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The Gerken-Larson Heritage:
The 19th and 20th Centuries
A Family History

Herman Gerken (1819-1875)
Henry Gerken (1855-1914)
Ewald Gerken (1895-1956)
Joan (Gerken) Larson (1926-1994)
Thomas Larson (1962-)

Researched and written by
Tom Larson

Herman Gerken's wife was Maria Catherina Theresia Schulte, and her half brother was Joannes Wilhelmus Pape: Both emigrated to the United States from Hegensdorf in Germany and settled at New Vienna, Iowa. This page contains what has been learned about their roots in Germany and information about the Pape family at New Vienna.    T.L.

The Schulte and Pape Heritage

Schulte and Pape Heritage in Germany | Pape Family in New Vienna, Ia.

A quick reference guide to Tom Larson's direct lineage, with link jumps to those appearing on this webpage:

Wilhelmus and Anna Maria (Jordan) Schulte   Johannes and Maria Angela (Niggemeyer) Schulte
|   |
Johann Wilhelm Schulte + Maria Christina (Schulte) Pape
Herman and M. Catherina (Schulte) Gerken
  Henry and Anna (Winter) Gerken
Ewald and Anna (Schumacher) Gerken
Vernon and Joan (Gerken) Larson
Thomas and Debra (Runde) Larson

The Schulte and Pape Heritage in Germany


Maria Catherina Theresia Schulte, who married Herman Gerken, was the daughter of a woman whose maiden name was also Schulte. What follows are her two sets of Schulte grandparents and their children:

Maria Catherina Theresia (Schulte) Gerken's maternal grandparents:
Johannes and Maria Angela (Niggemeyer) Schulte. They lived at Hegensdorf, Westfalen, Prussia.

Johannes and Maria Angela (Niggemeyer) Schulte had the following children, all born in Hegensdorf:

  • Anna Maria Elisabetha Schulte, born January 27, 1780.
  • Maria Christina Schulte, born December 27, 1781.
  • Maria Catherina Schulte, born December 21, 1784, in Hegensdorf. She died in 1819 in Hegensdorf.
  • Maria Gertrudis Schulte, born March 20, 1788.
  • Angela Maria Schulte, born January 2, 1791. She died in 1859.

Maria Catherina Theresia (Schulte) Gerken's paternal grandparents:
Wilhelmus and Anna Maria (Jordan) Schulte. They lived at Hegensdorf, Westfalen, Prussia.

Wilhelmus and Anna Maria (Jordan) Schulte had the following children, all born in Hegensdorf:

  • Casparus Henricus Schulte, born February 25, 1761.
  • Joannes Theodorus Schulte, born October 14, 1762.
  • Maria Elisabetha Schulte, born June 19, 1764.
  • Anna Maria Gertrudis Schulte, born July 27, 1766.
  • Johann Wilhelm Schulte, born January 1, 1769.


Maria Christina Schulte and Antonius Pape
Maria Christina (Schulte) Pape and Johann Wilhelm Schulte

Maria Christina Schulte was born on December 27, 1781, to Johannes and Maria Angela (Niggemeyer) Schulte. Christina Schulte married Antonius Pape, age 39, on February 26, 1805, in Hegensdorf, Westfalen, Prussia. He was born circa 1766 in Bleiwäsche, Westfalen, Prussia.

Christina Schulte was the third wife of Antonius Pape. His first wife was Agnes Schefers, whom he married on September 25, 1791, in Hegensdorf. Agnes (Schefers) Pape died in Hegensdorf on January 29, 1797. His second wife was Maria Catherina Laufkötter, whom he married on February 26, 1797, in Hegensdorf. She was born circa January 30, 1772. Born to them at Hegensdorf were Anna Maria Elisabeth Pape (born July 12, 1798), Maria Theresia Bernadina Pape (born September 28, 1800), Joannes Hermanus Pape (born between July 22 to September 27, 1802), and unnamed Pape (born and died February 8, 1805). Maria Catherina (Laufkötter) Pape died on February 9, 1805, in Hegensdorf.

Antonius and Christina (Schulte) Pape had the following children, both born in Hegensdorf:

  • Joannes Henricus Pape, born September 2, 1806. He died at Hegensdorf on September 21, 1854.
  • Joannes Wilhelmus Pape, born January 5, 1810. Wilhelm Pape emigrated to the United States with his wife and family and settled at New Vienna, Iowa. More information about Wilhelm Pape may be found below.

Antonius Pape died on July 2, 1812, at the age of 46, in Hegensdorf.

M. Christina (Schulte) Pape then married Johann Wilhelm Schulte on May 20, 1813, in Hegensdorf. Wilhelm was born on January 1, 1769, to Wilhelmus and Anna Maria (Jordan) Schulte.

Wilhelm and Christina (Schulte) Pape Schulte had the following children, all born in Hegensdorf:

  • Joannes Hermanus Antonius Schulte, born September 12, 1813.
  • Anna Maria Elisabeth Schulte, born February 3, 1816.
  • Anna Maria Scholastica Schulte, born February 19, 1819. Scholastica Schulte married Johannes Lengeling in Germany, where their children were born. Johannes Lengeling died in Germany, and his widow Scholastica and their children subsequently emigrated to the United States and settled in Iowa. Find complete information about Scholastica Lengeling and descendants in the United States separately: The Lengeling Family Heritage.
  • Maria Catherina Theresia Schulte, born April 30, 1822. She married Herman Gerken, and they emigrated to the United States, settling at New Vienna, Iowa. Find complete information about them separately: Herman and M. Catherine (Schulte) Gerken.
  • Elisabet Isabella Schulte, born March 25, 1825.

M. Christina (Schulte) Pape Schulte died on July 18, 1842, in Hegensdorf.

The Pape Family in New Vienna, Iowa

William and Margaret (Happe) Meis Pape

Joannes Wilhelmus Pape was born on January 5, 1810, to Antonius and Christina (Schulte) Pape in Hegensdorf, Westfalen, Prussia. In 1837 Wilhelm Pape married Margareth (Happe) Meis, a widow. She was born in 1800 in Siddinghausen, Westphalia, Germany. Wilhelm and Margareth Pape (anglicized to William and Margaret Pape), their four children, and her four children from her first marriage emigrated from Siddinghausen to the United States in 1851. According to William Pape's declaration of intent to become a citizen of the United States, filed on April 14, 1855, the Papes landed in the United States in November 1851, presumably at New Orleans. After first stopping at St. Louis, Missouri, they continued on to New Vienna in Dubuque County, Iowa, which was attracting many German immigrants at the time. Earlier in the year, his half-sister, Mary Catherina (Schulte) Gerken, and her husband Herman also emigrated to the United States and settled at New Vienna, Iowa.

Margaret (Happe) Meis Pape's first husband was Henry Meis. Henry Meis was son to Frank Meis, a doctor in Napoleon's army who was killed in battle at Waterloo. As a widower, Frank had had his twelve-year-old son Henry with him. Henry was taken to Germany by a German officer and became a cavalry officer. After leaving the army, Henry Meis married Margaret Happe and had four sons.

Henry and Margaret (Happe) Meis had the following children, all born in Siddinghausen, Westfalen, Prussia:

  • Bernhard Meis, born March 9, 1825. He married Maria Duschen. Born to them were two sons, William (born January 19, 1856) and Henry (born July 12, 1858).

    Maria (Duschen) Meis died on June 29, 1863.

    Bernhard Meis then married Elizabeth Wichtrup on December 31, 1863, at New Vienna, Iowa. She was born on March 26, 1847, at Coesfeld, Germany, and arrived in New Vienna in 1862. Born to them were Conrad Meis (of New Vienna), Henry Meis (of New Vienna), William H. Meis (of Geddes, South Dakota), Maria Ann Meis (Sister Conradina, O.S.F.), Mrs. Louis Becker (of New Vienna), and Mrs. Herman Schilmoeller (of Granville).

    Bernhard Meis died on December 31, 1877, and Elizabeth (Wichtrup) Meis died on March 18, 1914. Both are buried at New Vienna.

    Special note: All this information about Bernhard Meis and family came from Unity in Community: St. Boniface Parish, 150 Years - New Vienna, 100 Years, 1995, eds Bob Mescher and Laverne "Toby" Bockenstedt. None of it has been independently verified. Below is a transcription of an obituary for Henry Meis, Bernhard's son, that came from a Dubuque, Iowa, newspaper.

    • Thursday, June 19, 1940, Telegraph Herald obituary for Henry Meis, son of Bernhard and Maria (Duschen) Meis:
      New Vienna, Ia.--Henry Meis, 83, lifelong residence of Dubuque County, died at his home here Wednesday morning following an eight months' illness. Funeral services will be held Friday morning from the home to St. Boniface Catholic Church with burial in the adjoining cemetery.
            Mr. Meis was born on a farm here June 17, 1857. He retired from the farm 23 years ago, since which time he lived in New Vienna.
            Surviving are his widow; two sons, Albin, of Dyersville, and Leo, of Three Rivers, Mich.; three daughters, Mrs. Frank Olberding, of Dyersville, Mrs. Al Hoefer, of Farley, and Mrs. Nick Schieltz, of Luxemburg; one brother, C.I. Meis, of New Vienna; one sister, Sister Mary Conradina, of Carroll; and 30 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. Five sons and two daughters preceded him in death.

  • Ferdinand Meis, born February 22, 1828. He married Martha Hoffarth on April 17, 1855, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was born on January 19, 1836, in Steinmauren, Baden, Germany, to August and Maria Anna (Schwartz) Hoffarth. Born to them were the following children, all at Dyersville, Iowa:
    • Henry K. Meis, born July 15, 1862.
    • William Meis, born 1856.
    • Lewis Meis, born 1858.
    • John Meis, born 1860.
    • Mary Ann Meis, born April 20, 1864.
    • Frank Meis, born 1866.
    • Josephina Meis, born 1869.
    • Francis Meis, born April 11, 1870.
    • Herman J. Meis, born April 1872.
    • Joseph Meis, born 1874.
    • Anton (Anthony) Meis, born 1876.
    • Rosa Meis, born 1879.
    Ferdinand Meis died on August 22, 1896, at Dyersville, Iowa. Martha (Hoffarth) Meis died on August 11, 1907, at Dyersville.
         Emil F. Meis Family Home Page:

  • Francis "Frank" Meis, born November 23 [25?], 1829. He married Mary Anna Vorwald on February 4 [January 24, 1856?], 1856, at St. Boniface in New Vienna, Iowa. She was born on September 27, 1837, to Francis and Anna Maria (Scherbrock) Vorwald in Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio. They farmed southeast of New Vienna. They were parents to 15 children and 1 foster daughter. The children of Frank and Mary Ann (Vorwald) Meis:
    • Margaret Mary Meis, born April 20, 1856; died April 29, 1929, at Remsen, Iowa.
    • Elizabeth Meis, born August 9, 1857; died November 19, 1876, at Dyersville, Iowa.
    • Henry Bernard Meis, born November 19, 1858; died November 21, 1912; buried Breckenridge, Minnesota.
    • Mary Ann Meis, born November 15, 1860; buried Watsonville, California.
    • Aloysius Meis, born October 18, 1862; died April 19, 1886; buried Dubuque, Iowa.
    • Frank Meis, born November 13, 1864; died September 10, 1907, at Dyersville.
    • John Meis, born October 10, 1866; died April 10, 1943, at Remsen, Iowa; buried Oyens, Iowa.
    • Anna Marie Meis, born July 25, 1868.
    • Catherine Elizabeth Meis, born March 18, 1870; died August 4, 1961, at Chandler, Texas.
    • Joseph Ferdinand Meis, born February 11, 1872; died 1909 at Pullman, Washington.
    • William Arnold Meis, born September 15, 1873; died March 3, 1953; buried Dubuque, Iowa.
    • Herman James Meis, born April 5, 1875; died May 14, 1948, at Sheldon, Iowa.
    • Edward William Meis, born March 6, 1877; died December 7, 1932, at Sioux City, Iowa.
    • John Alphonse Meis, born December 8, 1879; died May 27, 1895, at Dyersville.
    • Anna Maria Francesca Meis, born April 8, 1881; died April 5, 1976, at Rock Island, Illinois; buried Mount Calvary, Davenport, Iowa.
    • Matie Meis, born July 29, 1884; died July 15, 1969, at Dyersville.
    Frank Meis died on September 10, 1907, and Mary Anna (Vorwald) Meis died on November 10 [9?], 1903, and both were buried at St. Francis Xavier cemetery in Dyersville, Iowa.

  • Aloysius Meis, born 1834 [1833?]. On November 4, 1862, at Lyons, Iowa, he was ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, the first priest gone forth from St. Boniface. The Reverend Aloysius Meis spent three years at Lyons, Iowa, and eight at St. Mary's in Dubuque. He became the first resident pastor of St. Mary's Church in Fort Madison, Iowa, on February 10, 1871. He died as of St. Mary's Church in Fort Madison, Iowa, on July 14, 1887, of apoplexy, after becoming overheated from a long walk to visit a sick parishioner. His final resting place is in the St. Boniface mortuary chapel at New Vienna.

Henry Meis died, and his widow Margareth then married Wilhelm Pape in 1837.

Wilhelm and Margareth (Happe) Meis Pape had the following children, all born in Siddinghausen, Westfalen, Prussia:

  • Conrad Pape, born January 13 [11?], 1838. He took over the Pape family homestead at New Vienna, Iowa. More information about his life is found separately.

  • Henry Pape, born February 9, 1840. He resided at Petersburg, Nebraska.

  • Herman Pape was born on December 24, 1841, in Germany, son of Wilhelm and Margareth (Happe) Meis Pape. Herman attended Notre Dame in the years 1864-1865. Herman Pape married Maria Elizabeth Kramer on June 20, 1867, at Dubuque, Iowa. Maria Elizabeth Kramer was born on January 1, 1846, at Steinfeld, Oldenburg, Germany, daughter of Herman Heinrich and Maria Catharina (Krogmann) Kramer. Born to Herman and Maria Elizabeth (Kramer) Pape was W.S. Pape in 1882 at Lyons, Iowa. (W.S. Pape married Stella Sprecht, daughter of John and Anna (Orpin) Meis, on April 2, 1913, at Dubuque, Iowa.) Herman Pape also resided at Carroll, Iowa.

  • Frederick William Pape, born January 21, 1844. He became a priest of the Roman Catholic faith. More information about his life is found separately.

William Pape purchased a half section of land near the village of New Vienna from the George McHenry School Fund commission for $1.25 an acre on December 4, 1851. The Papes came to the United States with limited means, but being shrewd, far-seeing and honest, William prospered in whatever he undertook, became one of the wealthiest farmers of Dubuque County, Iowa. The Pape homestead ultimately was comprised of 240 acres of well tilled land. The Pape homestead has since been owned in progression by his son Conrad Pape (who purchased the farm on May 23, 1882), then Louis H. Pape (March 31, 1906), Louis--later Lewis--C. Pape (March 1, 1949), and Jerry and Oran Pape (September 1, 1987).

The 1856 Iowa State census has the Pape household consisting of William, age 46; Margaret, age 55; Conrad, age 17; Henry, age 15; Herman, age 13; and William, age 12. By 1870, the U.S. census has Conrad Pape, age 32, as the head of the household, and William Pape, 60, as retired farmer living in the Conrad Pape household. The household also consisted of Conrad's wife Josephine, age 28, and their children Elizabeth, age 7; William, age 5; and Louise M., age 4 months. Conrad Meis, age 16, born in Prussia, was part of the household, with his occupation "works on farm."

Margaret (Happe) Meis Pape died in 1862. Wilhelm, it is written, was said to have been discouraged by the loss of his noble and devoted wife and resolved to retire from active business and to divide his property among the four sons still remaining at home. William Pape survived his wife by sixteen years, dying in 1878 and leaving a large estate. They are both buried at St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery in New Vienna, Iowa.

The Pape - Meis Family
The Pape - Meis Family
Back row, l to r: Rev. Aloysius Meis, Conrad Pape, Henry Pape, Herman Pape, Rev. Frederick W. Pape.
Front row, l to r: Wilhelm (William) Pape, Bernhard Meis, Ferdinand Meis, Frank Meis.
circa 1875.


The graves of Wilhelm and Margareth Pape
graves of Wilhelm and Margareth Pape
St. Boniface Cemetery, New Vienna, Iowa
photo by T. Larson, 1999.


Information about the Schulte and Pape heritage in Germany was kindly researched and shared by Tom Steichen, who compiled the information from the Hegensdorf church records available on microfilm from the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS).

The information discovered in the church records ascertained the relationship between the Gerken and Pape families at New Vienna, Iowa. Early accounts had often mentioned that the Rev. F. W. Pape was a relative of the Gerkens, but it was never quite clear how. In the late 1970s, I asked Thecla (Gerken) Bruggeman, a first cousin of my grandfather Ewald Gerken, about this, and she said that Father Pape was a first cousin, but she couldn't say more than that. This seemed strange because Herman Gerken's wife maiden name was Schulte, not Pape. The Hegensdorf church records revealed, however, that Herman Gerken's wife, M. Catherina née Schulte, was a half-sister to Father Pape's father, Wilhelm Pape: they shared the same mother, M. Christina (Schulte) Pape Schulte, but had different fathers--Wilhelm Pape being the offspring of their mother's first husband, Antonius Pape, and M. Catherina (Schulte) Gerken being the offspring of their mother's second husband, Wilhelm Schulte.

Other information about the Pape family came from Unity in Community: St. Boniface Parish, 150 Years - New Vienna, 100 Years, an excellent volume chronicling the history of New Vienna, Iowa, published in conjunction with the parish and town's celebration in 1995 (edited by Bob Mescher and Laverne "Toby" Bockenstedt), the Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones, and Clayton Counties, Iowa (Chicago: Chapman Publishing Co., 1894), and LDS information available online.

The image of the Pape/Meis family was scanned from the Atlas of Dubuque County, Iowa, 1906.


Click here for the Gerken family history contents page.

© 2000-16
Tom Larson
Last revised April 29, 2012.

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