of the Nieland family history was begun by David Nieland of Breda,
Iowa. To him we owe our thanks for his efforts in gathering an enormous
amount of information, much of which is presented in this website.
In 1965 he published a book entitled Stammbaum
Der Familie Nieland: The Nieland Family Tree, 1740 - 1965.
The following is an excerpt from David's book that is reproduced
here with his permission.
Right: 1965 Edition of Stammbaum Der
Familie Nieland, by David A. Nieland
The Family History
Now let's see, were any of my forefathers related
to the Nielands?
Nearly every one of us has listened to a conversation
like that at one time or another. We listened and wondered with
natural interest just who were our ancestors.
Because of conversations like the above, a feeling
that family ties come first and the fact that many of the younger
cousins do not know their relatives, I started to collect data on
the Nieland family.
I hope those of you who read this remember the old
saying, "Blood is thicker than water." Now, don't get
your hopes built up to finding some sort of "blue blood",
duke, or king hanging from one of the branches. Remembering this,
we can all meditate on the following words said long ago by some
very wise man: "The heritage of the past is the seed that brings
forth the harvest of the future."
Since 1952 when research on the Nieland family was
started, many people and institutions have been exceedingly helpful.
When there is great and good reason for acknowledgment of the many
favors it is certainly in order that objective citations be made.
Since people are more important than institutions -- "greater
is man than his works" -- sincere thanks are hereby first extended
to all the wonderful people who have helped me. Although I cannot
thank each of these innumerable persons separately, I will extend
my sincere thanks to one special person who did so much for so little.
Josefa Nieland, of Ramsdorf, Germany, who did all the research in
Institutions whose resources have been tapped, lightly
or deeply, as the case may be are: St. Walburga's Catholic Church,
Ramsdorf, Germany: St. Bernard's Catholic Church, Breda, Iowa: The
Breda News; the cemeteries in Carroll County, and the Sac and Carroll
County Departments of Records.
Many of us would like to know something of the city
from which our ancestors came: Ramsdorf, Westphalia, Germany.
early as 5000 B.C. there was a neolithic stone forge in the mountains
around Ramsdorf. Graves of the Bronze Age (from the time of 1200
B.C.) have been found. In 200 A.D. there is evidence of a German
settlement. In the year 100 AD the name "Hramasthrope"
(or "Hramersthorpe") appears for the first time. The old
name "Hramsthorpe" means "Grammter Dorf", (rammed
village). The city coat-of-arms shows this "ramme" or
ram. The city seems to have been built on marsh-like soil. Therefore
piles were rammed into the ground to support the buildings; hence,
the origin of the name fits the city's beginnings.
Photo: John Henry Nieland and Elizabeth Osterhold
Over the years many changes occurred. In 1319
AD the town Ramsdorf was founded and received the freedom of a city.
In 1410 the middle part of the parish church was built and in 1425
the castle was built. The Bishop of Muenster, Henric van Morse,
constructed the castle, which is now used as a museum. The church
added its tower in 1513. A great fire destroyed eighty-four houses
in l566. Then came the Thirty Year War, causing much suffering.
Much later, in 1810, Ramsdorf was ceded to France.
The destruction the French caused during their stay has been described
by Henry Nieland who was shown the ruins as a schoolboy in Ramsdorf.
Five years later Ramsdorf was ceded to Prussia. In 1840 the walls
of the town were flattened and the city gates pulled down. After
the Franco-Prussian War and the unification of Germany in 1871,
Ramsdorf became part of the German Empire. 1893 saw the erection
of Saint Walburga's Hospital, and in 1903 the railroad was built.
In 1914 the parish church was enlarged.
The population has been steadily growing:
1822 - 1991 inhabitants
1860 - 2126 inhabitants
1937 - 2949 inhabitants
1962 - 3940 inhabitants
The above information was given to me by Sister Mary
Patricia, S.N.D., of Withelemshaven, Germany.
Henry Nieland, the person to whom we can trace our ancestry, was
born July 19, 1809, and died December 23, 1888. He married Elizabeth
Osterhold, October 8, 1819. Elizabeth was born April 5, 1812, in
Weseke and died October 11, 1890. It seems they lived for some time
in Südlohn, then moved to Ramsdorf after their five children
were born. It is interesting to note John and Elizabeth gave all
their sons the name John and their daughters the name Maria. The
children were called by their second name.
Photo: The Mrs. Leonard Boes farm. Front:
Mr. Boes, Mrs. Boes, Joe. Back: Ted, John, Dora, Elizabeth, Ida.
Tradition tells us the Nielands were linen weavers.
The men wove the cloth and the women did the farm work.
John Henry Nieland's oldest daughter, Mary Ann, the
first Nieland to come to America was born January 16, 1843, in Südlohn,
Westphalia, Germany. In 1867 she and her future husband, Gerhard
Boes, emigrated to America. They were married February 1, 1870,
by Rev. A. Kortenkamp at Dyersville, Iowa. After their marriage
they moved to Carroll County. Then in 1874, they moved to a farm
in Sac County located six and one half miles northwest of Breda.
Gerhard Boes was born in Ramsdorf, September 20, 1837.
He served in the Prussian Army for several years, taking part in
several wars. These wars were between Prussia and Denmark. In 1864
and in 1866 he fought in the wars with Austria and Bavaria.
In 1900 Gerhard and Mary Ann Boes move to a farm just
west of Breda. Here they resided until 1913 when they retired to
Gerhard Boes died in February 18,1915, and four years
later, March 28, 1919, his wife followed him to their final resting
place in Saint Bernard's Cemetery.
Maria Angela Nieland the youngest daughter of John
Henry Nieland was born April 17, 1849, in Südlohn; she died
in Okarche, Oklahoma, February 27, 1925.
like her sister, emigrated to America. She was united in marriage
with John Hoebing May 8, 1873. John Hoebing was born November 26,
1848, at Quincy, Illinois, and died in Okarche in 1934.
Photo: Front: John and Angela Nieland Hoebing.
Back: Edward, Frances, George, Emma and Leonard.
After their marriage they lived at Petersburg,
Iowa, while Mr. Hoebing was teaching school. In 1876 they moved
to Sac County, while the country was still virgin prairie. Like
the pioneer settlers those days they endured many hardships, even
calling a dugout their home. Angela's sister, Mary Ann Boes, and
her, brother, Henry Nieland, lived nearby.
One of the greatest tragedies occurred in July of
1882. A diphtheria epidemic took Angela and John's four oldest children
on July 25, 27, 29, and 31. Angela's brother Henry Nieland later
told of this epidemic. Living across the road, he at once came to
help the best he could. Because of the danger of spreading the disease
to his own family, he washed and changed clothes in the Hoebing
barn. Not only did he help with the sick, but he helped dig the
graves for his niece and nephews.
In 1890 Angela and John moved to a farm a short distance
north of Breda where they lived until 1902 when they moved to a
farm near Okarche, Oklahoma. They lived on this farm until 1911
when they moved to the town of Okarche. In 1923 they celebrated
their golden wedding anniversary.
Mr. Hoebing is remembered for many things including
his trip to The Holy Land in 1888. He was a teacher, a great traveler
and a politician. One clipping tells of the celebration of his seventy-fifth
birthday anniversary. At that time he was the mayor of Okarche.
A surprise party was held, and His Honor was given the task of blowing
out seventy-five candles on his birthday cake, "But he being
habitually windy, he extinguished the seventy-five burning candles
with but little effort".
Henry Nieland's youngest son, Henry Nieland, was born January 18,
1852, in Südlohn. His sister Mary Ann, Mrs. Gerhard Boes, wrote
to her family telling of the greatness of America. In one of her
letters she wrote telling that meat was placed on the table and
a person could eat all he wanted. Partly from reading those letters,
partly the coming of the Franco-Prussian War and partly through
the urging of his father, he left the University of Vienna and decided
to emigrate to America. He walked to Holland, took a boat to England,
and then sailed by steamship from Liverpool to New York.
Photo: Angela Nieland (Mrs. John) Hoebing and
Anna Nieland (Mrs. Gerhard) Boes
The trip to America was quite an event. The
boat started to leak and all the able-bodied men had to man pumps
while the leak was being fixed. It was a memorable trip for a seventeen-year-old
boy. The cost of the trip from Liverpool to New York was eighty
dollars and from New York to New Vienna, five dollars.
He came in the fall after the harvest in Germany,
and arrived in time to help with the corn harvest in Iowa. On the
train trip from New York he thought the corn tassels were the grain.
After working in Dubuque County for three years he
settled on a farm in Sac County in 1869. The farm was located about
eight miles northwest of Breda. Here he built a small shed for his
horses and slept in the loft. His comforts were few. Ham and butter
were kept in a stone jar and placed in a cool spring for refrigeration.
Rattlesnakes, at this time, were found in Sac and
Carroll County. Some farmers believed that hogs helped to clear
the farms of snakes, so Henry kept hogs for food and possible protection.
On June 15, 1875, Henry married Anna Berning. The
first Mrs. Henry Nieland was born in New Vienna, Iowa, June 7, 1854.
While a young girl she moved with her parents, John Gerhard Berning
and Maria Anna Hatting to Breda. She and Henry were the parents
of five children. She died October 30, 1883, five days after giving
birth to a son named George.
On January 8, 1884, Henry was united in marriage to
Anna Koester (Koster).
Koster was born January 19, 1863 in Berge Furstean Osnabruck, Hanover,
Prussia. Her parents were Hermann Koster and Margarito Krinkilmann.
Anna Koster came to America at the age of nineteen, first settling
in Illinois. Through the urging of her cousins she moved to Breda.
The change in spelling of Koster to Koester was made at this time.
Eleven children were born to Henry and Anna.
Photo: Grandpa (Henry) Nieland on his 90th
About 1884, Henry Nieland and his family moved to
a farm one mile west and about two miles north of Breda where they
resided until 1927 when they moved into the town of Breda.
Like other pioneers, Henry saw
death many times. His first wife died in 1883, and his son George
of milk fever, soon after. Catherine, a daughter, died about 1889
of brain fever and another son, Henry, died in 1931. His second
wife passed on in 1933, lastly his daughter, Rose in 1935
Henry, for many years, held the
honor of being the oldest resident of Breda and Carroll County.
Always an active man for his advanced age, he is remembered for
his large garden, card games with his neighbors, and his great love
of literature. While still on the farm, he stayed up one cold winter
night reading. The next day the neighbors investigated, thinking
someone was sick, and found he had burned all the wood in the house,
even the kindling.
He celebrated his ninety-fifth
birthday in St. Anthony Hospital in Carroll, January 1947, having
undergone major surgery. After a rapid recovery he was soon back
doing his usual daily tasks. He lived to see his daughter, Mrs.
Ferdinand Steinkamp, celebrate her Golden Wedding.
His death came peacefully and quietly
late Sunday night, August 28, 1949.He was the last of a family of
five children and left about 175 descendants at the time of his
In the Year 1740 a son was born
to John Bernard Nieland and Maria Gesina Van der Beck. This son
was born in Gemen.
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