E.A. Hopfer – All Over Kansas, Ends Up in Washington

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know that several Perry County natives moved to the state of Kansas over the years. Today will be another one of those stories. It begins with the birth of Emanuel Alvin Hopfer, who was born on September 20, 1861. Emanuel was the son of Gottfried and Catherine (Schaefer) Hopfer. He was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. We can take a look at his baptism record from that congregation’s books. It will be the only local church record we will see for Emanuel.

Emanuel Alvin Hopfer baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

I was unable to find Emanuel in the 1870 census, so the first census in which I found him was the 1876 Missouri state census.

1876 Missouri state census – Cape Girardeau County, MO

We find Emanuel in the 1880 census at the age of 18, He was working on his father’s farm. This would be the last census in which we find Emanuel living in this area.

1880 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Emanuel got married in Kansas in 1889. Let’s take a look at the woman who would become his first wife. Her name was Anna Wehrkamp, who was born on March 6, 1867. She was the daughter of George and Wilhelmine Wehrkamp. I located this photograph of the Wehrkamp family. It is a little puzzling. Anna is said to be the 8th of 9 children born in this family, but the youngest child may be a girl but the other younger children of the 9 in this photo seem to be boys. It’s a mystery to me.

George Wehrkamp family

The only census in which I found Anna before she was married is the 1880 census. The Wehrkamp’s were living in the Washington Township of Jackson County, Indiana. Anna was listed as 15 years old.

1880 census – Washington Township, Jackson County, IN

Somehow, Anna Wehrkamp made it from the Washington Township in Indiana to Washington County in Kansas by the time she married Emanuel Hopfer. (There are plenty of Washington’s in this story.) A probate judge performed this wedding in that county.

Hopfer/Wehrkamp marriage record – Washington County, KS

Emanuel and Anna had a short marriage, but they were blessed with 3 children, two girls and a boy. The boy died as an infant. The marriage was short because not long after the boy was born in 1894, Anna died. There was enough time between the birth and Anna’s death to indicate that her death was not related to childbirth. Anna was buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Linn, Kansas.

Anna Hopfer gravestone – Zion, Linn, KS

A Kansas state census was taken in 1895, and we find Emanuel Hopfer and his family living with his parents, who had also moved to Kansas, in Linn. All 3 of his children, Alma, Laura, and Walter, were in this household.

1895 Kansas state census – Linn, KS

It must not have been long after this census was taken that young Walter died. This notice was published in a newspaper.

Walter Hopfer death notice

As you can see in the above article, Emanuel was often called E.A. Hopfer. He would marry again. His second wife was Katherine Breckenkamp, who might have been born on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1872. Her later death certificate says she was born on the Fourth of July, 1869. She was the daughter of August and Catherine (Kappelmann) Breckenkamp. The first census in which we find Katherine was the one taken in 1880. Her family was living in Washington, Missouri. Katherine’s father was called a notary public and a business agent.

1880 census – Washington, MO

Emanuel Hopfer married Katharie Breckenkamp on April 19, 1898 in Washington, Missouri. It is this event that directed me to writing this story, because today would be the 124th anniversary for this couple. Since this marriage took place in Missouri, we can take a look at the standard Missouri marriage license you often see on this blog. It says Emanuel was from Linn, Kansas.

Hopfer/Breckenkamp marriage license

We can take a look at the wedding photo for this couple.

Emanuel and Katherine Hopfer wedding

Emanuel took his new bride back to Kansas. We find the Hopfer’s in the 1900 census living in Linn. Emanuel’s occupation is difficult to read, but Ancestry transcribes it as “general stable”.

1900 census – Linn, KS

A Kansas state census was taken in 1905. In this entry, we find the Hopfer’s living in Sylvan Grove, Kansas, a location that has been mentioned often in this blog. His two daughters are in the household, along with his younger brother, Gottfried, and his family. His older unmarried sister, Clara, is also found in this entry.

1905 Kansas state census – Sylvan Grove, KS

Emanuel and his family moved again before the 1910 census. They were still living in Kansas, but this time they were found in the Alma Township of Waubansee County. Emanuel was called the proprietor of a general sales store.

1910 census – Alma Township, Waubansee County, KS

After this, we find Emanuel and Katherine living in Washington, Missouri for the rest of their lives. I wasn’t able to find the 1920 census entry for them, but I am almost certain they were living in Washington, Missouri. Below is the 1930 census. Emanuel and Katherine had an empty nest.

1930 census – Washington, MO

The last census in which we find Emanuel was the one taken in 1940. At the age of 78, Emanuel had no occupation.

1940 census – Washington, MO

Emanuel Hopfer died in 1945 at the age of 83. His death certificate describes him as a retired merchant. It also says he lived in Washington, Missouri for 30 years.

Emanuel Hopfer death certificate

I found an obituary for Emanuel. Some information in this obituary does not match some documents I’ve displayed in this post. It also adds the fact that Emanuel was once a teacher in Missouri before moving to Kansas.

Emanuel Hopfer obituary

Katherine Hopfer is likely found in the 1950 census for Washington, but I did not take the time to look for her. She died in 1951 at the age of 81. We can also view her death certificate.

Katherine Hopfer death certificate

Emanuel’s death certificate says he was buried in Washington, Missouri, and Katherine’s death certificate says she was buried in the Lutheran cemetery in that city. Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery on Findagrave.com has no entry for either of them.

Despite being born in this area and baptized at Grace, Uniontown, Emanuel did not spend much time here. However, after spending quite a bit of time in various locations in Kansas, he settled back in his home state.

In closing, I want to show a photo I located of 4 Hopfer brothers. I am impressed by the Hopfer mustaches.


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