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Teutopolis, Effingham County, Illinois

Mehr über Bernd Johannes Kleine Klausing und die Gründung von Teutopolis, Effingham County, Illinois

The establishment of Teutopolis, Effingham County

Bernd Johannes Kleine Klausing, the establishment of Teutopolis, Effingham County and his relationship to Clemens Uptmoor

Bernd Johannes Kleine Klausing emigrated in 1831 from Holdorf, a small town near Damme, and landed in Baltimore. From there he is said to have gone to Cincinnati (where many Germans at that time settled) and than to Dayton, both in Ohio. He worked on the building of the Erie channel and became acquainted with Maria Elisabeth Fortman. They married in 1835. Maria Elisabeth emigrated 1834 together with her parents Johann Heinrich Josef Fortman and Elisabeth Pund as well as her brothers and sisters (Bernard, Josef Anton, Bernard Heinrich, Maria Gertrud, Bernardina) from the small town Hagen near Vechta to America. The Fortman family lived first in Dayton, Ohio, and settled then about 1837/1838 on their own farm between Delphos and Fort Jennings in Putnam County. There are no direct descendants from the Fortman line.

Bernd Johannes Kleine Klausing and his wife lived first near the Erie channel and settled then over to Cincinnati. Here he worked as a blacksmith. The following children were born to them in Cincinnati: Johann Henrich (born 1836, fate unknown - the Effingham County, Illinois census from 1850 recorded him with “John H. Clausay, age 14, male, birth Ohio”), Johann Heinrich (born 1838 - record in the Effingham County census from 1850: “John Hany Clausay, age 12, male, birth Ohio”) and Bernard J. (born August 20th, 1840 - record in the Effingham County census from 1850: “J. Barny Clausay, age 10, male, birth Ohio”). Three weeks after the birth of Bernard J. they relocated to Effingham County in Illinois. There was a large migration of Germans, mostly from Cincinnati, to this area at this time.The group they came with was called the German Land Company, led by Johann Ferdinand Waschefort (John Waschfort) from Addrup, Gerhard Heinrich Bergfeld from Lastrup and Clemens Uptmoor from Bokern near Lohne. There were also other german people from the area Damme and Vechta in this group. They purchased a large amount of land in Effingham and began a new settlement, called Teutopolis. Bernd Johannes was very involved with the new settlement, assisting in starting a new church. He founded a farm in Teutopolis and work in pig breeding. He was Justice of the Peace (Judge) for a time (many documents are Court House records concerning his business as "JP" as well as church records from St. Francis Catholic Church). Additional he worked as the town blacksmith. Further children were then born: Marie Elisabeth (“Mary” - born March 6th,1843 - record in the Effingham County census from 1850: “Mary Clausay, age 6, male, birth Illinois”), Elisabeth (born March 9th, 1846, died November 22nd, 1847), Josef Anton (“Joseph Antony” - born April 22nd, 1848 - record in the Effingham County census from 1850: “Joseph Clausay, age 2, male, birth Illinois”) and Clemens Diedericus (born August 19th, 1851, died January 29th, 1852). Bernd Johannes and Mary Elizabeth were very close to the Waschefort's (John Waschefort was president of the town) and Uptmoor's and were godparents to each others children. So Clemens Uptmoor was godfather to Elisabeth Kleine Klausing. Clemens wife, Marie Elizabeth Niehaus, was godmother to Joseph Anthony. Maria Gertrud Waschefort was godmother to Mary Klausing.

In 1854/1855 a terrible plague of cholera suffered Effingham County (another two cholera epidemic happened in 1832-1833 and 1872-1873). Melvin Klausing (g.g.son of Bernd Johannes) told me in 2003, which fate suffered Bernd Johannes and his family: "The "Cholera" epidemic of 1854 first wiped out the pig farm. Then his wife and his son Johann Henrich (born 1838) got sick at the epidemic. They died in the summer/autumn 1854. Bernd Johannes died on 27 September 1854. The irony of the story is this: Due to the cholera deaths, household goods were sold at court house auction, then the house was burnt. The house and barn burning was to control the epidemic. Mr. Clemens Uptmoor bought a bed for $ 5,00.”

About the fate of the surviving children Bernard J. (born 1840), Mary (born 1843) and Joseph Anthony (born 1848) is the following well-known. After the death of their parents they were orphaned by other families in Teutopolis. Joseph Anthony came to the family Kabbes, Mary to the family Waschefort. Some years later Bernard J. and Joseph Anthony went to the family of their mother, the Fortman’s, and lived on their farm three and a half miles northeast from Delphos in Ohio. Joseph Anthony Klausing never married and had no children. He lived on the Fortman farm up to his death on October 6th, 1906.

In the County’s around Delphos today many Klausing’s are living. Many of them are direct descendants of Bernard J. Klausing. In his first marriage he married Clara (Hemker) Fortman, the widow of Bernard Fortman (born November 5th, 1822, in Hagen near Vechta). He was the brother of Bernard J.’s deceased mother Maria Elisabeth. Bernard Fortman lived until his death (March 3rd, 1866) on the farm. He died without leaving descendants. Bernard J. Klausing and Clara had also no own children, but adopted five orphans. Clalra died on December 24th, 1880. Bernard J. married then on January 24th, 1882, Mary Lammers (born October 13th, 1861, in New Cleveland, Putnam County, Ohio). To this marriage fourteen children were born between 1882 and 1906. Bernard J. Klausing is buried in Delphos, Allen County, on St. John's cemetery. Also his grandmother Elizabeth (Pund) Fortman is buried there.

Following you find an article in english language (translated from the German original article) about the establishment of Teutopolis in Effingham County and Clemens Uptmoor, one of the founders of Teutopolis. This article was written by Franz-Josef Tegenkamp from Lohne and published in the newspaper Oldenburgische Volkszeitung in 1986. One member of Franz-Josef Tegenkamp's family, Clemens Tegenkamp, born 1837 in Bakum (small town near Vechta), emigrated to America in 1854 and married Mary Klausing on August 23rd, 1860. They settled in Van Wert, fifteen miles west from Delphos in Ohio. They had eleven children. Today also most of their descendants still live in the region Van Wert and Delphos. Mary Klausing died on January 15th, 1905. Her husband Clemens Tegenkamp followed her on March 24th, 1908. Both are buried on the St. John cemetery in Delphos.

A Lohne Resident as a Pioneer in America

180th Anniversary of the Birth of Clemens Uptmoor


On the 19th of January, 1986, the 180th anniversary of the birth of a man will occur. This was a man who hardly left any traces on the pages of history but yet influenced the lives and destinies of many people to no lesser a degree than the more significant politicians or lawmakers of his day. Clemens Uptmoor was born on January 19, 1806 as the child of Johann Heinrich Uptmoor  (1771 -1836) and Anna Margaretha Nordlohne (1774 -1856) in a small farmhouse, which the family leased in return for labor performed, on farmer Bokern-Kersting's land in Bokern near Lohne in what was then the duchy of Oldenburg. His parents, who owned no land, were average farmers, neither particularly wealthy nor particularly poor. They simply earned their living and survived by hard work.

The young Clemens' childhood was over by the age of ten when he often accompanied his father to work on his yearly summer job fishing for herring by joining the many other fishing boats out for the catch on the North Sea.

During the winter Clemens Uptmoor attended the Bokern farming community's elementary school, where he received a basic education. The schooling took place only during the winter months because all the farmers'children were needed in the summer and in most cases the teachers also worked in their own fields to earn extra money, to which claimed all of their time. So it was that their lessons could impart only the basics of reading, writing,and arithmetic, a  problem exacerbated by the realities that the teachers themselves often were not  satisfactorily educated and that the schoolsconsisted of only one class. In Bokern, for example, the sole teacher in the 1835 school year had to teach 110 children.

The next few years passed in the same style until Clemens Uptmoor was called into the military via the then current lottery and had to servethe five years as a soldier in the Oldenburg infantry regiment. Up until this time Clemens' life, as with most of his peers, had followedset tracks.

After his discharge, however, he left his seeming lypredestined life path and emigrated to America accompanied by his brother Hermann Heinrich and some neighbours and acquaintances (among others, the Hoying family from Krimpenfort, who settled later in Minster, Ohio). Of the 149 total passengers on the emigrant  ship "Everhard", which sailed from Bremen to Baltimore, 35 came from Lohne, another 82 came from other area communities. On September 9, 1834, the ship reached its terminal port Baltimore, and approximately two weeks later the Uptmoor brothers arrived in Cincinnati, the preliminary goal of their journey. Here, during the next five years, they worked mainly as carpenters. Clemens  Uptmoor had learned the occupation of ship carpenter in his youth, which served him well now.

In the summer of 1836 Cincinnati experienced a cholera outbreak. Because of this the Uptmoor brothers went to work for several months to Missouri. On the way they saw for the first time the fertile farmland which lay there fallow just waiting to be developed. At the time this was the almost completely uninhabited area of the American Midwest. It is therefore not surprising that it was at this time that they formulated their plan to found a colony for the catholic emigrants from Germany.

After their return to Cincinnati, they founded the "German Land Company" or "Settlement Company" at the beginning of 1837 together with a partner, Johann Ferdinand Waschefort, who had emigrated in 1831 from Addrup near Essen. 141 people joined the company in a short time due to the constant stream of emigrants from Germany. They paid regular dues and contributions in order to later acquire a large section of land. In April, 1837 Clemens Uptmoor, together with Johann Ferdinand Waschefort and Gerhard Heinich Bergfeld (from Lastrup), made their way on a 15-week trip through the states of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri to look for a suitable section of land. They finally decided on an area approximately 100 miles east of St. Louis near Vandalia, the capital of Illinois at the time, where some former residents of Hanover had already settled. After another trip by other members of the company to view the land, it was acquired in 1838 (approximately 4000 hectares or 9884 acres) and was distributed to the members in the fall of that year. On the suggestion of the Bishop of Cincinnati the new colony was given the name Teutopolis.

In the spring of 1839 the first settlers moved to their new property. Clemens Uptmoor married Maria Elisabeth Niehaus, born on August 23, 1819 in Laer near Osnabrueck, in Cincinnati on September 24, 1839. The wedding took place between one of his frequent trips between the new colony and Cincinnati. On one occasion he walked the entire way (approximately 400 kilometers) by foot. Another time he simply left his horse, which had become sick along the way, and traveled the rest of the way on foot. Several weeks after the wedding Clemens Uptmoor made the journey to Teutopolis with his brother Hermann Heinrich and his brother-in-law Clemens Vahling, the husband of his sister Maria Anna, and their families (Clemens Uptmoor's siblings and his mother had followed him to America in 1837). The little group reached its destination on December 21, 1839. Since much snow had already fallen by that time and there was no other shelter to be found, they drove some sheep out of a stall which they had run into only by chance and lived there for the first few days. On the day after their arrival they began building a log cabin for Clemens Vahling, where the three families lived together until each possessed their own home.

The next year Clemens Uptmoor opened a small store with goods having a value of approximately one thousand dollars. At the same time he began cultivating a large farm and worked as a carpenter for 25 cents a day, which seemed a high wage to the community at that time. In 1842 he started building a windmill with his brother, which became operational in 1845. Since the windmill worked with a great weight, however, a strong wind was necessary to start it running, and it stopped working in 1860. In spite of this the windmill was quite a sensation in those days, and it drew settlers from near and far to marvel at the structure.

In 1882 Clemens Uptmoor and his son-in-law Joseph Siemer built a steam-powered mill which was subsequently expanded, and today the Siemer Milling Company represents one of the largest enterprises of its type in southern Illinois.

Clemens Uptmoor played an equally essential role in the construction of the new church in Teutopolis, which was begun in 1851, and at the time was one of the most significant church buildings in a large area, and in the construction of the first Franciscan monastery of the United States by some monks from Warendorf which had begun in Teutopolis in 1858.

In 1865 he built an imposing home in Teutopolis and a commercial building, which, in contrast to the other buildings in the region, were built not of wood, but of brick. In the same year he built a slaughterhouse in which more than 1,800 pigs were killed in the first year alone.

From 1842 to 1869 Clemens Uptmoor worked as the first postmaster in Teutopolis and during this time was responsible not only for the postalstation, but also for the operation of the postal coaches. There was never a complaint or grievance raised against him. In 1868 he founded with some others the first fire insurance company of the region, and he also encouraged the establishment of the volunteer fire department in 1883.

As one can see, Clemens Uptmoor was active in many areas. His ventures developed well, so that in 1889, as he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, he could see a flourishing small town, booming enterprises and businesses. The fruitful development of the wilderness by German settlers was in no small part due to his initiative, planning and hard work, so that he can be considered one of the pioneers of German colonization of the American continent along with his many peers, for example, Franz Joseph Stallo from  Damme, founder of the town Minster in Ohio or Johann Heinrich Ronnebaum from Damme and Johann Heinrich Plaspohl from Sevelten, founders of the town Oldenburg in Indiana.

When Clemens Uptmoor died on August 2, 1898, three years after the death of his wife, he was one of the wealthiest and most esteemed citizens of Teutopolis. He left behind, in addition to his considerable fortune, no small number of descendants, who today live scattered throughout the USA, despite the fact that of his fourteen children five had died in their youth and two daughters became nuns; the remaining descendants married almost exclusively emigrants who also came from the Vechta area (Suedkamp, Thoele, Hoedebeck, Lamping, Siemer, Woehrmann), and looked after a large number of descendants.

Source: Oldenburgische Volkszeitung (OV) published on Saturday, January 18th, 1986 in German. This is a translation.

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