August & Dorothea CORDES WIEGREFE
The Family of
Dorothea CORDES and August WIEGREFE
Family Tree Page Page 1

Author and date of The Family of Dorothea Cordes and August Wiegrefe is unknown. No sources were cited for the information contained in the document. Latest dated fact is 1975.

Since I first posted the CORDES/WIEGREFE document, I have found additional data from various sources. The information presented here is a mix of the "original" document, as well as the information I have found.
--Marge Galus Sandlier

Dorothea CORDES was the daughter of William CORDES and Margarethe BENHOFER. She was born March 5, 1853 in Epsdorf, Germany. When she was nine years old, her parents decided to move to America and make a new home there. They left Germany about 1862.

They purchased a farm near Eitzen, [Houston County], Minnesota. (Known at that time as Dog Square.) Here a brother William was born in 1863. This farm is still own (sic) by William CORDES the 3rd.

August WIEGREFE came to America in about 1868, and made his home with people by the name of ??ight [Wright?] where he felt very much at home. He worked in the neighborhood and then hired out to a farmer by the name of Evans, located south of the present parking lot for the United Church of Christ. These people were English and he learned the English language there. He enjoyed working for the Evans as he often mentioned that Mrs. Evans treated him as a son.

August WIEGREFE bought a farm in the Winnebago Valley on which there was a log cabin. When August and Dorothea were married, they moved into this log cabin. Eight of their nine children were born in this home.

In about 1890 or 1891 they built a new home on the ridge which was larger and more convenient. Emma was born here. This farm was sold to Paul Meiners.

August WIEGREFE was very interested in church and community work. He was on the Church Council and on the School board for many years, he also was the Assessor for the Township of Winnebago.

There is a picture of the first Wiegrefe log home, but it has been photocopied so many times that it is not easy to see.

Additional information
Marge's Findings

In June 2001 I visited the Houston County Museum located on the fairgrounds in Caledonia, Houston County, Minnesota. I found the following information in one of the resources available at the Museum.

August and Dorothea CORDES WIEGREFE are Jeff and Nate's Great Great Grandparents.

Biography of August WIEGREFE

From the History of Houston County -- 1919
Pages 550-551

August Wiegrefe, one of the leading farmers of Winnebago township, was born in Hanover, Germany, Oct. 6, 1850, son of Henry and Elizabeth (Bonate) Wiegrefe. The parents both died in Germany, the mother when her son August was only six years old, and the father when he was 16. August acquired his education chiefly in a parochial school in Germany, residing in his native land until 1869, when, at the age of 19 years, he came to the United States, landing at New York after a rough voyage. Thence he proceeded west to Chicago, and from the latter city by way of La Crosse to Brownsville, Houston county, Minn., where he hired a man with a team to take him to Portland Prairie, Winnebago township, not being able to find the way alone. He had but little money, and for the first five years in this county worked as a farm hand, practicing economy and saving his earnings. In 1874 he bought 360 acres in sections 22 and 27, Winnebago township, the land being little improved, as but a few acres had been broken, and there were no buildings. Mr. Wiegrefe grubbed a site for a house on section 27 and erected a small log building, in which he subsequently lived for 17 years, during which time he cleared a good deal of his land and put it under tillage. In 1891 he built a substantial frame house one and a half stories in height and containing seven rooms--a very comfortable home, in which he is still residing. He has now a good set of frame buildings, including a barn, granary, hog house, machine shed, poultry house and corn cribs, and his farm is well fenced. One hundred and ninety-five acres are under the plow, the balance of his land being in timber and pasture. His stock consists chiefly of Shorthorn cattle, Duroc-Jersey hogs and Shropshire sheep, of all of which he raises a considerable quantity, his principal market being New Albin, Iowa, which lies six miles to the southeast, though sometimes he makes use of Caledonia, eleven miles to the north. Though never rugged, Mr. Wiegrefe has always been a hardworking man, but during recent years he has taken life more easily, contenting himself with managing the farm, which is now actively operated by his sons Albert and Herman. He is a stockholder in the New Albin Stock and Grain Co., of which he has also been a director for some years, and also owns stock in the Eitzen Creamery. A Republican in politics, he served for a number of years as a member of the town board, frequently as chairman, and for the last few years has held the office of town assessor. He and his family are members of the German Evangelical congregation at Eitzen, which he has served for years as trustee and president. Few citizens of Winebago (sic) township, if any, are more highly respected, or stand higher socially. Mr. Wiegrefe was married March 3, 1874, to Dorothy Cordes, daughter of William and Marguerite (Benhoefer) Cordes, of Winnebago township. She was born in Germany, April 5, 1853, coming to America with her parents when nine years old. Mr. and Mrs. Wiegrefe have had nine children: William, born March 5, 1875, a prosperous farmer of Wilmington township; August, born Jan. 21, 1877, now a well to do farmer in Wilmington township; Maria, born April 4, 1879, now deceased; Louisa, born April 4, 1881, who is deceased; Albert, born March 1, 1883, who is helping to operate the home farm; Alvina, born July 8, 1885, now Mrs. August Fruechte of Winnebago township; Anna, born Dec. 20, 1886, who is keeping house for her parents; Herman, born May 4, 1890, who is assisting his brother Albert on the farm; and Emma, born Jan. 27, 1893, now Mrs. Louis Fruechte of Wilmington township.

LDS International Genealogical Index (IGI)

Beyond gathering additional information available from U.S. sources, I have not spent much time tracking the origins of Jeff and Nate's WIEGREFE ancestors in Germany.  The biography of August WIEGREFE in the History of Houston County indicates he was from Hanover, Germany.  Hanover is the name of a city in Germany, but it is also a region.  Without more details, looking for the birthplace of August would be like looking for the proverbial "needle in a haystack". 

In August 2007 my Guestbook had an entry from Uwe Wiegrefe who lives in Germany. Her entry ignited my curiosity, and I began searching the web to see what might turn up. One of the links took me to the LDS (Mormon) site which has several WIEGREFE entries in their IGI.  A biography in the History of Houston County, Minnesota, gave August's birthdate as 6 Oct 1850.  Imagine my surprise at finding an entry in the IGI for a Johann August Gandor WIEGREFE, born 6 Oct 1850.  The parents of Johann August were named as Johann Henning WIEGREFE and Catharine Marie Elisabeth BONATZ.  According to the Houston County History, August's parents were Henry and Elizabeth (Bonate) Wiegrefe. 

Information from the IGI:

Johann Henning WIEGREFE, born about 1823, Predohl, Uelzen, Hannover, Preussen
     Married 11 Nov 1848, Dannenberg, Uelzen, Hannover, Preussen
Catharine Marie Elisabeth BONATZ, born 1828, Predohl, Uelzen, Hannover, Preussen

Johann Heinrich Wilhelm WIEGREFE, born 27 Feb 1849, Predohl, Uelzen, Hannover, Preussen. Christened 11 Mar 1849, Dannenberg, Uelzen, Hannover, Preussen

Johann August Gandor WIEGREFE, born 6 Oct 1850, Predohl, Uelzen, Hannover, Preussen. Christened 13 Oct 1850, Dannenberg, Uelzen, Hannover, Preussen

The Houston County History said that August's mother died when he was six years old, which would have been about 1856-1857.  I found another family group record in the IGI for Johann Henning WIEGREFE, which may be a second marriage for him.  The marriage date on this record was 27 Nov 1857:

Johann Henning, WIEGREFE, born 2 Mar 1817, Predohl, Dannenberg, Hannover, Preussen.
Married 27 Nov 1857, Dannenberg, Hannover, Preussen
Dorothea Elisabeth Battje, born 4 Feb 1837, Dannenberg, Rhienland, Preussen Or, Splietau, Hannover Stadt, Hannover, Preussen

Anna Dorothea Maria WIEGREFE, born 21 Jun 1861, Predohl, Dannenberg, Hannover, Preussen. Christened 30 Jun 1861.

Jurgen (Jürgen) August Wilhelm WIEGREFE, born 9 Jun 1865, Predohl, Dannenberg, Hannover, Preussen. Christened 24 Jun 1865.

Ida Maria Dorothea WIEGREFE, born 10 May 1868, Predohl, Dannenberg, Hannover, Preussen. Christened 23 May 1868.

Once again referring to the Houston County said that August's father died when he was 16 years old, which would have been about 1866-1867.  There is the birth of Ida Maria Dorothea in May 1868, but it is possible that Johann Henning died before her birth.  This family bears further scrutiny.  It is unfortunate that the submitter of the IGI information did not provide a source.

I searched the LDS index at for possible microfilmed records, but so far the possibilities seem to be limited.

Family Tree Page Page 1

Created 6 May 2000 - Updated 19 Oct 2007
by Marge Galus Sandlier
Graphics by Marge