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Pioneer family to light Fremont’s Christmas tree

Fremont  Area Historical Society event set for Saturday

The public is invited to the lighting of the Fremont Area Historical Society’s Christmas tree at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, at Wolf River Crossing Park in Fremont.

This will take place before the village’s 4:30 p.m. Christmas parade and 5 p.m. lighting of the larger tree in the park.

Descendants of the pioneer Carl and Bertha Koepp family are being honored this holiday season by the historical society, and they will light the tree at 4 p.m.

Koepp family history
The history of the Koepp ancestry in the United States began with the family of Carl August Koepp and Bertha Auguste Koepp, who arrived at Ellis Island in 1864, after making the journey from Prussia.

At the time, the United States was engaged in the Civil War.

A man offered Carl $100 to take a draftee’s place to serve in the war.

The $100 was considered a lot of money, but Carl refused the offer because he had a family.

The family that came to the town of Wolf River included Carl and Bertha’s son and daughter-in-law, August and Justina Koepp, and their 4-year-old son, Carl Albert Koepp.

August and Justina purchased 40 acres of land from Frederic Macheine and wife, Henrietta, on Oct. 19, 1865.

This land, on what is now Bay Lane, was the starting point of the Koepp Homestead.

Sadness struck the family when Justina later died during childbirth.

She was buried in St. Paul’s Cemetery on County Trunk H, about a half-mile south of River Trail Drive.

Justina’s gravestone reads in German, “ Mutter mit Kind,” translated, “Mother with Child.”

After the death of Justina, August Koepp married Rosina Garske.

When August’s son Carl Albert Koepp was about 20 years old, he married Auguste Ferg on April 18, 1880, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church near Orihula.

In August 1890, the farm was deeded by August and Rosina Koepp to August’s son and wife, Carl and Auguste Keopp.

August and Rosina had a life lease to live in part of the house and be taken care of for the rest of their lives by Carl and Auguste.

A deed of sale had been recorded earlier that year for personal goods that went to the younger couple, such as “one span of horses, four cows” and other farm animals and equipment, plus all household goods except a few things the older couple reserved for themselves, such as two beds and a rocking chair.

Carl and Auguste Koepp had one son, Albert John Koepp, who married Alma Niemuth on Jan. 11, 1914, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, East Bloomfield.

When Albert and Alma bought the 40-acre Koepp dairy farm in 1920, Carl and August made the same life-lease living arrangements Carl’s parents had made.

Albert and Alma raised four children on this farm during the Depression.

Farming, trapping and logging helped this family survive during those economically tough years.

All of the children – Edna, Lester, Elmer and Raymond – remained in the Fremont area to raise their families.

Edna married Gordon Freer after he was discharged from the Navy in 1945.

They lived on a dairy farm located on what is now Island Lane near Orihula.

Lester and his wife, Violet Schmidt, lived in the village of Fremont.

Lester was a carpenter/mason and built many area homes and other buildings in the Wolf River community.

Elmer married Dorothy Ulmer and in 1952, bought the home farm from Albert and Alma Koepp.

Raymond returned from Japan after being honorably discharged from the Army in April 1947.

On June 20, 1948, he married Majorie Miller, who died in 1995.

In January 1948, he had purchased the Velte Boyson farm on County Trunk H near Tustin.

Raymond and his second wife, Clara, continue to live on this farm, named Shorecrest, raising crops and flowers.

David Koepp, the son of Elmer and Dorothy, is now the sole owner of the Koepp Homestead.

David and his wife, Robin, live on part of the original farm.

He currently rents the farmland to an area crop producer.

David serves as a supervisor for the town of Wolf River.

His father, Elmer, served as constable for the town for 10 years and supervisor for 20 years.

Ray, 90 years old, has been the town treasurer for the past 55 years.

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