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Martin Imhoff (1821-1912)

Martin Imhoff was born on October 29, 1821 in Lanshausen, Baden, Germany. He came to the United States from Prussia in September, 1832, along with his 16-year-old brother, Peter, and his father, Daniel Imhoff. At the time, Daniel was 50 and Martin was 12 years old. Also in the same party were Pinsterer Imhoff, aged 27, and one-year-old William Imhoff. Daniel, Peter and Pinsterer were listed as farmers; no occupation is given for Martin. It is not know what relation Pinsterer and William had to the other Imhoffs although Pinsterer may have been Martin and Peter's brother, and William may have been Pinsterer's son. According to historian Harold Albrecht, the family walked to Wheeling, WV after landing in Baltimore. While there, Peter married Catherine Greggs, a local girl. By 1847, Peter and his wife had moved to Missouri, where their first child was born.

Nothing is known of Martin's early years until 1850 when he and his wife Magdelene appear in the Cincinatti census. Now 29, Martin and 20-year-old Magdelene were living in a boarding house in Cincinatti's 10th ward, along with five other families. A daughter, also named Magdelene, was now just 7 months old. Martin was working as a drayman, or wagon driver, to support the small family, which soon included a son, Martin, born in 1852, and a daughter, Francis, born the following year.

By 1856, both Peter and Martin had moved from their respective cities to Belle Plaine, Minnesota, a small town about 25 miles southwest of Minneapolis. As before, they were living in an area heavily populated by Germans, as attested to by the names of several nearby towns: Hamburg, Heidelburg, Cologne, and New Germany.

In Belle Plaine, the brothers had farms one next to the other. Peter and his family later moved 15 miles away to Le Sueur, but Martin and Lena, as she became to be called, stayed in Belle Plaine for over 20 years.

By 1870 they had five more children: Michael, (my great-grandfather), was then 14. Joseph, 10, Daniel, 8, David, 4 and Mary, 2, rounded out the family. Their real estate was valued at $2500 and their personal property at $500. These were no doubt significant amounts for the time.

Michael Imhoff (1856-?)

In both the 1875 and 1885 Minnesota State Censuses, Martin and his family are listed as living in Blakely, Minnesota. During this period, Michael, shown here (seated), moved to nearby St. Paul where he married Lillian Hanft and earned his living as a saloon keeper. The couple had two sons, Charles, born in March of 1879 and Anthony Michael, born on Sept. 12, 1881. (The identity of the man standing is not known but I like to think it is Martin, Michael's father.)

Around 1897, Michael moved his family to Seattle, where the family took in boarders. In both the 1900 and the 1910 Federal Census, Mike lists his occupation as "miner", most likely in one of several coal mines in the Seattle vecinity. After his retirement, Mike and Lillian moved to nearby Auburn, Washington, where the pictures below were taken. My mother remembered several enjoyable visits there with her grandparents. I have not yet found when either Michael or Lillian died.

Although I do not remember ever having seen my Imhoff great grandparents, the picture on the right shows me with my arm on my great grandfather's knee, and my brother Bert with my great grandmother. Dad is in back, with his arm around my mother's shoulders. I look to be about 4 years old, so the picture was probably taken in 1935 or 1936. I have not been able to identify the woman on the right. Someone had to have taken the photo, so perhaps she was accompanied by her husband or another relative? One more of those fascinating mysteries that keep cropping up when you look at old photographs.

Michael and Lillian Imhoff at their home in Auburn. Anyone care to
speculate about the year taken, based on the automobile on the left?

Anthony Michael Imhoff (1884?-1958)

Anthony Michael "Tony" Imhoff led an interesting and checkered life. He was, according to my mother, a man of great personal charm who was always the center of attention in any group. During the Alaskan Gold Rush, he went to the Klondike with two friends to make his fortune, but came back to buy more supplies, only to find on his return that someone had "jumped" his claim. At least that is the story he told.

An accomplished confectioner, he met Cora Miller, my grandmother, when he went to work at a candy store owned by a cousin of my grandmother. Cora was working there behind the counter. They married in Tacoma and moved into a house built just the year before by Cora's father. My mother, Gladys Imhoff, was their only child. After having lived for a few years in Auburn, Washington, the family moved to Canada, where Anthony had taken a position with a candy company. He later took a position in Seattle, creating new candies for the Imperial Candy Company. They are shown in the 1920 census as living at 1912 First Avenue North.

In about 1925, however, my grandfather decided to go to California, where he wanted to create and market a new oyster sauce! He went by himself and was gone several months when letters home became less and less frequent. Cora and her parents drove to Los Angeles where they found that he was living with another woman. Divorce quickly followed. His second wife died a few years later and he subsequently married for the third time.

Although he made a few trips North to visit our family when I was very young, we knew little of his life in California, other than that he worked for Sears and Roebuck. I visited with him for a day on my way to the Navy's Boot Camp in San Diego in 1950, but that was the only time I remember having seen him. He died on August 18, 1958, in Los Angeles. By that time he had changed his first name to Cortland (some kind of "legal trouble", my mother said) and was giving an age that seems to have been shy of his actual age by two years. Altogether a most interesting man!

Gladys Lillian Imhoff (1911-2007)

My mother was born October 24, 1911, in Tacoma Washington. Following the divorce of her parents, Gladys and her mother moved into the Miller family's apartment house at 909 North M street in Tacoma. She attended Jason Lee Junior High School and Stadium High, graduating in 1930. While at Stadium she became very interested in art, and was encouraged by her teachers to take a number of art classes. That training was to prove valuable throughout her life.

Following her marriage to my father in 1931, mother continued drawing and painting, in addition to keeping house and caring for me and my brother, Berton Leroy, born in 1933. She was especially proficient at working with pastels and I can still picture a beautiful drawing of a house and flower garden that she did when I was still a small child.

Later in life, after my brother and I had left home, mother turned to craft work, finding it more enjoyable or at least more profitable. In addition to making and decorating stationary, jewelry, and a host of other gift items, she learned how to "paint" on silk with dyes. Then, with the assistance of my father, she began designing, making and selling exquisite silk scarfs and blouses. Most had Southwestern motifs as can be seen in the scarf at the right.

Following the death of my father in 1995, Mother moved from Globe, Arizona, to Raleigh, North Carolina. She fell and broke her hip a year later and had hip replacement surgery. After her recuperation and physical therapy, she moved to an Assisted Living facility in Durham, North Carolina. She passed away June 24, 2007, as a result of complications from a severe infection.

My mother, Gladys Imhoff Andersen, with four of her great-grandchildren,
in a photo taken in 2001.