Schakes - Part 2


1. Introduction

The Johann Cord ´Kurt´ Christoph Adolph Schake family tree, or study of our human family pedigree of ancestors, starts when he and Friederike Wilhelmine Kuhfuss were married on September 15, 1831 at the Evangelische Kirche von Bega in the country of Lippe in the Teutoburger Forest in Northwestern Germany. Later on November 2, 1855 they would arrive in America and continue a long-standing human tradition of seeking a better life and home for themselves and their family. They chose to leave their home, family and friends in Lippe by sailing from Bremen, Germany and then settling in Charette Township of Warren County, Missouri. Previously Herman Ahmann and Sophia Maria Suhre sailed from Bremen on March 25, 1836 to marry and settle in Marthasville, Missouri. The Rudolph Hillebrand family would come to Missouri from Lengerich, Prussia in 1850 while the Jobst Ritter family left their home in Luerdissen, Lippe in the spring of 1856 to settle in Charette township near New Boston. In 1859 the Karl Wilhlem Rocklage family arrived in Missouri, first living in Washington in Franklin County, then by 1880 in the community of Dutzow in Charette township and by 1884 they would completely close our families geographic circle by purchasing a 200 acre farm south of Marthasville. Eventually these five families would become joined through marriage to represent the parental families of the current generation of Schakes. The geographic closeness of these five families is striking. The Ritters and Schakes were friends and neighbors on both sides of the Atlantic. The Schakes even baptised their last child, Charolette, in the Lemgo church of the Ritters. Sophia Ritter was a live-in servant in the Kurt Schake home when she and Adolph Schake were both single while Karl Heinrich Rocklage was a neighbor both to the father of his future Ahmann bride as well as one of her uncles. All five families lived within about three miles of one another near Marthasville, Missouri in Charette Township. Regarding the marriages of both sets of our grand parents, they simply married their Missouri neighbors -- who had also been their neighbors in Lippe and Prussia before coming to Missouri. Even in the case of our great-grandparents, all but one had married close neighbors in either Lippe or Prussia. The one exception was the Marthasville, Missouri marriage of Otto Ahmann and Elise Hillebrand who were neighbors in Charette Township but whose parents (Hillebrand) and grandparents (Ahmann) were neighbors in the villages of Lienen and Lengerich, Prussia before coming to Charette Township.

The preceding and subsequent generations of our Kurt Schake family tree are presented here to document our genealogy. Such an undertaking represents certain difficulties and limitations. Records of parentage, births, marriages, deaths and other events and statistics are generally accurate and available since our ancestors came to Missouri but before then those records in Germany become less helpful as one goes back in time. Churches in Lippe and Prussia (Germany) only started to encourage the maintenance of marriage, birth and death records in the 1100´s. It was not until the 1500´s that surnames were becoming widely used as we think of them today as family names. The German tradition of changing ones last name to conform to the name of the farmstead where one lived or to their occupation was common practice into the 1800´s. In fact our last name may well have become Schwarze when Johann C. C. A. and Friederike W. Schake bought the Schwarze farm at Schwarzeschen Statte No. 38. The Kaiser mandated that all Germans establish permanent surnames by 1811 in an attempt to overcome this problem. Simon VI of Lippe had previously ordered in 1611 that a church book be maintained to record births, baptisms and deaths. These realities combined with the usual inaccuracies and loss of records to fire and other natural processes limit our ability to go much beyond the late 1600´s in documenting our heritage. Church records from the Kirchenbuck von Bega, the Schakes church, are missing births from 1758-1763, marriages from 1734-1772, deaths from 1741-1771 and no confirmations to 1774. Church books of other German congregations reflect similar omissions rendering further progress in a genealogical search almost impossible. Apparently the world wars did not greatly disturb these records in this region of northwest Germany as happened in some regions.

2. Family Characteristics and Genetic Anomalies

Family characteristics are very difficult to accurately and properly portray. Yet a few distinguishing attributes are probably safe to chronicle. First, all of our ancestors came from within a 30 mile radius within the Teutoburger Forest of modern day Norhrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Here their ancestor´s first struggled as tribal barbarians and then as heathen clansmen establishing their genetic foundation, eventually Christianized they emerged into recorded history either as farm laborers, land owning peasants or a smithy. One of these peasants to emerge as a land owner was Cord Heinrich Schake when in 1782 he purchased Number 73 in Humfeld, Lippe. These people were long recognized as a tall, blond and blue-eyed type with very strong physical and mental attributes. Intellectuals of the recent past found Germans to possess a perplexing mind. The German philosopher Nietzsche described Germans as possessing brilliant genius but with ominous and misdirected purpose. Goethe considered them valuable as individuals but hopeless as a whole (1). Distinguishing behavioral traits included their desire to fight and plunder, to wander and explore and to remain independent in thought and action at the expense of other social graces. With the exception of Johann Cord Schake being a master blacksmith in Lippe, none of our ancestors attained status as social or military leaders, authors, clergy, scholars, or professionals until after the 1900´s. They were all rural peasants of one description or another. They did not directly participate in modern social and cultural advancements except through religion sometime before the 1700´s, in which case Evangelische or Lutheran, and later the Methodist faiths were chosen. We know that they remained clannish until the present and that a strong work ethic, a conservative monetary and political philosophy combined with strong commitments to family and country persisted. It is not surprising that these Germans enjoyed the reputation as "industrious, frugal and skilled farmers who cared more for their land and their livestock than for their own comfort" (2) and were often regarded as "Hard Headed Germans." Some even retain to this day the distinction of being ´right about things´ and possessing the ´pedantic urge´ to instruct others in the conduct of their lives.

Two sets of twins are documented. The first children of Kurt and Friedericka Schake were twin girls born in Lippe and Karl W. and Maria Rocklage had twins, one boy and one girl in Missouri. In both cases the babies died at birth or within a few years of birth. Heyward A. Schake was born with a foot-leg defect requiring a prosthetic device that he wore unbeknown to most of his acquaintances. Apparently his left lower leg was somewhat undersized and ill-shaped. To our knowledge the exact nature of this defect was never established but it was most likely congenital in nature. Lowell M. Schake, cousin of Hayward, was born with a congenital defect in his aortic arch termed ´coarctation of the aorta´ that was surgically corrected at the onset of puberty when hypertension was evidenced. This condition, also referred to as a ´chunky heart´ has not yet caused any long term health problems. Virginia A. Schake Gallian also has a congenital heart defect called Right Bundle Branch Block which has not caused her any health problems to date. Dorothy E. Schake Meyer and Helen M. Schake Hoertel have each experienced arrhythmic heart beats when they approached 60 years of age, again without major health complications at this time. Wendy A. Schake has the potential to contribute a blood clotting anomaly to future generations of Schakes as she has a hereditary condition that seems to manifest itself in alternate generations. A clotting Factor Eleven defect has been suggested, or perhaps von Willebrands disease causing a slow or delayed clotting time and other clotting sequence defects. This disorder too seems to be non-life threatening under most conditions, although little is understood of either its etiology or control. Fresh frozen plasma apparently was useful to arrest surgical bleeding in 1982.

Another recurring theme within the the Schake, Ritter and Ahmann families is the practice of adoption, formally or informally. Sophia Ritter lived with the family of her half-brother, Simon when she was orphaned at ten years of age in 1869. When Sophia Wilhelmine Amelia Schake Schowengerdt died in 1883 as a result of failed abdominal surgery, her children, Franz and Emma, who were 8 and 5 years of age lived with their Uncle Adolph Schake at the Schakes of La Charette farm for several years, even though their father was still living. Otto Ahmann effectively provided support for his daughter Maria Lavina and her seven children, including four year old Flora Rocklage, upon the death of the husband and father Karl Heinrich Rocklage in 1902. Two of Adolph Schakes children formally adopted children in the 1930s as did Virginia A. Schake Gallian and husband Donald in the 1960s. We are each proud, and pleased, of this family tradition.

Two of our four grandparents died of natural causes. Mary Rocklage was 85 and Adolph Schake was 89 years of age when they died. Sophia Schake died at 53 years of age due to pneumonia and Carl Rocklage at 37 of a probable case of thyphoid fever. Martin Schake was the victim of a farm tractor accident when he was 78 and Flora Schake died when she was almost 93 years of age. These same trends are generally evidenced in previous generations with the exception of child birth complications and several Ritter/Ridder men dying in mid-life.

1. Modern Germany. 2nd Ed. 1966. Pinson, R. S. The MacMillian Company, New York.
2. Germans. 1980. Conzen, K. K. Harvard Enclycopedia. S. Thernstrom, Editor. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Ma.

3. Census Records

Records from the 1900 U.S. census show the Schake families who lived in La Charette Township, Warren County, Missouri. This record of June 11, 1900 represented the 107th home to be surveyed with the Adolph Schake family living in the old King home at the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE. The following entries were recorded; Adolph Schake was the head of his family, a white male born in November of 1842, age 55(8?) and married for 18 years. Sophia, his wife, a white female born June, 1860 was 39 and married to Adolph, also for 18 years. She was the mother of 5 surviving children representing 6 births. Children were son John born May, 1883, age 17 and single: son Edwin born April, 1886, age 14 and single: daughter Hulda born September, 1889, age 10 and single: daughter Amanda born October, 1891, age 8 and single and son Martin born March, 1898, age 2 and single. All listed Germany as the place of birth for their father. Adolph and Sophia gave Germany as the place of birth of their mother while the children list Missouri as the birth place of their mother. John and Edwin were reported as farm laborers and Hulda as a servant. Months of attendance in school for Adolph = 0, Sophia = 0, John = 2, Edwin = 5, and Hulda = 6. All were reported as being able to read, write and speak English. Adolph listed his occupation as farming. He owned his farm but it carried a mortgage. He gave 1855 as the date of his immigration, 44 years as a U.S. resident and was a naturalized U.S. citizen. Emma Adder was a servant in the home and Willie Ritter, a nephew, was a farm laborer living with the family. Emma had been employed for 4 months, had no schooling but spoke, read and wrote English as did Willie. In 1900 the Fritz Schake family was living on the 111 acre Schake-Ridder farm with Fritz reporting that he immigrated to the U.S. in 1856 and lived here for 44 years. His wife, Louise immigrated in 1854, lived here for 45 years and was a naturalized U. S. Citizen. Fritz reported that he was not naturalized (note comment at end of paragraph), owned his mortgaged farm, could read, write and speak English (although the response to reading was crossed-out), Louise could neither read nor write, but she spoke English. Their family statistics were as follows; Fritz, a white male, was head of the family, born May, 1836, age 64 and was married to Louise for 11 years: Louise, wife, was born in June of 1847, age 52 and married for 11 years: Ella, the daughter, was born in March of 1891, age 9 and single while Henry Melvin, an adopted son, was born in January of 1894, age 6 and single. On October 15, 1857 Friedrich Schaacke (Fritz Schake) had renounced all his fidelity to any foreign state or soverance, King or the Prince of Lippe of whom he had been a subject prior to becoming a U.S. naturalized citizen. According to other Warren County Circuit Clerk records none of the German born women of our family were naturalized, and the record of Adolph Schake being naturalized has not been recovered.

Likewise, the Ritter, Ahmann and Rocklage families were each recorded as residents of Charette Township by the U.S. Census reports of the 1870´s and 1880´s. The Hillebrands were first recorded here in 1880. Fifteen years old Karl Heinrich Rocklage was living with family members near Dutzow by 1880. His father was listed as Charles (not Karl Wilhelm) and his mother as Chatine, although her given name was Maria E. Other family members included Henry age 19, Mima age 17, Emmia age 13, Anna age 10, August age 3 and only one of the twins, Mary was listed as an infant. Her twin brother died in 1879 two days following birth. Little Mary would die the next year in 1881. At this time the Rocklage family was most likely renting their farm since by 1884 Charles William Rocklage would purchase his farm on the banks of the Missouri River just south of Marthasville. The ten year old orphan, Sophia Ritter was living with the family of her half brother Simon Phillipp August Ritter and his wife Sophia by 1870. Her father died in 1860 and her Mother died in 1869 after remarrying, but both of Sophias´ parents are buried in the Hopewell, M. E. Cemetery near their farm. Five of her cousins were also listed on the census report as living with her in the Ritter home. By 1880 the census would list Sophia Ritter as a servant living in the Kurt Schake home with others of that family plus Walter Helman, a black laborer. The Ahmann family was the first of these four to arrive in America and were possibly better established than the others by 1870. At that time Herman Ahmann and wife Sophia were 58 and 57 years of age, respectively, while their son, Otto Ahmann was 23 years old and living with his wife Elisa and their year old daughter, Mary (Maria Lavina) Ahmann, yet to become the eldest of a family of 13 children. Elsia Hillebrand, Mary Lavinas´ mother, was born in Lengerich, Prussia and arrived in Missouri when twelve weeks old with her parents in 1850. On August 5, 1851 Jobst Ritter would apply to become a U.S. naturalized citizen by renouncing his subjection to the Prince of Lippe, similarly Herman Ahmann would renounce his separation from the King of Prussia on March 28, 1837. The 1840 U.S. Census documents that brothers Jacob, Frederick and Herman Ahmann were living with their families in District 99 (also listed as Charrette Township) of Warren County but no record of the Karl Rocklage family is reported in the 1860 census in either Franklin, St Charles or Warren Counties even though they were in Missouri by 1860.

The 1880 U.S. Census of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, enumerated on June 3 and 4, 1880, indicates that William Schake (Frederich Wilhelm Christoph Schake) was a carpenter, a half-brother to Johann Cord Christoph Schake who lived in Cleveland with his wife Mary, both 55 years old at that time. Children living at home in Cleveland were Henry, age 22; William 20 and Anna 16. Bega church records in Lippe indicate that Frederick and his family left Germany for the United States in 1860. Another half-brother and a carpenter listed was Henry (Johann Heinrich Franz Schake), also shown as living in Cleveland with his wife Maud. They were 60 and 48 years of age, respectively. Their children living at home were Mary, age 25; Charles 18; Otto 13 and Liena 11. Bega church records also indicate that the father of these two half brothers of Johann Cord C.A. Schake , Johann C. Kruse-Schake, cut his left wrist in his room at his home at Number 38 in Humfeld, Lippe in 1834, apparently commiting suicide.

The strongest proofs available until 1997 to verify these as half-brothers of Johann Cord C. A. Schake was the perfect matching of their ages on the census with the church birth records from Lippe, and of course their names. William was born on August 15, 1824 and Henry on August 27, 1820. Our oral family history indicates that both of their families consisted of three sons and two daughters, which was not fully verified -- but possible -- according to the census data. Other supportive evidence includes the spelling of the Schake surname and the oral history from Aunt Hulda Schake Preul indicating that these two families corresponded with members of the Johann Cord C. A. Schake family for some years but no records of that relationship now exist. Oral family history also indicates that a daughter of Otto Schake lived in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She was Helena Maria Schake who married a blind musician by the name of John Meldrum who taught music at the Oklahoma School for the Blind from about 1922 until retirement in 1965. They had two sons, one whose name was also John. Apparently Uncle Edwin S. Schake and his mother, Sophia Ritter Schake, visited the Meldrums sometime before 1913. The relationship of the 13 year old Otto Schake (listed above) to the Meldrum family was not established until later in 1997. The present whereabouts of the Meldrum family members is not known.

The status of the families and descendants of William and Henry Schake was fully resolved late in 1997 when contact was initiated by Dr. Duane F. Gerstenberger via the internet and with Lois Gerstenberger Butler. Lois is a descendant of the Ohio Schakes and Duane is relative by marriage. They both assisted in resolving this mystery by sharing leads and family genealogies. Again oral history regarding the story of three daughters and two sons was proven correct. Furthermore Lois, a great granddaughter of Johann Heinrich Franz Schake indicated by phone conversation that her Aunt Lizbeth was the wife of Otto Schake and parents of Helena Marie Schake. More detail on these families may be studied at the Gerstenberger Home Page at and at the Cuyahoga County, Ohio Web Page at The undated picture below shows Otto Schake behind the counter of his Cleveland Heights, Ohio grocery store visiting with a friend. Pictures were graciously provided by Lois Butler.

Johann Heinrich Franz Schake would first married Mary Heppensak in 1850. They had three children including Clara Louise E. pictured in 1904 (above) with the two youngest of her twelve children, Hugo to her left, and Marie to her right. Then in 1865 he married Metta Margareth Von Recken who became parents to Otto and Paulina Schake. By 1881 he married a third time but her name is not yet established. Friederich Wilhelm Christoph Schake married Mary Fulh in 1852 and they had daughters Marry, Kate and Anna plus sons John and William. Both John and Clara Louise E. married into the Gerstenberger family.

By 1920, the most recent U.S. Census available to the general public, Charette Township had continued to grow in population. Mr. Arthur C. Ritter, grandson of Jobst Heinrich Ritter and nephew of Sophia Ritter Schake was employed to record these statistics as census enumerator for a portion of Warren County. On January 13 he recorded that Flora O. Rocklage was a servant in the home of Prtellie and Dina Piepenbrock, a young couple, he a minister from Germany -- she from Missouri, with a three year-ten month old son. Flora was 21 and had not attended school any time since September 1, 1919. Also living on Marthasville Road in town was sister, Amanda Rocklage, a servant in the home of the Robert Johnnaber family and their mother Mary Rocklage. Edward Rocklage was still single at age 28 and listed as head of the Mary Rocklage family, which included the youngest daughter, Clara, age 17. Many other relatives lived on Marthasville Road including the families of Herman, Antone and Florence Ahmann. Other neighbors of the Adolph Schakes living on Marthasville Road were John and Augusta Schake and their two year-two month old son, Heyward. Other neighbors included the families headed by Thomas W. Kite, Ben Otterman, Antonie Oberhellman, Henry Wyatt, Arthur C. Ritter, Willie Rusche and William and Emma Schoppenhorst, parents of then nine year old Ethel Schoppenhorst who would later marry Floyd Hulsey and remain a neighbor of the Martin C. Schake family and a Cedar Grove School teacher to the Schake children. Heads of families on Charette Creek Bottom Road listed Charles Osterwald and Henry Glosemeyer among many others as neighbors of Adolph, Amanda and Martin Schake living on the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE farm. Adolph, still listed as head of his family, again indicated that he became a U. S. naturalized citizen in 1862. Amamda had attended school since September 1, 1919 but did not list a trade or profession: Adolph and Martin declared themselves as farmers. In Montgomery County Louise Schake, wife of Fritz Schake, was living with the family of her daughter Ella Schake Korth since Fritz had died in 1914. A sample of other Schakes listed in the 1920 census, but of unknown relationship to us, include Lafayette Schake who lived in St Louis, but was originally from Ohio, and Walter Schake of Cleveland, Ohio who was born in Hanover, Germany.

4. Marriages

Children from the above four families eventually married in the later 1800´s to become the grandparents of the current generation of Schakes. On August 31, 1882 Friedrich Adolph Schake and Sophie Ritter were married on the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE farm that remained in the Schake family until 1996. The wedding was held in the home that was destroyed by fire in 1903, and previously occupied by the John King family, and most probably the original farm owners, the John McKinney family. Adolph had purchased this farm in partnership with brother Fritz and his wife Louise in 1881. Six children were born into this marriage of which five survived into adulthood. Martin Charles was the youngest of the surviving five children.

Karl Heinrich Rocklage and Maria Lavina Ahmann were married on August 30, 1887. They lived on a farm in Ray County, Missouri near a town by the name of Sunshine. Seven children were born and all survived into adulthood. . Anna Rocklage was the last surviving member of this family until her death on April 26, 1998 at 101 years and 8 months of age. Karl Heinrich died on August 22, 1902 leaving Mary (Maria Lavina) to return to Marthasville to live with support provided by her father, Otto Ahmann and his family. Flora Olinda was the second youngest of the Rocklage family.

Martin Charles Schake and Flora Olinda Rocklage were united in marriage in Marthasville, Missouri on June 2, 1928. They lived their entire married lives on the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE farm where they reared four children. The marriage, as reported in a 1928 June issue of The Marthasville Record, reads as follows:

Popular Couple Married At M. E. Church Saturday

One of the pleasant social events recently at Marthasville was the marriage of Miss Flora Rocklage to Mr. Martin Schake, which took place Saturday evening (June 2, 1928) at the Methodist church at eight o´clock.

The marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Fred Preul of Berger, Miss Fernita Preul played the wedding march and Mrs. Edwin C. Rocklage of St. Joseph sang a beautiful solo. A large number of relatives and friends of the contracting partners filled the church to witness the happy event. After the ceremony at the church a reception was held at the home of the bride´s mother, to which many relatives and friends were invited. At a late hour a number of friends of the newlyweds came to serenade them with an old time charivari.

The groom is the son of Adolph Schake, one of the oldest residents of the Marthasville community. He is a successful farmer, industrious and with high qualities of character. The bride is a daughter of Mrs. Mary Rocklage and is well qualified to be a real helpmate to her chosen companion. She was one of the graduates from Central Wesleyan College a few weeks ago and for several years was one of Warren County´s school teachers. These young folks will begin their married life with a promising future before them and they will have the good wishes of many friends for unbounded happiness and success in their journey through married life.

They will live on the Adolph Schake farm and will be at home to their friends after July 1st.

(Unknown to their four children was that Martin and Flora Schake failed to acknowledge those presenting the old time charivari by coming outside of the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE home. Apparently they chose to ignore those singing outdoors and tend to other matters. Dorothy Schake Meyer learned of this in 1996 by way of her son Glenn Meyer who spoke with a Mr. Schnarre who had participated in this old German custom on the evening of June 2, 1928. The wedding was held in the German Methodist Church, Marthasville)

5. Children

Four children were born into this marriage and reared on the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE farm. They were: Dorothy Elaine Schake born August 18, 1929 and married James Robert Meyer on June 19, 1954; Helen Marie Schake born October 17, 1931 who married William Wadsworth Hoertel on June 18, 1955; Virginia Anne Schake born December 29, 1933 and married Richard Donald Gallian on October 21, 1955 and Lowell Martin Schake born June 6, 1938 who on September 11, 1959 married Wendy Anne Walkinshaw.

As of September 1995 they were each retired. Two reside in Missouri and two in Texas. Dorothy E. Meyer lived in Warren County, Missouri close by the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE farm most of her adult life. She continued the tradition of teaching in the community and was honored for her contributions following her retirement in November of 1995.

6. Surnames

The origin and meaning of names is a study that may also reveal some interesting characteristics of our heritage. For example, the Germans never applied a collective name to themselves until about the eighth century when Deutsche was introduced. Translated practically, Deutsche means ´men of the people.´ Many family names reveal the occupation, status, location or other distinguishing traits of the originator. Family names were not in common usage in northwest Germany until the 1500´s. Changing of ones´ surnames was a common reality for many Germans before the 1850´s, although by 1822, in nearby Prussia, individuals were fined 50 Thalers if they changed their surnames without written permission. These facts further complicate one´s ability to document ancestors unless exceptional records were maintained. None-the-less, we will attempt to capture what is known of the family names represented by our most recent ancestors.

AHMANN The surname of Ahmann is cited in the year 1284 in the German Ancestry Book, Volume 102; page 653, published by Starke (year ?), Lineburg on the Lahn. The etymology of the name Ahmann (Amann, Aemann) is described as follows: A = wasser (water) or (brook) and Mann=man. The Ah or Ahbach (Ahcreek) stream ran past the northern side of the Ahmann farm. Hence the man who lived by the Ahbach. The spelling of the name has varied over time. In 1350 it appears as Ahmann, in 1577 Aemann, in 1625 Amann and again Ahmann by 1677. The source of these spellings is from a book entitled Lienen am Teutoburger-Wald, pages 33 and 251 authored by Friederich E. Hunsche and published in 1965 by Gemeinde Lienen, Westfalen, Germany. Similarly the Norse name of Aho carries the meaning of the one living by the ´hilltop brook.´ Alter and Alte Ahmann, whom were born in 1680 and 1690, respectively, are the first Ahmanns documented in our family. Interestingly, their given names translate into ´old age´ for Alter and ´ancient´ for Alte. Suhre as a surname was most likely derived from the word suhr, or sour while Hillebrand was derived from the Pope by that name.

RITTER The two spellings as Ritter or Ridder were both freely used by our relatives. Apparently this low German surname has origins in both Westfalen, Germany and in The Netherlands. First noted in 1200 and subsequently documented in 1274 and 1301 in Hamburg, the name was first associated with "trooper" and later with knighthood or service to the knights, and eventually was extended into Ritterakademien... schools for the sons of nobleman or "knight schools" where social skills and manners were instructed for the development of the young chevaliers. These schools were established all over Germany by 1650. The precise relationship between our Ridder family and these schools is not known, but these early Ritters/Ridders may be considered to have been school teachers. The English surname equivalent to Ritter is Rider, the occupational name for a mounted warrior or messenger. Klemme as a surname carries the translation of one who is penurious or stingy.

ROCKLAGE This surname, most likely of middle high German origins, dates from the 1200´s and may take its roots from the personal Old English name Hroc, meaning rook. The German word rock refers to the coat of a man or the skirt of a woman, while the word lage denotes position, situation or condition. Thus the name Rocklage may well have represented a person identified by a garment of some specific status or condition. The Rocklage surname in Versmold, Westfalia has been variously changed to Rocklagen and Johann zur Rocklage by different lines of the same family over the past seven generations according to Miss Christine Johann zur Rocklage of Versmold. Miss Rocklage based this observation upon the church books available to her in Versmold in 1996. Both in Germany and in Missouri the name has frequently been pronounced as ´Rook-laga.´

SCHAKE Spelling of this surname has varied from Schake, Schaacke,Schaake, Schack to Schacke and perhaps Schaken over the past 300 years or more. The U.S. Census Soundex phonetic coding system used by the National Archives also listed spellings of Schick, Shake, Schak, Scheke, Schaka, Schock, Scheck, Schock and Scharch as variants with similar pronunciation. The surname Schake appears to be patronymical in origin, and is believed to be possibly associated with the Czechoslovakians, meaning "descendant of Scacca or Scacco." Schack was used as a given name during the Middle Ages when only one name was in common usage. It was not used as a family name in the Mecklenburg, Germany area until after 1562 although it was recorded in Holstein in 1245 as Ritter-Schacke. One source has suggested that the word was associated in meaning to a strong linkage, as a strong link in a chain. In contrast, the German words schakel and schabe refer to a jackal and cockroach, respectively. The most proper German pronunciation of Schake would be ´Scha-ka.´ Just perhaps, the surname Schake may even represent a transition from Cherusci to Scacco to Schacke to Schake over the past two millennia. Today the Schake surname is pronounced as Scha-key in America, as Schaka in German. The Kuhfuss surname translates directly to either cow foot or club foot.

Each of the above surnames is documented in the following church or land registries into the late 1400s. They are all available at Salt Lake City, Utah in the Family History Library of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. They are as follows; Das Kirchspiel Bega by F. Wiehmann: Schatzungs- und Sonstige Hoferegister der Grafschaft Tecklenburg 1494 bis 1831 by B. von Wolfgang Leesch: Die Lippischein Landschatzregister von 1535, 1645, 1562 und 1572 by B. von Fritz Verdenhalven and Das Kirchspiel Hohenhausen by W. Sovern. In most cases we are not able to establish the genetic linkage of our surnames presented in these registries, but seemingly these represent the earliest know records of our families in this region of the Teutoburger Wald.

7. Schake Coat of Arms

Coats of Arms were developed in the Middle Ages to identify warriors in battle and in tournaments. The Schake Coat of Arms was officially documented in Siebmacher´s Wappenbuch as presented in The World Book of Schakes (1996) by Halbert´s Family Heritage of Bath, Ohio. What significance or authenticity, if any, to assign to this Coat of Arms for peasants from Lippe is unknown. The original description of the Coat of Arms or shield is as follows: "Red, two silver diagonal bands and a naturally colored leopard, holding a red heart in its forepaws, a gold upper third charged with a black two-headed eagle issuing." Above the shield and helmet is the crest that is described as: "The leopard with the heart, issuing."

8. World Distribution of Schakes

A total of 210 households in the United States are estimated to carry the Schake surname as published in The World Book of Schakes (1996). Comparable statistics of 176, 13, 6 and 3 are reported for Germany, The Netherlands, France and Australia, respectively. We know too that the L. Scott Schake family live in Alberta, Canada. Individuals with the Schake surname reside in twenty-six of the fifty U. S. States, exclusive of those spelling their Schake names with two A´s, or other variants of spelling. Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Ohio have the largest populations of Schakes with Missouri listing only four, including Gary Schake of Kearney, son of Franklin A. Schake. His daughter Linda Schake Muller also lives in Missouri while son Steve lives in Colorado. The1996 World Book of Schakes lists Schakes and their addresses as obtained from telephone directories. Similar inventories of names are available on the WWW through People Search and other electronic retrieval systems.

Three other American Schake lineages are under study to determine possible relationships to ours from Humfeld, Lippe. About 60 miles south of Humfeld are the towns of Waldeck, Marienhagen, Gellershausen and Schaaken. Johann Daniel Schake was born in 1850 in Gellershausen and immigrated with his parents to Pennsylvania in 1852 on the ship ´Blue Heron´. His Schaake ancestors were from Marienhagen dating to 1625. We have been in contact with Cecelia and Wayne Schake at, and others of this lineage to assist in resolving this lead. Other Schaakes from Waldeck who came to America include Adolf and Johannes, both who sailed to America in 1778 and died of illnesses in the American Revolutionary War according to the 1991 Heritage Books, Inc. book, Waldeck Soldiers of the American Revolutionary War by B. E. Burgoyne. The second unresolved link involves Johann Christoffel Schake who arrived in Philadelphia on the ship ´Snow Molly´ in 1737. According to Lesley Shockey at, Johann Christoffel was from Bega and apparently Anglicized his name to Shockey. Speculation holds that he was a brother of our Cord Heinrich Schake, and possibly the son of Johann Cord Schake. Details of this family are available as the Shockey History and Genealogy compiled by Ralph N. and Marie F. Shockey and submitted to and microfilmed in 1983 by the Family History Library of Salt Lake City, Utah. A third possibilty of another Schake family branch represents a recent contact with Brad and Ann Schake from Nerbraska at As of June 1998 we were able to document that this lineage of Schakes was the same as that of Erika, and other Sieverts of Lemgo, Germany. Their progenator was Simon Heinrich Schake who was born in December of 1768 in Humfeld, Lippe and whose family attended to church in Bega, the same as the family of our Cord Heinrich Schake. At this time we are not able to document a genetic connection between these two families although we know that Johann Cord Schake (son of Cord Heinrich Schake) served as the godfather of the first son of Simon Heinrich Schake in the Bega church. That baby was christened Johann Cord Christoph Schake. Furthermore, according to land tax records the only Schakes in the Humfeld region of Lippe during the late 1500 and early 1600s were Engler and Johann, both living in a tiny village of 6 to 8 homes by the name of Betzen. Betzen is only a mile or two from Humfeld. Therefore surmise that the Betzen Schakes were the proginators of both the Cord Heinrich Schake and Simon Heinrich Schake families. Three grandchildren of Simon Heinrich came to America, they were Christian Friederich Herman, Amalie and Sophia. Data regarding the Simon Heinrich Schake family is available from the authors.

Other Schakes also immigrated to North America during the 1800´s, some who may be the ancestors of the present population including Susanne Schake, a 22 year old who arrived in New York on July 10, 1855 on her way to Missouri from Hesse, Germany through Bremen. Others included Carl Schake, a 22 year old farmer from Prussia to settle in Indiana via of Bremen and New Orleans. He left Bremen on October 29, 1860. Elisabeth Schake was 23 years old when she arrived in New York on November 24, 1858. She too sailed from Bremen, the busiest of German ports for immigrants of this era. A Mr. C. Schake arrived in Scott County, Iowa in 1880 while two other Schake families came to Texas. Hein Schake arrived in 1845 with wife and two children and Heinrich Ludwig arrived in Texas with his wife and two children in 1840.

Over the past 20 years we have met and/or corresponded with Schakes in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Texas, but have not been successful in locating any common ancestor. Others with the surname have been identified by searches conducted on the WWW but none have resulted in locating other members of our branch of the Schake family. As examples, we met Mr. Alfred Schake of 1052 South Dunton, Arlington Heights, Illinois while checking into a Phoenix, Arizona hotel in 1974 and an attempt to locate a Mr. Kori Schake who authored a chapter in a 1992 text ´The Berlin Crises of 1948-49 and 1959-62´ in Securing Peace for Europe edited by B. Heuser and O´Neill and published by St. Martin´s Press, New York failed. We have also written to Rocklages, Ritters and Schakes in Germany but only four of about 30 of those contacted responded.

9. Origin of Schakes

We know that our ancestorial stock of the Teutoburger Forest represented a mixture of the indigenous tribes to that region plus an admixture of tribal peoples from the north and east. Ancestors to all of these people would of course have their roots in Africa as the origins of mankind initiated about 4 million years ago. By the start of the first mellennium these Teutoburgiensis people had names, such as Cherusci, recorded for the their tribes. Individuals were generally assigned one ´given´ name or perhaps that name plus a nick-name during the Middle Ages. By the 1500´s surnames were gaining in acceptance. Aside from the possible development of the Schake name from the Medevial ´given´ name of Scacco and the appearance of the Ritter-Schacke name in 1245 we do not document an individual with the Schake surname until the late 1400s with Lippe church and land records plus the 1525 Lippe Court record revealing that a Mr. Schack was accused of stealing from his King. However, this does document that the Schake surname probably emerged into recorded history by the same process and on a similar time schedule as other surnames in this portion of Germany. Our family patriarch, Cord Heinrich Schake was born in about 1726 in Humfeld, Lippe and represents the first confirmed documentation of our lineage.

Further evidence of the Schake surname having a long standing presence in Lippe and in the region of Teutoburger Forest is the road in Humfeld, Lippe designated as Schakenburg, and the towns of Schakenburg and Schaken. In fact the Schake lineage of Erika Sievert lived at Number 47 Schakenburg in Lippe during the 1700 and 1800´s.

10. Schake Pedigrees

These records are recorded on Windows 3.1 and 95 compatible computer 3.5 inch floppy and ZIP disk. Over 3300 relatives and relatives by marriage, and their families, are entered. The format is that of the International Genealogical Index (IGI) maintained by the Mormon Church of Salt Lake City, Utah and that of World Family Tree. These data have not been shared with IGI at this time (1998).

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Our Ancestors

Ancestors of Hannah Christine Schake (the youngest member of our family)

The Schakes of La Charette is copyrighted; any commercial reproduction or usage is prohibited.
Private non-commercial use such as this compilation is encouraged.

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