The life story I will tell today highlights a Hopfer. Martin Hopfer was born on June 30, 1866. He was the son of Gottfried and Catherine (Schaefer) Hopfer. Yesterday’s character, Adolph Schaefer, would have called Martin’s mother, Aunt Catherine. So Martin and Adolph would have been cousins. Although I could find no direct connection in our German Family Tree, I believe Martin’s father, Gottfried Hopfer, was related to the Michael Hopfer who I have referred to as Cooper Hopfer in past blog posts. Here is a photo of Gottfried Hopfer.
In the 1860 census, taken before Martin’s birth, we find Gottfried listed as a carpenter.
Although Martin Hopfer was born in 1866, I was not able to find him or his family in the 1870 census for either Perry or Cape Girardeau Counties. I looked in Cape Girardeau County because that is where we find the Gottfried Hopfer family in the 1880 census. Martin was 14 years old and working on his father’s farm.
Martin’s spouse would be a girl by the name of Mathilda Richter. The Richter surname is certainly one which shows up in abundance in our German Family Tree, but Mathilda’s parents only show up minimally. She was the daughter of Heinrich and Maria (Ludwig) Richter. Only one of Mathilda’s siblings shows up in a baptism record for St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. We find Mathilda in the 1880 census for Apple Creek Township, the same township in which Martin was living in 1880. This is almost certainly how Martin met Mathilda. Her father is described as being both a farmer and a stone mason.
I located a very interesting biography for Mathilda’s father, Henry Richter. I was especially fascinated by the fact that he was involved in the construction of a Catholic seminary building in Perryville and the Lutheran church in Friedheim.
In an obituary for Martin Hopfer’s father, Gottfried, we find that he had moved his family from this area to Linn, Kansas in 1889.
Another son in this Hopfer family became a merchant in Sylvan Grove, Kansas. I know there was an Eggers Store in that town with connections to an Eggers clan from Perry County, and there was an Eggers married to a Hopfer. Maybe Fred Eggers could explain that connection to me someday, but I am still out of town for the time being.
Martin Hopfer married Mathilda Richter on July 6, 1893 in or near Hastings, Nebraska. Here is their Nebraska marriage license. I find it puzzling that Tillie Richter is said to be from Linn, Kansas and not Martin Hopfer. It says he was from Kearney (County), Nebraska.
This license is for Adams County, Nebraska, which is one county away from the county in which Minden, Nebraska is located. I also found this newspaper article which announces the upcoming marriage of Martin Hopfer. It implies that this couple was married in Hastings, Nebraska which is in Adams County.
The 1900 census for Martin and Tillie is almost impossible to read, so I will move on to the 1910 census. We find them living in Minden, Nebraska where Martin was a dentist with four children.
Sometime between 1910 and 1920, the Hopfer family moved to the state of Washington. Before I show you that census entry, let me show another interesting document. When World War I draft registrations were completed in 1917-1918, one shows up for a dentist who was living in Minden, Nebraska by the name of Hopfer. Here is that form.
Amazingly, it is not Martin Hopfer on the form, but his younger brother, William Hopfer, who was also a dentist. I was unable to locate a World War I draft registration for Martin Hopfer. Here is a photo of William Hopfer D.D.S.
Here is the census for the Martin Hopfer family in 1920. They were living in Omak, Washington, and surprisingly, Martin was shown as being a farmer growing fruit. By the way, the rest of the family was shown on the next page, which I did not display.
The 1930 census shows Martin was back in the dentistry business again. He was still living in Omak.
Omak is a relatively small town located not that far from the Canadian border and northeast of Seattle.
Martin died in 1938; Mathilda died in 1942. These two are buried together in the Omak Memorial Cemetery in Omak, Washington.
I was unable to find a photograph of Mathilda (Richter) Hopfer. I did find a rather nice one of Martin.
I must admit that there were a couple factors that helped me choose this story today. First, I quickly discovered that this story took me to several interesting places. Secondly, the story of Mathilda’s father, the stone mason, fascinated me. But I just could not resist doing a story about a man with such a great-looking mustache. Added to all this was the fact that I later discovered that there was not just one dentist in this Hopfer family, but two. By the way, there was also a schoolteacher Hopfer in this family as well, but his story is just going to have to wait till another day.