The following is everything I know about the Blimke family of Alpena and Presque Isle counties in Northeastern Michigan. I'd love to hear from anyone who has additonal infomration, or is descendned from any of the people mentioned below. I can also provide source information for almost all of the facts contained in the following write-up.
Louis and Louisa Blimke were born in Prussia circa 1820 and 1824 respectively, were presumably married there, and immigrated to the United States in about 1867, settling in Northeastern Michigan with probably six of their seven children, all of whom had been born in Prussia:
1. Peter, born in April of 1845, was a laborer, employed by Owen Fox, and resided at 1134 S. First Street in Alpena from at least 1899 until his death in 1921, married Mary (who was born in Germany in October, 1853) in Alpena in 1894 or 1895. The various census records show that Peter immigrated sometime between 1878 and 1885, and one of those records shows that he was naturalized in 1884. (Mary is consistently shown as immigrating in 1866/67, and naturalized in 1884.) Therefore, Peter, who would have been about 22 when the rest of the family came to America, seems to have stayed behind for about another ten years or so before joining them in Alpena. Though Mary is shown as having one living child in 1900, it is presumably a child from a prior marriage, as they were not married until Mary was over 41, and there was no child living with them in 1900. Peter was buried in Alpena's Evergreen Cemetery on November 6, 1921.
2. Augustus ("August"), born on December 26, 1850, married Christine Woelk (who was born in Prussia on June 1, 1857, and died in Traverse City, Michigan on June 11, 1942) in Alpena on November 10, 1872, had four children, worked in a saw mill, died of dropsy on May 8, 1917, was buried on May 10, 1917, in Evergreen Cemetery. In 1870, August worked at a saw mill. He acted as a witness at Gottlieb's 1880 wedding. Christine was committed to the Michigan State Mental Hospital in Traverse City in about 1890, and remained there 52 years until her death, when she was buried next to her husband.
3. Gottlieb, born in about 1854, married Emma Buelow Beyer (who was born in Furstenwerder, Prussia on November 12, 1856, and died in Alpena on July 17, 1894) in Alpena on October 17, 1880, had three children, then married Mrs. Christine Englefeldt (a widow, with a son named Herman), worked in a saw mill, died on April 3, 1918, was buried in Evergreen Cemetery on April 9.
4. Pauline, born on December 10, 1859, married William F. Woelk (who was born in Prussia in July, 1858, and died in Alpena on September 16, 1933) in Alpena on July 25, 1882, had three children, died in Alpena on February 23, 1938. William F. Woelk owned and operated a general store for many years at 1005 Washington in Alpena. He was elected President of the German Aid Society in May, 1917.
5. Augustave ("Gustave"), born in Prussia in April, 1865, married Paulina (who was born in Prussia in January, 1870, and immigrated in 1873), and had four children. In May, 1926, an August Blimke of Krakow Township served on the May, 1926 term of the Circuit Court in Onaway, another town in Presque Isle County. (It is assumed that serving on a term of the Circuit Court meant acting as a juror or a grand juror.) The obituary of August Blimke says that Gustave was of Posen, Michigan, which is the seat of Krakow Township. Gottlieb's obituary described him as Gustave of Cracow (sic).
6. Rosia, born in 1866. She was not mentioned in the 1917 and 1918 obituaries of August and Gottlieb.
7. Amelia, born in 1867 or 1868. She was also not mentioned in her brothers' obituaries. Amelia was at least 22 years younger than her oldest brother.
It seems probable that the family came from Posen, based on the entries for Pauline's place of birth in 1920 census, though her parents are simply shown as being born in Germany (with Posen written in, but then crossed out). Posen is a region that has been part of Poland and Prussia/Germany over the years, and is now part of Poland, but contains many people of German heritage, particularly Lutherans. When the Blimkes left for America, it was part of Prussia.
The family first settled in Alpena. In 1870, Louis was an employee at a saw mill, an occupation shared by at least two of his sons. By 1880, however, Louis, Louisa and their three youngest children were living on a farm in Krakow Township, Presque Isle County, twenty miles northwest of the City of Alpena. Assuming Peter had arrived by then, the couple's four older children were probably all living in or near Alpena in 1880. Gustave seems to have remained on the Krakow Township farm after his parents died.
More on Gottlieb (my great-grandfather):
Gottlieb Blimke married Emma Buelow in Alpena on October 17, 1880, the wedding taking place at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Emma and Gottlieb had three children:
1. Caroline, born in Alpena on November 11, 1882, married Arthur Lewis Kline (who was born in Bay City, Michigan on November 8, 1884, and died in Detroit, Michigan on January 8, 1933), had two children, died December 12, 1972, in La Grange, Illinois.
2. Edward Blimke, served as a commander in the submarine service during World War I, married Alta (who was born on January 14, 1886, and died on December 7, 1954), lived at 2040 Wellwood Avenue, Farmingdale, Long Island, New York, had one child, died on April 4, 1948, buried (along with Alta) at the Long Island National Cemetery (Section O, Site 34966).
3. Pauline Emma Henrietta, born in Alpena in about 1890, moved to Everett, Washington in about 1903, married Oscar Lynwood White in 1908, had or adopted three children, died in April, 1976.
On May 9, 1895, Gottlieb remarried, to Christine Englefeldt, who was 42 at the time of their marriage, and was a widow with a son named Herman. In 1903 Pauline left home, at the age of thirteen.
In 1899, Gottlieb and his family resided at 113 W. Miller. In 1905, they were living at 419 Commercial. Three years later the family lived at 125 W. Maple, and in 1916 they were reported living at 127 W. Maple. By 1916 Gottlieb had left the lumber business and was working as the janitor at Lockwood School.
Gottlieb died on April 3, 1918, in Alpena, but was not buried at the Evergreen Cemetery until April 9. The following reports of his death and funeral arrangements were printed in the local paper:
"Alpena News, Thursday Evening, April 4, 1918...Gottlieb Blimke, former janitor of the Lockwood school, dropped dead in the basement of the Franklin school Wednesday afternoon, from the effects of a stroke of apoplexy. The deceased was born in Germany and was 63 years of age at the time of his death.
Besides his wife, he leaves one son, Edward Blimke, who is in the army (sic) and one sister, Mrs. William Woelk of Alpena; two brothers, Peter Blimke of Alpena and Gustave of Cracow (sic). Several step-children also remain to mourn his departure. They are Herman Englefeldt of Wisconsin, Ernest Byers of Detroit, Carl Byers of Alpena, Mrs. Arthur Kline of Detroit and Mrs. Pauline White, Everett, Washington [the last two are natural children, the first three are step-children].
The deceased had been a resident of Alpena for the past 50 years, was a member of the German Aid Society and was also a member of the Elks' lodge of this city. Funeral arrangements will not be completed until further word is received from distant relatives.
The Alpena News, Friday Evening, April 5, 1918...Funeral services over the remains of Gottlieb Blimke, which had been arranged for Sunday, have been postponed until Tuesday, on account of word having been received from his daughter, Mrs. Pauline White, of Everett, Washington, that she is on the way here, but could not reach Alpena before the first of the week.
The Alpena News, Monday Evening, April 8, 1918...The funeral of Gottlieb Blimke will be held from the home of St. Paul's church at 2 o'clock Tuesday afternoon. A daughter, Mrs. Pauline White of Everett, Wash. is expected to arrive in time for the funeral.
The Alpena News, Tuesday Evening, April 9, 1918...Mrs. Pauline White of Everett, Washington, arrived this morning to attend the funeral of her father, Gottlieb Blimke.
The Alpena News, Friday Evening, April 12, 1918...Mrs. A. L. Kline and son Jack, returned to their home in Detroit this morning. Mrs. Kline was called by the death of her father, and remained a few days the guest of relatives.
Christine Blimke died on June 11, 1942, reportedly at the age of 86, although based on the age reported in her marriage record she would have been about 89.
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