Laprath - One family in America

The Family of Hans and Margaret Laprath

(Introduction narrative to the Laprath Study, written by Jon D. Egge Feb 2003)


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More than a simple genealogy study, this is a narrative of my understanding of a family that I have come to know. I will try to relate a sense of what I was told of these people, but it should not be considered a clear picture, but rather one viewed from a distance though discussions I have had with many family members. I have recounted a number of the stories that were told me. Still, there is certainly more to the lives of everyone included here than the limited prism I have opened up.


Three people from Europe have related to me pieces of the early ancestors of Hans and Margaret. They are:

Their help has been invaluable, using German Census and Church records recorded there. I have supplemented these with other records found at the LDS website of German Lapraths that are part of this family.

From Peter Himpkamp: "When I went some years before, must have been '98, for a visit to Hamburg, I took my older sister and we made a visit to Simonsberg. Simonsberg is in our days a lovely, quiet place, the sea nearby, but very few inhabitants.

There is even a path called 'Himpkampweg' (Himpkampway). There in Simonsberg we met the baker, Mr. Bies, who actually did a lot of research on Simonsberg. He published even a book on the village, which contains a lot historical data on the spot and its inhabitants. The earliest Himpkamps and Lapraths mentioned in the book, ... are from ~1770, poor people without land who got some land for cultivation from the parish. The Laprath and Himpkamp families must have kept relations of friendship, at least in the next generation, they build (all according to the book) their houses nearby each others. One of the early Himpkamps, Martin, was a builder who built and repaired houses in Simonsberg. Whereas his own home burnt down (at that time, they used to cover the roofs with straw, which caught fire easily in the frequent thunderstorms), Lapraths home is still upright....."

From Hartmut Singhofen: "two days ago, I was in Simonsberg again. Virtually through the church book entries, stored in Husum. To look at Simonsberg entries is very difficult, not only is the old German handwriting hard to read for anybody nowadays, but the books themselves are partially unreadable due to water penetration of the 3 times destruction of the church by storms. Trying to find entries for Singhofen, I found, of course as expected, Laprath entries. These entries are certified, all from Simonsberg" (see appendix)

Andreas Adam Laprath, Jr. and Maren Jens were the parents of Hans Laprath. He was a fisherman, and the son of Andreas Adam Laprath and Catharina Himpkamp.

Theses are the Laprath and Himpkamp trees through 4 generations as I now know them:


1 Andreas Adam Laprath b: Bef. 1753
.. +Catharina Himpkamp b: Bef. 1753 m: July 12, 1771 in Simonsberg, Schleswig-Holstien, Prussen
2 Margaretha Laprath b: March 21, 1774
2 Johann Hinrich 'Klaus' Laprath b: April 02, 1777
.... +Elsabe Momsen m: August 16, 1799 in Simonsberg, Schleswig-Holstien, Prussen
... 3 Catharina Laprath b: January 04, 1804
....... +Hans Hinrich Hansen m: March 19, 1823 in Simonsberg, Schleswig-Holstien, Prussia
..... 4 Anna Cathrina Margaretha Christina Maria Hansen b: 1830 in Simonsberg parish, Schleswig-Holstein, GERMANY d: 1885 in Snedsted parish, Thisted county, DENMARK
......... +Christen Poulsen b: 1822 in Snedsted parish, Thisted county, DENMARK m: Abt. 1848 d: 1875 in Snedsted parish, Thisted county, DENMARK
... 3 Andreas Adam Laprath III b: March 02, 1807 in Br�klum, Schleswig-Holstien, Prussen
....... +Anna Christina ? b: Abt. 1819
..... 4 Friedrich Laprath b: Abt. 1839
... 3 Claus Mumsen Laprath b: March 02, 1807 in Simonsberg, Schleswig-Holstien, Prussen
... 3 Johann Hinrich Laprath b: July 07, 1810
... 3 Elsabe Margaretha Christina Marta Laprath b: August 23, 1813 in Simonsberg, Schleswig-Holstien, Prussen
2 Andreas Adam Laprath, Jr. b: January 17, 1787 d: aft May 1854 - Andreas was named the godfather of his grandson Andreas Mathias on his birth, so he must have been alive
.... +Maren Jens b: 1781
... 3 Claus Jens Laprath b: 1814 in Husum, Schleswig Province, Germany
....... +Anna Catharina Wolf b: Abt. 1818
..... 4 Paul Friedrich Laprath b: October 06, 1848 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany
..... 4 Marion Laprath b: October 21, 1851 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany
..... 4 Claus Jens Laprath, Jr. b: November 14, 1854 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany
... 3 Hans Laprath, Sr. b: June 24, 1824 in Witzwort, Schleswig Province, Germany d: May 23, 1910 in Bonners Co., ID Burial: Gross cemetery, Gross, Boyd Co., NE ....... +Anna Margretha Catharina 'Margaret' Himpkamp b: January 01, 1827 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany m: May 12, 1853 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany d: January 13, 1902 in Boyd Co., NE Father: Marten Himpkamp Mother: Anna Cathariena
............. Immigrated to America: 8 sons, 1 daughter over 1,000 descendants and spouses
2 Hans Laprath b: April 24, 1790 in Simonsberg, Schleswig-Holstien, Prussen


1 Magnus Himpkamp d: November 10, 1763
. +Margarethe Suhrs
2 Hans Himpkamp b: September 1753 d: December 24, 1808
.... +Anna 'Antje' Palms b: Abt. 1772 d: May 09, 1800 Father: Jahren Tochter von Andreas Palms Mother: ? Fraucke
... 3 Marten Himpkamp b: October 28, 1796 d: November 23, 1862 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany
...... +Anna Cathariena Margaretha Peters b: April 09, 1801 in Tetenbuell, GERMANY m: May 19, 1825 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany d: November 13, 1875 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany Father: Peter Marten Peters Mother: Anna Margarethe Hasch
..... 4 Hans Himpkamp b: Abt. 1826
......... +Anna Katharina Lotterup b: Abt. 1825 in Swensburg, Denmark d: Abt. 1901
..... 4 Anna Margretha Catharina 'Margaret' Himpkamp b: January 01, 1827 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany d: January 13, 1902 in Boyd Co., NE Burial: Gross cemetery, Gross,Boyd Co., NE
......... +Hans Laprath, Sr. b: June 24, 1824 in Witzwort, Schleswig Province, Germany m: May 12, 1853 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany d: May 23, 1910 in Boyd Co., NE Father: Andreas Adam Laprath, Jr. Mother: Maren Jens Burial: Gross cemetery, Gross, Boyd Co., NE
............. Immigrated to America: 8 sons, 1 daughter over 900 descendants and spouses
..... 4 Peter Marten Peters Himpkamp b: Abt. 1834
......... +Wiebcke Jensen b: Abt. 1840
..... 4 Thomas Himpkamp b: September 17, 1838
......... +Maria Katharina Jens


1. HANS3 LAPRATH, SR. was born June 24, 1824 in Witzwort, Schleswig Province, Germany, and died May 23, 1910 in Bonners Co., ID. He married ANNA MARGRETHA CATHARINA 'MARGARET' HIMPKAMP May 12, 1853 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany, daughter of MARTEN HIMPKAMP and ANNA PETERS. She was born January 01, 1827 in Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany, and died January 13, 1902 in Boyd Co., NE.


  1. ANDREAS MATHIAS 'ANDY MATT'4 LAPRATH, b. May 05, 1854, Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany; d. January 31, 1936, Stockton, San Joaquin Co., CA; m. ISABELLE PEARCE, May 14, 1892, Franklin, St. Mary Parish, LA; b. July 11, 1878, Bayou Sorrel, Iberville Parish, LA; d. October 25, 1971, San Francisco, San Francisco Co., CA.
  2. MATHIAS 'MATT' LAPRATH, b. March 10, 1856, Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, GERMANY; d. September 20, 1924, Elma, Grays Harbor Co., WA; m. (1) ANNA MARIE HABA, October 07, 1887, Pierce Co., NE; b. April 10, 1874, BOHEMIA, CZECHOSLOVIA; d. November 22, 1967, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Co., CA; m. (2) CATHERINE ANNIE ?, Aft. 1906; b. 1855; d. 1942.
  3. MARIA CATHERINA LAPRATH, b. March 12, 1858, Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany; d. 1941, Waterloo, Black Hawk Co., IA; m. CHARLES P. FEDDERSEN, 1880, Tama Co., IA; b. December 1847, Schleswig Province, Germany.
  4. HANS LAPRATH, JR., b. January 28, 1860, Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany; d. 1919, Norfolk, Madison Co., NE; m. SOPHIA WILHELMINE CATHARINE 'MARY' KLINDT, Abt. 1885, Sac City, Sac Co., IA; b. December 05, 1867, Quarnbek, or Kiel, Germany; d. November 18, 1927, Norfolk, Madison Co., NE.
  5. PETER FRIEDRICH LAPRATH, b. January 31, 1862, Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany.
  6. THOMAS JENS LAPRATH, b. December 21, 1863, Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany; d. September 04, 1935, on his farm, five miles west of Dallas, Tripp Co., SD; m. KATHERYN ELIZABETH SACHT, June 06, 1900, on the Sacht homestead near Ft. Randall, Gregory Co., SD; b. March 24, 1884, Falls City, Richardson Co., NE; d. February 21, 1944, Spokane, Spokane Co., WA.
  7. JOHANN HEINRICH LAPRATH, b. April 16, 1866, Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany; d. Bef. 1872, died young in Germany.
  8. WILHELM HEINRICH 'BILL' LAPRATH, b. October 30, 1867, Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany; d. Abt. 1927, Colome, Tripp Co., SD; m. MARGARET H. SACHT, Abt. 1900; b. February 13, 1881, Falls City, Richardson Co., NE; d. December 1977, Sandpoint, Bonner Co., ID.
  9. JOHANNES HEINRICH 'JOHN' LAPRATH, b. January 26, 1872, Long Grove, Scott Co., IA; d. November 30, 1928, Lynch, Boyd Co., NE. vii. JOHANN HEINRICH LAPRATH, b. April 16, 1866, Simonsberg, Schleswig Province, Germany. Died young in Germany.

Hans and Margaret married in Simonsberg on May 12, 1853. It is said that she had red hair. She was the daughter of Marten Himpkamp and Anna Cathariena Margaretha Peters. He was 28 and she was 26. They were Lutherans. Simonsberg is a small town on the west coast of Germany that is part of the neck of land that stretches up to Denmark, near the larger city of Husum. It sits on the south side of an inlet to the North Sea. The land is low and the little town is surrounded by earthen bunkers to protect it from high water. From Witzwort, where Hans was born, to Simonsberg is 2 1/2 miles. It is in the Schleswig-Holstein province. The fragments I know of their life are set forth below, a scant glimpse of events.

Both the Lapraths and the Himpkamps had lived in this area of Germany for at least two generations. Andreas Adam, the father of Hans was a fisherman in the North Sea. In 1845, at the age of 21 Hans was a servant for Johann Friedrich Nebbe. He is said to have been a farmer and served in the war between Denmark and Prussia for the Danish side. Family accounts say that Hans, Sr. was shot in the knee during his service and his patella was shattered so that he walked with a limp from then until he died. The area Schleswig-Holstein of had long been disputed and fought over between Denmark and Prussia (Kingdom of Preussen, predecessor of today's Federal Republic of Germany). The ravages of the wars helped impoverish the area.

In her daybook, Margaret wrote of her first son, Andreas Mathias, "The dear Lord gave me a son, which is the first one". The Godparents of Andreas were his grandfather, Andreas Adam Laprath Jr., his uncle, Hans Himpkamp and his aunt, Anna Katharina Lotterup Himpkamp. He would be known as Andy Matt. Eight more children followed in succession, a son, a daughter and six more sons. One, Johann Heinrich Laprath, died young, before the immigration. Later, in 1872, in America (Scott [JDE1]Co., IA), the eighth son was born, also named Johannes Heinrich Laprath, commonly called John. In all seven sons and 1 daughter lived to adulthood. The 1900 Census tells us that Margaret had 9 children and 8 living then. The recorded birth of the first Johann Heinrich in Simonsberg now gives us the name of the child that died. Of the eight that lived, six would marry and have children. A very large family was in its early formation.

At some point after the "Prussian" war it was determined that the family should leave for America and the promise of a better life. Perhaps this was because of bad feelings from fighting on the losing (Danish) side. Perhaps it was because the area was depressed from the long ravages of the wars. They saved for some years to acquire money for passage. Family members say they did this by farming onions (some say potatoes). Selling their land raised the balance of what they needed. Hartmut Singhofen relates that in 1861, after a new dike was built and land was won from the sea (this land is called "KOOG"), Hans Laprath was given 6 "DEMAT" (a demat is a piece of land one man can mow in one day) to his 3.5. So we know that Hans had 9.5 demat to sell.

Finally in 1870, according to sailing records, they departed from Hamburg on 2 separate ships, 5 months apart, arriving in New York on 21 Jan 1870 and 14 June 1870. Hans, age 45, and his two oldest sons, Andy, 16, and Matt, 14, came first on the ship Holsalia, each listing their trade as farmers. Indeed that is the occupation most members of the family took up in America. They must have stayed in New York waiting for Margaret and the other children who came in June on the ship Teutonia. One wonders what that reunion must have been like and what stories they had to tell each other. I have not yet found Hans and his 2 sons in the 1870 Census, but suspect they would be found in New York City (The Census date for the 1870 enumeration is June 1st). But the journey west had only just begun. What sort of intrepid determination did it take to leave all that was familiar for the unknown wilds of America and the frontier?

Margaret's daybook puts the family in Long Grove, Scott[JDE2] Co., IA in that same year of 1870. From the family bible and daybook we know that her last child, Johannes [John], was born in Long Grove on January 26, 1872. Eight years later, the 1880 Census found them 115 miles west in Tama Co. with only 4 of the 8 children. Of those departed, the son Peter is found in that Census in Tama Co., working as a servant for the family of Hans Ehlers. The one daughter, Mary, is also a servant in Tama Co. for the family of Henning Reimer. My own ancestor, Matt, was a farm hand in the same Census in Crawford Co., working on the farm of George Suckstorf. I have not found Andy, but he was for most all of his life a wanderer who lived isolated and distant from the rest of the family.

The first child to marry was Mary, who wedded later that same Census year in Tama Co. to Charles P. Feddersen. In the 1880 Census, taken just before this event, Mary and Charles are living in close proximity. After this marriage the family of Hans apparently moved another 130 miles west to Sac City, IA. Here Hans, Sr. received his naturalization papers in Sac City on November 7, 1882. Hans, Jr. married Mary Klindt in Sac Co., IA about 1885. There is no record of this event however as the county court house burned down a few years afterwards. Matt who had been away from the family married on October 07, 1887 to Anna Haba in Pierce Co., NE. They settled there between Osmond and Wausa. In the early 1890s the families of Hans, Sr, and Hans, Jr. and their children moved to the vicinity of the town of Gross, NE in Boyd Co. [Census records place that move between 1892 and 1894, family accounts place it between 1890 and 1892]

Gross was the final destination for Hans, Sr. and Margaret. Hans, Jr. and Sr. lived on abutting homesteads just west of the town. John would later take over part of his father's property, the other half added on to the holding of Hans, Jr. Hans. Jr. eventually built a substantial wood house with a large porch and family gatherings were frequently held here. The men made music and people danced. Sometime in the 1890s, Peter, never having married, disappeared. Family accounts say he was shot in a dispute over a card game while prospecting in Arizona near the Superstition Mountains. The story goes that three of the sons had gone there together, the other two being Andy and John, but Peter never returned. But Margaret's record in the 1900 Census states that her 8 children were living, so she at least had the belief at that point that Peter was still alive.

Thomas married on June 06, 1900 to Katheryn Elizabeth Sacht. Family accounts say it was a double wedding as William married Margaret H. Sacht, a sister to Katheryn. This is likely as the 1900 Census, taken shortly after, find both Thomas and William with their respective wives, both stating that they had been married less than a year. This Census finds three Laprath families in Gross. Hans, Sr. and Margaret are living with their son John, who would remain a bachelor. Next door is the growing family of Hans, Jr. William and his new bride also have a lot near Gross. Thomas and his new wife are living across the boarder in Gregory Co., SD. Matt and his family have moved west from Pierce Co. to Knox Co., NE, which abuts the eastern edge of Boyd Co. The daughter Mary and her Feddersen family are still in Iowa, in the city of Waterloo, Black Hawk Co. Andy is not found, nor is Peter, who some believed to be dead.

Family accounts say that Andy went east to New York and facts show that in 1892 he turned up in Louisiana where he married Isabelle Pearce. They came west to California around Tulare and at some point then to Malheur Lake in Oregon. In January of 1902, Margaret died and was buried in the small Gross cemetery. Hans appears to have accompanied his son Thomas Jens to Clark Fork, ID as he is found there with the family of Thomas in the 1910 Census taken in April. Hans, Sr. died May 23, 1910, a month after the Census and was buried with his wife in the Gross Cemetery. It is likely that he died at Clark Fork, ID and his body brought back for burial beside his wife, Margaret. Thomas Jens also brought the remains of his son Noah who had died 4 years earlier. These deaths may have been the impetus for the move of Thomas back to the Gross area. He is found just east of Lynch, NE in 1920 and then, a few years later, just over the border in South Dakota where he himself died, also to be buried in the cemetery at Gross.

When Hans, Sr. died he left behind 6 married children and his son, John. In the next thirty-five years 6 more of the family would be buried In Gross. From this cemetery you can see the rolling land of Nebraska taper down to the Missouri River in the distance. The hardships of the 1930s dust bowl would persuade the rest of the family to leave the environs of Gross. What is left today are the graves and the memories and the house that Hans, Jr. built.

Copyright c 2003 by Jon D. Egge. All Rights Reserved. Any republication of this page material requires the express consent of the author.