6 Days with my Konzen Cousins: Day 1

I met up with Sandy Sedam and Michelle Huss at the Cedar Rapids airport.  Sandy and I are both great great grandchildren of Joannes/John Konzen and Katherine Pitz Konzen and great great great grandchildren of Peter Konzen and Theresa Wolff Konzen, but Peter and Theresa are Michelle’s fourth great grandparents and Theodore Konzen and Maria Demuth Konzen are her great great great grandparents.  The three of us headed out to Chickasaw county in a Ford Focus that wasn’t nearly large enough for our suitcases and cemetery supplies (doesn’t that sound scary?).

In Chickasaw, we decided Reilly Ridge Cemetery (also known as St. Ignatius Sacred Heart Cemetery) would be our first cemetery to mark off our list, but on our way from New Hampton we ended up stopping at the Jericho Lutheran Cemetery and taking pictures (we’ll call that a practice).  As far we know, we aren’t related to anyone buried at the cemetery, but we’ll eventually put the gravestone pictures that we took there up on Find a Grave.

What St. Ignatius Sacred Heart Church at Reilly Ridge looked like before it burned down.

Then down a gravel road, we went to Reilly Ridge.  From the Iowa WPA graves index we knew that John & Katherine Konzen were buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery (also known as St. Joseph’s Cemetery) in New Hampton, but we were hoping that their kids who died in childhood were buried at Reilly Ridge.  Sandy had heard a rumor that Frank Konzen was buried in Reilly Ridge, so before our trip I wrote to Reilly Ridge and I received a reply from Jack Sabelka, one of the cemetery directors.  Jack sent me a partial map of the cemetery showing the Konzen plot, but no records of who is buried in the plot.  At Reilly Ridge, we wandered around for a bit (because of course I left the map in the car) before one of us finally stumbled upon Frank Konzen and then Ellen Konzen, but no Katherine or Theresa Konzen which is confusing.  It’s a little odd for someone to be buried in a different cemetery than their children (who died during childhood) are buried, but is much stranger for them to have only two of their kids buried together.  At the time, we didn’t think about this too much, believing that we’d probably find Katherine and Theresa together somewhere else.

Frank Konzen, son of John Konzen & Katherine Pitz

Ellen Konzen, daughter of John Konzen & Katherine Pitz

New information we learned about the Konzens at Reilly Ridge:

-Frank Konzen was born 5 Aug 1874 and he died 12 May 1875, he was nine months and seven days old.

-Ellen Konzen was born Nov 1866 and she died in 1872 (this is our best guess from the stone’s condition).

Then we headed to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cemetery in Lawler for Mathias & Sophia Konzen and Margaretha Konzen Kout & her family’s graves.  At the back of the cemetery, the Konzens and the Kouts are buried right next to each other.  Margaretha & Mathias Kout’s son Peter Kout and his wife Anna Gilbert and some of their kids are also right next to Margaretha and Mathias Kout.

Mathias Konzen & Sophia Conrad Konzen’s memorial

(Johan) Mathias Konzen was born Jun 1818 in Kruchten, Germany, and he died 10 Oct 1900 in Lawler, Chickasaw, Iowa.

Sophia Conrad Konzen was born 4 Nov 1832 in Bundenbach, Germany, and she died 13 Sep 1905 in Lawler, Chickasaw, Iowa.

Margaretha Konzen & Mathias Kout’s memorial

Mathias Kout was born 24 Jul 1822 in Kruchten, Germany, and he died 27 Feb 1906 in Chickasaw, Iowa.

Margaretha Konzen Kout was born 30 Aug 1820 in Kruchten, Germany, and she died 26 Dec 1898 in Stapleton, Chickasaw, Iowa.

Peter Kout’s gravestone

Peter Kout was born 14 Mar 1851 in Kruchten, Germany, and he died 9 Dec 1918 in Lawler, Chickasaw, Iowa.

Anna Gilbert Kout’s gravestone

Anna Gilbert Kout was born 19 Feb 1862 in Chickasaw, Iowa, and she died 29 Mar 1931 in Chickasaw, Iowa.

Infant son of Peter Kout & Anna Gilbert Kout

Peter Kout & Anna Gilbert Kout had an infant son that died 6 Dec 1894.

John Almon Kout’s headstone

John Almon Kout, son of Peter & Anna Kout was born 29 Oct 1901 in Stapleton, Chickasaw, Iowa, and he died 26 Mar 1902 in Chickasaw, Iowa.

Victoria Susanna Kout’s headstone

Victoria Susanna Kout, daughter of Peter & Anna Gilbert Kout, was born 2 Sep 1900 in Stapleton, Chickasaw, Iowa, and she died 1 Oct 1900 in Chickasaw, Iowa.

Henry Joseph Kout’s headstone

Henry Joseph Kout was born 27 Aug 1897 in Chickasaw, Iowa, and he died 19 Oct 1901 in Chickasaw, Iowa.

The Kout & Lensing plots

Margaret J. Kout Lensing’s gravestone

Margaret Kout Lensing was born 27 Sep 1892 in Lawler, Chickasaw, Iowa, and she died 10 Dec 1918 in Utica, Chickasaw, Iowa.

George Peter Kout, son of Hubert & Mary Meyer Kout

George Peter Kout, son of Hubert & Mary Agnes Meyer Kout, was born 6 Mar 1887 in New Hampton, Chickasaw, Iowa, and he died 22 May 1890 in Chickasaw, Iowa.

After our visit to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we drove down Brush Street (across from the cemetery) to Pitts Street.

Even though the street name wasn’t spelled correctly – hey, it maybe was named after one of our Pitzes and not that annoying Dr. Pitts – we took pictures in front of the sign while some locals watched and some guy shouted at us.  That sent us scrambling back into our rental car and continuing down Brush Street to Lawler’s most visited tourist attraction E. Konzen Street.

E. Konzen Street and me. I was plotting how to take the E. Konzen Street sign back to Montana with me.

Mathias Konzen, according to his obituary, once owned all of the land occupied by the town of Lawler (that was in 1900, odds are Lawler hasn’t grown much since then).  In the 1892 plat map of Lawler, the area just beyond E. Konzen Street was called the Konzen addition.  Mathias & Sophia also once lived on E. Konzen Street.

Ready to escape the heat, the three of us headed back to New Hampton and the library’s genealogy section.  Pure heaven!  Their obituary files allowed Michelle & I to look up many obits that we didn’t have – or even knew existed – while Sandy searched through church records and cemetery indexes.  If your family lived in Chickasaw or Dubuque counties before 1900, odds are Sandy or Michelle are related to you!  And while we were in Iowa, Sandy and Michelle realized that they are related in more ways than just through the Konzens.

After a ton of research, we finally drug ourselves to Klunders Kafe – delicious! – where we told the waitress what we were doing in New Hampton and she told us that Paul Pitz comes to the cafe a lot (of course he does).


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