Schimpf and Hopp Families from Dobrinka & Kraft

My grandfather, John Henry Schimpf, born in Dobrinka on 8 Jun 1874, served in the Czar's army for five years. When he had served his allotted time by 1900, his father could see into the future and sensed that there were unsettling events ahead for Germans in general, and for his children in particular. He encouraged my grandparents to migrate to the US.

My grandmother, Christina Hopp, was born 19 Nov 1880 in Kraft. She was very sorry to leave Russia, since it meant never seeing her sister again. However, her father and stepmother immigrated to the USA in 1906. My grandparents married in Russia on 28 December 1900 and left there in 1902. They traveled with two of my grandmother's younger brothers, (Friedrich and Heinrich Hopp), a niece of my grandfather, (Marie Elizabeth Schimpf), her husband, (Christian Graff), and their infant son. I do not know how this group journeyed from the Volga area to Liverpool, England. They sailed from Liverpool on the SS Lake Champlain, leaving on 28 Oct 1902, for Quebec. The crossing took about eight days. According to my grandfather's Declaration of Intent for Citizenship, they entered the United States at Emerson, North Dakota, on November 10, 1902. They immediately traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, where a sister of Grandpa's, Mary Elizabeth Weber Briuer, resided. While living in Kansas City, he was employed in the construction trade, then as a self-employed cobbler. A sewing machine he used there is still in the family. They lived there until 1909 when they moved to Marion County, Kansas. My dad, who was born in Kansas City and was six years old when they left, described the Kansas City neighborhood so precisely--six months before his death in 1996 at the age of 93-- that I have been able to go back to the old neighborhood and walk the same streets and view some of the landmarks that have survived 90 years of progress. That was a moving experience for me. One of Dad's favorite tales was describing himself as a 'stowaway', as his mother was pregnant with him when they migrated. They moved to Marion County in 1909, where they lived out their lives. They lived on different farms during the next several years. Grandpa died on 31 Aug 1932 and Grandma on 17 May 1971. Both are buried in the Strassburg Cemetery, near Marion, Kansas. They had four sons and five daughters who lived to adulthood. Four of the daughters are still living - they range in ages from 91 to 84. My Schimpf line has been traced back to Reichelsheim, Germany. The first ancestor identified is Peter Schimpf, born about 1615. A gr-gr grandson of his, Jacob Schimpf, immigrated to Russia. He went directly to Dobrinka in 1767. This line was there until my grandparents emigrated. Jacob was a gr-gr grandfather of my grandfather.

I have not been as successful in tracing my grandmother's line. Her father was Karl Hopp and her mother may have been Mattie Schnore. From research done by Pleve several years ago, my Schimpf line does have an emigrant from Germany, Johann Heinrich Hopp, in it. He settled in the village of Kraft, also in 1767. I have not been able to link these two lines prior to my grandparents, as this line 'daughter's out' in the first generation in Russia.

Don Schimpf


Lower Volga Project
Of Interest
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