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Early Settlers - The Hessmann Family – Holy Cross Cemetery, Windthorst, Ford County, Kansas

William, Bernard, August, and sister, Sophia were the children of Johann Gerhart Heinrich and Anna Marie Elizabeth Middelhoff Hessman. They along with many others left their homeland of Germany to avoid military conscription, find economic and religious freedom.

August Lucias married Mary Agnes Zerhusen in Germany. Mary was the daughter of Elisabeth Zerhusen, a sister to Heinrich Zerhusen and Josephina Kolbeck. Shortly after their marriage, they joined the other Hessmann’s in emigrating to America.

August and Mary were among the first settlers that arrived in what would become the Germany community of Windthorst. That first group of settlers arrived on February 24, 1878. A total of five children were born to the couple; Rose Fox, Josephine Fox, Sophia Riedlinger, Antionetta Heiland, , Henry, and Mary Heiland.

The Hessmann brothers were stone masons. William and Bernard stayed in Ohio for a little longer before following their brother.

William (1832-1910) married Johanna M. Horstman in Cincinnati, Ohio . They were the parents of 10 children. As a skilled stone mason, William found work plentiful. Many of the stone buildings in Dodge City and Fort Dodge were built by him. William died in 1910 and Johanna in 1921. They are buried in Maple Grove Cemetery.

Sophia Hessman (1840-1905) married Joseph Holtfrerich in Germany. They were the parents of one son. They are both buried in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Bernard Heinrich (1844-1878) died at the age of 32 and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery. He did not marry.

August died in 1890 at the age of 42 leaving Mary with six children ranging in age from 16 to a one-year-old. Mary passed away in 1935 from a hip fracture which occurred when she was blown from a porch step.

Note: In researching headstones in Holy Cross Cemetery, there is always a mention of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, or Kenton, Covington County, Kentucky. On a map, these cities are a short two miles apart.

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