The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Friedrich Wilhelm Otto Klopp (1886 – 1937)


Chart I Peter and Emma Klopp Tree simple

The stories of the first eight children of my paternal grandparents have been told in earlier posts last year. Here are the links to the first half of Friedrich and Emma Klopp’s sons and daughters: Friedrich, Juliane, Karl, Ferdinand, Rosa, Alma, August, and Anna.

Friedrich Wilhelm Otto Klopp (1886 – 1937)

The Innkeeper of the “Brown Elk”

As the ninth child Wilhelm was born on 8 December 1886 in Jersleben. Due to the sparse memory retention of the descendants, Eberhard Klopp, the author of the Klopp Family Chronicles, had not been able to dig up any information on Wilhelm all the way up to 1919, when after the lost WW1 the latter returned from the eastern German provinces (given to Poland by the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles) to Elbeu. At the Magdeburg Street of Elbeu, Wilhelm bought a house, presumably with agricultural land attached to it. With his brother Ferdinand he seemed to have come to some sort of financial arrangement involving a considerable sum of money paid out by the state to compensate for lost property in the eastern provinces.

From Wilhelm’s first marriage with Maria Söchting come two sons: Wilhelm and Gerhard. Their mother died in 1912. In 1912 Wilhelm married his second wife Louise (née Grünwald). From this marriage originate four children: Viktoria (1914), Fritz (1916), Heinz (1919) and Günther (1924). It is safe to assume that 28-year old Wilhelm became a soldier in 1914. When he returned from the war with his brothers, he procured for his brother Ferdinand Klopp (1879 – 1952) the lease of the Elbeu Inn “Brown Elk”. Over financial disagreements in August 1922, the two had in the barroom a fight, during which Ferdinand shot his brother. Wilhelm was wounded at his left shoulder. Louise, who was standing behind him, was grazed by the bullet. Mother-in-law Emma Klopp must have heard about this incidence either at her daughter Rosa Diesing’s (1881 -1924) place at Schöneberg or experienced it first hand right on location in Elbeu. At any rate, it had been passed down through the grapevine that Emma had used the highly defamatory term “Satan’s wife” in describing her daughter-in-law. Mother Emma condemned Wilhelm’s excessive alcohol consumption, which she blamed on his wife’s bad influence. Louise died in 1924, presumably on account of the injury she suffered from the grazing bullet. Wilhelm was reconciled with his brother Ferdinand – at least on the surface, took over the “Brown Elk”, and remained innkeeper for the rest of his days.

Around 1925 he married for the third time: Ruth (née Grünwald), the sister of his second wife. Six underage children needed to be cared for. From this marriage descended two more sons: Hans-Georg and Hans-Joachim, both were born in Elbeu. On 7 August 1937, Wilhelm passed away at the age of only 51 years. At the end of his short life, he had apparently become his own best customer of the local watering hole.

10 thoughts on “Friedrich Wilhelm Otto Klopp (1886 – 1937)

  1. Amy

    My oh my—what a story! Wilhelm sounds like quite a character. It seems unlikely that Louise’s wound caused her death two years later, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

    A question about German naming patterns: I see you have Wilhelm with a first name of Friedrich, like his father and older brother. Did all the sons use Friedrich as a first name? I have often seen in German families many sons all with a first name Johann and daughters with a first name of Mary. I assume they were called and known by their middle names?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      You recognized the German naming pattern correctly, Amy. Most of the boys of my grandparents were named Friedrich, even though to keep them apart other names were of course used. By the way, my name is identical to my grandfather’s name: Peter Friedrich except for the third name. Have a great weekend, Amy!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann Coleman

    Times sure were different back then! It’s fascinating to read how people used to live, and to see both the similarities and the differences. I guess the environment changes, but human nature doesn’t. The best thing is that you are recording your family’s history for coming generations!


  3. Ankur Mithal

    Promises to be another racy tale.
    A technical question, Peter; when writing about the not so good qualities of a branch of your ancestors, like, “At any rate, it had been passed down through the grapevine that Emma had used the highly defamatory term “Satan’s wife” in describing her daughter-in-law. Mother Emma condemned Wilhelm’s excessive alcohol consumption, which she blamed on his wife’s bad influence,” do you get some sort of agreement from all descendants. Else, does it not open the writer up for defamation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Ankur, I need to emphasize that these highly detailed tales of our family are based on a book written by my cousin Eberhard Klopp in German. He interviewed many Klopp family members in the 1980s. My task for our family in North Amerika is to translate his work into English. Thank you for following these stories with such great interest, Ankur!


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