this page updated
Saturday, 12 January 2008
The Life Events of
John Michael Zellhoefer 1825-1865
Our main objective from the 1996 beginning of all this research was simply to document the
life and families of John
Michael Zellhoefer, called "Mike".
We have made so much progress, but there are brick walls:
- The first wife "Anna" of Urphershofen, Bavaria, and when/where they were
- Documentation of births, adoptions or otherwise of any of their 4 children.
- Anything at all about the adoptions of first son Fredrick & sister Annie.
- Fredrick exists only as one line in the 1860 census, so anything more!
- Annie resurfaced marrying Frank Sherrard of Chicago, & bore son Frank Jr,
and there the trail seems to end
Any tidbit might hold a magic key, so let's talk!
researcher and webmaster
RonKZ's g.g.grandfather “Mike” was born 4 Aug1825, in Brachbach bei Obernzenn, kreis
Ansbach, Mittelfranken, Bavaria. He was christened Johann Konrad
Zellhoefer, but the use of "Konrad" was never found afterward. In his
U.S.A military enlistment records he gave his birthdate as 17 May 1825.
These discrepancies remain unresolved, and may one day lead to drastic
"rediscovery" of his ancestral links, but after all these years, I believe we
have it right.
In 1846 Mike was refused "Permission to Leave" with others of his
family, being required by the Königreich (kingdom of Bavaria) to first serve six
years in the military.
Permission to Leave was finally granted on 20 March
1853. The documents stated Mike was "single" at that time. He soon
departed, sailing from Hamburg on the ship Celle and landing in New York U.S.A. on 13
June 1853. Transcripts of that passenger list do not show that "Anna"
was on that same voyage, but we do not have the actual images as of March 2004.
Mike went on to Sullivan Township, Jefferson County, there joining siblings
Johann Leonhart, George Leonhard & Christine, all having arrived in earlier
migrations, purchased land, married and begun their families.
Mike's mother Anna Margaretha HOFMANN, two sisters and others connected with the
family had died in a cholera plague their first winter of 1846-47. The brother
Leonhart had been appointed administrator of the mother's estate, which held the
proceeds of selling the farm back in Brachbach. Leonhart had not advised the
probate court of the three heirs (Mike and 2 sisters) back in Bavaria, thus they were
excluded from the distribution. So the next we know of Mike was his successful
petition to the Probate Court in early 1854 for the fair shares of the three.
Our family lore held that a marriage certificate between John
WELLHOEFER & Elizabeth
PFEFFER dated 16 Sep 1848 was the proof of the marriage and of our
g.g.grandmother. This is conclusively WRONG, because 1) Mike did
not reach Wisconsin
until 1853 or 1854 and 2) both men are found in the 1860 census in their respective
households and with their respective families at that time, amazingly only about 6 miles
We did not learn of this until late 2003, from a brief but shocking summary provided by
Roberta Fosdal of the Dodge/Jefferson County Genealogical Society. After having
relied on the family lore and searched fruitlessly for six years for the above Elizabeth
Pfeffer, you might imagine my consternation at receiving this news! Well, it took
considerably more effort, but we finally obtained a copy of the actual obituary for Mrs
Anna Zellhoefer, published in der Christliche Botschafter, a publication of the
Evangelist Association. Skeptics need to read this!
Our family lore knew only of two children born of the Mike's union with his first
wife. What a surprise when we FINALLY found them in the 1860 census - as you'll
see, the census enumerator was really dumb or really lazy, or maybe there was just a
communications problem. Anyway, because we certainly knew of the twins George and
Sophie, we have no doubt that this is IT!
But with this discovery came more to question. Who was this wife Laura?
Well, we knew that Anna had died in childbirth of the twins on 9 Sep 1858. We knew
that Mike had remarried the next spring to Elnora. We finally did reconcile that
Elnora was aka Laura, so we could go on from there.
But the shocker was the discovery of two older children, who HAD to be
the other two mentioned in Anna's obituary. Fredrick was a completely new
discovery; Annie had been known to the family lore but thought to be another child of
Elnora. The numbers of the family members finally eliminated that misconception.
Next we include the marriage "certification" which was created and filed AFTER
Mike's death on 5/6 Jan 1865 This seems important, so I skip ahead a bit to say
that there seems no compelling reason that the children of Mike and Anna would have been
given for adoption while Mike was still alive. This I believe serves to correct
family lore that the twins were adopted by Klotz in 1862.
It seems best that one skip ahead a bit and look next Mike's obituary, also from der
We received this translation from Hildegard Zech:
in hospital at Louisville, Tennessee, on January 5, 1865, brother Michael Zellhoefer, at
the age of 39 years, 6 months and 1 day. Born in (native to) Bergbach, [turns out to be Brachbach] Bavaria, came to America about 11
years ago and settled in Rome, Jefferson County, Wisconsin, where he converted to
God soon after his arrival and joined the Evangelical Community which he served for four
years as Vermahner and also for a time as Class Leader and was an upright and devoted
Christian. On August 29, 1864 he enlisted as a volunteer in the Army of the United
States and died from the effects of chronic diarrhea. He leaves behind a wife and
eight children. His loss is deeply felt in his family and also in the
Church. Joseph Harlacher.
RonKZ: This would put Mike's birthdate at 4 Jul
1825. Mikes birth record in Obernzenn gives 4 Aug 1825, but on his military
enlistment he gave 17 May 1825 ~ I will always wonder why! Noting those
conflicts, I have opted for the birth record as best evidence.
The "Evangelical Community" was actually the
"Evangelical Association" for which der Christliche Botschafter was apparently the
eight children" becomes very important here, as it corresponds with the 4
children with Anna, the 1 previous child of Elnora, and the 3 children of Elnora with
Mike. This precludes the family lore which held that Annie was Elnora's child by
yet another previous marriage to Richard HEILMANN, but in which may lie some clue as to
Elnora's true origins, which remain unresolved as of March 2004.
We have searched to exhaustion the records of two possible churches back in
Bavaria The same applies to both county and state records in Wisconsin. We
have found nothing for the marriage of Mike & Anna. We've had the same bad
luck in finding any "official" record for the births of any of their four
The marriage of Mike and Anna would have been before about October of 1853, because
Frederick would have been born before June 1854 to fit his age 6 given in the 1860
One open possibility is that Mike, on his way from Bavaria to New York to Wisconsin
in 1853, may have visited his brother Frederick in New Jersey and/or his brother Jacob
in Pennsylvania. We don't know for sure that he was hell-bent on reaching
Wisconsin, nor where he was from after 13 Jun 1853 to about May 1854. If that was the
case, perhaps he met and married Anna "on the path"?
Anyway, back to the 1860 census, and knowing Mike and Anna had 4 children, and that
Mike and Elnora had 3 children, and t had 4 children by 1st wife Anna and 4 more
children by 2nd wife Elnora, thus EIGHT children. After his death in 1865, Elnora
apparently liquidated his (probably meager) estate along with Mike’s first 4 children.
So we may now conclude that Mike & Anna had four children, all born Sullivan
- Fredrick, b.1853/1854; nothing more known.
- Annie, age 3 in the 1863 census, so born 1856/57, was wrongly listed in family lore
as Annie Heilmann, daughter of Elnora and a said previous deceased husband Richard
Heilman. Married Frank R SHERRARD 7 Nov 1878 in Cook County, Illinois, one
son. Annie may have died young, as later census records show a Frank Sherrard with
a different wife and children - has not been fully tracked to verify. This
marriage was noted in the family lore, but no documentation and no source info at all,
but I'll not discard it!
- Catherine Sophia b 9 Sep 1858; "adopted" by KLOTZ; married Albert R
ZICK 8 Dec 1881, 3 children.
- George Martin b 9 Sep 1858; also "adopted" by KLOTZ; married Verena
LUETSCHER 4 May 1882; 3 children.
The names of the twins are those known after their "adoption",
and I suspect may not have been entirely the same at birth, to wit: Martin is not a
given name found in Mike's ancestry. As to his twin sister, Sophia was added to
avoid confusion with her adoptive mother's name Katherine, altho Sophia was also an
earlier name found in Mike's ancestry; in any event she was known as Sophie thru her
life in Sauk County. The family lore holds that the twins were adopted in 1862 by
Melchoir KLOTZ and his wife Katherine nee:FELIX of Honey Creek, Sauk County, Wisconsin.
While diligent search finds no adoption record, the fact of the Zellhoefer-Klotz family
reunion mentioned later seems adequate documentation. It does seem more reasonable
that the adoption did not occur until after Mike's death in 1865.
And now we proceed to Mike's second marriage, to the widow Elnora widow Elnora Miller on
12 March 1859 in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. Once again, the original marriage
record was not found of record, but we do have the certification after-the-fact.
Here the family lore was quite helpful; I doubt I would have found everything on my own,
and most of it was documented in some fashion to seem reliable enough.
Elnora remains problematic with several AKA's ~ given names Elenora, Laura, Helenora,
and Leona ~ surnames Haverland, m.Heilmann, m.Miller, m.Zellhoefer ~ her daughters all named her differently in their marriage
applications! We shall list the children and then deal with some more quirks:
Annie, supposedly Heilmann, was mistakenly ID'd as Elnora's daughter with Richard
Heilmann who had died in Germany. I am convinced that Annie was NOT
Elnora's, but rather one of the FOUR children of Mike and "Anna". The final straw? That
1860 census record showing that Annie was born in Wisconsin (NOT in
- Augustina, aka Christena and Tena b. Nov 1857, again in the 1860 census
b.WISCONSIN. Daughter of Elnora and Mr. MILLER, said to have also died back in Germany. We haven't found this husband, but
note that a Rev. Miller signed the aforementioned certification of marriage,
perhaps some clue.
Married George PFEIFFER, 5 children, then widowed.
later in 1930 census in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin as Augusta BOELAING,
again a widow. Her daughter Emily (m.ANDREW) husband and son were living
now to the three daughters of Mike & Elnora, all born there in Sullivan Township:
- Margaret aka Harriet b. 28 Feb 1860; married Martin ROETHEL 25 Jul 1880; 4
children. Elnora was living with them at her death, and Martin handled her
- Charlotte aka Lottie b. 2 Jan 1861; married Jacob LIPPERT; one daughter.
- Laura J, b.23 Mar 1868; married David BOGIE 8 Jun 1893; one daughter.
So now we have "eight" children for Mike, that assuming that Augustina
Miller-Zellhoefer was counted as one of those eight.
If someone can read & translate the German words on Elnora's
headstone, well please!!
So now let's examine Elnora a bit more.
- Elnora died 27 Feb 1889; her name on her headstone is Eleonora. Four years
- The "Registration of Marriage" for daughter Laura & David Bogie lists
her mother as Helenora HEAFERLAND.
- In Elnora's probate documents she is written as Eleanora, and in another part of
that she owed a hospital bill as Laura, that also found in the 1860 and 1870 censuses.
- As written in the above certificate of marriage, it is written as Elenora, and her
parents are listed as John and Sophia HAVERLAND.
- A marriage note from DJCGS on daughter Charlotte Zellhoefer and Jacob LIPPERT,
Charlotte names her mother as Laura nee: Hoverland.
- A marriage note from DJCGS on daughter Margaret names her mother as Leona Miller.
- The most mystifying to me is Myron Klotz's reference to Elnora's supposed first
husband Richard HEILMANN & their daughter Annie. There's absolutely no documentation
for any of that, and I've not been able to find any tracks for such on the www. I
can't help but wonder if maybe the name Heilmann might have been Elnora's birth-name, as
I haven't been able to track Elnora or John or Sophia HAVERLAND either. I also
can't see tracks for Annie's marriage to Sherrard ~ only Myron's notes.
- It sure doesn't seem like the kids had good communications with their mother, does
Mike enlisted for the Civil War on 30 Aug 1864; died and was buried 5/6 January 1865 in
Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. I find it hard to understand why he
enlisted at all, as being then 39 years old and having already done 6 years back in
Bavaria, and especially having a farm and 8 small children. Perhaps times were
hard for them, and the attraction of an $100 enlistment bonus was too great. Perhaps
Mike felt some need to escape his burdens at home? Whatever we will probably
never know, but now Elnora is bereaved and responsible for this large and complex family
of "hers, his and ours", plus the farm to care for, and this litter of small
children probably far more burden than help!
So now Mike has died, and we next find Elnora as Laura in the 1870 census with NONE
of Anna/Mike's children, despite that the eldest would have been only age 16 or maybe
17! From this we can only conclude that these first 4 kids were all given to
others by Elnora. We know the Klotz's took the twins, but what happened then to
Fredrick and Annie?
One thing that is hard to understand, and even harder to accept, is that Mike also
left behind 2 brothers and a sister there in Sullivan Township, all married, all with
farms, and all with families. Surely these 4 little kinder ought to have been
taken in by any of them.
One would think that Mike/Anna offspring would have been taken by any of Mike's
several siblings there in Sullivan Township, rather than being adopted out, but thus far
I have been unable to find matching children in those families, neither in census
records or other documentation.
the Zellhoefer-Klotz reunion, 9 Jun 1929 in Madison, Wisconsin
published in The
Jefferson Union 14 Jun 1929
A re-typed version of the article
We come now to the last resort for learning something of the mysteries of Anna and
missing children Fredrick & Annie. 1929 is getting to be quite long ago, and
most attendees would be deceased by now. In this article we discover some names
previously unknown who must belong somewhere in our tree. If these mysteries are
ever to be solved, they will probably be found in the dusty attic of some descendant of
those who attended this reunion.
June 9, 1929, sixty-six descendants of the Zellhoefer and Klotz
family held a family reunion at Vilas Park at Madison. Those who attended are as
Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Klotz, Jr., and family, [son of George Zellhoefer-Klotz, wife Ella Klipstein]
Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Zick and family [son
of Sophie Zellhoefer-Klotz Edward M, wife Ella Allert]
Sophia Zick, [THE twin Sophie
George Klotz; Sr. [THE twin
Mr. and Mrs. George Zick and family, [son of Sophie Zellhoefer-Klotz, George H with his 2nd wife Mary
nee:Block & widow of Kaufman]
Mr. and Mrs. George Lehman and family, [wife Katherina, daughter of Sophie Zellhoefer-Klotz]
** Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Marke and family, [Marke is totally unknown and I couldn't find him/them; perhaps a
all of Denzer;
Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Eckert and family of Sullivan., [Edward A, wife Jessie Pfeiffer, daughter of Augustina
Miller-Zellhoefer & George Pfeiffer]
Mr. and Mrs. Pitt Holmes and son, Edward of Milton; [wife Ruth Roethel, daughter of Margaret Zellhoefer & Martin
Mr. and Mrs. M. Roethel, [Martin
& Margaret Zellhoefer]
Mr. and Mrs. D. Bogie, [Davie
and Laura J Zellhoefer]
Mr. and Mrs. Horton Roethel and family, [son of Martin & Margaret Zellhoefer]
all of Rome;
Mrs. Jake Lippert of Slabtown, [Charlotte Zellhofer, wife of Jacob]
Forrest Pfeiffer and family, [son of Augustina Miller-Zellhoefer & George Pfeiffer]
Mrs. Tena Pfeiffer of South Milwaukee [not certain, perhaps wife of Frank Pfeiffer, son of Augustina
Miller-Zellhoefer or perhaps Augustina herself, except that we think we found her in
Madison in 1930 census ~ see Harry Andrew below]
Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Sprecher and family of Plain [Elmer's wife Elvira was daughter of George Zellhoefer-Klotz]
Mr. and Mrs. Harry Andrew and family of Madison; [Harry's wife Emily was daughter of Augustina Miller-Zellhoefer
& George Pfeiffer]
Mr. and Mrs Alb Remmelt and sons Roy & Bob, of Waukesha, [Albert's wife was Ruby Pfeiffer, daughter of Augustina
Miller-Zellhoefer & George Pfeiffer]
Gertrude & Levora Roethel of Ft Atkinson [daughters of Martin and Margaret Zellhoefer]
** Ed MARKE & Family of Denzer ~ that surname cannot be found anywhere in the USA
and must be mis-spelled. Perhaps Market, Markert or Markley, all names familiar to me. I
believe MARKERT is related thru George H Zick the storekeeper of Denzer & son of
Sophia Zellhoefer Klotz, perhaps via Mrs Eddie Markert (Lasetta, surname unknown), but I
don't find a direct connection between Lasetta and George H Zick, so that connection
needs further study. Perhaps the connection was thru George's wife.
Otherwise I have no idea about the MARKE's or what connection they might have in the
family tree. Everyone else in this list has a direct connection, so this needs
some diligent tracking!
The surname FRIEDEL/FREIDEL appears again and again in Sullivan Township and always
nearby a Zellhoefer, Bogie, Roethel, Lippert, etc. John A Freidel married Rosie
PFEIFFER, but no direct link to the Zellhoefer tree has been found.
And one last surname is QUICK; they are found in early Sullivan Township, and
maintain another website which lists many of the later Klotz’s of Sauk County. There
is probably some connection, but I haven't found that either.
After all these years, we are STILL SEARCHING for the missing
mentioned here. If ANYONE can add or correct ANYTHING all
or has anything to add in the deductive sense...
PLEASE eMail RonKZ - thanks
you so much!