Kramer-Sampson House on the Hellweg in Geseke, North Rhine Westphalia, Germany
In 1852, at the age of 11, Joseph Samson left Geseke and emigrated to Missouri. Joseph was the son of Franz Samson and Gertrude Stein; he married Frances Ahrens whose parents came to America in 1852 from Delbruck, another little town only 18 kilometers from Geseke.
When Franz Samson decided to come to America in 1852, he was already 40 yeas old, married and had 3 living children. His wife's entire family, the Steins, came over with them, even her father who was in his 70ies.
After emigrating to America, the Samsons and the Steins first settled in St. Louis, MO. The Steins remained in St. Louis, but the Samsons eventually headed for the town of Westphalia, MO where they began to invest in farmland. The Ahrens family lived for a year in St. Louis and then moved to the town of Westphalia where they engaged in mortgage lending and land investment.
The earliest known ancestor of Joseph Samson in Geseke was Christoph Samson who married Anna Maria Bernard in 1758 at the St. Cyriakus church. St. Cyriakus is the convent church or Stiffskirche, which was built for the nobility. The name Bernard is a Norman name dating back to the year 1000 when people first started taking a last name that was the first name of their father or grandfather. Since the Bernards were members of the convent church, they must have been of noble birth. There is a street in Geseke named Bernard, perhaps because the Bernard family donated land to the town.
There are two Catholic churches in Geseke, which are in close proximity to each other; one can stand on the steps of the old city hall in Geseke and view both churches at the same time. The reason for two churches so close together, I was told, is that St. Peter's Church is the Stadtkirche, which means "city church" in English; it was built for the town's people, who were the peasants.
This page was created on June 4, 2008