Bremen to Bremen

Today’s post is primarily the work of a friend of our museum, Sally Gustin, who has written for our blog in the past. She and her cousin have been working on their Thies genealogy. If you follow Sally’s family tree back through her mother, you find the Estel surname, which is a name found in the Gesellschaft. This post goes back through her father’s family, who was a Thies. Sally has provided me with most of the text and images for this story, but I have made my own contributions to make it work on this blog. I want to thank Sally and her cousin for making this contribution to our blog today.

Sally Gustin


The family of Wilhelm & Wilhelmine Thies left their home in Bockhorst, Germany, traveling from Bremen to the United States on the ship, New Orleans.  They arrived on Nov. 4. 1857. 

As you can see in the information below, Heinrich Wilhelm Thies is today’s birthday boy, born on this day in 1813.

From the book: Beitraege zur westfaelischen Familienforschung, Westfaelische Auswanderer aus dem Regierungsbezirk Minden: 

“Thies, Heinrich Wilhelm 

New farmer from Bockhorst, a parish and city in the county of Halle, North-Rhine Westphalia born: 29 August 1813 in Oesterweg, parish Versmold. 
His wife: Thies, née Langenkamp, Catharina Wilhelmine
 born: 14 September 1815 in Oesterweg, parish Versmold. Emigrated in 1857 from Bockhorst to North America with release documents of the Prussian State.”

They brought their children:

Henriette Elise, born: 10 December 1841 

Franz Christian, born: 25 October 1844 

Catharina Wilhelmine, born: 5 July 1848

Heinrich Friedrich, born: 23 November 1850 

Catharina Maria, born: 3 December 1854 

Thies family – New Orleans passenger list

A photo of the Lutheran Church of Brockhorst is displayed below.

The Lutheran Church of Brockhorst

The sign pictured below can be found outside that church.

Sign outside of church : The Entire World is Full of Wonder

Wilhelm & Wilhelmine settled in Bremen, Illinois. We find them in the 1860 census living in Randolph County, Illinois.

1860 census – Randolph County, IL

Wilhelm and Wilhelmine would not live there long, both dying in 1864.  They were buried in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Bremen, Illinois.

Wilhelm and Wilhelmine Thies gravestone – St. John’s, Bremen, IL

The death records for these two are found in the books of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bremen, Illinois. First, here is the one for Wilhelm.

Wilhelm Thies death record – St. John’s, Bremen, IL

Next, here is the death record for Wilhelmine.

Wilhelmine Thies death record – St. John’s, Bremen, IL

Before their deaths, that gave birth to one more child: Johann Friedrich “Fritz” Thies (Note: His birth record says he was born in 1858, but tombstone says 1859.)

Fritz Thies birth and baptism record – St. John’s, Bremen, IL

The younger children of Wilhelm & Wilhelmine were taken in by local families.  In the 1870 census, we find Fritz in the home of a Bremen area couple, Henry & Caroline Thies.  Eleven year old Fritz is listed as being a “laborer” in this home.  

1870 census – Randolph County, IL

In the 1880 census, Fritz is living in the home of Henry & Emma Meyerhoff in Wine Hill, IL.  There he is listed as a “farm worker’.  

1880 census – Wine Hill, IL

On the following census page, is his future wife, Amelia Knop.

1889 census – Wine Hill, IL

On Sept. 25, 1884, Fritz and Amelia were married at St. Peter’s Church, Wine Hill.  In all following censuses we find them living in Campbell Hill, IL.  In the 1900 census, we find a rather large Thies family.

1900 census – Campbell Hill, IL

Next, we find the Thies household in the 1910 census.

1910 census – Campbell Hill, IL

The 1920 census is the last one in which we find Amelia.

1920 census – Campbell Hill, IL

Fritz was a widower when the 1930 census came out.

1930 census – Campbell Hill, IL

Amelia would die in 1924 at the age of 65, and Fritz died in 1934 at the age of 74.  They are buried in St. Luke’s Lutheran Cemetery, Campbell Hill. They had a total of 8 children; 6 of them lived to adulthood.  Fritz was one of the founders of St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Campbell Hill, in 1887.  

The marriage license for Fritz and Amelia is displayed below. It’s a little difficult to read.

Thies/Knop – Illinois marriage license

Later in their lives, Fritz and Amelia had a photo taken with them sitting in front of their home. It’s another one of those pictures that got photobombed by a dog.

Fritz and Amelia Thies were buried together in the St. Luke’s Lutheran Cemetery in Campbell Hill, Illinois.

Fritz and Amelia Thies gravestone – St. Luke’s, Campbell Hill, IL

Another photo we can show is one taken that includes the children of Fritz and Amelia.

  The children of Fritz & Amelia. L-R: Edwin, Ida, Arnold, William, Lena, Herbert


The surname, Thies, shows up in our German Family, and almost every time it does, it comes from a church record of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. The connection we find in the GFT to today’s story is found in this information concerning the couple made up of Fern Estel, who married Dr. Edward Roy “Ep” Thies in 1950. They are Sally’s folks.

One thought on “Bremen to Bremen

  1. Hello, I love thies familyreport.
    It is a part of my familytree.
    Greetings from Germany, Winsen an der Aller

    Rainer Knop


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