Postcard of the village Helpenstell
These families HELPENSTELL, SEELBACH
(Wilhelmina HELPENSTELL’s marriage name), KOLB and
REIDER were the TUBBE'S neighbors in Nacogdoches/Texas during the
first years after their immigration from Prussia. Later on they were
connected by several marriages.
In 1850 Wilhelm and his sister Wilhelmine Helpenstell emigrated from their home in the tiny village HELPENSTELL. It is situated abt. 2 miles from ROSBACH, 40 miles east from BONN/ Rhine. The village is on the south bank of the SIEG river. There was no bridge so they had to cross a ford to go to the small town of Rosbach with a lutheran church and a school.
Wilhelm and Wilhelmine's father Ernst Helpenstell and his brother Heinrich H., owned a small area of land including a house. They earned their poor living by farming the extremly small spots of land and perhaps breeding some hens, pigs and a cow for family use only and might have been happy if they had enough to keep them away from starving. The ruins of the Ernst Helpenstell home were still in existence in 1999 when we visited it again with Sarah Tubbe who is a Helpenstell and also a Seelbach descendant.
The late forties of the 19th century brought about severe misharvest and starvation. People sometimes took straw from their own roofs to feed their only pig on. The Helpenstells, after both of their parents' death, applied for permission to emigrate with the authorities in Sept.1849. Probably they then were unable to sell their property, because everybody could himself call lucky if he was able to buy a bread. So they took off one year later in fall 1850 with only 400 Thaler (Sailing passage cost 80 Thaler per head).
There is a family saga telling that on board (perhaps of the Rhine steamer ?) they met the two KOLB-families who had in hands a letter from Texas from their brothers-in-law Henry and William REIDER, telling about free land over there in Texas.
Having seen this letter the HELPENSTELLs on the spot decided to not go to Pensylvania as initially planned where Wilhelmina's sweetheart was already waiting for her. Instead they embarked on the sailing ship "ISIS" going from Rotterdam to New Orleans. They settled in Union Spring north of Nacogdoches city next to the county border. Wilhelm changed his name into ‘Willem’ = William. He married and donated land for the HELPENSTELL cemetery, where his first son Henry was buried in 1861, so was Martha, the second child of August and Mary TUBBE, in 1864.
Information for genealogists
History : Helpenstell village belonged to the Dukedom BERG until 1806.
In 1806 the French Emperor Napoleon I occupied the whole region which in
1815 became Western part of the Kingdom of Prussia (Rhine province) and in
1871 part of the German Empire.
Today Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany)
State : Nordrhein-Westfalen
Both the village of Helpenstell and the little town Rosbach today belong to the community D 51570 Windeck
IMPORTANT hint: Everybody wanting to do genealogical
research in this part of Germany really should be aware of a very special
custom there in 16th, 17th and 18th
century : Literally every boy got "Johann" resp.
"Johannes" as his first given name. This solely seems to be a sign of
lutheran belief was not the name somebody was known
In the very early days people were known only by their given names. Family names developed not before the 15th century or later. In the Helpenstell area family names came into use even not before 17th cty. This means that the Helpenstell family took over the name of the Helpenstell village they were living in and never left this place.
The old German handwriting is hard to read espeacially on microfilms. Though the original church books are not for public use we double-checked the entries of "our" Helpenstell family in the actual old tomes.
There were some more Helpenstell families living in that area, but their connection to "our" Helpenstell line is unknown.
|The emigrant's father :
Joh. Ernst HELPENSTELL (known as "Ernst" )
brother to Heinrich HELPENSTELL in Helpenstell
*25.Dec.1774 + 6.Mar.1836 (60 years) in Helpenstell
1.oo 27.Aug.1802 oo Else Marie Heuser . *abt. 1772 +30.July 1815
1) Anna Katharina HELPENSTELL *23.June 1810
2) Gerhard H. * Sept.19, 1814 +6.Dec. 1816
|2.oo 26.Nov. 1815 Anna Catharina DUTZER|
|* 10.Jul.1787 in Saal, + 8.Jan.1848 in
(her parents : Johann Wilhelm DUTZER & Anna Maria HIMMEROTHER
of Saal, poor farmer)
|Their children :|
3) Joh. Wilhelm HELPENSTELL *16.Sept.1816, emigrated 1850, see above for more information
4) Joh. Peter Helpenstell * 21.Oct. 1818 +25.Nov.1821
5) Wilhelmina HELPENSTELL *24. Aug.1821, emigrated 1850, see above for more information
6) Katharina Helpenstell *12. Sept.1823 +15.Mar.1825
Rohrich HELPENSTELL in Helpenstell
oo 21.Sep.1768 Agnesa Catharina HUNDENBORN
For more info about their ancestors see my book "I am Justina Tubbe".
Uncle to "our" Wilhelm and Wilhelmina was Heinrich HELPENSTELL * abt.1778, also a poor farmer in Helpenstell,
married before 1810 to M.K.KLAAS (or CLAAS).
They had at least four children :
1) J. Wilhelm HELPENSTELL * 1812, conf. 1823
2) Maria Cath. HELPENSTELL *1813
3) Elsa Cath. Wilhelmina HELPENSTELL *1818, conf. 1833
4) Anna Kath. Henrietta H.* 1822-24
Wilhelm HELPENSTELL was born Sept.16,1816 in Helpenstell, Kingdom of Prussia (Rhine province), was confirmed in the lutheran church of Rosbach in 1830, he died 23. May 1894 in Nacogdoches Co./Tx. and was buried on the Helpenstell Cemetery, Nacogdoches,Tx.
He emigrated from the village of Helpenstell in 1850 together with his
sister Wilhelmina, and went to Texas on board the S.S. "ISIS" going from
Rotterdam to New Orleans in fall 1850. He married 21.Nov.1858 Mary
Elizabeth EVERETT (*1/1829 + 10.Febr. 1900)
1) John Helpenstell *28.Sept.1859 + 21.Apr.1920
2) Henry Helpenstell *16.June1861 + 8/1861 ---This was first grave to be put up on the Helpenstell Cemetery.
3) Mary Jane Helpenstell * 21July 1865 +1896
4) Josephine Helpenstell *June 21/1865 + 15.Dec. 1923
5) Albert Helpenstell *11.July 1867 +1.May 1936
1.) Albert Frank 2nd
1.)Albert Frank 3rd *14.Jun1958 oo Debra *18.Jul1961
a.)Lee Ann *21.Jul.1979 oo Brandon Bailey *21.Jul1979
b.) Jeffery Frank *3.Jun1981
2.) Eugene +
3.) Arlene oo McFarland lives in Lufkin
6) Emma Helpenstell *16. April 1869 + 6.June 1943 oo Thomas E. PHILLIPS
7) Edward Helpenstell *1.April 1871 +15. June 1956
|oo 1891 M. Eliz. MATLOCK *1875 +1952
5 Children :
1) James 'Bee' Helpenstell *1895
2) Myrtle Helpenstell *1891
3) Hattie Helpenstell * 1894
4) John D.'Dee' Helpenstell *9. March 1902, oo Gladys Thelma MORROW
(Gladys' grandmother was Christina SEELBACH)
|5 children :|
1) Edward HELPENSTELL *1924
2) Thelma *1925
3) Llewyn 'Pat' *1924 oo MARSHALL
4) Alice Faye *1933
5) Bessie Lou Emma *1934
|They had 3 children :|
1.) John William'Will' SEELBACH *3.May 1859 +16.Oct.1950
|oo 1888 Levinia HAMILTON *5.Dec.1850 + 3.Feb.1962, 7 children|
|2.) Sarah Elizabeth SEELBACH *28.3.1861 in Lynn Flat +1936, Lacyville, Nac.Co.|
|1.oo 28.Jan.1880 John Robert WINGATE *1848 +
2.oo of Sarah S.oo 1905 Thomas Hollis FOOTE
|1 child : Ruby Wilhelmina FOOTE|
|6 children : 1.) John Wilhelm Wingate *1881 +8
2.) Walter B.E. WINGATE*7.Apr. 1883 + 4.Oct.1957
oo 1914 Stella Mae HOLBROOK
|1.) John Wilhelm WINGATE *1915 +1989 oo Alberta
2.) Stephen Leon WINGATE *1916 oo Nona CHANDLER *1938
|4 ch.: Jerry Leon, John Walter; Sandra Elaine, Miles Allen|
|3.) Beuna Mae WINGATE 1920 + 1991 Baytown /Tx|
|oo 1937 Thomas Oliver HILL* 2.Mar.1910 + 1.Aug.1985|
5 children :
1.) Sarah Beth HILL * 15.Jul.1938 oo 1959 John August TUBBE *10.Sept.1937
|1 child: Tamberley 24.Jan1961 oo 1989 Thomas BROWN|
|2 ch.: Thomas Von August BROWN
Alexandra Regan *4.May 1995
|2.) James Edward HILL *1941 +1975|
|oo 1963 Barbara Jean BRAY, 1 ch.: John Luke|
|3.) Walter Oliver HILL *1943 oo1966 Edna Ann STEWARD|
|2 ch : John Walter HILL * 4.Feb.1973,|
|Michael James *1.Jul.1775|
|4.) Jackson Hardeman HILL *1945|
|oo Deanne Debra DAILY, 1 ch.: Dawn Cherie|
|5.) Stella Dianne HILL *1949 oo 1983 Bruce Courrtney GREEN|
|4.) H.Ernest Alwin WINGATE oo 1942 Dorothy Juanita SELF ,|
|8 children : Gene Alvin WINGATE, William Walter
W., Dale Alwin W., Mary Jane W., Gayla Joyce
Cyntia Ann W., Dorothy Marie W., David Wayne W.
|3.) Noah Kee WINGATE oo Ina Ethel
4.) Etta Lorena WINGATE oo Frank TILLIS
5.) Mae Pamela WINGATE oo Iva Estell MAYES
Map of the land owned by the Helpenstells in Western Province of Prussia :
GiselaLaudi (provider) aol.com