Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Friederike Feldmann Lemke

Friederike Feldmann was the 6th of 8 children of Georg Michael Feldmann and Katharina Schmidt who were married 28 April 1846 in the little town of Helmsheim, Germany. Two days after the birth of their 8th child, Katharina Schmidt Feldmann died, leaving a large family of young children for the father to care for. Friederike was not quite 5 years old when her mother died, so probably had only a few memories of her. Ten months after her mother's death, her father remarried on 17 October 1867 to Margaretha Binig.

Why Friederike chose to emigrate to the US is not known to us, but around 1882-4 when she was about 21 years old, she came to New York City where she worked for 2 years. She had some siblings who also emigrated, so perhaps that is why she also came. Her sister Luisa emigrated and married Jacob Schumacher who was an inspector on the trolley cars in Mount Vernon, New York. (In 1925, the trolley he was riding was held up and he was shot to death. The last of the robbers wasn't caught until 1958.) Her oldest living brother, Johann Karl Feldmann also came to New York.

Why and how she ended up in Minnesota is also a bit of a mystery, but it was there, in 1886 that she married Pastor Fred Feldmann (no known relationship). Fred and Friederike met in Minneapolis after he finished college in New Ulm. They lived in Efington, Minnesota for 2 years. Then he got a call to Trinity Lutheran in Johnson, Minnesota and was there from 1888 to 1890. They lived in the parsonage there until Fred's untimely death of cancer on 22 January 1890. For a time, Friederike was allowed to stay there in the parsonage with her two sons, Fred, who was born 20 August 1888 and Carl or Charles who was born after his father's death on 8 April 1890.

Almost 2 years later, on 23 March 1892, Friederike remarried to Wilhelm Friedrich August Lemke, a widower of about a year whose wife had died as a result of childbirth and left him to raise his children alone. Wilhelm Friedrich August Lemke was also called Fred. He and Friederike had 6 children together.

During World War I, Friederike's son from her first marriage, Charles, was killed in action in France and was buried at Cemetery Aisne-Marne American, Belleau, Aisne, France.

Her family always loved it when she made what she called Lap Cakes.

Lap Cakes

2 c. molasses
2 c. sugar
2 c. shortening
4 eggs
2 c. walnuts
1 grated whole lemon peel
1 T. baking soda dissolved in a little warm water
1 T. ginger
1 heaping T. cinnamon
1 t. cardamon
about 10 cups flour (enough to handle well)

Mix and spread in at least 2 jellyroll pans. The dough is very thick. Bake at 350F about 30 minutes. Don't overbake! Use a powdered sugar frosting.

Another recipe she left was one with more questionable ingredients to our modern tastes, but was probably not uncommon in the German farming tradition:


3 lbs. pork ribs and pork belly cut in pieces
3 c. water
3 c. vinegar
1 to 1-1/2 c. blood

Cook first 6 ingredients together until meat is cooked, then take it out and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Season the broth and then with a wire whip, beat in the blood, depending on the consistency you want. More blood equals thicker soup. Put meat back in. Let cook briefly and serve.

With Schwarzsauer, serve dumplings:


2 c. milk
1- 1/4 c. flour
2 eggs
salt nutmeg

Heat milk, add flour and stir into dough. Add eggs, salt and nutmeg. Drop with a teaspoon in boiling salt water and cook slowly 5-10 minutes.

Keep leftover Schwarzsauer cool. It keeps well. You can add dried fruit to make a compote. If you like it sweeter, add sugar.

Friederike died 10 May 1943, about 22 years after her second husband died.

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