The New World - America

The way of the Jacobfeuerborns from Verl, Westphalia over Illinois into Kansas



July 20-1992 - This Information was gathered by Margaret (Poss) Ohnes several years ago. Rita Hames of Aurora, IL. gave her some information. Rita Ann is a 2nd Cousin of Margaret, Earl, Mark, Elmer, Gertrude and Don Ross on the Feuerborn side. Other Info came from Agnes Feuerborn, R.R. Gearnett, USA.

The Name Feuerborn is a German name, something should surprise none of us. The literal meaning is firefountain, or pehaps firewell. A fountain of fir make a striking mental picture, but it doesn't really do us much good in seeing how the name originated. One therory is that Feuerborn was originally a place name. By this guess - and it really is only a guess - the "feuer" is a corruption of "vier" (four), and the name Feuerborn refered to a district which there were four wells. It could be. We may accept this. I guess, for the lack of any better explanation.

It is said that the name - written Vürborn, by the way - first appears in documents of the fourtheenth century. The homeland of the Vürborns is the village Verl, Westfalen (or Westphalia), in what is today Germany. Feuerborns appear in the parish records there during the 1600s. Already, however, the Feuerborn family - if it was a family - was divided into clans of some kind. We see in the records Paulfeuerborns, and Jacobfeuerborns, and Antonfeuerborns and the like, but seldom if ever a simple Feuerborn.

In the eighteenth century records we see, for instance, a Henry Jacobfeuerborn who was buried13 February 1753, aged 70. Or we might note the baptism of an infant on 22 April 1715, the child of Conrad and Anna Paulfeuerborn. Some of these Feuerborns are not doubt ancestors of ours, but so far it has proved to be impossible to connect them with any living people. From 1766 to 1800 virtually no records survive, makingconnections hard to archieve.

Our oldes identifiable ancestor is a certain Conrad Jacobfeuerborn, who must have been born about 1785. He appears in the records on the occaison of his marriage to a Catharina Claasbrummel 30 August 1809. In a way it seems odd to think of anything as ordinary as a marriage happening in the midst of Napoleonic wars, with Westphalia under French occupation. But there is no indication in the aging registers of the struggles that were tearing Europe apart - and, in all fairness, to Conrad and Catharina Maria this event probably did outweigh the events that were then reshaping Europe.

It was a long and fruitful marriage. Ten children were born to them, of whom two died young. The Claasbrummels - Conrad took his wife's surname - lived through some trying times, as the modern state of Germany was struggling to be born. Their first child, a girl named Elisabeth, lived her short life while Westphalia existed as a separate state under Napoleon's domination. A second girl, Anna Margaretha, saw Westphalia brought into a German confederation befor her first birthday. Next came Marie Elisabeth, and two years later Anne Marie. Their first son came in 1820, and was the first of two boys they named Johann Christoph. Another Johann followed in 1823, and then Maria Catharina in 1825.

The next two children - the youngest members of the family to grow adulthood - are the most interesting to us, as these two brothers went to America when they grew up, becoming ancestors to numerous New World Feuerborns. The older of the two was the second member of the family to be named Johann Christoph Claasbrummel, and he was born 20 April 1828. (He was to die relatively young, in the deserts of Nevada, at the hands of a savage and alien people.) His younger brother Heinrich, born 29 December 1830, is our direct ancestor.

About this time, on 17 May 1831 to be exact, another event of significance to us took place. A certain Heinrich Jacobfeuerborn, age 30, was married to an Elisabeth Hülshorst, age 25. Heinrich and Conrad may well have been related, but there is nothing in the surviving records to show how. What makes them of interest to us, however, is Heinrich's daughter was to marry Conrad's son Heinrich.

In contrast to the marriage of Conrad and Catharina Maria Claasbrummel, the marriage of Heinrich and Elisabeth Jacobfeuerborn was short one, for Elisabveth died young. Two daughters were born to them: Anna Maria on 10 June 1832, and Elisabeth on 8 June 1934. Both daughters later went to America, where they were known as Mary and Elizabeth Feuerborn.

Long befor this, however, at ninth hour of the morning on the 13th of December in 1834, Elisabeth Jacobfeuerborn died, leaving her husband and two young daughters to carry on without her. Family tradition has it that the girls were raised by an aunt. The aunt's name has not come down to us, though it is said to have been Brummel. Her granddaughter's name has come down to us , however. She was Barbara Brummel (c1860 - 1933) and she married a Chris Brummel in 1877.

The girls needed somebody to look after them, as their father did not stay with them. Some time in here he took off for America. German records show a Jacob Feuerborn as coming to the United States in 1837 at the age of 36. Possibly this was our Heinrich. Another record, dated 1851, that unquestionably refers to our Heinrich Jacobfeuerborn, says he returned to Prussia in 1844. Actually he nust have returned a year or so earlier, for in 1843, on 17 May, he married for the second time. His new bride was Margaretha Becker, age 25.

Heinrich returned to the United States eventually, but he fathered two children in Prussia before going back. His eldest son, Johann Heinrich, was born 18 March 1844, and his daughter Anna Maria was born 16 June 1846. Both would spend most of their lives in America. Johann would fight in the Civil War, and Anna would lose her first husband to that conflict.

According to the record Heinrich and Margaretha Jacobfeuerborn came to America with six children. Four of them are easy to account for. The two children from Heinrich's first marriage, Anna Maria (18) and Elisabeth (16), along with their own two, Johann (6) and Anna Maria (4), all apparently went. Who the other two were is unknown. Heinrich and Margaretha Jacobfeuerborn had at least four more children, but all were born in America.

Two years befor they headed for the New World, however, Heinrich Claasbrummel was already there. On or about the 4th day of April in 1849 he boarded the "Johann Carl" in Bremen with Hermann Feldewerd, age 27, and Heinrich Wiesbrock, age 29, headed for New Yokr, with their final destination Illinois. Each was listed as a workman, and each took with him one box. Heinrich Claasbrummel was 18.

The passenger list of the "Johann Carl" shows his name as Heinrich Claas Brummer, but it seems that almost as soon as he stepped off the boat he changed his name to Henry Feuerborn. It has sometimes been said that he intended to confuse the Prussian militaryby his change. It may be, however, that he was merely conforming to American custom. Claasbrummel, aftrer all, was his mother's name, and in America the custom is to take one's father's name. The change of Heinrich to Henry has no significance; most German immigrants took the nearest English equivalent to their own name. Heinrich Jacobfeuerborn also changed his name to Henry Feuerborn, his son became John H. Feuerborn, and his daughters became Mary, Elizabeth, and Ann Feuerborn.

By 1852 Christoph had joined his brother in America, assuming of course that he had not gone there first. He turns up in La Salle county, Illinois, living on a quarter-section just south of a quarter-section owned by his brother Henry. (Henry apparently did not live there at the time.) Now calling himself Christopher Feuerborn, he decided to start a town.

Although the area was swampy in general, the Feuerborn's land lay somewhat higher than the surrounding territory, and a new railroad was scheduled to go directly between these two pieces of land, and the lands were surveyed and a plat made by 24 June 1853. Two owners of adjoining land. Lorenzo and Alonzo Whitmore, wanted in on the scheme, and their lands were added to the proposed town, which would be called Whitfield. When the railroad opened their station there, however, they called the town Waverly, much to the confusion of the post office. Illinois already had a Waverly, and evetually the town became known as Leland, after its postmaster, John Leland Adams.

While they were in Illinois the two brothers passed certain significant milestones in their lives. They became citizens of the United States, and they got married, though not necessarily in that order. Although no record has yet turned up of any of these marriages, at least three Feuerborn marriages must have been happened about this time. Henry Feuerborn (formerly Claasbrummel) was married to Elizabeth Feuerborn (formerly Jacobfeuerborn). Elizabeth's sister Anna Maria, now Mary Feuerborn, was married to a Conrad Feuerborn. And Henry's brother Christopher was married to somebody whose name is unknown to tradition and continues to elude research.

Destpite their land dealings there, none of these people were married in La Salle County, Illinois. true, there is a record of a Christopher Feuerborn being married to a Theresia Thiers Brummel (Thiesbrummel ?) in 1854, but this cannot our Christopher. This Christopher and Theresa Feuerborn signed a document in 1876, when our Christopher and his wife were long dead. At present it is impossible to fit this Christopher into the Feuerborn family, but no doubt further research will clarify his position. Conrad, christopher, and both Henry's however, did become citizens of the United States while in La Salle County.

The first Feuerborn children were born there too. Henry and Margareth's fith (Known) child, Conrad, came in 1853, and Henry and Elizabeth's first child, Henry must have been born about that time. Their second child, Herman, was born on 31 July 1855 while they were still living in the future Leland, Illinois. By this time, however, the Feuerborn's were apparently already thinking of moving on, for in 1855 Henry and Christopher Feuerborn settled in Kansas.

They settled in Anderson county. They were among the earliest pioneers to settle there. The Pottowatomie Indians had preceded them, heaving been settled there by the Federal government in 1837. They had built houses, planted peach trees and put in corps alongside the Pottawatomie creek, before the government removed them again. Although the were officially moved out by 1854, some of them were still there when the first white settlers arrived in that year.

Kansas had been thrown open to general settlement by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill in May 1854. This bill, the result of prolonged political struggles, made Kansas a battleground. As Congresscould not decide whether Kansas was to be a free state or a slave state, the two sides were allowed to battle it out on the spot. Whichever side could get the most people there first would win the state.

Elections held in 1854 and 1855 determined that the Territory's legislature and its delegate to Congress would be pro-slavery. Both elections were influenced by force and fraud. Hundreds of people from Missouri crossed over into Kansas to vote, and to keep genuine settlers from voting. In the second election, for instance, 199 pro-slavery votes were recordedfor the Fith district (which included the future Anderson county), although there were only about 50 residents who were qualified voters. Having seized contol of the territory, the Missourians moved the capital within three miles of the Missouri line, and made it a crime to advocate the "government". This was the Kansas to which Henry and his brother Christopher came.

Henry seems to have left his family behind in Illinois, but Christopher brought his wife and child with him. This proved to be a catastrophic decision for him, for they died on the trip down. They were buried alongside the trail in a casket made for a wagon-box. Later on, when the cemetery at Scipio was established, they were moved there. Both Henry and Christopher took up claimes in 1855, Henry in what would later be Monroe township, and Christopher in the future Jackson Township.

I got this story from Dick Feuerborn, USA
Josef Thomalla

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