IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

updated 07/14/2015

Clayton county Album
Fenchel family

John Michael Fenchel
John Michael Fenchel, ca1915-1921
Christina (Pfrommer) Fenchel
Christina (Pfrommer) Fenchel

Johann Michael 'John' Fenchel was born November 21, 1842, in Rotenbach, Wurttemberg, Germany. He was married to Christiane 'Christina' Pfrommer on September 02, 1880, in Elkader, Iowa. The marriage record shows that Christina's sister, Regina Buechel entered the marriage affidavit. They were married by Justice of the Peace, Adolph Papin.

Christiane 'Christina' Pfrommer was born November 08, 1851, in Wurzbach, Wurttemberg, Germany. I don't have a record confirming, however US Census records indicate John was naturalized in 1888.

The passenger manifest for the SS France, lists the family members that came to America in 1880. The voyage (I believe) originated at the port of Le Harve, France on/about July 25,1880, and docked at the Port of New York on August 25, 1880. The family members listed as passengers 312 through 318 are:

#312: J. Fenigal (sic) believed to be John Fenchel. Age listed as 34, occupation Farmer and country of origin, Germany. John's actual age at the time would have been 37, but various public documents (e.g., U.S. and Iowa Census records) show ages that vary by as much as 3 years. The surname spelling, "Fenigal" is how his name and that of his family members appeared in one of the Iowa State Census records.

#313: Jacques Pfrommer (sic) believed to be Jacob Pfrommer, brother of Christina Pfrommer (Fenchel). The French surname Jacques is the equivalent of Jacob or Jakob in either English or German. Age 36, which was his age in 1880, occupation was Farmer and country of origin was Germany. Jacob was also a baptismal sponsor of my grandfather, Fred Fenchel.

#314: Anna Pfrommer, listed as Jacques's wife, Age 26, which was her age in 1880, country of origin was Germany. Her surname was Rentschler.

#315: Jeanne Pfrommer (sic) believed to be "Johnny" or John Rubrecht Pfrommer, Age 2 listed as female, but just as likely a gender misidentification. Country of origin Germany. John R was the adopted son of Jacob and Anna.

#316: Catherine Pfrommer (sic) believed to be Katharine Barbara Pfrommer, Age 22, which was her age in 1880. Country of origin Germany

#317: Christine Pfrommer, Age 29 (her actual age would have been 28), country of origin Germany. She would become John Fenchel's wife after arriving in Iowa.

#318: "Barbo" Pfrommer (sic) believed to be Marie Barbara Pfrommer, her surname at birth and the daughter of Christine Pfrommer. After Christine Pfrommer and John Fenchel married (September 2, 1880 in Elkport/Littleport, Iowa) it appears that Marie's surname was changed to Fenchel. Her age on the manifest was listed as 1. The 1900 U.S. Census lists her birth as 1879 and place of birth as Germany, although later census records lists her birth as 1880 and place of birth as Iowa. Her siblings were all born in Iowa: Lena Fenchel, Jake Fenchel, Amelia Fenchel, and Fred Fenchel.

(source: "New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891," database with images, FamilySearch https://familysearch.org, 22 Jul 1880-26 Aug 1880 image 1 of 1079; citing NARA microfilm publication M237; Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.)


John & Christina lived in Littleport, Iowa - 1880/81; Elkport, Iowa - 1881-1915 (Section 35, Volga Township); and on S. Commercial St., Strawberry Point, Iowa - 1915-1935. They were Lutheran and believed to have been members of Immanual Lutheran Church, Elkport, and Emanual Lutheran Church, Strawberry Point.

John died October 03, 1921, after a long suffering period from cancer. Funeral services were in his home, and burial was in the Strawberry Point Cemetery. Christina died October 8, 1935.

Christina's sister Regina Pfrommer, arrived in New York from Bremen on September 12, 1868 on the steamship Weser with her sister, Elisabeth, Michael Rentschler (Elisabeth's future husband), and 6 other immigrants traveling together from Wurttemberg, Germany. I have not found any evidence of other family members who came over before Regina. The 1870 census enumerates Regina as a domestic for Christian Fox. Mr. Fox was proprietor of the Mississippi House. She met Anton Buechel of Littleport, and they were married in 1872. He was a very successful skilled carpenter and wagon maker.

old Fenchel family home - photo of the vacant house was taken ca1950s

L-R: Jacob 'Jake' Fenchel, an unknown woman, Bernard Fenchel (Jake's nephew) and his wife Agnes Fenchel. They are standing outside of the house where the John Fenchel family lived at Elkport from 1892-1915, when they then moved to Strawberry Point. John Fenchel purchased the house and 13 acres on March 9, 1892 from Martin and Henriette Buschofsky, who had a neighboring farm in Section 36 Volga Township. The Fenchel property was located in Section 35 of Volga Township, on the south side of the Turkey river below Elkport along the country road that is now closed to traffic. A 1902 Historic Map of Volga Township marked the property with "J. Fenchel".

The house was vacant when the photo was taken. The Raymond Hammond family were the last to live in the house and the farm land now belongs to the Michael Amling family.


Jacob 'Jake' Fenchel

Jacob 'Jake' Fenchel was the 3rd born child and oldest son of John Fenchel and Christina Pfrommer Fenchel. He was born in Elkport, Iowa on June 14, 1883. The photo (below) is of Jake posing with his dog. The date of the picture is unknown, but believed to be late 1930s or early 1940s on Jake's farm, which was near Backbone State Park.

Jacob 'Jake' Fenchel, late 1930's or early 1940's L-R: Agnes Tracy Fenchel, Jake Fenchel & Lena Fenchel Stringer Croyle, 1963

Above: Jake Fenchel at his family farm on his 80th birthday, June 14, 1963. To his right is his wife, Agnes Tracy Fenchel, and to his left, his sister, Lena Fenchel Croyle.

Lena was the second child of John and Christina, born in Elkport, Iowa. I have not been able to verify Lena's birth or death dates with any certainty. However, from census records it would appear that she was born in 1881. Her death date was after 1963, but no cemetery record has been located at this time. Her first husband was Clarence Stringer of Strawberry Point, who died in 1912. Her second husband was Charles Croyle of Edgewood, Iowa. He died in the mid 1960s.


Fred John Fenchel

Fred John Fenchel

My grandfather, Fred John Fenchel. He was born in Elkport on the Fenchel farm on March 22, 1891. He was the youngest son of John Fenchel and Christina (Pfrommer) Fenchel. Fred was a painter in his adult life in Strawberry Point. My dad, Bernard Fenchel worked for him and took over the business from Grandpa in 1943 or 1944. Grandpa died on April 10, 1944 after a long struggle with cancer and is buried in Strawberry Point.

~Contributed by Robert 'Bob' Fenchel, Lexington, KY, great-great grandson of Johann M. & Christiana (Pfrommer) Fenchel and son of Bernard & Agnes Fenchel. Interested researchers can contact Bob at his email address in the Surname Registry for Fenchel.


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