Families (5)

Browns, Sugar Creek and Riggs, Waterford Township, Clinton County, Iowa

Compiled by Lorraine Houghton and Marilu Thurman, updated August 2006.
Thank you so much to Lorraine and Marilu for sending this information to us. 

The Skalla Family
There were 3 Skalla families in Sugar Creek. They were all from Austria, but I do not know how or if they are all related to each other. John Skalla was born about 1848 and he married Anna German from Austria. Anna died in 1891 and John married Agnes from Austria. John and Agnes had 4 children in the 1900 census; Annie, John, Mary and Rosy.

Jacob Skalla was born about 1852 and married Annie Plutt June 18, 1873 in Lyons. Their children were: Mary, Jacob, Mathias, and Catherine, Agnes, John, Rosie and Susie .

Matthias Skalla married Kate Gollobitch Dec 20, 1881 probably in Sugar Creek. In 1885 they were living in 4th ward, Lyons, Iowa, and had 2 children, Mary and John. John Gollobitch had a daughter Kate, who would have been about 15 in 1881, so she could have been the one.

The Skoff Family

Martin Skoff, Jr. and his wife Catherine Herwath were born in Metlika, Austria and came to America about 1881 with two children. Upon arriving in America, Martin immediately went to Jackson County, where he bought five acres of land. With hard work and careful economy, he was able to purchase an eighty acre farm in Fairfield township, Jackson County, which is north of Browns. Their children were Anton, born about 1874, who married Elizabeth Boecker; Barbara, John who died in 1903, and Joseph. Anton and Barbara were born in Austria. John and Joseph were born in Iowa. Anton and Barbara both moved to Joliet, Illinois.

Barbara Skoff, born about 1878, married Michael Frankovitch in 1899 in Illinois. Their children were: Albert, Michael, Marie, Kathryn, Ida, John and George. After the death of Michael, Barbara married John Horwath (maybe Herwath ?) Feb 7, 1917. Their children were: Marie (from John’s first marriage), Elizabeth, William, Edward and Genevieve.

Joseph Skoff, born about 1886, married Mary Rose, daughter of John and Christina Rose, in June 1909. They had three children. After the death of his wife, Mary, Joseph married Anna Boehmer. They had four children. After the death of his second wife, Anna, Joseph married Ann Luckiesh. Joseph died in 1960.

Martin Skoff, Jr. also had a sister Catherine that came to the USA. She married Matthew Nemanich in Metlika, Austria. Their 5 children were also born in Metlika. Catherine and her family lived in Joliet, Illinois. Martin also had two bothers who lived in Clinton County, Iowa. One was Matthew and we don’t know the name of the other brother.

The Sterbenz Families
Michael Sterbenz was born about 1815 in Austria. Michael Sterbenz married Mary Persche, who was born about 1810 in Austria. They had a daughter Mary, born in Austria Jan. 14, 1841. Michael & Mary also had a son, Michael J, who was born in Austria April 10, 1839. Their son Michael J. was also married to a Mary Persche. I am not sure what relationship his wife was to his mother. Michael & Mary Persche Sterbenz also had three other children who died during a horrible cholera epidemic in Europe. This is what prompted them to sell their land & properties there & to leave their native land & move to America. Michael J. & his wife Mary had a son Michael John who was born May 10, 1864 in Austria. It is believed that Michael Sterbenz & his much younger brother Frank Sterbenz came to Browns sometime before 1860, as land records in Clinton County show evidence of that. Then I believe that Mary Sterbenz, wife of Michael and their daughter Mary, and son Michael J., and his wife Mary, along with their son Michael John came to Browns in 1865. The 1880 census shows a niece, Kate Sturbens, who was born in Iowa, about 1870, living with them as a boarder. Even though this family is shown on the 1880 census, they were one of six Gottschee families to move from Browns to an area near Olpe in Lyon County Kansas around 1880. Note: Some of the above information was from another Sterbenz book given to Marge Light by Maybelle Didde Scheetz of Topeka, Kansas. Her father was a Strutzel and her grandmother was Mary Sterbenz, a sister to Michael John Sterbenz and daughter of Michael J. Sterbenz.

Frank Sterbenz, born about 1831, married Gertrude Klemper from Galena, Illinois. The property they had in Clinton Co. was sold and they moved on to Nebraska. They are buried in the Aurora Cemetery there. They had several children.

George Sterbenz, who we believe is a brother of Michael and Frank, was born Jan. 2, 1828. He married Mary Kapsch in 1851, who was born in 1828. According to their marriage record obtained from Austria it appears that Mary was married before and was the widow of a Mr. Katze (Kotze). George was living in Unterradenze #25 at the time of their marriage and Maria was living in Bretterdorf #1. George came to America in May 1874, probably 8 years ahead of his wife, Mary, and their children. In the 1885 census, they were living in Waterford Township, Clinton County. By the 1895 census, they were living in Fairfield Township, Jackson County, which is directly north of Waterford Township in Clinton County. The county line is probably 1/8 mile north of Browns, Iowa. George & Mary Sterbenz had 6 children and I have their birth records from Austria. Their children were:
Margaret, who married Josef Sterk; See The Sterk Family for more information.
Annie, who married Joseph Herwath; (She died in 1902, leaving Joseph with several small children to care for.) See the Herwath Family for more information.
George, born in 1864 in Bretterdorf, who married Margaret Rom Cicak; (Margaret had been married to a Cicak first. We have no evidence but assume that Cicak died). It is our understanding that Margaret was a mail order bride from Michigan. George died 3 years after their marriage, so Margaret went back to Michigan to live with a sister.

John, who married Mary Kotze in 1891, lived in Fairfield township. They had a daughter, Mary, born April 24, 1892. Mary married Matt Gregorich. His first wife, Mary, died and in 1904 John married Mary Ann Fuegen. They had 11 children. (1) Joseph married Juanita Huling. (2) Albert married Mary Raab & they lived in the state of Washington (3) Adeline (Addie) died when she was 12 years old. (4) Rose married Ernie Lehmkuhl (5) Helen, never married. (6) Michael married Thelma Brewster & they had 10 children. (7) Marcella married Roy Beller (8) John died before he was 11 years old. (9) Veronica (Peggy) was married to Harold Kinney. (10) Florence married Howard Heister. (11) Ben married Alice Mills.

Celia, who married Jacob Stanisha, the son of John Stanisha and Agnes Gregorich. Jacob & Celia had five children.

George and Mary also had a daughter Catherine who must have stayed in Austria when the rest of the family came to America probably because she was already married to a man by the name of Rezek (Rozic). Catherine was the oldest child of George and Mary. When George, the son of George & Mary, died in 1917 Catherine Rezek was listed in that record as a sister to George, John, Margaret and Celia. We have nothing else on Catherine.

We now have reason to believe Mary had another child when she was married to her first husband. The 1900 census states she had 7 children, 7 living. The 1910 census shows 7 children, 6 living. Annie died in 1902 so that would account for the one missing in the 1910 census. In 1917 when son George died no other names were listed on the probate record perhaps because Mary’s oldest child would have been a half-sibling and not blood related or perhaps that child was also deceased by then. If deceased, it would have been between 1910 and 1917. Mary herself passed away in 1913.

The Sterk Family
The 1905 Directory of Farmers and Land Owners of Clinton County, Iowa shows Joseph Stork (Sterk), with a Browns address. Joseph Sterk was born in Austria about 1871, and immigrated about 1884. He married Margaret Sterbenz at Sugar Creek about 1885. Their children were: (1) Margaret (Maggie) died when she was 10 years old (2) Joseph, who moved to Coffeeville, Kansas (3) John who married Rose Gregorich, daughter of Matt and Mary Roschitsch Gregorich, (4) Cecelia who married John Rickerl. I have been told that Cecelia had a twin sister by the name of Helen who died at birth. I myself have no proof of that. If this is true that would be child #5. (6) Bernard (Ben) married Katherine Franzen (7) Mary married Louis Underberg (8) Peter who had TB & never married (9) George, who married Marie Skoff. I have also been told there was a Catherine (#10, who died young) but again have no proof of that. The 1910 census says they had 10 children, 7 of them were living in 1910.

The Strutzel Families

There was more than one Strutzel family in Sugar Creek, and I do not know how or if they are all related. They were all born in Austria, of course.

Michael Strutzel married Catherine. Michael and Catherine were born about 1825. In the 1870 census they had two children. Catherine was born about 1858 in Austria and Joseph about 1867 in Iowa.

John Strutzel married Annie Suhorepitz on Nov. 26, 1877, probably in Sugar Creek. Annie was born in Otovec, Austria now Slovenia. In the census records of Waterford Township, I have found eight children. John, born about 1878; Joseph, born about 1880; Frank born about 1882; Mary born about 1884; Anne, Henry, Lena and Lizzie. John is listed as a farmer in the census records.

Joseph Strutzel immigrated to the US about 1874. He married Mary Sterbenz, daughter of Michael Jr. and Mary Sterbenz. They moved to Lyon County, Kansas. Joseph was a brother to Maria Strutzel that married Joseph Peschel. Joseph and his sister Maria were both born in Naklo #7. It is possible the John listed above is also a brother, but his birth date does not quite match.

In the 1880 Census there was a Catherine Strutzel, widow, with 4 children, but I have not figured out who her husband was. In the cemetery index it says she was the wife of M.P. and she is about 10 years older than the Catherine listed above married to Michael.

The Stuckel Family
In the 1880 census there were two Stuckel families from Austria, who could be brothers. Joseph and Mary Stuckel and 2 sons lived in South Fork, Jackson County, Iowa. Their sons were John, born 1855 in Austria and Jacob born 1859 in Austria.

In the 1880 census John and Mary Stuckel and 6 children lived in Waterford Township. The children were; John, Stephen born about 1872, Jacob, Joseph born about 1876 in Iowa, Mary and Elouis. In the 1900 census John Sr., age 73, was working for John Skalla.

A third Stuckel, Joseph, immigrated about 1887. Joseph Stuckel, born in May 1869 in Otovec #2, Austria, married Theresa Peschel, born 1876 in Sugar creek, daughter of Andrew and Mary Peschel. Theresa and Joseph moved to Minnesota with the other Peschel and Pluth families.

A fourth Stuckel, Stephen, immigrated about 1883. Stephen and Joseph were brothers, their parents were Stephen Stuckel and Anna Zimmerman. Stephen was born in April 1863, also in Otovec #2, and married Mary Skalla, daughter of Jacob, about 1892. Stephen stayed in the Sugar Creek area. In the 1910 census their children were: Loretta, Edward, Rosa, ? son, Silvester, Marcella and Vernon.

The Teshak/Tezak Families

There were 3, maybe 4, Teshak families near Browns. George Teshak, born about 1839, and his wife Barbara immigrated about 1884. George was listed as a farmer near Riggs in the 1892 Farmers Directory. The 1900 census says George and Barbara had 10 children, 7 of them living. From census records and death records I have 8: Barbara, Mary, Catherine, Margaret, Anton, Joseph, John and George. In 1900 they were living in Clinton, Iowa, and then they moved to Joliet, Illinois before 1910. After George moved to Joliet, he changed the spelling of his last name to Tezak, which is a common spelling in Joliet, and also Colorado. George died in 1920 and his death record from the church says he was born in Suhor. George’s son, John owned the Tezak Funeral Home in Joliet and it is still owned by his descendants. Some people believe George and Martin were brothers but we don't know the parents of either one.

Martin Teshak, Sr. born about 1836, immigrated between 1870 and 1880. He was not yet a land owner on the 1874 plat map. Martin married Appolonia Maurin Messerich, a sister to Joseph Maurin, who moved to Kansas in 1880. Joseph and Appolonia were born in Loka #8, Austria, the children of George and Anna Loser Maurin. Martin and Appolonia were parents of Annie, Anton and Martin, Jr. We believe that Martin and Appolonia, upon their marriage, may have lived in the home that Appolonia shared with her first husband, John Messerich, who had passed on. This home was directly north of the Sugar Creek Church grounds, on the east side of 320th Avenue, in a wooded area. This was located in the southwest corner of Section 2, in Waterford Township. At a later date, according to family members, this home was moved further north, down the hill to the Martin Teshak farm, and later this farm was owned by Anton Teshak. After this house was in place, a "summer kitchen" with a stairway leading to the upstairs of the original Messerich house was built on to the east side of that older home.

Annie Teshak married Louis Boehmer. They had five children.
Anton Teshak married Frances Rose. They had four children. The Anton Teshak farm, which was previously owned by Anton’s father, Martin Teshak, lies on the east side of 320th Avenue, north of the intersection with 110th street, near the base of the hill. The original old house burned down in the extreme cold of the winter in 1924. Teshak family members helped contain that fire, and they were able to save the "summer kitchen" and the stairs in that section. Immediately after the fire, the family stayed with the neighbors, Barney Timmer and Louis Boehmer. About two weeks after the fire, Mike Banowetz, who was a carpenter and Anton Teshak enclosed the open side of the "summer kitchen" for the family to live in while they were rebuilding the new house. Anton and Frances and two of their daughters, Della and Clara lived in this "summer kitchen". The other daughter, Marie stayed with the Bernard Timmer family and their son, Vern, stayed with Louis and Anne Teshak Boehmer and their family. The new house was built on the west side, adjacent to the "summer kitchen". The summer kitchen was used for many years. Recently, this "summer kitchen" was demolished to make room for a garage.

Martin Teshak Jr. married Wilhelmina Elsner. After their marriage, in 1904, they lived in Fairfield Township, Jackson County in northeast corner of section 33. Martin Teshak purchased this farm from Earl Stamp, and lived there, with his family, for about seven years. From there they moved to New Hampton, Iowa, where they lived until 1917. Then they moved to Maquoketa, Iowa to a home which is now directly north of the Walmart store. They had five children.
John Edward Teshak, born about 1860, immigrated about 1882. I don’t know if John was related to Martin or George. John married Anna Peschel in Sugar Creek in 1886. They moved to Omaha, Nebraska. There was also a Katie Teshak, who supposedly married John Simonich in Sugar Creek in 1887.

The Timmer Family
Bernard (Barney) Timmer, born in Hanover, Germany arrived in New York in 1882, on a ship that departed from Amsterdam, Holland. He married Wilhelmina Burken at Sugar Creek. They had eleven children:
Elizabeth, who married John E. Elsner; William, who married Clara Luedtke; John, Anne, who married Edward Mullaley; Bernard, who married Gertrude Luedtke; Teresa, who married Walt Gorman; Jacob, who married Viola Geronzin, Matthew, who married Marie Christof, Helen, Joseph J. and Sylvester.

Bernard Timmer built an exquisite brick home in 1900. This home had seven bedrooms, and is located to the west of 320th Avenue, about 2 miles south of the intersection with 110th Street. This house is located in the bottom, where you can still see the concrete "support" that was used to support the railroad tracks, crossing the creek. Bernard Timmer, while walking on the railroad tracks from one part of the farm to the other, was killed on February 4, 1930. Bernard saw the train approaching, but did not realize there was another train coming from the opposite direction.

After Bernard’s death, his wife Wilhelmina remained on the farm with the family. Upon her death, John, Helen and Sylvester, who remained single, stayed on the farm. Eventually the farm was sold to John Timmer, and his brother and sister continued living there with him. The Timmer family lived in this house until 1974.

The Trenkamp Family
Henri John Trenkamp, born Dec. 31, 1857, and his wife, Carolina Ahlers were both from Oldenberg, Germany. According to census records, Henri immigrated in 1874. The Trenkamps lived in Hampshire Township in 1880. In the 1895 state census, they were in Spring Valley Township, but that was absorbed into Hampshire, so they were probably in the same location. In the 1900 census they were in Waterford Township. Their daughter, Mary Ann married at St. Joseph’s Church in Sugar Creek in January 1900 or 1901, so they were living near Browns at that time. Henri and Carolina Ahlers Trenkamp are the parents of four children:
Mary Ann, born March 26, 1880, who married Henry Franzen with five children:
Henry Herman, born July 22, 1881, who married Christina Banowetz with 19 children:
Mary Katherine (Kate), born Dec. 31, 1884, who married John Bormann with eleven children:
August Franciscus with no children.

The Underberg Families
The Bernard Underbergs were living in Raesfeld, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.when they immigrated to the United States in 1846 and settled first near Burlington, Wisconsin. Bernard was born on a farm at Uefte, which is about 5 miles from Raesfeld. Bernard and Christina Underberg had 5 children; Gertrude, John, Henry, Christina, and Bernard. Christina, the daughter died in Germany. Christina’s parents, Johan and Adeleid Albers, also came to the USA with them. The father, Bernard died in 1852 in Burlington. One son, Henry, died in Burlington in 1848 and Christina’s father also died in Burlington. Gertrude was the oldest and she married Gerhard Vande Sand and stayed in Burlington, when Christina, her mother, and 2 children moved to Galena, Illinois, sometime before the 1860 census. Bernard’s brother and nephew, Franz and William, lived in Galena and I suppose that is why she went there.

Sometime in the early 1860’s Christina Underberg, sons John and Bernard, and her mother Adeleid Albers came to Sugar Creek. In 1868 John married Maria Kries at Sugar Creek. Maria was born in Karlshausen, Rheinland, Germany and her family had settled in Sharon Township in 1862. John Underberg was listed as a farmer in the 1870 census. Three children were born at Sugar Creek, before John and Maria moved to Carroll County in 1873. Adeleid died in 1866 and is buried at St. Joseph’s. Christina died in Dec 1872 and is buried at St. Joseph’s. It was after Christina’s death that the family moved. John and Mary are my great-grandparents. Their son Bernard was born in 1872 in Sugar Creek, and is my grandfather. Bernard married Anna Otto in Carroll County. They moved to Wilkin County, Minnesota in 1904, and that is where my father was born, and where I was born.

Bernard, also known as Barney, married Catherine Brown, daughter of Bernard and Josephine, in 1874. He was a house carpenter and helped build one of the churches at Sugar Creek. They had 5 children; Bernard, Josephine, Louis, Henrich, and Maria Katherine. Bernard, Jr. and Henrich died as infants. Bernard, Sr. died before 1889, and Catherine married John Ahlers. Louis married Mary Sterk, daughter of Joseph Sterk and Margaret Sterbenz, in1921 and they had no children. Mary (known as Mae) remained single. Josephine married Emil Fuegen in 1899, and they had 8 children.

Footnote: I visited Schermback, Uefte and Raesfeld in June of 2006 and met 4th and 5th Underberg cousins. It was a wonderful experience seeing the land of my ancestors and visiting on the Underberg farm which has been in the family for over 400 years. Marilu

The Zeiser Family
John Zeiser was born Jan. 12, 1852 in Sadetz, Austria. He married Mary Stalzer from Bresowitz, Austria in Sugar Creek on 1/27/1876. She was born Feb 19, 1850 in Austria. John and Mary listed their occupation as farmer and housekeeper in the 1880 census. Listed are their eight children: Theresa married Bill Becker from Graettinger, Iowa. The following three children remained in Sugar Creek. Mary, who married Louis Franzen; Anna, who married Bill Franzen; Frank, who married Loretta Fier; Kate, who married William Boehmer, settled in South Dakota; Lena, who married Bill Banowetz and remained in Sugar Creek; and Lizzie, who married Adolph Mesch of Dubuque and Joe, of Maquoketa.

Frank Zeiser was the depot agent in Browns. Frank Zeiser bought the "Old Browns" store from Andrew Peschel, and moved it to "New Browns" around 1942 Frank Zeiser moved his store from Old to New Browns before he had the foundation for it. So he settled it on four big jacks, one at each corner. All through that winter, when there were very strong winds, he worried and prayed (all by himself, so as not to alarm the family) that the building would be blown off the jacks. When he finally had a foundation and cellar dug and prepared by old Mr. John Ahlers, Frank, by himself, lowered the store from the jacks to the foundation, "jack by jack" and "inch by inch". Those were the days! Later, an addition was built onto this store, where the Zeiser family lived.

Frank Zeiser married Loretta Fier. Loretta was the daughter of Anton Fier and Mary Perion. Their children are: Sister Bertha Zeiser, who is in Clinton, Iowa; Francis, who married Bea Rosenthal and lives in California; Edward, who married Jean Alter and lives in Maxwell, Iowa, and Genevieve, who married Don Leonard and lives in Florida. After the death of Loretta Fier, Frank Zeiser married Agnes Ahlers, daughter of John and Catherine.


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