FORT LORAMIE – The festivities began Aug. 10 to honor the legacy of the Poeppelman, Drees and Hilgefort ancestors.
Open houses were held at the current homes of Mike and Kim Busse, of Friemering Road in Fort Loramie, and Carol and Tim Will, from Dirksen Road in Fort Loramie.
The afternoon began when more than 100 descendants of Bernard (Barney) Poeppelman and Elizabeth Dreesman congregated at the ancestral home currently owned by Mike Busse, who is a great-great-grandson of Bernard Poeppelman.
According to Mike, when he and Kim made the decision to buy the property, he did not know it was the home of his great-great-grandparents. But, shortly after purchasing the home, they became aware of the history from other family members.
Among those in attendance were Hilda Francis and Mary Hoying, who grew up in the home as they were daughters of Wiliam Poeppelman, the son of Bernard, who became the next owner.
Following a picture session and time getting to know each other, the entire group moved on to the home of Tim and Carol Will on Dirksen Road. The Will property is the original property purchased by Heinrich and Catherina Poeppelman, who immigrated to west central Ohio in 1837.
The family farm is unique in that it has been in possession of the direct line of the family for all of these years. Carol Poeppelman Will is a great-great-granddaughter of Heinrich and Catherina Poeppelman.
More than 260 descendants were in attendance at the Poeppelman homestead for an informal evening getting to know each other. All of this is in preparation for Legacy Day.
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 40 Americans traveling to the Poeppelman homestead located in Holdorf, Germany, and extended German 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.
The German Poeppelmans are blessed in that 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, Catherina and their six children. 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,” 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.”
Tickets for the luncheon and legacy day are going fast with more than 300 already sold. The tickets 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.