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Author: Subject: Wendish Siblings Reunited by Dorothy Noak Rothermel
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[*] posted on 3-16-2015 at 10:43 AM
Wendish Siblings Reunited by Dorothy Noak Rothermel

The year was 1870. Peter August Noack, age 36, and his wife, Johanna Christiana, age 31, departed from the port of Bremen, Germany on the vessel Meteor with their three children, Gustav, age 4, Anna Marie, age 3, and Paul Heinrich, age 2. They arrived at the Port of Galveston on January 30, 1871. Peter Noack's occupation was listed as farmer from the North German Union (1).

Peter August Noack was born in Groditz. His wife, Wilhelmina Johanna Christiane Mitzscherling was born in Goeppersdorf, Germany. Peter Noack and Johanna Mitzscherling were married at the Lutheran Church in Liebstadt, Germany on January 10, 1864. After their marriage, Peter and Johanna Noack relocated to Struppen. Five of their children were born in Struppen between 1864 and 1869. Two sons died in infancy. The remaining three children, Gustav, Anna Marie and Paul Henrich, accompanied their parents on their voyage to Texas (2).

Peter Noack and his family were sponsored by his brother, Johann Noack, from Groditz. Johann and his wife, Magdalena, had migrated in 1854 on the Ben Nevis with a group of Wends from Lusatia, Germany (3).

The following is an article entitled "Family History of Peter and Johanna Noack," written by Esther Weigelt Black in the late 1930s or 1940s and presented at a Noak family reunion at Round Top, Texas. This family history covers the years after Peter and Johanna arrived in Texas. Since Ms. Weigelt first wrote this history, some dates and names have been found to be different, but the article remains as originally written.

Family History of Peter and Johanna Noack

Peter August Noak and wife Wilhelmine nee Mitcherling were born and reared in Goeppersdorf, Koenigreich Sachsen, Germany. They also were married there.

They migrated to America December 12, 1870 with their three children, Gustav J., Marie, and Paul. The first born son died in Germany before they came to America. They made the journey on a sailboat, which took them six weeks, arriving in Galveston, Texas on January 23, 1871.

On their arrival in Galveston, after being on the sea for six weeks, they faced a slow journey of about 200 miles to Serbin, near Giddings, Texas, on a wagon drawn by oxen, where the brother of Peter resided with his wife (2). [Johann had remarried by this time; his first wife died on the journey from Germany]. He also sponsored the little family to come to America. This journey must have taken another two or more weeks.

They worked on the farm of Peter's brother for one year to reimburse him for travel expenses from Germany to Serbin, Texas.

After working to repay the travel expenses for one year, they rented a farm in the vicinity and went to farming in 1872. Two more sons were born, John and Herman.

The father became seriously ill. His illness was caused by heat, unsanitary conditions in which the early settlers had to live, plus exposure to disease-carrying insects.

When the father realized that he would not recover and had to leave his wife and five children, Pastor Albin D. Greif visited him to comfort him with God's word. Pastor Greif realized that there was very little hope for his recovery so he suggested that he [Greif] and his wife, who were childless, would like to adopt the baby, Herman, should Peter die. Peter Noak revealed that he was a Christian when he told Pastor Greif that if he died, Greif could have Herman ­ if he would let him become a pastor, to which Pastor Greif agreed. The father told Pastor Greif that he realized that his wife would have a struggle with four children and felt that this arrangement was best for her, the four children, and the infant son.

He died September 1, 1874, leaving his wife with five children. The oldest, Gustav J. was eight years of age and the youngest, Herman, 10 weeks. He was laid to rest in the church cemetery in Serbin, Texas. The mother and four children returned to the farm of her brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Pastor Greif and his wife took little Herman and moved north. He promised the mother that he would keep in touch with her but as the years passed, they lost contact with each other.

The school age children attended the parochial school of the Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod taught by the pastor, Gerhard Kilian.

On December 17, 1880, the mother and her four children moved to Round Top, Texas, when she married Traugott Wertschitz, whom she met while both were patients of Dr. Witte in Shelby, Texas. They resided on a farm one mile east of Round Top, Texas. Traugott died January 11, 1897, of cancer of the stomach. He was buried in the Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery at Round Top. They were members of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Round Top, Texas. Rev. A. Neuthart was the pastor. Here the three sons grew to manhood and the only daughter, Marie, to womanhood.

As the years passed, the mother must have wondered about little Herman and Pastor Greif about the poverty­ stricken family who just couldn't have survived.

"God works in mysterious ways."

Our little Herman had grown to manhood and was attending the Lutheran Seminary in Springfield, Illinois. His foster father had kept his promise to his father on his deathbed. A young man from Giddings, Texas [name unknown] who knew Herman's oldest brother, Gustav J., was also a student at the seminary, noticed the close resemblance of Herman Greif and Gustav J. Noak, so he asked Herman about it and I think Herman had been told by his foster parents that he was adopted, or else Herman asked them about whether he had any brothers and sisters --- anyway, the relationship was clarified and it turned out that Herman had a mother, three brothers and one sister living near Round Top, Texas. Gustav J., Paul and Marie pooled their money to pay for the transportation of their brother to come to Texas to be reunited with his real family. Herman was faithful and appreciative of his foster parents but he was also a true son to his mother. He wrote to her regularly and in later years visited her with his family.

After he was ordained as a minister, he was married to Miss Annie Brockman. His first parish was Greens Creek, Texas, also near Serbin and Giddings, Lee County, Texas. He was a highly regarded minister in the Missouri Synod.

His mother, Wilhelmine Wertschitz, died December 11, 1921 , in her little cottage next to the home of her only daughter, Marie Noak Weigelt and her husband, who looked after her in the sunset of life. She reached the age of 82 years, 5 months, and 2 days. She was laid to rest in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Cemetery at Round Top, Texas, beside her second husband, Traugott Wertschitz.

Research at the Serbin Library and Museum found this additional information about Peter Herman Noack Greif. He was baptized July 14, 1874 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church at Serbin, Lee Co., Texas. His sponsors were: Peter Mikan, Carl Gustav Symank, Anna Jungmichel and Wilhelmine Schulze. The sponsors' occupations were listed as farmer on the Bullfrog Creek, blacksmith at Serbin, wife of a farmer, and wife of renter on Rabbs Creek at Serbin. (4)

At the age of 21, Peter Herman Noack Greif's first assignment was to Bethany Lutheran Church at Greens Creek, near Serbin, Texas. The Serbin Museum and Library show records of the baptisms of Pastor Herman P. Greif's nieces and nephews at Bethany Lutheran Church: March 8, 1896: Lina Reuter; Herman Fritz Noak; Paul Rudolph Noak. On April 5, 1896, the baptism of Elsa Anna Hulda Wilhelmine Weigelt took place. (4)

Note: The reason for the change in spelling the name Noack to Noak is not known for sure. Perhaps it changed when Wilhelmine Johanna Noack moved to Round Top and remarried.

Esther Weigelt Black

(1) Ship's Passenger list --- Port of Galveston, Texas, 1846-1871
(2) Research done by then CM Sgt. David R. Noak, his wife, Mary and son, David R. II during a trip to the places Peter and Johanna Noack had lived in East Germany before immigrating to Texas.
(3) "Who are the Wends?" by Ron Lammert
(4) The Texas Wendish Heritage Museum and Library
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