Ein Schnittblumengarten für Mary

Today’s blog post is going to be very personal. I’m sure we’ve had a lot of questions formulated in the back of people’s minds when they see the name of our farm (Sievers Blumen Farm). What does “blumen” mean? Why did they pick that for their farm name? Today I’ll be addressing these questions and more!

If you’ve read our “About Us” section on our website, you’ll know that we chose Sievers Blumen Farm as our farm name because “blumen” is the German word for “flowers”, and that both Hayden and I have German ancestry, while also living in an area settled by Germans in the 1840s. I did have one person come up to me at the farmer’s market and ask me why I chose the German word for flowers. I still worry that people just think we are idiots and don’t know how to spell “blooming” correctly (like “blooming flowers”), but I digress.

(Side note: We were going to be “Sievers Schnittblumen” because schnittblumen means “cut flowers” in German, but figured a) schnittblumen is too hard to spell, and b) people would probably end up mispronouncing the “schnitt” part by using a common curse word that rhymes with “schnitt”… if you know what I mean.)

The interest in my own German ancestry began at a young age. I was very interested in genealogical research, which led me to try to learn the German language in the 5th grade by listening to a “How to learn German” CD on my walkman (I know, I was so cool, right?). I didn’t end up learning much, but I did discover more about the Biehler and Stuckemeyer side of my family, which hails from Germany of course. When I married Hayden, I moved to Calhoun county where there are people with the last name Sievers literally everywhere you turn… If they don’t have the last name Sievers, then they’re probably related to a Sievers in some way. The Sievers also hail from Germany.

My Grandma Pat and I have always been able to discuss genealogy together, and one day she called me, very excited, to tell me she had never realized it before, but her great grandmother, Sophia Catherine Bernau, was listed as being born in Calhoun County, Illinois in 1860. Whoa! We were both excited, because if you’re not familiar with Illinois geography, I grew up about 3 hours east of Calhoun in Shelby County. So, for me to randomly end up back in a place where years before my great great great grandmother was born was pretty neat!

Sophia Bernau Stuckemeyer (right) with her husband, William Stuckemeyer. Sophia was born in Calhoun County in 1860. Her parents, Louis and Marie Bernau immigrated to America from Germany.

It turns out, Sophia’s mother and father, Marie Brockmeyer Bernau and Louis Bernau, immigrated to America from Germany at some point (we are still trying to figure out when and where Louis is buried; it is suspected he’s buried in Calhoun somewhere). Louis died sometime around 1865, and Marie remarried before settling over in Moccasin (Effingham area), dying in early 1870. Sophia is listed in the 1870 census at 10 years old with her brothers and a man named William Fuechtemann (her stepfather, presumably).

We found these little felt and paper pieces tucked behind a wire in our garage soon after we bought our house. The house had been through two owners since Henry died in ’96, so it was neat to find these tucked away. Finding these felt like Henry and Mary were sending us a blessing as we fixed up their old house to make it our new home.

So now, with a link to Calhoun of the past for me, it was really neat to purchase property that had once been owned by Hayden’s family. Where Sievers Blumen Farm sits today in Meppen was previously owned by Mary Sievers Kronable and Henry Kronable. Mary Sievers was born into a family of many children. Her brothers built her the house we currently reside in, and it was here that she took care of her parents until they died. She did not marry until she was 52 years old, and to top it off she married a strapping 32 year old man named Henry. The couple never had children, but I’ve been told that Hayden’s father was like a son to them. Mary was a sister to Hayden’s grandfather, Eddie, and Henry was a brother to Hayden’s grandmother, Martha, so that would make Mary and Henry Hayden’s great aunt and uncle. Mary had a general store at one time that used to sit in our front yard. I’ve also been told she had several cherry trees she tended, and though she was a very sweet lady, every now and then she would curse in German.

Mary Sievers Kronable – the reason our house was built here in 1950 by her brothers.

Through my historical research, I’ve also learned a lot about the migration of immigrants to America that happened throughout the mid to late 1800s, specifically Irish and German immigrants. In Germany (or Prussia), there was a lot of political upheaval and economic hardship. America held promises of new beginnings. Many immigrants found their new beginning as farmers, which includes our German ancestors both here in Calhoun and to the east in Shelby/Effingham counties.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this first season of flower farming. I didn’t set out for this year to be as busy as it has been, but it has been such a blessing. Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year thus far. You have inspired us to continue with our own “new beginning”. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store!

God bless!

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