Trumbold Families

Emma Trumbold Meyer


Emma Trumbold was born on February 6, 1844, to Johan George and Johannah Trumbold in Saxony, Germany.  She came to the United States with her family when she was about 5 years old and settled in New Jersey for approximately 8 years before moving to Iowa. She and Renke E. (Eder?) "Frank" Meyer were married on February 12, 1861, in Volga Township by Henry M. Jones, Justice of the Peace.1  Emma was 17 and Frank was 26.


"Frank" came with his parents and siblings to the United States from Hanover, Germany, in 1854 and settled in Cox Creek Township in 1857.  This parallels Emma's path from near Dresden to New Jersey in 1849(?) then on to Iowa in about 1858.  They were both new arrivals and young adults in a newly settled German farming community. 


Frank owned "200 acres of good land...under excellent cultivation"2 near Osborne and all the Meyer children were born on this "home place" in Cox Creek Township.  "Mr. Meyer votes the Republican ticket, and is one of the well-to-do farmers of this district and they are members of the Lutheran church."2 


The Meyers lived here for 37 years and had 13 children, only one of whom died in infancy.  Most of Emma's children were given names of others in her family or her husband's family (George, August, Frank, Anna, Herman, Emma, John, Charles F., Mary).  The other names (Matilda, William, Joseph, and Elizabeth) may also have a family connection that I have not uncovered.


This family was living in Cox Creek Township, Clayton County, Iowa in 1880 according to the census.3  Catherine Meyer, Frank's 85-year-old mother, was also living with them.  She is listed as being born in Mecklenburg as were her parents.


In 1898, the family moved to Communia but only one year later, Renke ("Frank") died of kidney disease on September 5, 1899, at the age of 64 in Volga Township (Communia), Iowa.4  For the next 17 years the family had a store in Communia and the oldest son, George, was the Postmaster for Communia.


In 1916 Emma moved to Elkader to live with her daughters, Mary and Emma.  Emma Meyer, age 79, died August 23, 1923, in this house.  Her probate record5 includes her will (she had no real estate by this time) and a list of her heirs.  Her line begat the most descendants for Johan and Johannah Trumbold.  When Emma died in 1923 she had 30 grandchildren.


Renke Meyer is buried with his wife (Emma Trumbold Meyer) and four of their children (Emma, Mary, Willie, and John) in Eastside Cemetery, Elkader, Iowa.


Their obituaries tell us much about their lives and are reproduced here in their entirety and with no changes in spelling.  I have noted the correct dates in some places that are significant for genealogical purposes.


OBITUARY6 - R. E. Meyer

    "R. E. Meyer was born in Hanover, Germany, Dec.3d, 1836 and came to America in 1853, living three years in Toledo, O., and then came to Cox Creek twp., where he lived until last spring when he moved to Communia, having purchased the Muegge property. On Feb. 12th, 1860 [sic, 1861] he was united in marriage with Miss Emma Trumbald.

    Twelve children were born to them of whom eleven, with the wife survive his death, also two brothers, John, of Boardman and George, of Communia, and three sisters, Mrs. Brockman, of National, Mrs. Wenecke, of Communia, and a sister in Germany. "Frank," as he was familiarly called, was an upright man, a good citizen and a kind husband and father. He will be missed and mourned for by a large circle of friends.

    The funeral was held Thursday morning last at the Congregational church under the auspices of Bismarck lodge No. 110, Iowa Workmen, Rev. F. W. Siefert conducted the religious services."

OBITUARY7 - Mrs. R. E. Meyer

    "Mrs. R. E. Meyer, one of the early pioneers of Clayton County passed away at the home of her daughters, here last Thursday afternoon at the age of nearly eighty years.

    Christe Leba Emma Meyer was born in Gralba, Saxony, Germany, February 6th., 1844. At the age of about five years she came to this country with her parents, landing in New Jersey. She spent her girlhood days and received her education in the state of New Jersey.

    In 1861 [sic, they were in Iowa by July 1860] they moved West and settled in the Colony, now Communia, where she lived with her parents until she was 18 years of age. In February 1862 [1861] she was married to R. E. Meyer, and they settled on a farm in Cox Creek Twp., about one mile north of Osborne, and lived on the old home-stead until 1898; here their family was born, reared and educated.

After selling the old homestead, they moved to Communia. Having lived there for a year her husband, R. E. Meyer, died, in September, 1899. In 1916 she moved to Elkader where she resided with her daughters Mary and Emma until the time of her death.

    Mrs. Meyer lived a beautiful life; to know her, was to love her. She was much attached to the simple joys of home-life and the locality in which she lived. She was a kind and loving mother and was every ready to help those in want and need. The one great desire and pleasure of her life was to do something for the comfort and pleasure of others; there are many who can testify as to the truth of this fact.

    She was in apparently good health until November 1922, when she was stricken with paralysis, from which she almost completely recovered. In July of this year she suffered a second stroke from which she was slowly and gradually recovering and gaining in health and strength. On the evening of August 22nd she was stricken again and passed away as the result thereof the next day, August 23rd, at 330 o'clock in the afternoon, at the age of 79 years, 4 [sic,6] mo. and 17 days.

    During her illness she was cared for by her daughters Mary and Emma who gave her the best of loving care; but neither the efforts of loved ones nor medical skill were availing; the Angel of Death claimed its own.

    Of the thirteen children born to her, five preceded their mother in death - William passed away Dec. 1896; George May 1908; John Dec. 1914; Herman, Dec. 1917 and one daughter, dying in infancy. She is survived by four daughters and four sons August, of Roundup, Mont.; Frank, Nunica, Mich.; Mrs. W. J. Burgholzer, Chicago, Ill.; Charles, Armour, South Dakota; Mrs. A. A. Dohrer, Elkader; Joseph, Des Moines, Ia.; and Emma and Mary at home. She also leaves one sister, Mrs. August Holzer, of Elgin, Iowa, thirty grandchildren, three great grand-children and numerous other relatives and friends. All of the children were present at the funeral except August, for whom it was impossible to come. She was a faithful member of the Frauen-Verein of the Evangelical church.

    Funeral services were held Sunday forenoon, August 26th., 1000 o'clock at the home and 1030 at the Evangelical church. Rev. C. H. Francke officiating. Burial in the Eastside cemetery."

Notes about names

Christe Leba

Emma's first name appears to be an "Americanized" spelling of Christeliebe ("Beloved of Christ" in German) or a spelling based on pronunciation. Christeliebe is a common second name given to German girls at the time Emma was born and was passed from generation to generation. It is a clue to the names of her aunts, grandmothers or great-grandmothers.

Source Notes

1. Marriage certificate, Frank Meyer and Emma Trumbold, February 12, 1861, Clayton County, Iowa.

2. History of Clayton County [Iowa] 1882, page 748-749.

3. 1880 Federal census for Iowa [Clayton County].

4. Probate, Renke. E. Meyer, Clayton County, Iowa, packet 2208. Another Renke E. Meyer is his father whose Probate Record is #950.

5. Probate, Emma Meyer, Clayton County, Iowa, packet 5741.

6. Obituary, R. E. Meyer, From The Elkader Register, September 1899.

7. Obituary, Mrs. R. E. Meyer, The Elkader Register, Thursday, August 30, 1923, page 6.

Emma and Frank Meyer