Seelitz to Jacob

Dorothea Schlimpert was born on this day, March 9, in 1889 in Jacob, Illinois.  She was the adopted daughter of Joseph and Carolina (Schuerenberg) Schlimpert.  Actually, it is recorded in the church records that Dorothea was an illegitimate child of Zacharias Menard and Carolina.  After Joseph and Carolina were married in 1892, Dorothea was adopted and went by the name Schlimpert.

The story I want to pursue today though is the one that tells how the Schlimpert name hopped across the Mississippi River and became a well-established name in Jacob, Illinois.  The story goes back to the last will and testament of Joseph’s father, August Julius Schlimpert, who died in 1879.  When he died, he had four living children.  In order from oldest to youngest, these children were Joseph, Amelia, Jacob, and Ida.

Julius’s will begins as follows:

Julius Schlimpert will 1

Like so many families in this community, Julius and his family were firmly rooted in their Lutheran faith and put that faith into practice in their lives, as evidenced by the introduction to this will.

Joseph was the eldest son in this Schlimpert family, and most families would pass their land on to the eldest son.  However, here is what is said in the will concerning Joseph.

Julius Schlimpert will 2

It says he was to receive the set amount of $150 with no mention of the land.

In a similar fashion, the two girls received the same thing as their older brother.

Julius Schlimpert will 3

Then came the mention of the younger brother, Jacob.

Julius Schlimpert will 4

As you can see, it was Jacob who received the Schlimpert land which was located in the Seelitz area, right below the infamous Stephansberg hill.  I do not know why the decision was made to leave the land to the younger son, not Joseph.  However, I think that in the long run, from an economic point of view, it may have been the best thing for Joseph, because I think it is a huge factor in his decision to move across the river and purchase property in Jackson County, Illinois.

Jacob raised his family on the old family homestead.  Here we have a photo of Jacob’s family standing in front of the old Schlimpert place.

Schlimpert homestead

The Seelitz area where their land was located in very hilly and forested.  There aren’t many fields which are good for row crops.  It was a difficult place to make a living as a farmer.

Joseph, on the other hand, managed to find some land in the Mississippi River bottoms near Jacob, Illinois.  Here is a map which shows the relative locations of Seelitz and Jacob, Illinois.

Seelitz-Jacob map

You should be able to tell that there is a big difference between the topography of the two areas.  The farming must have been much easier in Illinois, but it also carried with it the risk of flooding.

This enlargement of the Jacob area shows a road that is named Schlimpert Lane. I can only guess that Joseph’s land must have been around here.

Schlimpert Lane Jacob Illinois

You can also see that, if it was Joseph’s land, that he would have been able to see the church steeple in Jacob and must have been able to hear the church bells ring.  I was just told the story by one of our locals yesterday that there are places in Perry County, Missouri, where, if the situation is right, you can hear the Jacob church bells ring.

Joseph, in addition to his adopted daughter, had three more children, one boy and two girls.  All indications point to the fact that Joseph did quite well on his farm in Jackson County.  Who knows?  If Joseph had been given the family farm, it may have been his younger brother, Jacob, who would have ended up in Jacob.


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