16 November 2014

Anna Helena (Oellien) Hopken

1867 — 1948


Death of Mrs. Hopken

Mrs. Anna Helena Hopken was born July 24, 1867, at Struckhausen, Oldenburg, Germany, 1  the daughter of Gerhart and Eliza, nee Hauvakam, Oellien.  Her mother died when Anna was only nine months old.  She later had a stepmother.  In infancy she was baptized in the Lutheran church and was later confirmed in the same faith. 2 

April 23, 1889, she was united in marriage to Chris Hopken Sr. of Wittbeckersburg, Oldenburg, Germany.  Having decided to make America their home, they journeyed the following month on their honeymoon to the United States, coming to Ohiowa, Neb., June [3? or 9?], 1889, and making their home with a great-uncle, Henry Hopken, on a farm near Ohiowa. 3 

Enduring many hardships, a few years later they started farming for themselves near Ohiowa, where they lived until 1903, when they purchased a farm a few miles north of Bruning.  In February, they moved adjoining this farm to the new home they had built, the result of saving and hard labor.  Their home was their pride and joy until their passing.

To Mr. and Mrs. Hopken were born twelve children, seven daughters and five sons.  Two daughters died.  Bertha passed away in infancy and Frieda when she was ten years of age. 4 

April 23, 1939, Mrs. Hopken had the privilege of celebrating her golden wedding with her husband.  The following year, on their fifty-first wedding anniversary, Mr. Hopken was called to his eternal home.  Mrs. Hopken then carried on her farming with son Chris.

Mrs. Hopken's friendly smile and cheery attitude were recognized by all who knew her.  She was always happiest when among her children and their families and her friends.

She was a faithful member of the Evangelical Lutheran church and attended services regularly until failing health deprived her of attending.  She was a kind and loving mother and always taught her children what the dear Lord did was best and to leave everything in His hands.

Her death came as a shock to the community, although she had been in failing health for a number of years.  She was privileged to live an active life, her mind being alert up to her passing, which came suddenly at 4:45 p. m. Thursday, September 23, 1948, at the age of 81 years, 1 month and 30 days.

She is survived by five sons and five daughters, Henry of Bruning, Louise (Mrs. Fred Schoeder) of Geneva, Chris, at home, John of Bruning, Ben of Martland, 5  Anna (Mrs. Fred Heinrichs) of Carleton, William of St. Paul, Neb., Martha (Mrs. Verne DuBois) of Strang, Alma (Mrs. Herman Ohnesorge) of Strang, and Elsie (Mrs. Ernest Reinsch) who since her husband's death, with her sons, has made her home with Mrs. Hopken.  Grandma took pride in doing all she could to help rear her grandsons.  She also leaves twenty-four grandchildren, sixteen great-grandchildren, one brother living in Germany and a cousin, Mrs. Warner Tyson of Ohiowa, besides a host of friends who will all miss her.

The funeral was held from the South Lutheran church near Ohiowa at 2:15 p. m. Sunday, September 26, the church being well filled with relatives and sorrowing friends.  Rev. H. J. Diekhoff officiated.  The choir sang "The Old Rugged Cross," "In the Garden" and "Safe in the Arms of Jesus."  Her five sons and a son-in-law, Fred Schroeder, were pallbearers.  Granddaughters and a committee of Lutheran aid ladies were flower bearers.  A deluge of beautiful flowers covered her grave in the South Lutheran church cemetery. 6 

Who fed us from her gentle breast
     And hushed us in her arms to rest,
And on our cheek sweet kisses prest?
     When sleep forsook our open eyes
Who was it sang sweet lullabys
     And rocked us that we should not cry?
Who sat and watched our infant head
     When sleeping in our cradle bed
And tears of sweet affection shed?
     Who taught our infant lips to pray,
To love God's holy word and day,
     And walks in wisdom's pleasant way?
When pain and sickness made us cry,
     Who gazed upon our heavy eye -
And wept for fear that we should die?
     And can we ever cease to be
Affectionate and kind to thee,
     Who wast so very kind to us?
Oh no, the thought I cannot bear,
     And if God please our life to spare
We hope we shall reward thy care
     When thou are feeble, old and gray
Our healthy arm shall be they stay,
     And we will smooth thy pains away.
And when we see thee hang thy head, 
     'Twill be our turn to watch thy bed,
And tears of sweet afection [sic] shed -
     And say sweet peace our Dear Mother.

Source: Obituary published in an unidentified and undated newspaper. Copy of obituary provided by Sandra S. (Hopken) Miller.


  1. Strückhausen was a town in the Wesermarsch region of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg (Großherzogtum Oldenburg ).

    Today, the town is not far from the cities of Brake and Ovelgönne, in the state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen ), in the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland ).

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  2. Details of Anna's early life are not well known at this time.

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  3. Sailing aboard the S.S. Rhein, Anna and her new husband, Christian, departed Bremen, Germany on 15 May 1889 and arrived in Baltimore, Maryland on 30 May. On the passenger list, Christian was identified as a 25 year old merchant and Anna was 23 years old. They shared a single piece of baggage.

    Traveling by train from Baltimore, they arrived at Fairmont, Nebraska in early June and continued on to Ohiowa, Fillmore County, Nebraska where they located on a small farm southeast of Ohiowa owned by Henry Hopken, who had immigrated to Nebraska in 1868. In Christian Hopken's 1940 obituary, Henry Hopken is identified as Christian's uncle, not a great-uncle.

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  4. Frieda Maria Johanna Hopken, Christian and Anna's tenth child, was born on 21 September 1907 and died on 18 August 1916, just short of her ninth birthday.

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  5. Christian and Anna's fifth child has been referred to in documents as both Bernard or Benjamin.

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  6. Anna was buried in the cemetery of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, about two miles south of Ohiowa, Franklin Township, Fillmore County, Nebraska. The church had been founded in 1887 as St. John's German Lutheran Church by 15 German pioneer families. In 1945, services in the German language ceased and the congregation dropped "German" from the name, becoming St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1954, the church re-organized and took the name Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church.

    (Sources:  NEGenWeb. Fillmore County, Nebraska. Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery. 23 December 2004. Accessed November 2014.  Also:  Memorial for Anna Helena Oellien Hopken at FindAGrave.com

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Brief Genealogy

Anna Helena Oellien's family

Christian Hopken's family

Hopken - Oellien family

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