FORT LORAMIE – The descendants of Heinrich and Catherina Poeppelman, the original pioneer immigrants to west central Ohio, will celebrate their journey and legacy on Poeppelman Legacy Day to be held on Sept. 8, more than 180 years after their arrival.
This has been a life-long dream for family members to learn about and share the journey of the German pioneers who made the difficult journey to the United States during the 1830s.
German Legacy Day on Sept. 8 will begin with a meal at St. Michael’s Hall in Fort Loramie with doors opening at 11 a.m. and a luncheon celebration at noon.
Following lunch there will be a live feed with a group of 30 Americans traveling to the Poeppelman homestead located in Holdorf, Germany, and extended German Poeppelman family members. During the presentation, guests will learn historical information about the conditions in Germany, the journey to America and the dangerous trip from Baltimore to west central Ohio.
In Germany, the event will be held at the family farm, which has been in the family name since the 1200s. Despite all of the wars and turmoil during hundreds of years, the records are intact and the farm continues in the family name today.
Poeppelmans on both sides of the Atlantic will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn a little about family members from different countries. Several descendants from the United States have visited the farm in recent years.
After a question-and-answer session the group will have the opportunity to visit the six legacy farms of Heinrich and Catherina Poeppelman and their six children. The original homestead, located southeast of Egypt, is owned by Tim and Carol (Poeppelman) Will. Carol Will is a great-great-granddaughter of Heinrich and Catherina Poeppelman, who immigrated to the United States in 1837.
Finally, at the end of the afternoon, a reception will be held at the Arrowhead Golf Course in Minster, which originally was a farm owned by Heinrich’s daughter Josephine and her husband, Bernard Drees.
The event has been a life-long dream for Diane (Poeppelman) O’Connor, who originally traveled to Germany as an exchange student in 1974.
“During that trip, I was able to obtain a document of Poeppelman family history dating back to the 1200s when our ancestor, who was a serf, was involved in saving the Archbishop of Osnabruck’s life when he was attacked by highway robbers,” Diane O’Connor said. “For his bravery, he was granted his freedom and was able to own land and build a life for himself. This history has piqued a life-long love for family history and genealogy, and years later my husband, John, and I were able to visit the farm and meet the present day Poeppelmans who live there.”
Years went by and in 2008 Diane O’Connor’s brother Mark Poeppelman became the executive director of The Columbus International Program, which hosts visiting professionals and dignitaries from other countries.
He had the opportunity to host Rita Kessing from Germany, who lives near the Poeppelman homestead. He expressed the desire to some day visit with a group of Poeppelman family members from the United States to visit northwest Germany where most of their ancestors originated from. Kessing offered to help coordinate this as she can speak the local language and coordinate the activities in Germany.
“I have always wanted to visit northwest Germany as all of my ancestors from both sides of my family are from this part of Germany so this is not just a Poeppelman history, it is the family history for most people with German blood living in west central Ohio today,” Mark Poeppelman said.
The trip to Germany will be from Sept. 4-12 and is open to anyone who is interested in the history and legacy of the pioneers who traveled from Germany to the United States.
The process to plan this trip and legacy day began in earnest over a year ago when Diane O’Connor and her siblings Bill Poeppelman, Karen (Poeppelman) Batty, Mark Poeppelman and Diane O’Connor’s daughter Tiffany O’Connor began the local research in discovering where not only the original farm was located but where Heinrich Poeppelman’s six children settled during the 1860s. They all established homesteads near Fort Loramie, Minster and Egypt.
The intrigue became even greater when coincidentally it was found that the majority of the six legacy farms are still owned by descendants of Heinrich Poeppelman through different lines of the family. Heinrich and Catherina Poeppelman had six children, 63 grandchildren and 311 great-grandchildren. It is estimated that there are more than 3,000 descendants, which includes other surnames including Hilgefort, Drees, Baumer, Bornhorst and many other common local names.
Tickets for the luncheon and legacy day are $15 and may be obtained by contacting Mark Poeppelman at 614-425-2268 or firstname.lastname@example.org or stopping by Bruckens in Fort Loramie. Similarly, for those interested in traveling to Germany, they may contact Julie Poeppelman Kimmel at email@example.com.