Our family story begins
with Johann Wittrock
who was born in Germany about 1636.
Earlier Wittrocks that lived in Brockdorf since the mid-1500s
are believed to be our ancestors as well. Johann Wittrock
was born during the "Thirty Year War" a
battle for power among Catholics and Protestants in Europe
that caused great hardship and suffering for the people
of Germany. Johann was a "Kötter"
a cottage farmer who owned a small farm in the farming
community of Brockdorf, between the cities of Dinklage and
Lohne, in Landkreis (county) Vechta, Oldenburg, Prussia.
That region is now part of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony),
Aat least 14 generations of Wittrocks have
been born in Lohne and the vicinity. The family farm in
Brockdorf passed successively down through the generations
until it was sold by Henry Wittrock in 1885. The Wittrock
family's house still stands, but has been moved to a new
site and renovated.
In the 1880s, four of the Wittrock descendants,
all born in Brockdorf, emigrated from Germany and settled
Paulina "Mary" Wittrock
was born in 1854
and, in the year 1875, was the first of the siblings to
immigrate. She married
in Carroll County, Iowa and they had nine
children togetherfour born in Iowa and the rest in
Nebraska. By 1900 Mary Stallman was a widow, living in Petersburg,
Boone County, Nebraska with her nine children. She died
a few years later of blood poisoning. Her orphaned children
eventually scattered over several western states, including
Nebraska, Texas, California, Wyoming and Washington.
and immigrated about 1880. In Shelby County, Iowa, Caroline
married Jacob Pfeifer,
who was from the Alsace region of Germanythe part
of the country which became France in 1919. The Pfeifers
had seven children, one of which died as an infant. Their
children, born in Iowa and Nebraska, settled mostly in South
Dakota and Nebraska.
Sophia "Teresa" Wittrock
born in 1849
and immigrated in 1885 with her husband, Clements
Siemer and settled in Carroll
County. They later moved to Butte, Boyde County, Nebraska,
where her sister, Caroline Pfeiffer lived. The Siemers had
six children, four born in Germany and the other two in
Iowa. After her husband's death in 1912, Teresa Siemer lived
with her daughter, Bernardine, in Butte, Nebraska.
Anton Heinrich "Henry"
Wittrock was born in 1851.
After his first wife died about 1882, he emigrated to the
USAarriving on the same ship as his sister, Theresa
Siemer, and her family. Henry lived for a while in Carroll
County, Iowa, then moved on to Boone County, Nebraska, where
another sister, Mary Stallman, lived. That is where Henry
probably met his future wife, Anna
Sprenger, whose parents and brothers
also lived in Boone County. Later Henry moved to Okarche,
Oklahoma where he filed a homestead claim in 1893, just
a few years after the opening of the Oklahoma Territory.
Wittrock and Anna (Sprenger) Wittrock, had eleven children.
One child died in infancy but ten of the children survived
to adulthood, married, and raised families in Oklahoma,
Iowa, and Nebraska.
sister who remained in Germany, Margaretha
Maria Wilhelmina Catharina Wittrock,
married Johann Heinrich
Strottmanns had five children.
the 1950s five more family
members emigrated from Germany and settled in Chicago, Boston
and other cities. The five Meyers
brothers are grandsons of Catherina
Elisabeth Wittrock (1867-1947) and Hienrich