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Saturday, February 25, 2012

The many children of Friedrich Wilhelm Drewel

My great-great grandfather, Freidrich (Fredrick) Wilhelm Drewel had a lot of children!!

        His first wife was Maria Louisa Dierking, whom he married in 1863.
        They had:
            Fredrich Ernst Drewel in 1864
            Louisa Maria "Mary" Drewel in 1866
            Emilie Dorothea Caroline "Lena" Drewel in 1868
            Louis Henry Drewel in 1870 (my great grandfather)
            Edward Drewel in 1872
            Louise K. Drewel in 1875

        Maria died in May, 1875, only 8 days after Louise was born, so it had to be from some sort of complications of childbirth.  The 37-year-old widower, Freidrich, with 6 young children under the age of 10 must have looked around quickly for a new wife.  He found a neighbor and fellow church member.

        So on August 2nd, 1875, just 3 months after his wife's death, he married 19-year-old Catharina Wilhelmine "Mina" Rosendahl.  Shortly after their marriage, in December of 1875, baby Louise died at the age of 7-months-old.  Mina and Fred started having children less than a year after the baby's death.  
         They had:
             Ida Wilhelmine Drewel in 1876
             Heinrich Wilhelm "Billie" Drewel in 1879
             Dorothea Henrietta Sophie "Dora" Drewel in 1884
             Wilhelmine Caroline Hulda "Minnie" Drewel in 1887

          Tragedy struck again.

          Less than a month after baby Minnie's birth, his second wife died.  Now he was a widower with 9 living children, though the oldest was 23.  His wife Mina died in August, and by December 1887 he had found another neighbor and fellow church member.  This time he married a widow who was only 4 years younger than him, Charlotte Cathrine Wilhelmine Hotmar Knehans.

          However, she had 8 children of her own, plus at least 2 step-children from her now dead husband's first marriage!!
          Her children were:
             Maria Louisa Knehans born 1863
             Heinrich Wilhelm "Henry Knehans born 1865
             William Freidrich Knehans born 1867
             Louisa Sophia Knehans born 1869
             Wilhelmina Kathrine "Minnie" Knehans born 1871 (my great grandmother)
             Elizabeth "Lizzy" Knehans born 1872
             Caroline Elise Knehans born 1867
             Franz Louis Knehans born 1880

          I don't know how many of the 19 living children and step children that they had between them were combined into the same household.  I assume perhaps some of the older ones had moved out.  I'm also not sure about which house they moved into, if she got to keep her husband's house and farm.  Who knows, maybe they maintained 2 households and had older kids living in one.  If we had the 1890 Census (it was burned), it would help with sorting that out.

         BUT ...... the plot thickens!

         In 1891, just four years after Fred married Minnie, two of Fred's sons married two of Minnie's daughters:
              Louis Henry Drewel married Wilhelmina Kathrine "Minnie" Knehans on June 11th.
              Edward Drewel married Elizabeth "Lizzy" Knehans on February 6th.

         Louis Drewel and Minnie Knehans eventually had 9 children, including my grandmother Ella Elisabeth Sophia "Eleanor" Drewel (Kleager Wiese).

         Louis and Minnie's 9 children would have been "double cousins" to Edward and Lizzy's 8 children, and for any of them, visiting the grandparents would involve only going to one house!



  1. I just found your website through Geneabloggers. Welcome to Geneabloggers.

    Regards, Jim
    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

  2. Do you know where Fredrich Wilhelm Drewel is buried? Did he have any brothers or sisters? My gr/gr grandfather was H.Wilhelm Drewel(born 1831 - in Prussia) died 1877 & buried in Berger (Drewel or Strothmann Cemetery) Franklin Cty MO. I think he arrived in US in late 1840s but I am trying to trace if he is related to any Drewel's in US and if he came with them. Michael Drewel