Gilbert Kettelkamp

The picture on the front page and the following article and the family tree was written by Prof. Gilbert Kettelkamp. All credit goes to him.

James Robert Kettelkamp

Chicago, IL

Prof .Gilbert Kettelkamp of the University of Illinois writes us the following interesting letter on family ancestors. Prof. Kettelkamp is a native of Nokomis and has many friends and relatives here.

Dear Sirs:
Enclosed is my check for renewal of subscription to your paper. The issues of the Free Press Progress are a weekly tie with my former home community; I always look forward to them.
Enclosed is also a copy of a photograph which will, no doubt, bring back recollections to some of the older members of the Nokomis community. Strange as it may seem, this picture appeared recently in a newspaper in another county many thousand miles away from where it was taken years ago. Briefly the events leading up to this appearance are as follows:

In 1959 my wife and I spent several months in Europe, and in our travels we became interested in locating the community which my great grandfather had left in 1853 to come to the United States. With the aid of Frederick E. Hunsche , a writer and historian, whom we met in Brochterbeck, Westphahalia, Germany, we not only located the farmstead near Lienen which he had left, but also the old Lutheran church in Lienen which held records of the family line from the year 1790 to 1853. Lienen is located about 12 miles from Brochterbeck, the home of Hunsche, and about 20 miles from Tecklenburg, the old city which serves as the county seat of the surrounding community.

When we began to speak with Mr. Hunsche we were amazed to discover that two weeks previously the man had been asked by D.C. Williams of Pinkstaff, Illinois to compile records of four families that had migrated to America years ago. One of the four families was named Kettelkamp while another was named Bollman. Up until that day neither Mrs. Kettelkamp nor I had ever heard of a man by the name of D.C. Williams. Later, after returning to our home, we were to learn That he was a retired Methodist minister related to our family by marriage. His daughter had asked him to obtain information about the family. The coincidence was even more remarkable when we came to realize that Bollman family named by Rev. Williams was that of my grandmother. She had been a Bollman prior to her marriage to grandfather.

Frederick Hunsche explained that he had become interested years ago in collecting records of families from his local community. Some of those people had gone away to North America, others to South America. The movement had covered a period of about 125 years of time. However, his information on families sometimes dated back as much as two to three hundred years. He told us that some six generations back one of his own ancestors had been a member of our family.

About six months ago Hunsche wrote to me asking whether I could supply him with pictures of any of the family who had been actual immigrants from Lienen in 1853. It happened that my mother Mrs. Minnie C. Kettelkamp, had an original of the enclosed picture, so I had a copy made and sent it to Mr. Hunsche. The man acknowledge receipt of the picture, but I heard nothing further until a few days ago when I received a bulky copy of Der Tecklenburger, the daily newspaper of the county seat city of Westphalia, Germany. The paper was a special edition celebrating the 125th anniversary of the newspaper's publication. One page was given over entirely to an article by Mr. Hunsche under the title "Thousands Migrated From Teckelnburg To Foreign Lands Because Their Homeland Could Not Provide Sustenance For Them."

On the page was a copy of the enclose photograph bearing the caption "This picture was taken prior to the First World War. In the front row are the Kettelkamp brothers, who with their father, in the year 1853, migrated from Lienen to Illinois". A possible error exists in this statement, I believe, for the records show that only two of the brothers, i.e., William and Ernst, had been born prior to the date of leaving.

Older residents of the Nokomis community will no doubt, recognize all of the persons shown in the photograph. The five couples were all early settlers in the South Fork community, north of town. Incidentally, the picture was taken by the late Mr. A.P. Pauschert in September, 1912, exactly fifty years ago. The occasion was a family reunion held on the site of the home now occupied by my brother Edgar, and wife and my mother.

Sometimes small things have a way of bring together events of the past and the present. Possibly this photograph has served to be such a tie.

Gilbert Kettelkamp, 1962

Incidentally, the car at the left center in the photograph shown on the Home page is, I believe, a Rambler belonging to the late John Kettelkamp. (See photograph on Home page).

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