Niewoehner - Background Information from Germany
The name Niewoehner was spelled as
Niewöhner in Germany. It is a North German name; a nickname
for a new neighbor or settler, from the Low German nie or new plus wöhner or dweller, settler. (Dictionary of American Family Names).
As a child, I thought that I must certainly be related to all of the
Niewoehners in the world, since it was such an unusual name.
Since then, I have discovered that there are three different
Niewoehner families in the United States. My family comes from
Mönkehöfen and Niederholsten. Another family came from
Oldendorf and the third from Bielefeld. Since these villages are
with a few miles of each other, east of Osnabrück, I still suspect we
are related, although I do not yet have any proof.
The earliest informtion I have on the Niewöhner family comes from
Heimatforscher of Osnabrück, written by Heinrich and Adolf Westerfeld
in 1934. It states that the Freiherr von Hammerstein of
Gesmold split up the Vollerbe Rothert of Niederholsten during the last
decades of the 17th century. It was split into four farms. In 1720,
these farms were called Rohtert, Rohters Niewöhner, Rohters
Melcher and Rohters Ludecke, which was called Lucke in 1934. This
was the beginning of the Niewöhner farm in Niederholsten and is
probably my family, although more research is needed.
The following information is about my Niewoehner family.
George Frederick Niewoehner and
Laura Wilhelmina Margareta Kilcher
Friedrich Johann Niewoehner and Anna Maria Louisa Niemann
Frederick and Louisa Niewoehner with their three oldest children.
Frederick and Louisa Niemann Niewoehner and family
Friedrich Johann Niewoehner was born February 8, 1855 in Pieper Cottage
#17, Mönkehöfen, Germany, the son of Johann Friedrich
Niewoehner and Katharina Engel Bergheger. At the age of 17, he
left Germany and
boarded the ship Leipzig in Bremen to come to the United States.
Leaving on February 27, 1872, he arrived in New York on April 6,
The family history stated that Friedrich was sponsored by the
Wefel family of Wisconsin, working for them on their farm for $5.00 per
month. Although it was known that he was in Grant Co., there were
several Wefels living there at the time. Recent research
indicates that it was most likely Adam Heinrich Wefel who was his
Adam Heinrich Bergheger, brother to Friedrich’s mother, Katharina
Engel Bergheger had married Anna Maria Engel Niemann in 1843.
Unfortunately, Adam Heinrich died quite young, leaving his wife and one
son, Herman Heinrich Bergheger. Anna Maria married again in
1846 to Adam Heinrich Wefel. While living in Germany, they became
the parents of five children, but eventually left Germany and came to
Grant Co., Wisconsin. Since Anna Maria was Friedrich’s
aunt, it seems very likely that her husband sponsored her nephew.
Anna Maria Louisa Niemann, known as Louisa, was born February 19, 1857
in Grambergen and baptized in Schledehausen, Germany. She was the
daughter of Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Niemann and Katharina Marie
Margarethe Elizabeth Laumann. Louisa left Germany on June 27,
1872 with her parents and younger siblings, the older brothers having
come earlier. They settled near Fennimore, Wisconsin.
Friedrich and Louisa were married at St. Paul’s, Liberty Ridge,
near Fennimore on July 13, 1879. They came to Iowa after their
marriage, riding in a lumber wagon. They became the parents of 12
children. Friedrich died October 4, 1930 and Louisa on May 20,
1959, at the age of 102. They are buried at St. Peter’s
Cemetery, Richfield, Iowa.
Note: Anna Maria Engel Niemann Bergheger Wefel, aunt to
Friedrich, was a sister to Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Niemann,
Louisa’s father. Anna Maria’s son Herman Heinrich
Bergheger was a prominent businessman in Stitzer, Wisconsin, and owner
of H. Bergheger & Co., a general store. In later life, he and
his cousin, Friedrich Johann Niewoehner, looked so much alike, they
might have been mistaken for brothers.
Johann Friedrich Niewöhner and Katharina Engel Bergheger
Johann Friedrich Niewöhner was born March 30, 1817 in Niederholsten, parish of Westeroldendorf.
Katharina Engel Bergheger was born December 25, 1819 in Mönkehöfen,
Germany. She was the daughter of Hermann Heinrich Bergheger and
Anna Marie Korfhage, Markkotter in Mönkehöfen, Markkotter means
that Hermann Heinrich Berghegger owned a small farm or Kotten, which
had been established in the Mark, which was land that was used by all
member of the community.
Johann Friedrich and Katharina Engel were married April 22, 1841
in Arenshorst and lived in Piepers Kotten, Mönkehöfen No.
17. They were the parents of seven children.
They came to the U.S. in 1882 and settled in Iowa. Johann died
July 18, 1894 and Katharina died January 9, 1912. They are both
buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Richfield, Iowa.
Jost Heinrich Niewöhner and Catharina Marie Pieper
Jost Heinrich Niewöhner and Catharina Marie Pieper were tenants
in Niederholsten, a town near Grambergen, Germany. Little is
known about them at this time, except that they were the parents of
Johann Friedrich Niewoehner.
Potatoes belong to a real German meal. If you find a German who
prefers rice or noodles, it’s usually because they don’t
like to peel potatoes! Germans like to prepare their potatoes in
many different ways.
Potatoes only arrived in Germany in the 18th century, however.
Friedrich II, the Great, (1712-1786) needed to feed his soldiers and
wanted to end the famines. However, Friedrich had to have
soldiers guard the field of potatoes, or they would have been destroyed
by the people. There is a saying in Germany, “Was der
Bauer nicht kennt, frisst er nicht” (a farmer don’t eat
what he don’t know).
St. Nicholas is patron saint of the pupils. He was bishop of Myra
(Turkey) and did many kind things for people. His feast day is
December 6th. To celebrate his day, children set out their shoes
outside the door or on a window-sill, together with some gifts for is
celebrated in Germany.
(Information from Anke Waldmann)