UPDATED: Land owned by George Stumpf & William Wenkel in Monroe County, Illinois
Esther Kraus was born in Monroe County, Illinois. Her grandparents and great-grandparents emigrated from Germany in the 1830s-1850s, probably in part because of the availability of land in America. Our ancestor Johann Georg "George" Stumpf (1804-1875) made several land purchases from the federal government. In contrast, Johann "Conrad" Wenkel purchased land already in the public domain.
Stumpf and Wenkel properties in Monroe County as of 1875. [large image]
George Stumpf made three purchases in Monroe County. The purchased land was all in Township 1S, Range 10W, Section 28, which is in Columbia Township (formerly Eagle Precinct), between the towns of Columbia and New Hanover. On this 1875 map of Monroe County, section 28 is below the L in "EAGLE".
Because the land was purchased from the federal government, the original grants can be downloaded from the Bureau of Land Management Database.
Purchase Date - Description [all in Monroe Co., T1S R10W Section 28]
12/10/1836 --- E1/2SW 80 acres View Image
04/19/1839 --- SWSW 37.75 acres View Image
06/19/1839 --- SWSW 40 acres View Image
At the time the first purchase was made, George was living in adjacent St. Clair County. When the 1839 purchases were made, George was living in Monroe County, presumably on the first piece of land.
George's brother John Stumpf purchased land in the NWSW and SWSE portions of Section 28. According to an 1894 biography of John's son Fritz Stumpf, the land was purchased shortly after John (and presumably George) arrived from Germany. It was untamed wilderness:
He at once bought forty acres of land in this county and township, which was a wild and heavily timbered piece of land, and which is still a part of the present estate of our subject. The father worked hard and long to bring about its cultivation.George and John still owned this land in 1875 . George died on November 25, 1875, and John died on September 4, 1878, passing the land to their heirs.
William Wenkel arrived with his parents Conrad and Henrietta (Bierwirth) Wenkel in Monroe County in the mid-1840s. By 1850, Conrad owned $3000 of real estate. He did not purchase land directly from the government - he was probably the second or third owner of the property that made up the Wenkel farm.
William Wenkel married Katharina Stumpf, George's daughter, in 1853. His father Conrad died in 1859, and it appears that William was living on the farm in T1S R10W (his older brother and widowed mother lived in the town of Columbia).
By 1875, William Wenkel owned several parcels of land, included a large tract in the northwest corner of R10W section 21 (the rectagular property that spans R11W section 24 and R10W section 19 - above the E in EAGLE on the 1875 map ). It isn't clear if this was the original Wenkel farm of the 1850s.
UPDATE: The 1918 Prairie Farmer's Directory of St. Clair and Monroe County lists Charles Wenkel, son of William Wenkel and Auguste Zweig, living on Columbia R1 in Columbia Precinct "24W" (probably the farm in section 24 listed for William Wenkel, above). His brother William is living on Columbia R1, Columbia Prt. 35W, on the land owned by Walter Huch.
On Section 28 were living Fred Stumpf (1855-1928, married to Theresa Schueler), son of the immigrant John Stumpf and William E Stumpf, son of Fred. Note that the two sons of George Stumpf were not listed: son John died before 1900, and had no surviving sons; son Henry and family moved to St. Louis before 1880.
UPDATE: The 1953 Monroe County Plat Book shows that Charles Wenkel, probably the son of our ancestor William Wenkel (who died in 1905) and Auguste Zweig had land in R11W Section 24. This to appears to be part of the the Wenkel farm of 1875.
Members of the Stumpf family still owned land in R10W in Section 28, and adjacent Section 33 near the border of Columbia and New Hanover Precincts. The land in section 28 is the same as that purchased by John and George Stumpf in the 1830s.
• How to figure out the location of a land purchase.
• The Illinois Public Land Tract Database records the initial sale of public land.
• Bureau of Land Management Database.