1798 – Gerhard Friedrich Detering

Gerhard Friedrich Detering was born to Johan Heinrich Detering and Maria Gerdrut Kummig on October 1, 1798 in the tiny village of Wimmer, Amt Wittlage, in Kurfürstentum Hannover (the Electorate of Hanover), a part of the Heiliges Römisches Reich (Holy Roman Empire). Five years later, in 1803, the French armies of Napoleon Bonaparte occupied the Electorate of Hanover and the territory around Wimmer was put under French control for a decade.

1808 – Maria Klara Lahrmann

On January 17, 1808, nearly a decade after Gerhard’s birth, Maria Klara Lahrmann was born to Franz Heinrich Lahrmann and Katharina Ilsabein Anding in Wimmer, Amt Wittlage, which was now a part of La Royaume de Westphalie (the Kingdom of Westphalia). The French kingdom was created in 1807 with Napoleon’s younger brother Jérôme Bonaparte on the throne. It existed as a vassal state of the French Empire until 1813. So at her birth, Maria was a citizen of the French Empire. In 1813, when she was five years old, Kurfürstentum Hannover (the Electorate of Hanover) was restored, and in October of 1814 it was elevated to Königreich Hannover (the Kingdom of Hanover) by the Congress of Vienna.

The Lahrmann family tree has been traced back to 1402 in the region around Wimmer. From 1500 to about 1750, the name was spelled Larmann. The earliest ancestor was Johann von Laer und Lintorf (Johann from Laer and Lintorf). Lintorf was the site of the evangelical parish church for the tiny village of Wimmer. I assume the church in Lintorf was originally Roman Catholic, but became Protestant at some point during the Reformation. I haven’t yet located the village of Laer.

Johann’s son called himself Johann von Lar (Johann from Lar). His son, also named Johann, created the surname Larmann (essentially a “Lar Man”) around 1500.


Today, Wimmer is a small farming village just east of the town of Bad Essen in Kreis Osnabrück, a district of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony). Both towns lie northeast of the city of Osnabrück.

Wiehengebirge mountains

Wimmer is situated on the northern slope of a low wooded mountain range called the Wiehengebirge (the Wiehe mountains).

The mountain range stretches along a curving east-west axis beginning at the Weser River near Minden in the east and terminating in the vicinity of Osnabrück to the west. The highest elevation is 320 meters (1,049 feet).

Amt Wittlage

Burg Wittlage

Amt Wittlage was an administrative area centered around the town of the same name located near Burg Wittlage, a castle built in 1309 by Bishop Engelbert II of Osnabrück.

Until 1889, the castle was the location of the administrative office where records were kept for the surrounding area. The term Amt also refers to the area administered by such an office. The chief administrative officer of an Amt was a Vogt, a kind of county sheriff. The Vogt was usually a free peasant—not a serf—who worked for the local nobility.

Amt Wittlage eventually became Landkreis Wittlage. The terms Kreis and Landkreis refer to a rural district or county. Landkreis Wittlage had it’s administration in Castle Wittlage as well. In 1972, Landkreis Wittlage was combined with Landkreis Bersenbrück, Melle and Osnabrück to form the new Landkreis Osnabrück.

At the center of today’s Kreis Osnabrück is the city of Osnabrück, which was founded around 780 by Karl der Große (Charlemagne). Sometime before 803, the city became the seat of Fürstbistum Osnabrück (the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück), which meant that it was ruled by a bischof (bishop) of the Roman Catholic church. Such principalities were common under the Holy Roman Empire.

In 1803, Osnabrück came under control of Königreich Hannover (the Kingdom of Hannover), which was then invaded by France. In 1810, Osnabrück became an official part of L’Empire des Français (the Empire of the French), and after 1815, again part of Königreich Hannover (the Kingdom of Hannover).

Königreich Hannover

The town and region of Hannover is generally spelled Hanover in English. Königreich Hannover (the Kingdom of Hanover) had its origin in Fürstentum Calenberg (the Principality of Calenberg) which was created in 1432. Although it was called a principality, it was ruled by a duke, not a prince, and was a subdivision of the larger Herzogtum Braunschweig-Lüneburg (the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg), a state of Heiliges Römisches Reich (the Holy Roman Empire).

In 1636, the capital of the Principality of Calenberg was moved from the town of Pattensen to the town of Hannover, and soon the principality also became known informally as Fürstentum Hannover.

In 1692, the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I, elevated Duke Ernest Augustus, ruler of the Principality of Calenberg, to the rank of Kurfürst or Elector of the Empire as a reward for military support he had given the emperor. The principality became known as Kurfürstentum Braunschweig-Lüneburg (the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg) or, informally, Kurfürstentum Hannover (the Electorate of Hanover).

In 1714, the son of Duke Ernest Augustus and his wife, Sophia of Hannover, became King George I of Great Britain, establishing the British House of Hanover. Under the Act of Settlement in 1701, the English throne could only be held by a Protestant. Because Queen Anne, the daughter of James II, was dying, Sophia of Hannover, the nearest such relative, was designated as the next heir by a vote of Parliament. But Sophia died shortly before Anne’s death, and her place was taken by her son, George.

In 1803, Kurfürstentum Hannover (the Electorate of Hanover) was occupied by France, which ruled over it in some form or another for the next ten years. From 1807 on, the Hanoverian territory became part of La Royaume de Westphalie (the Kingdom of Westphalia), ruled by Jérôme Bonaparte, Napoléon’s younger brother. The Hanoverian army was dissolved, but many of the officers and soldiers went to England, where they formed the King’s German Legion.

In 1813, Kurfürstentum Hannover (the Electorate of Hanover) was restored, and in October of 1814 it was elevated to Königreich Hannover (the Kingdom of Hanover) by the Congress of Vienna, in an attempt to balance the power of other German kingdoms. This was the situation in 1853 when Henriette Eleanora Detering was born in the town of Wimmer.

Hanover remained an independent kingdom from 1814 to 1866, when Prussian armies under Bismarck appropriated the territory and its wealth to continue the territorial expansion of Königreich Prueßen (the Kingdom of Prussia). Hanover became a province of Prussia, Provinz Hannover, and then in 1872, while remaining one of Prussia’s four provinces, it became part of the newly-formed Deutsches Reich (German Empire).

In 1946, following World War II, Provinz Hannover was merged with the states of Oldenburg, Brunswick, and Schaumburg-Lippe into the new Bundesland (federated state) of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) with the city of Hanover as its capital.

marriage and children

On November 22, 1827, Gerhard Friedrich Detering married Maria Klara Lahrmann at the Evangelische Kirche Lintorf (the Evangelical church of Lintorf), in Lintorf, Amt Wittlage, Königreich Hannover.

Their eleven children were all born in House #5 in Wimmer:

  • Maria Clara Detering, born March 23, 1829
  • Maria Elsabein Detering, born October 27, 1831
  • Johann Heinrich Detering, born April 9, 1834
  • Stillborn Detering, born March 17, 1836
  • Catharina Maria Detering, born April 21, 1837
  • Ernst Friedrich Detering, born July 17, 1840
  • Caspar Heinrich Detering, born August 21, 1842
  • Maria Eleonore Detering, born March 16, 1845
  • Maria Clara Elisabeth Detering, born January 19, 1848
  • Franz Heinrich Detering, born August 21, 1850, died October 5, 1854
  • Henriette Eleanora Detering, born April 26, 1853

Maria Klara (Lahrmann) Detering died in 1855 at about age 50 just two years after her last child was born. She left behind children ages 2, 7, 10, 13, 15, 18, 21, 24, and 26. It is likely that the eldest daughters Maria Clara and Maria Elsabein were married by that time.

emigration of children

Catharina Maria, then 18, assumed the care of her five younger siblings until she emigrated to the United States twelve years later. By this time, most of her charges had already emigrated to the United States, most in their twenties. After Catharina Maria’s emigration in 1867, the youngest, Henriette Eleanora, was taken in by her older sister Maria Elsabein until Henriette’s own emigration six years later.

It was in the mid-1860s that a number of the Detering children began emigrating to the United States. In 1862, Otto von Bismarck became premier of Königreich Prueßen (the Kingdom of Prussia) under König (King) Wilhelm I. Bismarck embarked on a plan to unify Germany under Prussian leadership by means of three deliberately planned wars over the next decade. In 1864, Prussia and Austria fought Denmark over control of the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. In 1866, Bismarck attacked Austria in the Austro-Prussian War, gaining additional territory. In 1867, Bismarck also became Chancellor of the Norddeutscher Bund (North German Confederation) which initiated the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Under Bismarck’s leadership, the Confederation overwhelmed France and the territories of Alsace and Lorraine were ceded to Prussia. On January 18, 1871, King Wilhelm of Prussia was proclaimed Kaiser (Emperor) of the new Deutsches Reich (German Empire) in the Château de Versailles outside of Paris.

During this period, all young men in Prussia and its allied German territories were required to serve in the Prussian army. The increasing militarism caused many of them to leave the German kingdoms and principalities for more peaceful realms. We know that Ernst Friedrich Detering (born 1840) served in the Prussian army from 1863 to 1865. By 1865, the Civil War had ended in the United States and prospects in the American Midwest looked promising to many German farmers, craftsman and laborers.

Caspar Heinrich was the first child to leave, settling in St. Louis in 1865 at age 24. In 1866, Ernst Friedrich (age 26) arrived in Cleveland where an aunt was living, but quickly moved to Plum Hill in Washinton County, Illinois. Catharina Maria (Mary) and Maria Clara (Clara) arrived in St. Louis in 1867. Mary was 30 and Clara was 19. They left behind Henriette who was just 14 at that time.

Mary Detering and Henry Ahlers

Although a family historical sketch states that Catharina Maria (known to the family as Marie or Mary) Detering emigrated to the United States in 1869, a ship’s manifest shows her arriving in 1867 with her sister Clara. Mary Detering married Henry Ahlers in St. Louis, Missouri on September 23, 1868. The marriage record lists their names as Catharine Detering and Henrich Ahlers.

The surname Ahlers appears in the same church records as the Detering family in Lintorf. So perhaps they knew each other before emigrating.

Their children were:

  • Henry Ahlers, born October 15, 1870
  • Clara Ahlers, born February 4, 1873

Clara Detering and Diedrich Rixmann

Maria Clara (Clara) Detering emigrated to the United States with her sister Catharina Maria in 1867 and settled in Hoyleton in Washington County, Illinois, where she married Diedrich W. Rixmann sometime about 1875. Diedrich had been born on February 12, 1839 in Fürstenau, Kreis Osnabrück, Königreich Hannover to Freidrich and Maria Rixmann. He emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1868, arriving in New York, and then traveling to Hoyleton.

In 1880, Clara and Diedrich Rixmann. a bricklayer, were living in the village of Hoyleton with four children:

  • Elizabeth Rixmann, born July 23, 1873
  • Frederic E. Rixmann, born February 13, 1875
  • Louis Henry Rixmann, born February 18, 1877
  • William Rixmann, born December 9, 1879
Diedrich Rixmann lumber yard in Hoyleton
D. Rixmann Lumber

Diedrich Rixmann eventually owned a lumberyard and brickyard in Hoyleton.

Three more children were added to the family over the next decade.

  • Diedrich Rixmann, born November 9, 1881
  • Reinhard Rixmann, born December 9, 1885
  • Mamie Rixmann, born May 24, 1890 was an adopted child

Ernst Detering and Anna Renken

Ernst Detering in Prussian uniform

Ernst Friedrich Detering served in the Prussian military from 1863 to 1865. The portrait on the right appears to use a photograph of his face while everything else is painted.

The following year, he left Germany and emigrated to the United States.

After a brief visit with an aunt in Cleveland, he moved to Washington County, Illinois where he purchased a farm near the village of Plum Hill.

He married Anna Katherina Renken on August 12, 1867. His 11 children were all born to his first wife. Most died young.

Their first child, Henry, died in infancy as did six other siblings. Here are the children we know about, out of 11:

  • Henry Detering, born in 1869
  • Frederick Detering, born about 1872
  • Henry William Detering, born December 16, 1873
  • Christian F. Detering, born December 18, 1875
  • Elizabeth Detering, born about 1879
  • Frank H. Detering, born on April 19, 1886
  • Marie Detering, born on January 31, 1888

The ones that lived to adulthood were Henry William,Christian, Frank, and Marie.

Anna Renken died by 1889. He married his second wife, Caroline Nabor, on August 8, 1889. And his third wife, Mathilda Brandhorst, on May 14, 1903.

Ernst Detering died on March 19, 1917 in Nashville, Illinois. Printed below is his obituary in the Nashville Journal.

Caspar Detering and Marie Josephine

At age 24, Caspar Heinrich Detering emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York on September 25, 1865. He settled in St. Louis, Missouri where he soon Anglicized his name to Casper Henry Detering.

In 1872, Casper Detering was advised by his doctor to take a sea voyage for his health. He sailed from New York to Bremen, Germany on a six week voyage. Returning to Wimmer in Hannover (now a province of Prussia), Casper persuaded his youngest sister Henriette (age 20) to return to St. Louis with him. They left Germany on September 15, 1873 and arrived in New York on October 10th.

Seven years later, the 1880 census lists Casper “Deitering” as a clerk living in the household of a merchant named Christian Vonder Ahe in St. Louis.

About a year later, Casper married Marie Josephine (maiden name unknown). Marie was born in Austria on July 14, 1859 and emigrated to the United States in 1879.

In 1910, Casper and Marie were living in St. Louis with their five children:

  • Clara Theresa Detering, born February 19, 1882
  • Alma S. Detering, born June 30, 1886
  • Elsa Marie Detering, born December 20, 1887
  • Oscar Casper Detering, born July 7, 1891
  • Walter Casper Detering, born July 18, 1893

According to census records, Casper was 69 years old and retired in 1910. He died five years later on July 13, 1915. His wife Marie died six years later on June 14, 1921.

short sketch of Henriette Eleanora Detering

Henriette Detering had emigrated to the United States in 1873 at the urging of her brother Casper. She eventually married Ludwig (Louis) Karl Heinrich Struckmeyer in Hoyleton, Illinois. (See Louis Struckmeyer and Henriette Detering)

Their son, Dr. Charles W. Struckmeyer wrote this short piece about his mother. He titled it “A Short Sketch of Grandma Struckmeyer and Her Linen.”

Our mother, Henriette Detering Struckmeyer, was born April 26, 1853 in Wimer [Wimmer], Kreis Osnabrück, Hanover, Germany. She was the daughter of Gerhardt Frederick Detering and his wife Clara, nee Lahrmann.

She was the youngest of eight [eleven] children. Her mother died when she was two years of age. Until she was fourteen, it was her sister Marie [Catharina Maria] who cared for her. Marie then went to America in 1869. After that, it was a sister, Elsabein, who took charge of the home. Sister Marie married Henry Ahlers after she came to this country and was our Aunt Mary Ahlers.

On the birth certificate, Mama’s father was listed as full heir (Voll Erbe) to the family estate. While this publicly and legally put him in a class with the wealthiest men in Wimer, he still insisted on everyone doing their share of the chores. So, in spite of the fact that she was not very robust, Mama had to do her share of the weeding. The flax fields in Germany were kept as free of weeds in those days as are the flowerbeds in our country today.

With all of her love of flowers, there was one flower Mama did not like, and this was the cornflower which grew as a weed in Germany.

When Mama grew to be about sixteen years of age, her hope chest was built, and is still in the family. It was built t of boards stored in the attic, that were accumulated through the years, from trees that either had to make way for improvements or showed signs of having reached full growth. They were used for all household necessities, made of wood, including coffins in case of a death in the family. Mama’s chest is rather large; forty-six inches long, twenty-five inches high, twenty-one inches wide at the base of the dome lid, and eighteen and one-half inches wide at the base mold.

Into this chest went Mama’s share of the linen, spun and woven from the flax grown on her fathers land. There was no way of knowing just which pieces of linen Mama had woven herself, because the linen that the tenants wives and daughters did on shares was also a part of the linen that went into her chest. Working on shares meant that the landlord furnished the f1ax and as payment, he received a certain portion of the finished linen.

In 1872, Uncle Casper Detering, who was living in the United States, was advised by his doctor to take a sea voyage for his health. He followed the advice and according to the story told about his voyage, it took six weeks for the sailboat to cross the Atlantic. While in Germany, Uncle Casper persuaded Mama to come back with him. And she did on September 15, 1873. She came to St. Louis where Uncle Casper had been living, and stayed with Aunt Mary Ahlers for a time. Eventually she went to Hoyleton, Illinois, to visit another sister, Aunt Clara Rixmann. Here she met our father, Louis Struckmeyer and was married on April 26, l877.

Mama was born on April 26, confirmed on April 26, and married on Apri1 26. In her later years, she often mentioned that there was just one more big event which could happen on April 26; however, that was not to be. She died on January 5, 1937, three months before her 84th birthday.

Henriette Eleanora Detering and Louis Struckmeyer

Henriette Eleanora Detering left Germany on September 15, 1873 and arrived in New York on October 10th. She first settled in St. Louis, Missouri with Marie Ahlers, the sister who had raised her in Wimmer. Some time later she traveled to Hoyleton, Illinois to visit her sister Clara Rixmann.

In Hoyleton, she met Louis Struckmeyer, a wagonmaker and carpenter who was the son of Karl Struckmeier and Anna Greimann.

Henriette Detering married Louis Struckmeyer on April 26, 1877 at Evangelische Zions Gemeinde (Evangelical Zion Congregation). (See Louis Struckmeyer and Henriette Detering)


Gerhard Friedrich and Maria Klara (Lahrmann) Detering died in House # 5 in Wimmer, Amt Wittlage, Königreich Hannover. Maria Klara had died on November 6, 1855, when her daughter Henriette was two years old, but to date we have no record of Gerhard’s death. (If he died after 1866, Hannover would have then been a province of Königreich Preußen).