The Kuhfusz family came to the United States in the spring of 1856 and settled on Lippstadt Ridge near Hopewell, Warren County, Missouri. In 1864 an epidemic of some sort (called Nervenfieber in the German obituaries) swept the Hopewell community and three members of the Kuhfusz family died, namely father Kuhfusz, the oldest daughter, Wilhelmine Kuhfusz Offel, and the only son, Fredrick Kuhfusz, Junior. (Nervenfieber, literally nerve fever, is an old term for typhus.) Mother Kuhfusz died in 1858. The bodies of Fredrick Kuhfusz and Wilhelmine Vieth Kuhfusz are buried in the Lippstadt Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, several miles south of Warrenton, Missouri. We think that the bodies of Wilhelmine Kuhfusz Offel and Fredrich Kuhfusz, Junior, are buried in the Hopewell, Missouri Cemetery. Unfortunately, at that time, now a century ago, bodies were ofter buried without benefit of headstones and death records are incomplete.
In 1841 a group of German Methodists laid the foundation for a chapel at Smith Creek, Warren County, Missouri. In 1845 the building was completed; so too were two other church edifices, one near Hopewell, and the other in Marthasville, both in Warren County, Missouri. The area which included these three congregations was called the Hopewell Circuit and they were served by a single pastor. His parsonage was first in Marthasville, later in Hopewell.
When the Kuhfusz family came to the Hopewell, Missouri community from Germany they became members of the German Methodist Church there. Almost immediately wedding bells rang. In 1857 Wilhelmine Kuhfusz was married to Charles Frederick Wilhelm Offel and they settled on a farm near Pickney, Missouri, which was situated southeast of the Smith Creek Community. After Wilhelmine died in 1854 Wilhelm Offel married Louise Wilhelmine Baurichter in 1865. They continued to live on the farm near Pinckney and attended the Smith Creek German Methodist Church. Wilhelm died in 1881. Louise Baurichter Offel married Frederich Schake in 1889 and they lived at Marthasville until he died in 1916. They Louise lived with her daughter, Ella Schake Korth, until her death in 1934.
Caroline Kuhfusz was married in 1859 to John (Johannes) Joekel. They settled first in the Hopewell, Missouri neighborhood. In 1864 they moved to a homestead six miles southwest of Sterling, Nebraska. After the marriage of Caroline to John was terminated by her early death, John was married in 1872 to Louise Maria Sophia Schroeder. They continued to reside on the Joekel farm as long as they lived.
In each of the Offel and Joekel families there were two sets of children. In each family the children had the same father but part of the children had one mother, another part a different mother. Since the children in each family were related in this way, we are reporting both groups of children in each case as one family unit.
Justine Kuhfusz was married in 1865 to Conrad Frederick Anton Biesemeier. They went directly to a homestead southwest of Sterling, Nebraska, directly east of and adjoining the Joekel homestead. They continued to reside there as long as they lived.
Charlotte Kuhfusz was married in 1862 to Frederick (Friederich) Laeger (Lager). They settled on a farm near Pittstown, east of Warrenton, Missouri. After they had resided in several places in central Missouri, they came to Nebraska in 1880 and settled on a farm directly north of the Biesemeier farm. The Laeger farm as well as the Joekel farm and the Biesemeier farm have been and still are owned and operated by the respective families.
Frederike Kuhfusz came with the Biesemeiers to Nebraska in 1865. In 1868 she was married to Wilhelm Ernest Krause in the Biesemeier home and they settled on a homestead two miles west of the Joekel farm. The Krauses left their farm late in life to reside with their children in Texas and Kansas.
In 1887 Frederick William Offel, the son of Wilhelmine Kuhfusz and Wilhelm Offel came to reside with the Biesemeiers, his uncle and aunt. Eight years later, he married Louisa Metzger and they settled first on a farm near Pickrell, Nebraska and later on a farm which adjoined the Joekel farm. In the middle nineties, Henry Carl Offel, the son of Wilhelm Offel and Louise Baurichter, came to Nebraska and he resided for seveeral years near the Kreause family until he went to Oregon. He resided there the rest of his life. The other children of the Wilhelm Offel family continued to live in eastern and central Missouri.
In 1865 a Carl Steinmeyer, a pioneer missionary, found the Joekels, the Biesemeiers and the Michael Kritners, all of them German Methodists, and helped them to organize a religious class, with August Vieth the leader. August Vieth, who came to Nebraska with the Biesemeiers and resided with them, was born September 15, 1815 at Lippe-Detmold, Germany, and died March 6, 1899 near Sterling, Nebraska. August was a tailor by trade. He had a brother, Johann Henrich Vieth whose family tree was constructed by Frederick Henry Wipperman in 1934. August and Johann were brothers of WIlhelmine Vieth Kuhfusz.
(Missing text) ... pastor at Otoe, Nebraska, and was appointed as the pastor for the newly organized class and it now became the Hopewell German Methodist Church. The name Hopewell was chosen because it was from Hopewell, Missouri, that the Kuhfusz families had come to Nebraska. The congregation met in homes until a school house was built on a plot across the road from the northwest corner of the Joekel farm. The people of the Hopewell community used the new school house for the operation of a public school and also for the services of the congregation until 1883 when they decided to build a church structure. The structure was built across the road west of the school house. In 1884 a parsonage was built near the church. This school-church-parsonage complex was the center of the Hopewell community. Unlike the Hopewell, Missouri community it was never organized into a village with a post office and stores. The primary emphasis in the Hopewell, Nebraska community was on the religious, educational and social aspects of life. The services in the church were conducted in the German language and German was the primary language in the homes of the community. In the public school English was taught and spoken. Consequently the children for many years became bilingual; they spoke German and English with equal proficiency. The oppopsition to German during and after World War I and the integration of the community into the county, state and national life hastened the reduction in the use of the German language and then to its elimination in the German Methodist churches, including the Hopewell church. When the German Methodist conferences in the United States merged with the English Methodist conferences many local German Methodist congregations ceased to exist and the local church buildings were abandoned. The Hopewell church, however, made the transition from the German to the English status without too much difficulty. The membership in this congregation has changed much over the years but there is still a good representation of the original Kuhfusz families. The resident pastor and the congregation of the Hopewell, Nebraska Methodist church are celebrating the centennial anniversary this year, 1966.
In addition to the Joekels, the Biesemeiers, the Michael Kritners, the Laegers, the Krauses and the Offels there were other families who settled in the Hopewell community. Among these were the families of August Krause, the brother of Wilhelm Krause, of John Buehler, of Christian Buehler, of Michael Finkner, of Adam Finkner, of Frederick Fritz, of Thomas Diehm, of Wilhelm Tiemens, and of Charles Frederick Werner. The primary occupation of these families was farming. As farmers, the men tilled the soil after they had broken the sod, they raised crops, bred and fed livestock, improved their farmsteads by erecting buildings, building fences, planting trees for shelter, food and beautification of the place. The women attended to the many detailed activities of the home, assisted in the gardening and even in the fields and helped with the daily chores. The tradition of farming has continued to be strong with the offspring of the five Kuhfusz children.
The influence of the emphasis on religion and educaton by the original couples is reflected in the considerable number of men and women who entered the Christian ministry and of the men and women who did and still do participate in church activities. It is also reflected in the rather large number who chose teaching as an occupation, and in the increasing attendance of the Children in seconday schools, in colleges and universities and in graduate and professional schools. The family has been generous in contributing personnel to the armed services of the United States, beginning with Conrad Biesemeier and Wilhelm Krause who served in the Civil War and were members of the Grand Army of the Republic. In this Family Tree, we have tried to indicate the occupations of the members through the first four generations. This is true particularly of the men. We also indicated the occupations of the women if they differed from housekeeping or if they were in addition to keeping house. The is no intention to minimize the importance of housekeeping on the part of the women by omitting special reference to it.
Oscar Helmuth Werner.