born on April 12, 1851 in Erie County, NY just south of Buffalo. He
was the first son and named after his father. He was the middle
child with two older sisters and a sister and brother younger. When
he was three years old his family moved to Iowa and settled just
south of Balltown. Nine years later his father enlisted, went off to
fight in the Civil War and never returned. By then his two older
sisters had married and moved out to start their own families,
leaving Mike and his mother to manage the farm and help with his two
younger siblings. At about the same time the Gassmann family moved
to Iowa, another family also arrived and settled nearby. The Jochums
arrived in New York on Oct. 23, 1854 aboard the ship “Far West” that
had sailed from Harve, France. They immediately set out for Iowa and
purchased forty acres of land between Balltown and Sherrills Mound.
Four sons crossed the sea with them and six more children were born
after their arrival. Kate, or Katie as she was known, was the first
daughter born to the Jochums. When Katie was around seven years old
her mother died possibly while giving birth to her tenth child,
although that cannot be stated with certainty. A few years later
Katie’s father married Eliza Knabel on Oct 5, 1868 and one more
child was added to the family-her three-year-old daughter, Margaret
Michael was 24 and Catherine Jochum was 18 when they took out a
marriage license on Feb. 18, and were married by Fr. G. Ignatius
Rottler in Sherrill on Feb. 29, 1876. The Jochums were Catholic so
Mike converted to Catholicism before his marriage. He would have had
to take instructions for two months and then show himself to be a
practicing Catholic for a year before the marriage could take place.
Michael and Katie lived with Michael’s mother and his brother and
sister for several years after their marriage. Nine months and a
couple weeks after their wedding their first child, Lena was born on
Dec. 4th. A son, Frank was born a year and a half later followed by
another son, Peter exactly four years to the day after Lena. By then
the house must have started to become crowded, and by 1882, when
Mike’s younger brother Peter married Katie’s younger sister,
Margaret, Michael leased 80 acres a few miles west in Concord twp.
He farmed half of it and his newly married brother-in-law, Frank
Jochum farmed the other half. Mike paid the taxes on both farms. Two
more daughters and a son were born on this farm, Margaret on Nov. 9,
1882, Katie on Oct. 20, 1884 and Mike on Dec. 10, 1887.
The following year Mike’s father-in-law, Nicholas Jochum, and his
second wife, Eliza, sold 80 acres in Section 3 to Michael on Feb.
17, 1888 with a $1500 mortgage on it. Nick specified that he
retained rights “for life” to the fuel (timber) on the land. Nick
had purchased 200 acres in Concord Township from Thomas McGuire for
$5900 on January 7, 1875.
Another 40 acres in Section 2 may have been sold at the same time,
but that particle of land is not included in the existing document.
Mike and his family, now numbering six children moved again. Three
more children were born there including John (Murphy) on Mar. 28,
1889, Matt on Feb 28, 1891 and Clotilda in Dec of 1893.
father Nick died of pneumonia on April 6, 1891. He had made out his
will the day before naming his son-in-law, Michael Stager as
executor. He listed personal property with a value of $5000 (more
than $100,000 in today’s economy) that included the $1500 mortgage
on Mike and Katie’s farm. It also included seven other notes for
$500 each-probably to each one of his sons. Nick also owned Lot 297
in the Davis Farm Addition in Dubuque. The lot was located on the NE
corner of 19th and Central and remained in the family for many
years-Nick’s step-daughter, Margaret Crawford died in the home on
Aug. 24, 1937.
Three years later Mike and Katie sold the farm, now consisting of
120 acres to his sister, Lena and his brother-in-law, Peter Brimeyer
on Feb. 7, 1894 for $2500.
Mike and Katie then moved to Holy Cross where their last two
daughters Bernadetta and Lizzie were born on Feb. 18, 1896 and Jan.
6, 1899. Their house was on the corner in the northwest part of
town, across from the church cemetery. Mike became the caretaker of
the cemetery and did odd jobs. Katie’s stepmother died in Aug. 1905
and each of the twelve Jochum children received $501.28 from the
estate. That would be around $10,000 in today’s currency.
Mike ran for councilman in Holy Cross, and in the election on March
30, 1906, he and John Reichman tied, but Reichman won the office in
the end, although how it was decided is not known.
Brimeyer sold the farm to his son Ray about a decade later. The
existing structures on the farm were built by the Brimeyers around
1907-08. According to the 1906 plat map the Potosi Mining Company
owned 80 acres just north of the Brimeyer farm and the foundations
of the smelter and other equipment near the creek still remain but
all the mine shafts have been filled in.
There is a story that has become almost legendary in the region that
a small band of Indians lived in the timber on the hill just east of
the farm. The year is not known, but it was an exceptionally cold
and snowy winter and the Indians were almost freezing to death.
Whoever it was that owned the farm at the time went up the hill and
told the party of Indians that there was an abandoned log cabin
about a mile to the west that would provide better protection from
the elements and they could use it for as long as they liked. The
Indians took the farmer up on his offer and remained there for about
two years, but then suddenly they were gone and no one ever knew
where they went.
census shows Mike as a Laborer doing odd jobs. The five youngest
children still lived at home and John (Murphy) was working as a
harness maker. Mike died at age in 1918. His namesake, son Mike, was
serving in France in WWI. Two years later, Mike (the 3rd) had
returned from war and moved back in with his mother and brother,
Murphy. Kate’s daughter, Clotilda had remarried and her two children
by her first husband Ben Meyer who had died, were also living with
the Gassmann family. The family apparently did not approve of
Clotilda’s marriage to Adolph Cooper because he was not Catholic and
she eventually joined the Summit Congregational Church. Several
years before her death, Kate apparently was quite ill and she had
her daughter Clotilda Cooper appointed her guardian on Oct. 18,
1937. So there must have been some reconciliation by the family.
Then on Apr. 23, 1940 Kate had recovered enough to have the court
remove the guardianship. She then moved in with her son Matt and his
wife until her death in 1944.
Children of Mike & Kate Gassmann
Lena b. Dec. 4, 1876; d. Nov. 12, 1973; m. John Roth. Her obituary
said that: Mrs. Lena M. Roth, 96, of 921 Gilliam St. died at 6:30
pm. Monday in Mercy Medical Center. She was the widow of John A.
Roth, who died in 1953.Mrs. Roth was born in Sherrill, la. Surviving
are a daughter, Mrs. Emest (Bernadette) Leuenberger, and a son,
Arnold Francis Roth, both of Dubuque; five grandchildren; eight
Frank b. June 6, 1878; d. Oct. 2, 1937; married Elizabeth Ruden on
Jan 26, 1904. She was born Oct. 13, 1881 and died on Sept. 9, 1961.
They had 11 children: Matilda Ries, Aloysius, Cecelia Hennen,
Cletus, Germaine Heying, Cyril, Francis, Arnold, Clarence, Leora
Seymour and Harry.
Peter b. Dec. 4, 1880; d. Aug. 4, 1961; m. Ann Meyer on Feb. 8,
1910; she died in Dec. 1960. She was a sister to Ben Meyer who
married Clotilda, Peter’s sister. They farmed near Bernard. His
funeral was held at Holy Family Church, New Melleray and he was
buried in the church cemetery. Their surviving children were sons
Sylvester, Luke, Dorrance and Edward and daughter Mrs. Jeanette
Margaret b. Nov. 9, 1882; d. Feb 20, 1978 m. Frank Meyer on Jan. 22,
1907. He was born at Freeport, IL on Nov. 12, 1880; d. Sep. 15,
1952. They had 2 sons, Norbert & Edmund and 8 daughters: Sr. Mary
Zita, Mrs. Johanna Motschm, Mrs. Coletta Downey, Mrs. Salome Pfieler,
Mrs. Rita Conlan, Mrs. Agnes Spect, Mrs. Mary Ploessel, and Mrs.
Edna Link. They farmed in the Dyersville area.
Katie b. Oct. 20, 1884; d. July 18, 1954; m. John Noeges. Her obit
provided the following information: Mrs. Catherine Mary Noesges, 69,
2461½ Central Ave. died at 7:45 p.m. Sunday at Xavier Hospital. She
had been seriously ill for five weeks. Burial will be in Mr. Calvary
Cemetery. Born at Holy Gross, Ia., she was a daughter of the late
Michael and Catherine Yokum (sic) Gassmann. She came to Dubuque
after her marriage Oct. 19, 1909, to John Noesges.
She is survived by her husband; two daughters, Mrs. Carol (Celeste)
Erlich and Mrs. Clarence (Mary Catherine) Hirsch, both of Dubuque; a
son, Harold Noesges, Dubuque; two grandchildren; Mike b. Dec. 10,
1887; d. May 28, 1948 at Sunny Crest sanitarium. Never married.
Served in WWI: (Co. G, 316 Inf. 79 Div.) from July 25, 1918 to Jun
8, 1919. He was Overseas from Sept. 13, 1918 until May 29, 1919. He
was wounded twice. He worked as a farm hand for Peter Smith, Holy
Cross before enlisting. Mike developed TB from being gassed in the
war and in the mid forties he lived with Alan and Leora and helped
on their farm near Edgewood. Because of his disease and proximity to
the Seymour family they were all tested for TB and Leora and Sandy
tested positive. Thankfully no one in the family contracted the
John (Murphy) b. Mar. 28, 1889; d. July 5, 1970; m. Katie Brecht on
2-1-1921. She was born on June 4, 1892 and died Oct. 17,1994. At the
time of their marriage he was doing harness work and shoe repair and
she clerked at Mike Clemens General Store, both in Holy Cross. After
their marriage, she purchased the “Restaurant” in town and ran it
until they moved to 258 E.15th St. in Dubuque in 1945. He then
worked at Unique Balance until his retirement. They had no children.
Mattie b. Feb. 28, 1891; d. June 27, 1960; married Cynthia Mast on
Nov. 23, 1915. He died unexpectedly at the Guttenberg Hospital. He
was a retired farmer and left no surviving children.
Clestilla (Clotilda) b. Dec. 1893; m Ben Meyer (who was a brother to
Anna, Peter Gassman’s wife) on Feb. 12, 1912 and had two children:
Elaine and La Verne; he died in Chicago of some type of Kidney
problem on April 17, 1915. A few years later she married Adolph
Cooper. They had two sons. He was not Catholic and her family was
not very excited about their marriage. Her Obituary in the TH
included the following: COOPER-Departed this life on Wednesday, June
4, 1952, at 7:20 p. m., at Finley Hospital, Mrs. Clotlida Cooper of
1097 Rush St., age 58 years. Beloved wife of Adolph Cooper; beloved
mother of Donald Cooper of West Point, N.Y., Robert Cooper of this
city. Mrs. Eugene (Elaine) Lees of Cascade, Ia., LaVerne Meyer of
Torrance, Calif.; Burial will be in the East Dubuque Cemetery.
Bernadetta b. Feb. 18, 1896; d. Jan. 19, 1990 at age 93 in
Minneapolis. She married John Heidersheidt in 1905. He died on July
13, 1967. They had 3 sons and 8 daughters.
Lizzie b. Jan. 6, 1899; d. Jan. 15, 1953 m. Ed Otting Her obituary
included the following: Services for Mrs. Elizabeth (Gassmann)
Otting, 54, Rockford, Ill., who died Saturday morning at St.
Anthony’s Hospital, Rockford, after an illness of several months,
were held at 9 a. m. Monday from a Catholic Church at Rockford, with
burial in an adjoining cemetery. Mrs. Otting was born in 1898 near
Balltown, the daughter of the late Michael and Catherine Gassmann.
During her early life, she lived at Holy Cross. She was married to
Ed Otting, Cascade. The couple moved to Rockford. Surviving besides
her husband are four sons, Merlin, Harlan, Eddie and Gene Paul; a
daughter, Mary Agnes.