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Obituaries, Death Certificate, Probate

Reverend Ernst Constantin August Maria Baron von Droste zu Hülshoff

NOTE: This website will no longer be updated. Please see my other website for new information about Constantin: Auswanderer-from Bavaria, Bohemia and Bukovina

Reverend Constantin von Droste zu Huelshoff was a priest born in Germany. He emigrated to America and served as a priest at many parishes in Wisconsin.

About his name

His first name has been spelled as Constantin, Constantine, and Konstantin.
It is common for males to have the name "Maria" as a middle name.
The last name is "von Droste zu Hülshoff" and would be indexed under "D" for Droste.
Hülshoff without the umlaut would be spelled as "Huelshoff."
The last name can also be hypenated as such: von Droste-Huelshoff - or abbreviated - v. Droste-Hülshoff.
Baron is English for the German word "Freiherr" and is a title of nobility.

Reverend Ernst Constantin August Maria Baron von Droste zu Hülshoff

Constantin was born on January 22, 1841 and baptized in Münster, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. He was the third son and fifth child born to his parents, Joseph and Julie. Constantin's first-cousin-once-removed, the famous poet Elisabeth Anna "Annette" von Droste zu Huelshoff, wrote that it was she who suggested that Constantin be named "August Maria." Annette said Constantin was the largest child she had ever seen and when he was six weeks old, he looked just like his mother. Annette attended the baptism before returning to the Rüschhaus. The baptismal sponsors were Annette's uncle Constans and Annette's mother. Constantin's grandfather, Maximilian von Droste zu Huelshoff, and Annette's father, Klemens August von Droste zu Huelshoff, were brothers.

Constantin's family

Constantin lived in Münster, at Haus Alst (Wasserschloß Alst) near Leer, and in Veitshöchheim in Germany

For a short time, Constantin lived with his parents and siblings in a castle surrounded by water called Wasserschloß Alst (Ortsteil Leer, Kreis Steinfurt, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany), also known as "Haus Alst." The Droste zu Huelshoff family lived at Haus Alst from 1832 to 1843.

During the time they lived at Haus Alst, the family also had a residence in Rüxleder Hofe on Kuhstrasse in the Überwasser section of Münster (Muenster), Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Their address was also listed as Domplatz 21 in Muenster.

The Haus Alst castle is now privately owned by the Carlfried Graf von Westerholt family. In August 2007, Carlfried said that people mistakenly think owners of castles are rich; in fact, the owners need to have a regular income to sustain the historic buildings and 100 hectare area.

Wasserschloß Alst

After Constantin's father, Joseph, died in 1850, Constantin's mother Julie and her children moved 238 miles from Münster to Veitshöchheim am Main, located only 5 miles north of Würzburg (Wuerzburg), Bavaria, Germany. Veitshöchheim has a palace and large rococo courtyard and garden called "Schloss und Hofgarten." The castle is owned by the Bavarian crown and was used as a summer palace of the Prince Bishops of Würzburg. The garden has many natural alleys and walkways, decorative hedges, a pond with water fountains, nearly 300 sculptures, a grotto, and several pavillions. It is believed that the oldest brother of Constantin worked at the castle garden in Veitshöchheim. The oldest brother would have been Max. The next oldest brother, Eduard, was a soldier and is buried at St. Martin cemetery in Veitshöchheim. Mother, Julie, is also buried there.

An explanation of Freiherr and Baron

As the Wikipedia website says, "All sons of a Freiherr are Freiherren and can be referred to as Baron. The wife of a Freiherr is called Freifrau (literally "Free Lady"), and a daughter of a Freiherr is called Freiin (short for Freiherrin). It is considered correct in some circles to address a Freifrau or Freiin as "Baroness" (in German "Baronin"). Female former titles have been legally accepted as part of the last name after 1919 by a still valid decision of the German former High Court, the Reichsgericht. After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire (1806), Reichsfreiherr (Freiherr of the Empire) had no particular title or rank other than Freiherr." Please read the full text at Wikipedia to learn more about Freiherrn and Barons.

Obituaries at the time of Constantin's death reported that he gave up the life of a nobleman to become a priest. Constantin probably did not use the title Freiherr or Baron after he became a priest, but his school records at the University of Würzburg show the title Freiherr. And since all sons of a Freiherr are referred to as Baron, it is not actually correct to say that a title descended to him after his father's death. As one obituary incorrectly states, "He was the eldest son and the title descended to him upon the death of his father. He gave up the life of a nobleman to devote his entire work to the church. It was only in his private life which he used his title of Baron and this was very seldom." Constantin was not the oldest son, but was the third son.

Constantin studied to become a priest at the University of Würzburg Priest Seminary in Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany

Record from the Verzeichnissen (Directories) book at the University of Würzburg:

1862/63: Page 28: Name: v. Droste-Hülshoff, Constantin, Frhr.; Geburtsort: Münster; Land: Preussen; Fach: theol.; Wohnung, Dist. u. Nro.: I. 213 1/2 (Winter Semester)
1863: Page 28: Name: v. Droste-Hülshoff, Constantin, Frhr.; Geburtsort: Münster; Land: Preussen; Fach: theol.; Wohnung, Dist. u. Nro.: I. 213 1/2 (Summer Semester)
1863/64: Page 27: Name: v. Droste-Hülshoff, Constantin, Frhr.; Geburtsort: Münster; Land: Preussen; Fach: theol.: Wohnung, Dist. u. Nro.: Seminar (Winter Semester)
1864: Page 27: Name: v. Droste-Hülshoff, Constantin, Frhr.; Geburtsort: Münster; Land: Preussen; Fach: theol.; Wohnung, Dist. u. Nro.: Seminar (Summer Semester)

Source: Verzeichnissen.
Email dated
June 30, 2008, and copies mailed July 4, 2008, from Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Zentralverwaltung, Ref. 1.2, Zentrale Dienste, Untergeschoss, Zi. 13, Sanderring 2, 97070 Würzburg. Note: No photo of Constantin was found at the University archive.

1863 October 26: Constantin began studying in the Seminary in Würzburg.
1864 January 12: He received the Tonsure
[shaving of the head; or symbolic cutting of a few tufts of hair].
1864 July 5: He received the Niederen Weihen [low(?) Holy Orders; ordination] from Bishop Georg Anton von Stahl.
1864: In the first alumni course of the Wuerzburg seminary, his name is written in the personal schematism in the year 1864, on page 11

Constantin studied in Rome, Italy, and was ordained as a Priest

1864 October 17: Constantin entered the Pontificium Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum in Rome, Italy. He studied theology and philosophy. The Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum is a German-speaking seminary for Roman Catholic priests in Rome, founded in 1552. Since 1580, its full name has been "Pontificium Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum de Urbe" after Pope Gregory XIII merged the Collegium Germanicum with the Collegium Hungaricum (Hungarian College).
1867 April 20: Constantin was also ordained a priest in Rome on April 20, 1867 (DAW Schottkartei).
1867 August 3: Constantin left the college in Rome.

Constantin was a chaplain for a short time in Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany.

1869: In the Wuerzburg personal schematismus, he appears again in 1869 as Chaplain at St. Gertraud in Wuerzburg (page 15). At this time, Constantin entered the Order of Saint Francis (O.S.F.). The Franziskanerkloster in Würzburg, Germany, has no information about Constantin because records were all destroyed in the night of bombing at Würzburg which occurred on March 16, 1945.

1869: As a member of the Franciscan Order, Constantin became a missionary in America.

Source: Email dated June 25, 2008, from Archiv und Bibliothek des Bistums Würzburg, Diözesanarchiv Würzburg Domerschulstr. 17, 97070 Würzburg.
"Wir wissen, dass er ins Würzburger Priesterseminar am 26. Oktober 1863 eingetreten ist (DAW, Schottkartei) und dass er am 12. Januar 1864 die Tonsur und im selben Jahr am 5. Juli durch Bischof Georg Anton von Stahl die Niederen Weihen erhalten hat (DAW Würzburger Ordinationsmatrikel 1853-1899, S. 60f). Im ersten Alumnenkurs des Würzburger Priesterseminars ist er lediglich im Würzburger Personalschematismus des Jahres 1864, S. 11 zu finden. Da er im Oktober 1864 bereits in das Germanicum in Rom eingetreten ist, wird er wohl erst dort die eigentlichen theologischen und philosophischen Studien begonnen haben. In Rom wurde er auch am 20. 4. 1867 zum Priester geweiht (DAW Schottkartei).
Im Würzburger Personalschematismus taucht er erst wirder [wieder] im Jahre 1869 als Kaplan bei St. Gertraud in Würzburg auf (S. 15) und danach ist er nicht mehr zu finden." Note: No photo of Constantin was found at the Diocese archive.

Source: Email dated December 10, 2008 from the Pontificium Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum in Rome, Italy: ich bedaure, Ihren Erkenntnisstand über Konstantin von Droste-Hülshoff nicht wesentlich erweitern zu können, da in unserem Archiv ausgerechnet für das Jahr 1864 keine Aufnahmepapiere ausgewiesen sind. Auch sind keine Briefe Droste-Hülshoffs vorhanden. Nachweisbar ist, dass Droste-Hülshoff das Kolleg am 3.8.1867 verließ. Im Matrikelbuch ist über die unmittelbar darauffolgende Zeit vermerkt: "1869 ingressus est O[rdinem] S[ancti] Franc[isci] (?) et in Americam missus" (Best. 10, Teil A, Nr. 1, Eintr. 438) Diese Bemerkung ist aber bereits bei ihrer Entstehung mit einem Fragezeichen versehen worden. Ein Archiv der deutschen Franziskanerprovinz(en) könnte Ihnen darüber sichere Auskunft geben. Ebenso müsste das Archiv der Diözese Würzburg sagen können, ob Droste-Hülshoff nach seinem römischen Aufenthalt in sein Heimatbistum zurückkehrte und welche Aufgabe er damals gegebenenfalls überahm. Mit meinem Bedauern, Ihnen nicht weiter helfen zu können, verbleibe ich mit freundlichen Grüßen, Br. Markus Pillat SJ, Kollegsarchivar. Pontificium Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum, Archiv, Via S. Nicola da Tolentino, 13, 00187 Roma, ITALIEN. 

Source: Abschrift ACGU Best. 10, Teil A, Nr. 1, Eintragung 438, S. 158: „Constantinus Droste-Hülshoff, dioec[esis] Herbipolensis. Natus 22 Jan[uarii] 1841 Monasterii Westphal[orum], sed transiit in dioec[esem] Herbipol[ensem] ante ingressum in Coll[egium] nostrum. Studuit li[teris] hum[anioribus] in gymn[asio], et per annum Theologiae in universitate Herbipolensi. Venit in coll[egium] 17 Oct[obris] 1864, commendatus a R[everendissi]mo ep[iscop]o Stahl (n[otum] 47)1 et a D[omino] Renninger (n[otum] 297). Discessit 3 Aug[usti] 1867 sacerdos. In coll[egio] parum satisfaciebat ob ingenium paullo <sic!> levius. Quare compositis utcumque studiis abire permissus est. 1869 ingressum est O[rdinem] S[ancti] Franc[isci] (?) et in Americam missus. Ibi agit parochum ad s[ancti] Jacobi in oppido Megnon dioec[esis] Millwaukeensis <sic>. 1877 par[ochus] Delonae. dioec[esis] Cross[ensis]”2 [1 Bei Notum 47 und 297 handelt es sich ebenfalls um Eintragungen im vorliegenden Matrikelbuch. Die beiden genannten Herren waren auch Studenten des Kollegs. 2 La Crosse, Suffraganbistum der Erzdiözese Milwaukee]. From the arhive of the Pontificium Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum in Rome, Italy.

Translation from Latin to German: Constantin Droste-Huelshoff, aus der Diözese Wuerzburg. Geboren am 22 Januar 1841 in Muenster Westfalen, zog aber, bevor er in unser Kolleg eintrat, in die Diözese Würzburg. Er studierte auf dem Gymnasium die Literatur und Humanistik [im Deutschen ist "Schöne Wissenschaften" gemeint; die umfasste Grammatik, Rhetorik, Poesie und Geschichte], und das Jahr hindurch Theologie an der Universität Würzburg. Auf Empfehlung des hochwürdigsten Bischofs Stahl (notiz 47) und des Herrn Renninger (notiz 297) kam er am 17. Oktober 1864 in das Kolleg. Dieses verliess er am 3 August 1867 als Priester. Im Kolleg überzeugte er wegen seiner etwas zu leichtsinnigen Natur zu wenig. Aber er bekam nach dem Studium doch die Erlaubniss. 1869 trat er in den Sankt Franciscus Orden ein und missionerte in Amerika. Dort versah er die Pfarrei zu St. Jakob in der Landstadt Mequon, Diözese Milwaukee [in Wisconsin, USA]. In 1877 Pfarrer in Dellona, Diözese La Crosse [in Wisconsin, USA]. 1. Bei Notum 47 und 297 handelt es sich ebenfalls um Eintragungen im vorliegenden Matrikelbuch. Die beiden genannten Herren waren auch Studenten des Kollegs. 2. La Crosse, Suffraganbistum der Erzdiözese Milwaukee.

Translation from German to English: Constantin Droste-Hülshoff, from the Diocese of Wuerzburg. Born on January 22, 1841 in Muenster, Westphalia, but before entering our college, was in the Diocese of Würzburg. At the college preparatory school, he studied literature and the humanities [in German, it is the "beautiful sciences" meaning grammar, rhetoric, poetry and history], and this year theology at the University of Würzburg. On the recommendation of the Most Reverend Bishop Stahl (note 47) and of Mr. Renninger (note 297), he came on October 17, 1864 to the college. He left this [college] on August 3, 1867 as a priest. In college he satisfied too little because of his somewhat too easy-loving nature. But after graduating, he received the diploma. In 1869 he joined the Order of Saint Francis and was a missionary in America. There he worked in the parish of St. James in the country town of Mequon, Diocese of Milwaukee [Wisconsin, USA]. In 1877, he was priest at Dellona, Diocese of La Crosse [Wisconsin, USA]. 1. Notes 47 and 297 are entries in the church book. These two gentlemen were also students of the college. 2. La Crosse, Suffragan Diocese of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Constantin left Germany and emigrated to America

1869 September 18: At age 28, Constantin emigrated to America with 7 other missionaries from Würzburg on September 18, 1869. The SS Steamship Weser sailed from Bremen, Germany to the Port of New York. Passenger number 106 is listed as "Constantin de Droste" and his occupation is "Missionair" from Würzburg. The age is listed as 35, however.

September 18, 1869 Ship Passenger List

Click image to make larger

In America, Constantin served as priest at several parishes in Wisconsin
1896 November 28: Ship passenger list shows "C N Von Droste" age 55, citizen of Holland, Port of Departure: Liverpool, England; Ship name Campania; Port of Arrival: New York, New York. Could this be Constantin? If so, he was not a citizen of Holland. But could he have taken a trip back to Europe in 1896?

Constantin's illness and death

Constantin was hospitalized for several weeks in LaCrosse due to an illness of 6 months duration. He died at age 60 on December 30, 1901 at St. Francis Hospital in LaCrosse, LaCrosse County, Wisconsin.

He was interred in a crypt under the altar of the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin of the Seven Dolors (also known as Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel) in the Catholic Cemetery on Losey Boulevard in LaCrosse, LaCrosse County, Wisconsin.

Grave marker inscription:

NAT A.D . 1841, ob. DIE 30 ma. M.DEC.1901

"Released from his earthly prison to his heavenly home.
Here lies the priest Constantin Maria,
ex-Baron von Droste-Huelshoff.
Born in the year of our Lord 1841.
Died on the 30th day of the month of December 1901.
May he rest in peace."

Constantin von Droste zu Huelshoff crypt

Chapel of the Blessed Virgin of the Seven Dolors (also known as Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel) in the Catholic Cemeter in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
Constantin's grave marker is in the crypt in the basement of the chapel:

Chapel of the Blessed Virgin of the Seven Dolors in LaCrosse, WisconsinConstantin von Droste zu Huelshoff crypt

Obituaries, Death Certificate, Probate
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Ancestry of Constantin von Droste zu Hülshoff

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