|Kuck Immigrants: L-R John, Frederick and Anna|
John Kuck, my 3rd great grandfather, was the second son of Hinrich Kuck, born in 1836 in the swampy lowlands of Adolphsdorf, Germany. On an early summer day in June of 1853 at the ripe old age of sixteen, he would board the ship Arnold Boninger in Bremen and set sail for Baltimore on the far side of an ocean. The Boninger was built and named for a tobacco company in Duisburg only the year before but two years later would be in the midst of the Austro-Prussina War against Denmark. Perhaps it was the looming war which drove John to immigrate or the lack of land in an area brimming with large families or the promise of the American dream. Fortunately for me, he went, he met his wife to be and the rest is history.
As I wrote in a previous post about John's life, he traveled westward from Baltimore making several stops, raising capital and finding a wife before settling in Charles City, Iowa and opening up a saddle and harness shop in 1864. That was the year that John most likely learned through a letter back home that his father had died at age 56. John had two children by then and by 1868 was up to four with the birth of my 2nd great grandfather George. I'm guessing the American dream must have been realized because he sent for two more of his siblings, Frederich and Anna who arrived around that time. I have yet to find their immigration papers with certainty but from other clues, I'm fairly certain they came in that year. Both went straight to Charles City, Iowa and shacked up with big brother John for a time according to the census of 1870. Both Frederich and Anna would marry in the next year, Frederich to Katherine Brandau older sister of John's future wife and Anna to Frederick Tubbesing, a name I only recently learned. Frederich would move to nearby Rockford to start his life and Anna would move up to Redwing, Minnesota to begin her life. Back home in Germany, older brother to Frederich and Anna, Dietrich and the two remaining brothers Wilhelm and George would bury their mother Anna Gerken Kuck the following year.
|Anna Gerken Kuck|
With most of the family now safely together on American soil living the American dream, life was good for a few years until the winter of 1878 and 1879. In that year John would lose five of his seven children and wife Mary Meyer Kuck to a diphtheria epidemic. Mary was only 42 at the time. John would remarry again to Elizabeth Brandau, younger sister to Frederich's wife Katherine Brandau and life would resume.
Dietrich Kuck, the last Kuck member to immigrate would be the first to die at age 51 in 1894. Sister Anna would die five years later in 1899 at the age of 49. Frederich Kuck would die in 1907 at the age of 61 and with him, Kuck's Harness and Saddle shop would close its doors and open no more. John's eldest surviving son Henry Lincoln Kuck would carry on the tradition halfway across the country by joining forces and opening the Kuck & Bonny Saddle shop so I suppose John was gratified to know that though his saddle shop was closed, his saddle making legacy continued and indeed, Kuck saddles fetch a high price on the internet.
John's second wife Elizabeth would die in 1910 at the age of 53 and once again at the age of 74, John would find himself alone in this world once again. Except now instead of penniless and owning nothing more than the clothes on his back, he was a product of the American dream and a quite prominent man around town. He had two sons from his first marriage who were both successful, married and had kids of their own. My great grandfather Victor Kuck born in 1895 was fifteen years old and living in nearby Rockford must have known his grandfather quite well. John had three more children with his second wife Elizabeth Brandau Kuck and the eldest was married though childless and the other two still lived with him so he did have some company. Daughter Clara would later be quite the independent lady moving out west to Montana and then on to California. She would at one point take a ship all the way through the Panama Canal, stop over in Havana, Cuba and continue on to New York City though she would soon end up back in California. Big moves for 1931. At that point she was 48 years old and still single and I lose track of her until her death in 1966 at the age of 83 still living in California. She married a Herbert Foot sometime after the age of 48 but never had children.
|Clara Elizabeth Kuck|