The Hamdorf Family

Compiled by WGS Members Jim and Karen Hansen

Elfrieda Marie Hamdorf (Jim’s maternal Grandmother), 98, Avoca, passed away Sunday, March 24, 1991 at the Colonial Manors Nursing Home in Avoca.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, March 27 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Avoca. Pastor Dean Sudman officiated the services with Lay Assistant, Mr. Wayne Paulsen. Interment was held at Graceland Cemetery at Avoca.

Elfrieda was born October 12, 1892 in Knox Township, Pottawattamie County, Iowa.

She was the daughter of Max Henry Jacobsen and his wife Wilhelmina Graulherr. She was one of four children in the family.

While she was still a child, the family moved to the farm in Shelby County, northwest of Avoca, and Elfrieda attended school at Fairview Township School #9.

After her schooling, she stayed at home for some time, then began working for neighbors and friends until she began working in the restaurant in the Tamms Hotel in Avoca.

She was united in marriage to Rudolph Hamdorf on April 2, 1915 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

They made their home on farms northwest of Avoca. They were the parents of six children.

She was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church and the Women’s Fellowship of the Church. She was also a member of a neighborhood club.

Rudolph passed away on June 15, 1965. In January of 1966, Elfrieda moved to her home in Avoca.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Rudolph, 3 grandchildren, 2 sisters; Bertha Holtz and Anna Peters and 1 brother Herman Jacobsen.

She leaves to mourn her passing her children; Mrs. Howard (Orlene) Scott of Avoca, Mrs. Dewey (Alta) Hansen of Harlan, Orville (Bud) Hamdorf and his wife Leora of Avoca, Wilma Throener of West Point, Nebraska, Loraine (Skeets) Hamdorf and his wife Virginia of Woonsocket, South Dakota and Delner Hamdorf and his wife Beverly of Morrison, Colorado, 19 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great-grandchild besides other relatives and many friends.

Pallbearers were Melvin Scott, James Hansen, Terry Hamdorf, Terry Leininger, Douglas Hamdorf, Michael Throener, and Steven Throener.

Organist was Mrs. Creighton Kaven and soloist was Mr. Ron Knutson. (The Avoca Journal-Herald, March 28, 1991)

Elfrieda Marie Jacobsen and Rudolph Fred Hamdorf

Rudolph Fred Hamdorf (Jim’s maternal Grandfather). Born January 21, 1889, in Fairview Township, Shelby County, Iowa to Fritz Hamdorf and Helen Wolff, he died at his farm home northwest of Avoca Tuesday evening, June 15, 1965, at 5:20 p.m. at the age of 76 years, 4 months and 24 days.

Rudolph lived his entire life in the community in which he was born.

April 2, 1915, he married Elfrieda Jacobsen. He had already been living on the farm for three years and it was their home for a little more than 50 years, for last April Mr. and Mrs. Hamdorf observed their golden wedding.

Surviving are his wife, three daughters, Orlene (Mrs. Howard Scott), of Avoca, Alta (Mrs. Dewey Hansen), of Harlan, and Wilma (Mrs. Meine Throener), of West Point, Nebraska; three sons, Orville of Lewis, Loraine of Montrose, Colorado, and Delner of Denver; 19 grandchildren, one brother, Fred Hamdorf of Avoca.

Preceding him in death were two brothers, Hugo and William.

Funeral services were Friday, June 23, 1965, at the Berthusen Funeral Home in Avoca with burial in Graceland Cemetery with Rev. Joseph Gerlt officiating.

Pallbearers were Raymond Reimer, Wilbur Carroll, Ronald Goetzinger, Robert Brown, Ora Babbitt and Norman Clark.

(Newspaper source unknown but dated June 29, 1965)

rederick “Fritz” H.J. Hamdorf (Jim’s maternal Great-grandfather) was born in Seegeberg, Germany on January 21, 1852 to Hans C. and Mary E. (Wrage) Hamdorf.

He came to Davenport, Iowa in 1873, where he stayed for about 5 years.

Fritz was naturalized on March 22, 1878, just before leaving for Avoca.

After arriving in Avoca, he located and purchased a farm about 5 miles NW of town. Here he farmed as a bachelor for about 7 years.

Mrs. Hamdorf was born Helen Wolff on August 16, 1861 in Germany to Jacob and Ann (Schraeder) Wolff.

Helen left her native country, at the age of 17, after the deaths of her mother and brother.

Upon arriving in the U.S., she stayed with an uncle in Davenport for a short time before seeking her fortune in California.

While in California, Helen responded to a want ad she had seen in a German paper that was published for all the German-speaking immigrants in the U.S.

The ad was placed by Fritz Hamdorf, as he was looking for a housekeeper.

An agreement was made and Fritz sent enough money to bring Helen to Avoca.

As time passed, the employer-employee relationship turned into a courtship.

They were married November 7, 1883.

To this union 4 sons were born: Hugo, William, Rudolph and Fritz.

After Mr. Hamdorf’s death, February 3, 1909, Helen purchased the property at 315 Kearney Street in Avoca and had a new house built.

She had large windows installed in the SE part of the new home for the many plants she enjoyed.

She lived in the house until her death October 15, 1927.

Friederich “Fritz” H.J. Hamdorf and Helene (Wolff) Hamdorf