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. 

Gottscheers come to Browns
Researcher, Marilu Thurman, has been researching the Browns area, and the patterns of migration for years, and uncovered the following information. In the early 1860’s, and continuing into the 1870’s and 1880’s, pioneer settlers from the Gottschee area in Austria, (now Slovenia) started coming to Waterford Township, Section 4, in the area known as Browns. These include the family names of Agnich, Banowetz, Bluth, Buthala, Derganz, Golobitch, Herwath, Huttar, Jacklovitch, Jaklitsch, Jerman, Konig, Kotschevar, Lamuth, Loskey, Luckiesch, Mierly, Maurin, Messeridge, Nik, Pezdirtz, Perion, Peschel, Pluth, Roschitsch, Scheiko, Sietz, Simminich, Skalla, Smerkar, Staudacher, Sterbenz, Sterk, Stier, Strutzel, Stuckel, Teshak, Vertin and Vogrin. (Some of the above spellings are incorrect, but that is how they were written in the records.)

Marilu also found that the Banowetz family emigrated from Strassenberg (Strazni Vrh) which is less than a mile north of Maierle (Mayrien). They were originally from Roschizhverh (Rozic Vrh), which is less than 2 miles north of Strassenberg. The Peschel family came from Bistriz (Bistrica), which is to the west of Maierle (Mayrien). The Maurin families came from Loka and the Perion family came from Maierle. The Messeridge (Mesaric) family came from Crnomelj. The Buthala and Lamuth families were from Gric. The towns above are shown with the Austrian (German) spelling, as well as the Slovenian spelling. Some of these families only stayed in the area a short time, and moved on, but several of the names are still very familiar in the Sugar Creek area.

Around 1880, six Gottschee families moved from Sugar Creek to an area near Olpe in Lyon County, Kansas. They were Andrew Peschel, Martin Pluth, John Banowetz, Joseph Strutzel, Michael Sterbenz, and Joseph Maurin. The Peschel and Pluth families came back to Sugar Creek. Some members of the Sterbenz family remained in Kansas and some of the Sterbenz family stayed in Browns. Joseph Strutzel and Joseph Maurine remained in Kansas with their families. John Banowetz spent two years in Lyons County, Kansas and returned to Browns for a period of time, but in 1884 moved to the Coffeeville, Kansas area.