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Monday, February 16, 2009

Romantic or Practicality of Sensible Dorothea Schlaphoff

I checked my blog today and discovered my updated touches had disappeared. I had lost my battery power on my laptop and did not get it back for almost a day. When it went suddenly I had been working on this blog. I have managed to recover most of it. Sorry for that error. I nearly died for fear of the puter not returning. but it did by some accident. It restored my faith in "If you wait it will come."



Today according to other bloggers is suppose to be wordless Wednesday. I am going to do the best that I can to make it less words this wednesday. We all know it can't be WORDLESS. I'd like to dwell a little today on the Schlphoff family member - Dorothea Schlaphoff the Mail Order Bride.


Dorothea Schlaphoff left Hamburg ariving in New York, amerika 31.Mai.1870 on ship Silesia.>





http://www.castlegarden.org/quick_search_detail.php?p_id=4816262
Castle Garden: "

DORA SCHLAPHOF
Occupation..UNKNOWN
Age..23
Sex..F
Literacy..U
Ship..SILESIA
Arrived..31 May 1870
Origin..GERMANY
Port..HAMBURG & HAVRE
Last Residence
Destination 7328
Plan..Unknown
Passage..Unknown

Passenger ships of Castle Garden- list- http://www.castlegarden.org/quick_search_detail.php?p_id=4816246
Castle Garden: "Search Results..MAGDA RUETER
Occupation..UNKNOWN
Age..23
Sex..F
Literacy..U
Ship..SILESIA
Arrived..31 May 1870
Origin..GERMANY
Port..HAMBURG & HAVRE
Last Residence
Destination 7328
Plan..Unknown
Passage..Unknown


The family Schlaphoff had spread from Raven to Rehlingen, Westergellersen before emigration to america. Johann Heinrich Christoph Schlaphof left home to go to school at Tellmer. At some point while he was there he worked on the Luhmann farm at Eichdorf. He married the landowners daughter, Dorothea Luhmann. Dorothea's daughters birth is documented to be at 1847 Tellmer. It was this daughter, Dorothea, who was the first of the Schlaphoff family to settle at Nebraska. Other family at Telmer and Rehlingen] to came to Amerika.

As the ship Silesia came from Hamburg 31.May.1870 to New York both Dorothea Schlaphoff and her friend Magdalena Rueter exited the ship. The Hamburg passenger list is hard to read. I can not tell if Magdalena is far from Dorothea on the list.


Had Magdalena also been temporarily at Telmer, or even Eichdorf. Jonas of Dahlenburg has several names of Rueter and Ruther in his tree with the name Luhmann. Some of his names came from a western area by Hamburg.
Note: I want to pursue this name Rueter again later. I tried to do some browsing on the name Ruther a few years ago and failed to find much of anything.

If I didn't already know why, I would be asking, why would Dorothea and Magdalena go to Cass county, Nebraska all by themselves? Did she or her friend in the Rueter family personally know anyone in Cass county, Nebraska?
The partial answer to that question as to why brings us to the family story relayed to me by Ms. Mertens. I find family stories fascinating, and even more so, if they are little community stories. I think think this is such a one. I took the excerpt below from July archives of my blog. Which comes from Ms Mertens at Ancestry.com and from some emails that I received from her a few years ago. I am so grateful for her help and response.

Dorothea Schlaphoff - a mail order Bride--
A Rootdigger: "ii. DOROTHEA SCHLAPHOFF, b. April 24, 1847, Germany; d. June 07, 1939, Murdock, Nebraska; m. FRED RUGE; b. February 05, 1847; d. August 08, 1919.



Notes for DOROTHEA SCHLAPHOFF:
Notes by John William Schlaphoff:
'The heroine of the family was Dorothea Schlaphoff who came to America in 1870 with her friend Magdalena Rueter. A pioneer by the name of Henry Oehlerking sent money for Dorothea to come and marry him. After she arrived she refused to marry him, saying that he was too old (by 20 years). She then married Fred Ruge and Magdalena married Henry. History does not record if Henry ever received a rebate.'"


I have always been a little fascinated by this story every since I heard it. There is something about Dorohea's courage that touches everyone. Perhaps it is too the little humor that Ms Mertens and her father had attached to it in the comment about the rebate.




Personal Speculation : I think my fascination lies in the courage of Dorothy that touches everyone.

As a woman I understand the biological clock that ticks. I understand that once a woman hit about age nineteen she is likely to be recorded as spinster. I don't know if it made a woman wince as it does in america?

As a woman who has the romantic child in me, I understand the need for romance, love, family relationships. I would think every bride has some in her. But in those days before nineteen hundred in Germany what she knew was that many marriages were arranged by parents. She has to be practical, but like our courageous Dorothea in those days of arranged marriages, she figured she could have somewhat of both. It seems to me to be practical, a adventurous and romantic notion all in one. As a confident lady, she must have known her parents would also help her; to do what ever they could to see that she was safe, even that far away.

Every bride wants a memorable wedding, I would think even in the west. Never frivolous. Practical, Sensible. When / how does it all get practical. Even now 2009 planning a wedding becomes both.

This million dollar question has come to mind.

Do you think Dorothea came with a Wedding dress?
We would each answer it with our own perspectives about life. Would it be based on your practical side or Romantic side of your mind / heart?

I think that if she needed her passage paid for by Oelerking, then she could afford the dress, or she maybe couldn't afford the dress. She knew she was getting married. She could very well have made room in that trunk for the dress. The dress could even be made over into something else or saved for her future daughters. It could have been shipped to her too at a great expense. But then one could be practical and put aside the dreams of a traditional Wedding gown and go with a beautiful special frock which could be used again and again at special occasions. Then she would have more room in her trunk for say books or something useful.

Was there a marriage in a church, a marriage outdoors, in someones home, at a legal establishment? It was at a time when many at first only had sod houses. I know Ministers covered a huge area. I would think no specific date could be planned. But I am not sure about that area of Nebraska.

Now, I assume that the groom made a special arrangement for her accommodations. Lodging somewhere other than his place while she had time to reconsider. I wonder if he knew ahead of time that Dorothea was coming with a friend.

I wonder too how aware her parents were of this arrangement during Dorotheas plans to become a Mail Order Bride. What would she have to do to get their consent, or was it their strong suggestion.



I tried to be short about Dorothea Schlaphoff this time, but with such a great subject as Mail Order Bride, it was impossible. I am feeling a bit sorry for those who wanted a short brief posting.

I would love to hear anyones thoughts and comments on the mail order bride.
arootdigger [at] gmail
jo



Sources:
A Rootdigger: "ii. DOROTHEA SCHLAPHOFF, b. April 24, 1847, Germany; d. June 07, 1939, Murdock, Nebraska; m. FRED RUGE; b. February 05, 1847; d. August 08, 1919.

- Full ships list at Ancestry.com on Hamburg list.
- Picture at ancestry.com on passenger listings.
- Picture bustle from cyclopedias.

- The small thumbnail Photos courtesy of flicker photographers. click photos for information.
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6 comments:

  1. I stumbled on this blog doing a search for the roots of my mother's maiden name. John Schlaphoff that you note in this story is my great uncle. I have visited our cousins in Germany and I have a little bit of insight to the story as I have read a hand written account of it and how my great grandfather Carl Schlaphoff came to work for his aunt Dorothea. According to the story I read, both women were very poor and only had one wooden tool chest (a small hand carried wood workers kit) between them to pack all their belongings, since they could not fit much for clothes in the box other than their unmentionables they each wore a number of dresses to the harbor. I would certainly hope they had some place to disrobe the extra ones on the ship. I do not know whether a wedding dress was among the dresses that either wore, but it must have made quite a site if it were.

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  2. Oh my gosh I am so glad you stumbled upon my blog and most of all left me a comment. I am sorry I was so caught up in farming on Farmville at facebook that I missed you.

    I sure hope you come back. I will check my atootdigger @gmail see if your email comes up. I hope you would like to let me email you and let us have some discussions about this interesting family. Maybe your research???

    Thank you very much for your contribution.

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  3. for a rootdigger: I live in the Nebraska area where Ruges are fairly prolific. My husbands imm. ancestor was Johann Bernhard Ruge. He put an h in the name once he arrived. I believe Fred is a relative. S. Ruhge

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  4. Sherry, I would love to know more of the Ruge. Also if you know more about how the mail order bride request was done. was it a case of someone knew someone who knew someone. So Johann Bernhard was there to this area first. How would they settle the land. Dugouts or little homes?

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  5. Jo:
    The Schlaphoff ancestors never lived in sod houses. In eastern Nebraska, there were enough trees for cabins. They usually started with building a one-room cabin and added on and up as they grew more prosperous.

    I have lots of Rueter and Ruge information online at ancestry.com on my "Anderson Hamlow Schlaphoff Luetchens" tree. ancestry.com. I have posted my grandmother's account of their wedding in 1908, which will give you some idea of the customs of the time. She was Emma Luetchens who married Carl Schlaphoff. And, whoever posted above and said that John Schlaphoff was a great-uncle, please contact me at marilyn.mertens2@gmail.com. I have lots of family history information from my dad (John) that I would love to share.

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  6. I just have to get back to this family and update. Sorry guys. I'll check back after work today.

    ReplyDelete

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