Anderson-Vriese Family Ties


compiled by Staci Anderson, December, 2003

GREMER (Renner, Remmer) OLTHOFF

(Gremer Olthoff and wife Henrietta Knipper. The back of the original photograph of Henrietta says that the photo was taken in Leer, Germany. This is a great base for future research. Also, notice the ship used as a prop for Gremer, who probably came from a "sailor" family in Germany. He himself was a sailor before immigration. It is hard to tell how old he is in this photograph. If you have any information on these people please contact me!)

Remmer Olthoff was born in Germany in 1856 and immigrated to the United States in May of 1885 with his wife Henrietta (Henrica) Knipper and their 1 year old child, Erick (Avarick). They landed at the port of New York. According to his land entry file and his granddaughter, he was a sailor before immigrating to the US. The 1885 Dakota Territorial Census states that they came from East Friesland, Germany, which lies in the NW corner of Germany on the North Sea, and that they were both born around 1856. The Olthoff's settled very soon thereafter in Wheeler, Jackson Township, Charles Mix County, South Dakota. According to Remmer's own testimony in his land entry file: "I came from Germany about 6 months prior to settling this claim. I rented ground and lived near this claim during the summer prior to settling on this." Their land entry file from 1886 states that they lived in the NE Quarter of Sec 13, Township no 97, North Range 68, West of the 5th Principal Meridian. They had 160 acres, purchased for $200.00 on which they lived in a sod house, 16x20 feet and 7 feet high with a "board and sod roof, one room, one door, one window, and pine floor." They also had a sod stable 20x24 feet and 7 feet high pole and hay roof and a spring for water. He also states that he had no money to hire someone to improve his property, and had only one small yoke of oxen, and would work outside the farm to make a living. The Olthoff farm had one acre of planted garden vegetables, 3 acres planted of corn, and 13 acres of flax. Soon after their arrival in South Dakota, their 2nd son, "Johnni" Olthoff, was born and then 3 years later still in South Dakota they had a daughter named Millie. Remmer signed naturalization papers to become a US citizen on January 13th, 1886 in Charles Mix County. By 1895 both Remmer and Henrica disappear from the census records, and I believe they both died, leaving their children without parents at an early age. It is thought that Remmer died from a rattlesnake bite. Sometime between 1890 (the last land record with his name) and the next state census in 1895, both Remmer and Henrietta are gone, and their children are living with Henrietta's brother, E.Knipper and his wife, Wilhelmina.

Other research notes: There is an Ottje and Gesina (Janssen) Olthoff family that emigrated from Germany to South Dakota around the same time. Gesina was born in Leer. I am sure they are related but have no idea how. Also, the immigration at Ellis Island website shows that a Antje Oltoff came from Leer, Germany in 1893, age 11 years, via Bremen. Who is this girl and who was she with? On top of all this, I have found a tree that also links another Knipper with an Olthoff. Heinrich Wilhelm Knipper and Maria Olthoff, from Ostfriesland had a son named Otto Martin Knipper. No idea how this all fits in....

JOHN OLTHOFF (John Olthoff and wife Catherine Maria Kester, Oregon)

John Olthoff was born in Charles Mix County, South Dakota on 10 October 1885. As stated above, his parents presumably died when he was very young, and Johnni (as his family called him), his brother Erick and sister Millie were living with their Uncle and Aunt. Sometime between 1895 and 1900 the Knipper family and the Olthoff children moved from South Dakota to Hancock County (Kanawha vicinity), Iowa. When John was a young man he moved out West to Oregon, and ended up working for Wilmot Kester. (His brother and sister remained in Iowa, where his brother Erick lived until his death in 1949.) John married Wilmot's daughter, Catherine Maria Kester on 11 February, 1908. They had 2 children together, John (Kes) and Lorraine. John was a farmer and the family was living in Suver, Oregon where Kes and Lorraine went to school. Lorraine remembers going back to Iowa to visit Johns family when she was a little girl sometime around 1920. The Olthoff's then moved eastward into Tillamook County, Oregon where John and Catherine divorced in 1923. After the divorce, John moved back to the Willamette Valley, and later remarried a woman named Lurena. He died in a hospital in Salem on 5 Dec., 1973 at the age of 88 years.

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