The Iowa Mumm Family

The Iowa Mumm Family

German immigrants

Many settlers left Germany to seek their fortunes in the New World and to escape from poverty or religious persecution. The Napoleonic wars and the harsh economic conditions triggered a wave of German immigration in 1825. Severe depression, unemployment, and failure of a revolutionary movement in 1848 sent about 4 million Germans to the United States between the 1840s and the 1880s. The Germans also immigrated to the U.S. in the masses from 1881 to 1890 with more than 1.4 million immigrants recorded during this brief period. By 1890, New York had as many Germans as Hamburg. This flow of migration across the Atlantic continued well into the 20th century, as wars and years of Communism caused many to seek the relative prosperity and freedom of the United States.

The German immigrants were young and old, rich and poor, educated and illiterate. Wherever Germans went, they tended to become well established. Primarily the German settlers found themselves in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Iowa. Over 58 million people in the U.S. claim to be of German descent.

What is in a name?

As with the majority of German surnames, the surname Mumm appears to be occupational in origin. Many believe the name is associated with the Germans, meaning, "one who was a mummer, masquerader or actor in a pagent." Knowing that different spellings of the same original surname are common occurrence, it is not surprising that dictionaries of surnames indicate probable spelling variations of the Mumm surname to be Mumme, Mum, and Mumms. Although bearers of the old and distinguished Mumm name comprise a small percentage of individuals living in the world today, there may be a larger numbers of distant relatives who are using one of the Mumm name variations.

When immigrants first arrived in the New World, it was often the immigration inspectors who decided whether or not to change a new arrival's name. Each immigrant's name was checked against the ship's manifest before the arrival could be released to start a new life. For various reasons, some immigrants' names were changed due to mispronunciation, misspelling, or the inability of the officials to translate the name to English.

Where are Mumms in the United States?

History of our immediate relatives

The Mumm families who live in Westside, Iowa are the fourth, fifth and sixth generations to call Westside home. The first Mumms to come to Westside were Henry and his brother. They came to west-central Iowa from the Schleswig-Holstein area of Germany in the mid-1800s. After the two brothers had settled themselves they sent for their parents, Claus and Anje Thieleman Mumm, and the rest of their brothers and sisters. A hired girl, Anna Grote, traveled with the family to Iowa. Anna married Henry Mumm and the couple had two children, George and Francis.

George Mumm married Elsie Gosch of Wall Lake, Iowa. They made their home in Westside where George was a rural postal carrier for many years. The couple had four children: Doris, Robert, Fred, and George Jr. The children were raised in Westside and all graduated from Westside High School.

Doris married Robert Davis and they made their home in Denison, Iowa. Robert married Louise Buckner and moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. George married Lois Peterson and they reside in Iowa Falls, Iowa. Fred Mumm worked for the Vail/Westside Telephone Company before going into the Army. Upon his discharge he returned to Westside where he met Phyllis Vetter, who taught country school in the Westside and Lidderdale areas. Fred and Phyllis were married in 1949, and the couple settled in Westside. Fred was employed first by the Patterson and Campbell Garage, and later become a partner in the Phillips 66 and DX Service Stations.

Fred and Phyllis have four sons: Steve, Gail, Allan, and Todd. In 1974 Fred and his sons started Three-M-Automotive, Inc (Three Mumms' Automotive) and worked there until his retirement in 1985, when his son Steve took over the business now named Mumm Automotive.