather emigrated, and 30 when he himself emigrated; surely he would have remembered these father figures and known that his uncle Henry was not his natural father.
-- groom: Henry Dankenbring married Sophia Laeschen in St. Louis on December 28, 1844 -- Heinrich Dankenbring of Eilfese, Wolpe, Hanover, and Sophia Laeschen on 28 Dec 1844, witnesses: August Schueler and Dorothea Schueler -- apparently there were no (surviving) children of this union. Note that the marriage took place just five days after Henry landed in New Orleans! Obviously it was pre-arranged.
Henry Dankenbring married the widow Sophia Dankenbring (nee Brasen) on January 28, 1849. It is assumed this is the same Henry, and there were no (surviving) chjldren of either union. A death record for Sophia Laeschen Dankenbring in St. Louis ~1848/48 has not been located.
-- I have been in touch with Friedrick Dankenbring of Mardorf in 2000-2008 who is the genealogist who has done all the work on the Dankenbring tree, and being very interested in Sophia's story, he has spent a lot of time perusing both sets of church record books to try to sort out her many marriages. To date, this is our best understanding. These records books have not been microfilmed, and are unaccessible in America, so finding Friedrick Dankenbring has been most fortuitous. He researched the Dankenbring records for the Mardorf: am Steinhuder Meer 1997 book about each house in Mardorf, and continues to update the information in it.

A website by Roger Pape on the history of Concordia, along with pictures, is available at

Henry Dankenbring was one of the earliest members of Holy Cross Church in Emma, Missouri.

The two older sons, Henry and Fred, volunteered for the 71st Missouri Militia during the Civil War, a time of vicious bushwhacking in the Lafayette-Saline area. Louise filed for a federal pension for the three youngest children, but was rejected as Fritz had only served in a state unit during the Civil War. The years of their births are not totally certain -- see footnotes on their descendency pages.

Don Dittmer told me in 2010 that the Frerkings who live in Concordia do not believe that William Frerking and Sophia Brase Dankenbring ever divorced, but separated after a year or two of marriage. William spent the last years of his life with his youngest child, Sophia Frerking Kroencke (1880 census), and William died on May 3, 1887 and is buried at St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery. Curiously, Sophia lists herself as widowed on the 1880 census, and William (her junior by four years) lists himself as single! Clearly there was a strong falling out! (George) Wilhelm Frerking was born 6 October 1814 in Esperke, Hanover, German, and married (1) L. Wilhelmine Dierking who died 29 Feb 1872; (2) Adelheid Meyer Schnakenberg in August 1873 who died 14 Sep 1873; (3) Sophie Brase Dankenbring on 12 November 1873 -- he married Sophie just three months after he had married Adelheid.

Research on the American Brase family is still underway. Although Sophia's four Brase brothers who emigrated in the 1850s cannot be found, her four younger Brase cousins who emigrated in the 1850s were nearby in Randoph County, IL. Also in Randolph County were some Dankenbring cousins!

Return to Dankenbring Tree