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More than 1.5 million German people left their homeland during the period of 1880 and 1889. They turned their back on the Emperor Wilhelm and the Chancellor Bismarck, in order to find new fortunes in America. This was the case for the young men Bernard Sörries and his half-brother Franz Diers, who emigrated in 1883.
B.Soerries
Ense, Werl, Hartman/Arkansas. The farm Diers-Sattel is part of House No. 3 in the small village of Blumenthal, which was under the control of the Council of Körbecke from 1816 to 1890, and thereafter was governed by Council of Bremen (today Ense) until 1969 when it was integrated into the City Council of Werl, From the 15th to the 19th Century this farm was managed by the family Sörries. Today the concern belongs to Michael Flöter and family, who purchased the farm in 1997, and who have since then lovingly renovated the house room by room, paying attention to every detail.

During 1810 Johann Theodor Sörries took over the running of the leased family farm. The whole concern was sold on the 13 February 1484 by Albert Wynckel, a citizen of Werl, to the Cistercian Monastery Himmelpforten in Niederense and it remained in the ownership of this Order until it was taken over by the State due to the secularisation of 1803/1804. During this time the parish of Körbecke and Bremen was run, as far as administration was concerned, by the County of Hessen-Kassel.
Johann Theodor Sörries, now the new leaseholder, married Elisabeth Hagen, who was 21 years younger. They had 12 children during their marriage. The oldest son Ferdinand (* 1812 - †1860) took over the farm, which was now a freehold property after his father had bought it in 1843 for 2,231 Reichstaler (no translation found) and 24 Silver Pieces. According to survey records the farm consisted of an area of 31 acres 145 ruthen (no translation) and 24 feet.

In 1853 Ferdinand Sörries, who was also a local Councillor (Mayor) of Blumenthal, married a much younger woman (by 21 years) a trend set by his father, namely Sophia Kersting (*1833 - †1869) . They had three children: Bernhard, Caspar and Catherine. The youngest son Bernard was born on the 11 December 1860. At this time his mother Sophia Sörries, nee Kersting, had been widowed for almost 8 months. Her husband Ferdinand Sörries had died on the 28 April 1860 aged 48. In order to keep the farm running, Sophia Sörries nee Kersting was married again to Wilhelm Diers. They had one son, Frank.

Five to six year later the family suffered some tragic losses. The matriarch, Elizabeth Sörries nee Hagen, died (1868) and one year later her daughter-in-law Sophia Diers, nee Kersting, widowed Sörries, (1869) died aged 36 years. Thus Bernard Sörries was orphaned at the age of 8. His stepfather Wilhem Diers was married again in 1873 to Maria Luiges. So it happened that Bernard Sörries could not take over the farm of his genetic father Ferdinand Sörries, who had died 8 months before he was born. Therefore, from that time onwards the family name of “Sörries”, which had been associated with the Farm in Blumenthal for centuries, ceased to exist.

During the 1860 a cousin of Bernard Sörries , Heinrich Knoop, whose mother Anna Elisabeth, who was a sister of Ferdinand Sörries, had already emigrated with his brother, Padre Ferdinand Knoop to Iowa/USA. Here they had established a community named Westphalia, together with 170 other inhabitants. Similarly Father Anton Kopp, a Priest from Rüthen, had become famous. He set up a small town under the same name but in the State of Michigan. He later became Vicar General of Chicago. Heinrich Knoop moved towards the end of the 1870ies from Westphalia/Iowa to Westphalia/Michigan, where he raised a large family.

It appears that Heinrich Knoop tried to persuade many of his relations to come to America, the land of endless possibilities. Probably Bernard Sörries was persuaded by his cousin in1883 to emigrate, and so at the age of 22 he followed his cousin to America and took with him his half-brother Frank Diers. The first step was to forfeit their Prussian nationality to be registered as stateless immigrants. They travelled by train to the renowned emigrant ports of Bremen or Hamburg. Amsterdam, Antwerp or Le Havre in the neighbouring country also offered sea journeys to the “New World”.
In May 1883, after sailing for 14 days by steam ship across the Atlantic the two emigrants reached Ellis Island outside New York. Whilst all records are lost of Frank Diers, Bernard Sörries (written in English Soerries) moved into an area of Arkansas, presumably after completion of all the necessary immigrant formalities, where many places have German names such as :Blumenthal, Bamenohl, Vosswinkel, Wickede, and also Bremen (Ense). It is not known if he was already acquainted with other German immigrants from Westphalia, with names such as: Oberste, Spanke, Plugge, Sprenger, Koerdt, Rinke etc.

In later years Bernard Soerries settled in Hartman/Arkansas and he was married on the 24 November 1884, aged 24 to Elisabet Sprenger born 19th June 1863 in Finnentrop Bamenohl/Sauerland). There the couple built a house where 10 children were born. Elisabeth Soerries, nee Sprenger, died in 1939, whilst Bernard Soerries reached the age of 87. He died on the 16th June 1946 and had 49 grandchildren, 97 great-grandchildren and 121 great great-grandchildren. Even today, all Bernard’s American descendants are very proud of their westphalian origin.
 
Authors Notes:
My mother, Anna Mux, nee Soerries, was born in 1944 in Kellinghausen near Ruethen on the farm belonging to her Grandparents Bernard and Elisabeth Soerries (nee Krane). Her father was farmer Bernard Soerries (born 1910 died 1990). Bernard’s grandfather who also was Anna’s great-grandfather, namely Heinrich Sörries, was born on the Farm Sörries-Trockels in Hewingsen. Heinrich Sörries moved in 1870 as a young man to Kellinghausen, where he purchased a farm. This move is initiated the change in the spelling of the family name Sörries to Soerries.

My Grandfather’s great-grandfather, Caspar Theodor Sörries was born in Blumenthal in 1770 and married into the farm Trockels in Hewingson. He was an uncle of Ferdinand Sörries, mentioned above, from Blumenthal (born 1812 and died 1860) who was the father of the emigrant Bernard Sörries. The younger brother of Caspar Theodor Sörries, called Johann Mathias Sörries (died May 1782) was married to Anna Christina Cloth-Schulte from Niederense on the 13 October 1810 , daughter of the proprietor of the Schulte farm, and therefore married into that farm. To this day their descendants still are known under the name of Sörries-Schulte.

Author: Bernard K. Mux M.A, Kasselberger Weg 177, 50569 Köln-Merkenich (Council Rheinkassel) Tel: 02215896773
eMail: Mux.Bernhard@web.de

Editor: A. Franz, D 59469 Ense-Niederense
Source: Family archives Sörries-Schulte, D 59469 Ense-Niederense
translated by: Matty Penfold, 45 Biddenden Way,
DA139DE Istead Rise/Northfleet Kent
(published: issue106/Autum 2006, Page 9)
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