Notes on Carsten Voss
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Notes on Carsten Voss

Carsten and Anna Schinkel Voss Narrative summary of the life of Carsten Voss and his children
by Richard Smith (1994)


          Carsten Voss was born in 1831 near Lunden, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. He was the son of Hans and Elsabe Voss. Hans was born about 1793 and Elsabe was born about 1796. Carsten married Anna Schinkel. She was also born in 1831, at Krimpel, near Lunden. She was the daughter of John Schinkel and Anna Jacobs. While Carsten and Anna were living in Germany they had a daughter, Dora, born November 8, 1862, and a son, Johann, born in the fall of 1865. On April 1, 1866, they sailed from Hamburg, Germany, with three year old Dora and six month old baby Johann. They were bound for America on the ship, "Oder", along with three hundred other passengers from northern Germany. Carsten and Anna were both thirty-four years old. Accompanying them was Carsten's twenty-seven year-old unmarried sister Elsabe Dorothea Voss.
          The voyage was long, the seas were rough, and the passengers were crowded below decks. By the time they landed in New York harbor on May 17, 1866, thirteen of the original passengers had died, all children. Baby Johann was one of those who did not survive the voyage.
   The Barque 'Oder'           They may have had relatives or friends already in Iowa because they went directly to Clinton County. And only two weeks after arriving in the country, on June 2, 1866, at Wheatland, Carsten's sister, Elsabe, was married to Claus Hagge, an earlier immigrant from Schleswig-Holstein. The eager bridegroom had obtained the license a month earlier, while his bride was still on the Atlantic.
          Carsten and Anna settled near Wheatland where many German immigrants were already living. Carsten worked as a farm laborer and tried to save his money. Over the next few years, like other young immigrants, he may have done some work on the railroads that were pushing westward from the Mississippi into Iowa.
          By 1870 Carsten and Anna had two more children; August, born in December, 1866, and Augusta, born a year later. Their neighbors, Claus and Elsabe Voss Hagge, kept pace, with Herman, born about 1868, and Dora, born the following year.
          By about 1872 they had moved out to western Iowa where they settled on a farm in the southwest corner of section 16 in Hayes township, Crawford county. They were joined in Crawford County by Anna's 35 year old sister, Margaret, and her husband, Hans Reimers, 41. They came to America from Schleswig-Holstein in the spring of 1876 with their two young children, John and Emma. Sometime around 1868-69 Carsten's widowed sister, Anna Margaretha Voss Rahr and her nine-year old daughter, Anna, had also come to Iowa. They were in Crawford County by 1872. [for more on the descendants of Anna Margaretha Voss Rahr, see Tammy Theilen's website] Also in the neighborhood was the Schmidt family. And, on the June day in 1880, when the census taker visited the Voss's, they also had another visitor. William Schmidt, 18, was counted with the Voss family that day, although he was later counted again at the Schmidt farm down the road. Four years later William would marry Dora Voss.
          Just south of the Voss farm, on section 21 of Hayes township, was the farm of Claus Hagge and his wife, Elsabe Voss Hagge. They had also come west from Clinton County. In 1880 Claus was 56, Elsabe, 42, and their three children, Hermann, Emma and Minnie were 12, 10, and 9 years old.
          Hayes township is on the eastern edge of Crawford county, a few miles south of the town of Westside. It is good land, rich and rolling, on the edge of the West. And it is all farms. Even today, in 1994, there are no towns or paved roads in Hayes township. In the 1870's the farmers suffered from invasions of grasshoppers and in 1879 cinch bugs destroyed much of the wheat which had been their principal crop. After that, farmers began diversify and corn and other crops were grown.
          In May, 1883, a shooters' society, the Hayes Township Schuetzen Verein, was founded as a social club by the local German citizens. Among the founding members were Carsten Voss and Claus Hagge. The organization still exists in 1994, a few of the members being fifth-generation descendants of the founders.
          On February 7, 1884, Carsten's wife, Anna Schinkel Voss, died at the age of 53 years and was buried in Hayes township cemetery. That same year the oldest Voss child, Dora, married William Schmidt. He was the oldest son of a local family of seven children. William and Dora moved to the town of Maurice, in Sioux county, Iowa, where on December 26, 1884, their first child, Emil, was born.
          A few years after his wife's death, Carsten, then about 56 years old, married Christina Claussen Peterson, about 36 years old, the widow of John Peterson. The Petersons had come from Schleswig-Holstein in the early 1880's, with their children, and John Peterson had died a few years later, on May 3, 1885. Two children were born to Carsten and Christina; Hans Voss, born December 29, 1888, and Harriet or 'Hattie' Voss, born about 1892. Christina had at least five children from her previous marriage and the Voss home must have been very crowded. At the time of Carsten's sudden and tragic death [see Carsten's death below], on December 9, 1895, at the age of 63, his household consisted of the Peterson children; Anna, 20; Louisa, 16; John, 15; Carl, 12; his children with Christina; Hans Voss, 6, and Hattie Voss, 2; as well as his oldest son, August Voss, 28, who was married to his 17 year-old step-sister, Emma Peterson Voss, and his 24 year-old son, William. Carsten's oldest daughter, Dora, was living near Lake Park, in Dickinson County, with her husband, William Schmidt, and their five children. The other two Voss girls, Augusta, about 27, and Mary, about 21, had also married and moved away by this time. Carsten was buried beside his first wife, Anna, in Hayes Township Cemetery and August became the head of the household.
          Carsten Voss had seven children that survived to adulthood; five with his first wife, Anna, and two with his second wife, Christina. What follows is a summary of what we know, at this time, about those children, in order of their birth.
  1. Dora, born Nov. 8, 1862, was the only child born in Schleswig-Holstein. In 1883 or 1884 she married William Schmidt and they moved to Maurice, in Sioux County, Iowa. For the next sixteen years they farmed, but never very successfully. They may have moved several times during this period, going from Maurice to Dickinson County in northern Iowa and just across the line to Jackson County, Minnesota. Dora and William had six children; Emil, born Dec. 26, 1884; Emma, born March, 1887; Minnie, born Feb. 1, 1889; Ella, born May 22, 1891; Lillian Augusta, born July 4, 1893; and Hilda, born July, 1897. In May of 1900 William suffered a mental breakdown of a manic-depressive type and was hospitalized for the remainder of his life. He died on Sept. 20, 1934 at a state hospital in Hastings, Minnesota. He was buried in Hayes Township Cemetery, Crawford County, Iowa. Dora managed to raise her children and live to the age of 101. She died in Rock Springs, Wyoming, in Feb, 1964, where she was living with her daughter, Minnie Babelis.

  2. August Frederick Voss was conceived in Schleswig-Holstein a few weeks before his parents boarded the ship for America. He was born Dec. 21, 1866, near Wheatland, Clinton County, Iowa. A few years after his mother's death in 1884, in Crawford County, his father married Christina Peterson, a widow with five children. On Dec. 18, 1894, twenty-seven year-old August married his sixteen year-old stepsister, Emma Peterson. August lived in southeastern Crawford County or southwestern Carroll county for the rest of his life. He died at his home in Manning, Iowa, on May 10, 1932. His widow, Emma Peterson Voss, survived him by thirty-five years. In 1964 she was living in Genoa, Illinois. She died in 1967 in Illinois. They are buried together in Hayes Township Cemetery. August and Emma had six children. Their first, Edna, died in childhood. Verna was born in Jan, 1897; George Dewey Voss was born in April, 1898, ( about the same time that Admiral George Dewey steamed into Manila Bay in the Spanish-American War); Grace was born around 1901; and in 1909 twin girls, Evelyn and Dorothy, completed the family.

  3. Augusta Voss was born in Clinton County, Iowa, around 1868. She married David Hamley. They had a daughter, Maureen, born about 1900 in Minnesota. Maureen married Jack Brodersen and was living in Denison, Iowa, in 1925. Augusta was living in Carroll, Iowa, in 1932.

  4. William Voss was born about 1871 in Clinton County, Iowa, and moved to Crawford County with his family when still a child. His wife, Emma, was born in Germany about 1877. A daughter, Ella A. M., was born to them on June 21, 1896, and died one month before her second birthday, on May 18, 1898. She was buried in the Voss plot in Hayes Township Cemetery. He was living in North Dakota in 1904 but by 1915 he had moved to Nebraska. In 1920 he was was living with his wife and family at 416 S. Main, in Fremont, Nebraska. According to his niece, Lillian Jacobsen, he worked in Fremont for many years delivering ice. In 1920 he and Emma had four children living at home; Emil, born about 1904, John, born about 1908, Elmer, born about 1912, and Orphena, born in 1915. William was still living in Fremont in 1932.

  5. Mary Voss was born Feb 19, 1873, in Clinton County, Iowa. She was married to Charles Bollen who was associated with Barney Brodersen's department store in Denison, Iowa. They had a daughter who died in infancy. They later became the parents of Juliana Virginia who was born around 1913. Virginia, as she was called, married James Lincoln Chapman and was living near San Diego in 1980. Charles Bollen died suddenly in Denison, Iowa, in 1946. Mary Voss Bollen was living near her daughter in California when she died on April 16, 1963. She is buried next to her husband in Oakland Cemetery in Denison, Iowa.

  6. Hans Voss was born Dec. 29, 1888, in Hayes Twp., Crawford County, Iowa. He was the son of Carsten and Christina Peterson Voss. On Dec. 24, 1912, he married Edna Bornhoft of West Side, Iowa. He farmed for several years and in 1926 moved to Austin, Minnesota, where he worked for Hormel for twenty-eight years before retiring in 1956. He had two sons, Stanley and Jon. He died Oct. 21, 1973, in Austin, at the age of 84.

  7. Hertha 'Hattie' Voss was born about 1893 in Crawford County, Iowa. She was the sister of Hans and the half-sister of the older Voss children. In 1920, at the age of twenty-seven, she was living with the family of her half-brother, August Voss, and his wife, who was her half-sister, Emma Peterson Voss. She never married and in 1932 was living in Macomb, Illinois. She was still in Macomb in 1973.

The Death of Carsten Voss

From the Denison, Iowa, newspaper, December 1895.
          Sixty-two vehicles followed the remains of the late Mr. Carsten Voss to their last resting place in the Hayes township cemetery Tuesday afternoon. The funeral obsequies were conducted by Rev. W. Martens who paid a very touching tribute to the memory of the deceased. Mr. Voss was one of the pioneers of Hayes township, having lived there for over twenty years. He leaves a large family to mourn his sudden departure.

From the Denison, Iowa, newspaper, December 1895.
          The horrifying news arrived here Sunday that Carsten Voss, a wealthy farmer living five miles south of town, committed suicide in a grove in the immediate vicinity of his residence. Particulars will be given next week. Mr. Voss' two daughters live in Denison. He was well-to-do and sickness is ascribed as the cause of the rash act.

From the Denison, Iowa, newspaper, December 1895.
Suicide Near Vail
          Mr. Carsten Voss, a German farmer, father of a grown up family, committed suicide last Sunday morning. He was a well-to-do farmer, owning 320 acres of land in Hayes township. Mr. Clough, the coroner, held and inquest. The coroner's jury was Bud Keane, T.M. Ratchford and Mr. Baker. The facts showed that Mr. Voss went into a grove and discharged a revolver into his temple, the ball piercing the skull and brain. He died instantly. It is believed--from acts, which seemed trivial then--but which in the light of this event subsequently canvassed showed that he had become, through ill health, melancholic and partially deranged. He had a large circle of friends who deplore this rash and almost unaccountable act of self destruction.

From the Denison, Iowa, newspaper, December 1895.

Mr. Carsten Voss, of Hays Township, Suicides Sunday Morning.
Bad Health the Cause--Result of the Coroner's Inquest Reported In Full.

          The report reached this city early Sunday morning last that Mr. Carsten Voss, one of the foremost farmers of Hays township, had been discovered in the field near his home shot through the head and dead, a pistol lying at his feet. This information came to Coroner Clough, and he immediately set out for the scene.
          On his arrival he found the body of Mr. Voss lying in a path about forty rods from the house, stretched at full length with the arms folded peacefully across his breast, and rigid in the embrace of death. He at once impaneled a jury consisting of Messrs.. M.T. Keane, Thos. Ratchford and F. Beck, and proceeded with the examination. The sons testified that Mr. Voss had for some time been suffering from bad health, and had complained considerably of suffering pain in the region of the stomach and kidneys. He had been at different times to Carroll to consult a physician and had procured medicine for sleeplessness. But they had never noticed that his mind was in any way affected, and merely supposed that he felt badly because of his ill health.
          From the position in which the body was found the circumstances attending his death appear to have been about as follows: He had walked from the house about eight o'clock in the morning to a point about sixty rods distant and had there stood up and placing the muzzle of a revolver hard against his right temple had pulled the trigger. The bullet ploughed its way almost directly across the front part of the head, traversing the brain the entire distance, and coming out on the opposite side. Death must been instantaneous, and he probably fell directly where he stood, never moving a muscle after reaching the ground. When found by his sons he was lying stretched out at full length with his arms peacefully at his side as if asleep. At his feet on the ground lay the revolver. The sons crossed his arms over his breast and sent for the Coroner. In their evidence they testified that they were at work at the stables when they heard the report of the pistol, but paid no attention to it. Some younger children first discovered the dead body and gave the alarm. The verdict of the jury was in accordance with these facts, finding that he came to his death by a pistol ball fired by his own hand while suffering from temporary mental aberration.
          Mr. Voss was sixty-two years of age, and was one of the best citizens of Hays township, where he had lived many years, and where he had amassed considerable property. He was twice married, and leaves a large family, among them several grown sons and daughters, who are will known as most reliable and reputable citizens. His wife and several younger children also survive him. His untimely death brings sorrow and sadness to his household, and general regret to a wide acquaintanceship, all of which greatly respected and admired him.

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