Friday, January 6, 2012

Konst/Kunst Family from Germany

Anton William Konst

Elizabeth Bauhaus
Our family’s name was Kunst, which means, “Art” in German.  In fact, some of the Kunst who came to America changed their last name to Artt and Artz.  But our family changed theirs to Konst and that is how they stayed.  

Our German family came from Osterwick, which was actually in Prussia at the time of their emigration. 
Osterwick was in the Prussian province of Westphalia from 1815 until after World War II.  Before 1815, it was divided duchies and other feudal areas of power until 1807 when it was treatied into the Kingdom of Westphalia (founded by Napoleon and a French vassal state).  In 1815, it was granted to the Kingdom of Prussia .  From, “The present state of North Rhine-Westphalia was created after World War II from the former Prussian province of Westphalia, the northern half of the former Prussian Rhine Province, and the former Free State of Lippe. North Rhine-Westphalia is subdivided into five government regions (Regierungsbezirke), so one can say that Westphalia today consists of the Regierungsbezirke of Münster, Detmold and Arnsberg. “  Osterwick is in Munster.  Technically, “Coesfeld, Munster, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, Europe.”

Our immigrant ancestor was Adoph Anton Joseph Kunst and his parents were Joan Gerhard Kunst and Anna Elisabeth Popping.   Joan’s parents were Joan Henrich Kunst and Margaretha Tummler.  Joan H. parents were Joan Kunst and Elisabeth Rovekamp.

This drawing was painted by Martin Holz. It shows the house of Anton Kunst a short time after he had left it to go with his family to America.

Fromour German cousin’s website, here is the translated information about our immigrant ancestor, Adolph Anton Joseph Kunst:

04.12.1853 - Family Kunst emigrates to America !

 Adolph Anton Joseph Konst was born near monastery Varlar, now castle Varlar. The address was: "Dorfbauerschaft 13". Since more than 100 years till today there is the "Varlar Schänke" a little tavern.
Adolph Anton Joseph Kunst had married into the house No. 119 in Osterwick which belonged to the grave-digger Jacobus Hannemann. He had only daughters, no sons.

With his wife, Theresia Hannemann, his three children and his sister in law, Josephine Hannemann (*07.06.1823) the family Kunst emigrated on 12th of April in the year 1853 to America. First they went to Antwerpen, a port in Belgium, and then with the ship "Satellite" to America. There were 125 emigrants on the ship including a family Tast (Tastove) with 4 children which came also from Osterwick. In Osterwick they had lived in "Schulze Niehoffs Leibzucht No. 1a". Later the family Tast (Tastove) settled in Quincy IL.

The ship reached New York on 27.06.1853. In the documents about the persons, who left the ship, you find not the name of Josephine Hannemann. It is possible she was infected during the passage with cholera and died.

From New York the family started into the wide country of the United States. Theresia Hannemann was far advanced in pregnancy. On 4th of July 1853 they reached Spring Prairie, Walworth Co. A short time before, in 1851, Heinrich Voerding from Osterwick had also settled there. Anton Kunst and Heinrich Voerding where neighbours in Osterwick, also they where from same age (*1818). It is allowed to suppose, the family of Anton Kunst has gone to Spring Prairie to settle there together with their neighbor Heinrich Voerding.

In August 1853 Theresia Hannemann beared her son Henry. 5 children more followed  next years. Till 1857 the family Kunst lived and worked in Spring Prairie. In 1857 they went to Burlington Township. Anton bought a farm of 40 acres, good land and well improved.

In 1870 his wife Theresia died. 1871 Anton Kunst married May Herting, a native of Holland. They had together one child, it was born in 1873.

And about Theresia Hannemann:

Theresia Hannemann was the daughter of the gravedigger, Jacobus Hannemann of Osterwick.  She, along with her husband, three children, and her sister Josephine, the youngest child of Jacobus Hanneman, immigrated to America on April 12, 1853.

Jodocus Henrich Hannemann was the first grave digger of Osterwick.  On 7th August 1808 priest Mathias Jurgens had blessed the new churchyard.  The old one was at the church and full.  So they made a new one outside of Osterwick near "Elsen".  (a street in Osterwick).

He was the gravedigger for 22 years, but was fired on 6th March 1831.  It was found that after each burial, he'd take the iron fixture from the casket and resell it over and over again.  He went to prison for 14 days.

Two of his children immigrated to America, Theresia Hannemann and her sister Josephina. 


And more from The history of Racine and Kenosha Counties, Wisconsin ...

 By Western Historical Company in 1879, page 645:

We descend from Adolph and Theresia’s son Henry Hermann Konst.  As one of the pioneers of Chickasaw County, Iowa, Henry was written up in the History of Chickasaw and Howard Counties, Iowa, Volume 2 by Robert Herd Fairbaim, S.J. Clarke Publishing Company in 1919.

Henry Konst is one of the earliest of the pioneers of Chickasaw county and is now living retired in Alta Vista. He was born in Germany, August 4, 1842, and has therefore passed the seventy-seventh milestone on life's journey. He is a son of Anthony W. and Theresa (Hannamann) Konst, who came to the United States in 1852 and took up their abode in Walworth county, Wisconsin, upon a rented farm. Later they purchased a farm in the same county, where the mother's death occurred in April, 1869, while seven years later the father passed away in the same county.

Henry Konst was educated in the district schools of Germany and of Wisconsin after coming to the new world. In 1869 he removed to Chickasaw county and purchased a small farm, comprising forty acres of wild prairie land on the southeast quarter of section 25, Washington township. Later he added to this place, extending the boundaries of his farm until it comprised one hundred and twenty acres. He continued to make his home upon the farm for twenty years and during that period successfully carried on general agricultural pursuits. About 1889 he removed to Alta Vista and for some years conducted a saloon but it was said of him that he was too much of a man to succeed in the saloon business. If he felt that a customer had had enough to drink he refused to sell him more and If the family needed the man's wages he refused to take his money. In later years Mr. Konst has lived retired, enjoying the fruits of his former toil.

On the 22d of February, 1868, Mr. Konst was married to Miss Anna Kramer, of Racine, Wisconsin, and to them were born three children: Anthony W., living in Capa, South Dakota; Margaret, the wife of A. Holden, a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Ella, who Is the wife of C. M. Erion, of Tacoma, Washington. The wife and mother passed away in 1885 and on the 1st of February, 1892, Mr. Konst was married to Mrs, Anna W. Rechner, of Howard county, Iowa, who by her former marriage had two children: George Rechner, now living at home with Mr. and Mrs. Konst; and Lilly, the widow of Richard Tietjen, of Alta Vista.

Mr. Konst is a member of the Independent Order of Foresters. His religious faith is that of the Catholic church, while his wife holds membership with the Lutheran church. In politics he is a democrat but cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. It is characteristic of him that he does not hesitate to support any cause or project which he believes to be for the best interests of the community, and the substantial traits of character which he has displayed have made him one of Alta Vista's esteemed citizens.


  1. Any photos of Henry's saloon by chance?

  2. I don't have any photos of it, but I just did a search on Google Maps and if you look at the street view, i'm guessing it hasn't changed much! I'll keep my eyes open for old photos, though, and post them here if I find them. - Debbie