Johann Peter and Catherina Maria Obervahrenholz Dickenhorst

Catherina Maria Obervahrenholz

Johann Peter Hoermann [Dickenhorst]

Parents: Catharina Elisabeth Obervahrenholz and Johann Heinrich Feldmann

Parents: Catherina Maria Venghaus and Johann Peter Hoermann

Born: May 16, 1774 Spenge (Westphalia), Germany (birth record)

Born: March 12, 1779 in Werther (Westphalia), Germany

Married: 1- Bernhard Heinrich Dickenhorst and 2- 3/15/1801 Johann Peter Hoermann [assumed name of Dickenhorst]

Married: 1- 3/15/1801 to Catherina Maria Obervahrenholz [widow Dickenhorst], 2- 7/14/1824 to Anne Marie Ilsabein Horsskotte [widow Kaemper] (marriage certificate)

Died: September 25, 1820 Spenge, Germany (death record)

Died: January 18, 1843, Spenge, Germany (death record)

Interred: Spenge

Interred: Spenge

Occupation: Farmer

Catherina Maria married Bernhard Heinrich Dickenhorst and had at least two children, and then upon his death, married Johann Peter Hoermann. What is most unusual in Spenge is that upon marriage, men would sometimes take the surnames of their wife -- particularly, it seems, if the wife inherited land. That way the home would stay in the same name. Catherina Maria Obervahrenholz' father's name was Feldmann -- he assumed his wife's maiden name as his surname! Likewise Johann Peter assumed his wife's married name as his surname -- so none of their seven children are, by blood, Dickenhorsts. Similarly, daughter Catherine Ilsabein born 1807 married Johann Peter Wessel in 1826 who had been married to her sister (Anne and Johann had one child, a daughter who died at age 1 week with the mother). Catherine and Johann had one child, a son, who lived just six months in 1828. Then Johann Peter Wessel died, and Catherine married Frederick Wilhelm Landwehrmann in 1832, and he took the surname Wessel. They now had eight children, all with the surname Wessel, when, again, none were blood-Wessels!

When Johann Peter Hoermann married the widow Dickenhorst, who was almost five years his senior, he assumed her surname, and must have moved into her home to take care of the farm. Upon her death in 1820, he was left with six+ children aged 2-22. He marries the widow Kaemper, born Anne Marie Ilsabein Horsskotte. Most assuredly her children came to live with the Dickenhorsts in house #15, including daughter Anne Marie Elisabeth Kaemper, born in 1812, who married Johann Peter's son Johann Peter Jr. in 1835! It is very hard to keep all the relationships straight! The two older boys, once married, seem to stay on in the family home, #15, so with 9 children (three died young), the house must have been getting quite crowded. This was probably the impetus behind the two younger Dickenhorsts emigrating. But also, Spenge was a hotbed of political unrest in the 1840s, which probably prompted cousin(?) Caroline Dickenhorst Frerking to emigrate with her husband in ~1839, followed by Fred Dickenhorst in 1847 (landed 1/1/1848 on the George Washington from Bremen to New Orleans). Youngest child Hermann, just two when his mother died, emigrated too in 1851.



Date of Birth, Place

Date of Death, Place

Married - date and to whom

# children

1. (daughter)

circa 1796 Spenge

2. Peter Johann Heinrich

1/4/1798 Spenge

4/12/1826 Catherina Ilsabein Gehring


3. Anne Marie

2/10/1802 Spenge

12/4/1825 Spenge

11/21/1824 Johann Peter Wessel


4. Johann Peter

9/11/1804 Spenge

5/24/1880 Spenge

7/3/1835 Anne Marie Elizabeth Kaemper


5. Catherine Ilsabein

7/15/1807 Spenge

1- 4/14/1826 Johann Peter Wessel,
2- 5/18/1832 Frederich Wilhelm Landwehrmann


6. Catherine Maria (Carolina?)

11/1810 Spenge


(see below)

7. Freiderich Wilhelm

1/30/1812 Spenge

10/10/1864 Concordia, MO

4/27/1853 Catherina Anna Marie Bokstiel *** (in MO)


8. Hermann Heinrich

1/24/1815 Spenge

4/3/1817 Spenge



9. Hermann Heinrich

6/9/1818 Spenge

circa 1857 Concordia, MO

1840 to Anna Maria Grungras
in Wallenbruk, Germany



Notes: The first two children are descended from Catherina Maria Obervahrenholz' first husband, Bernhard Heinrich Dickenhorst. Actually, only these two children are Dickenhorsts by blood -- the other seven are Dickenhorsts through marriage only, although all of them went by the surname Dickenhorst.

There may have been more children born in Germany, since I have only found the Spenge records so far (and definitely not all of them! -- I am missing the first Dickenhorst daughter above, and the links on this page to the original documents will show how difficult they are to find!); many other towns (such as nearby Neuenkirchen) have not been microfilmed. Some information will be available in the future on the internet, or will require a visit to the archives in Bielefeld.

The naming traditions in this area of Germany at this time are curious by today's standards. In terms of given names ("Christian names"), many times all the girls/boys were given the same first name, and used in everyday parlance one of their middle names. In terms of the surname, I think that people thought of them as more descriptive -- Davidson = David's son, Smith = Blacksmith, Dickenhorst = from the town of Dickenhorst, etc. Thus, it was not considered unusual for the family to retain the surname of the estate/farm they lived on. So when Peter Hoermann married the widow Dickenhorst, and moved onto her farm, he assume the surname Dickenhorst -- Peter of Dickenhorst [farm]. Today in America this would not be the custom, and seems odd to us, but in the day this would really just indicate which Peter he was -- the one that lived on the Dickenhorst estate.

Further research needs to be done on Caroline Dickenhorst Frerking. The only German records found were in Esperke after her marriage (specifically, the birth of her son). It is not known where she was born, and no marriage record has been located either. Obviously, it seems likely that there is some relationship between Caroline Dickenhorst and the Dickenhorst brothers from Spenge, as it is unlikely that they would all have just happened to end up in Concordia. However, if Caroline is not a sister, as seems unlikely based on Caroline's death records, then she is no blood relative, as the Dickenhorst brothers are actually Hoermann by genetics. A German marriage record for Caroline Dickenhorst and Friedrich Frerking would clear this up, if one were found. Note: Caroline is buried in the old section (1A) of the St. Paul �s Lutheran Cemetery, Concordia. Her tombstone is inscribed �FRERKING, Caroline, Ehefrau von Friedrich Frerking, born May 1, 1809, died April 6, 1878�. Given the Dickenhorst naming traditions, while it is possible the child above Catherina Maria may have used the name Caroline, it is unlikely that her parents would have waited 18 months to have her christened.

In 2005 Karin Kersting of Spenge answered a post I had on an online genealogical board to tell me that "in the 20th century the last Dickenhorst-Girl, that owned the origin farm, married a Haversiek-Boy (from Barduettingdorf/Spenge). Spenge belonged in former times to the district 'Grafschaft Ravensberg.' In 1556 Dickenhorst is mentioned as 'Johan zu der Dieckhorst' in: 'Urbar der Grafschaft Ravensberg von 1556.'" Map of Spenge area.

*** After Fred Dickenhorst is murdered by Bushwackers, Catherina marries in 1867 (Katharina Maria Dickenhorst marries Herman H. Kesemann on 9/18/1867 in Benton, MO); Catherine dies in the 1870s in Benton, MO (1870 census).

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