Sophia Maria (Steffes) Koehn
August 10, 1813 Germany – April 24th 1885 North Dakota
Sophia was another of the remarkable pioneering woman of my family. Born in Germany she was married at age 17 to Emmerich Kohn (Koehn) in 1830 in Müllenbach, Germany. She had 13 children, Six of which died before their second birthday, which was not that unusual for the time period.
In 1863, her husband died leaving her with three children still in the household (My 2nd great grandfather was married and living in a separate household). In 1866, the widowed Sophia departed for New York, with 2 young daughters and a 24 year old son named Anthony after selling everything they owned.
Landing in New York, the four rented a place to stay and young Anthony went out to see the city. Nothing was ever heard of him again. Unfortunately Anthony had been carrying the cash for the journey leaving the others penniless in New York. Luckily Sophia was able to gain employment as a housekeeper/laundress that provided food and a place to live.
Meanwhile back in Germany, Nicholas Koehn’s first wife passed away in 1869 leaving him with two small boys. Nicholas decided that he too would come to America. He set his path to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he had heard there were good jobs to be had in the copper mines. He contacted his mother in New York and had her and her daughters join him in while he worked in the mine.
After a number of years, Nicholas heard of the opportunity to homestead in North Dakota and the entire family followed their dreams into the west.
Sophia passed away at the age of 72 in Hobart Township in Barnes County, North Dakota.