Christoph Brockmeier, who was born in Germany on October 18, 1793, was originally Christoph Richtsmeier. He married Elizabeth Brockmeier and took her name, or the name of the house and land. Their home was in Sabbenhausen, Lippe Detmold. Sabbenhausen was a small hamlet near Piermont. The name "Brockmeier" came from Meyers living near the Brock Mountains. Lippe Detmold was a small province about two hundred miles west and a little south of Berlin. In the early 1800's it was described as a pleasant country with a good soil and a mild climate. At that time there was no unified country of Germany, only provinces, the largest of which were constantly at war. The people of Lippe Detmold were continually reminded of these wars, for in their small province was located a garrison in which a regiment of soldiers were always stationed.
The Schure family, relatives of Christoph's wife, urged Christoph, when a widower, to come to America, where they were living. They told him it would be better for his children's future. Young Frederick, Christoph's oldest son, was eager to go. At length, Christoph decided to make the move.
The ocean voyage, in a large sailboat from Bremen in May 1848, took seven weeks. Along with the Brockmeiers came about seven other families. Some days the boat went backward as far as it had gone forward because of absence of wind or the direction of the winds. Several of the passengers on the boat died on the way and were buried at sea. Finally the weary travelers reached America--there was then no Statue of Liberty to welcome them. From New York, immigrant families with Illinois as their destination often traveled up the Hudson River to Albany, and by way of the Erie Canal to Buffalo, and took passage on a lake vessel to Chicago. Teams were hired there to bring them inland, or the boats coated along the continent to New Orleans. The trip was continued up the Mississippi to Savanna, Illinois. From Savanna, they proceeded to points in northwestern Illinois by oxcart.
Upon arriving in Ogle County, near Forreston, Illinois, Christoph Brockmeier bought land and erected a small frame house into which the family moved the following year. The labor required to improve and develop the farm was great and arduous. Christoph and his sons, Frederick and Christian, became United States citizens on June 2, 1857, in the Circuit Court of Ogle County.
Christoph lived to see his six children married in America and doing well. He died October 22, 1869, among the flames of the burning home of his son, Christian, while attempting to recover valuables. His wife, Elizabeth, died in Germany in 1841.
Christoph is buried in the cemetery adjoining the North Grove Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church which he attended, still located northeast of Forreston.
An interesting anecdote about "Aunt Schure", sister of great-grandmother Elizabeth, is that she thought a wooden rocking chair (still in use) purchaed by Henry, Christoph's youngest son, when he married, an extravagance. Rocking chairs were a luxury at that time. Children of the Schures were Ellen Dorman, Mary Bergman, Elizabeth Zumdahl/Ratmeyer.
This record was completed by Florette Keeler of Freeport, Illinois, June 1962, at the time, the only remaining grandchild of Christoph and Elizabeth.
Received courtesy of Glen Auman, [email protected]