Thursday, September 9, 2010

Count Hans Ferdinand von Hochberg and his descendants

The post I wrote earlier today about Count Hans Ferdinand von Hochberg and his determination to marry a commoner, Luise Carow made me delve further into their story.
A week after Hans Ferdinand's marriage in Ossining, New York, his father, Count Bolko, released a statement through his Berlin attorney, and denied comments made in American newspapers. He said it was untrue that his son was "ever engaged to a Princess." He also denied "emphatically" that he tried to prevent Fraulein Carow's landing in the United States. His lawyer, Herr Michaelis, wrote to a lawyer in New York "that no illegal or incorrect measures were to be employed."
The count further stated that he would not have wanted his son to marry "a girl of the bourgeois class," but he did believe that Fraulein Carow "was unfitted by her education and otherwise to become the wife of Count Hans Ferdinand."

Hans Ferdinand and his family remained in the United States for some time. The couple's first child, Johanna Luise, was born on September 3, 1906, a week before the couple were married. A second daughter, Ernestine Ferdinandine, was born at Farmington, Michigan, on November 15, 1911. Four years later, on May 15, 1915, Luise gave birth to a son, Robert Ludwig. A four child, and third daughter, Sophie Charlotte, was born on February 28, 1917.

Hans Ferdinand's first job was as a chauffeur, but he soon moved to a more lucrative career, as a mine promoter. In December 1907, the New York Times reported that the count was living with his wife and young daughter, in a mining camp in Barnes City, Fremont County, Colorado. In less than a year, he had amassed $30,000 in cash and a "fourth interest in a copper mining company, which is really producing ore."

He also done something that no other mining promoter in America had accomplished. Hans Ferdinand sold mining stock to several of his royal relatives, including his great-uncle, Prince Heinrich Reuss, and his uncle, the Prince of Pless. Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia bought about $10,000 worth of stock in Hans Ferdinand's company.
At the time, Hans Ferdinand planned to sell more stock to members of the German royal houses. He also renounced his name, and adopted the surname Barnes.
The name came from Noah E. Barnes, a Colorado mining man, who had promoted several mining concerns, and had come east after, allegedly hearing about Hans Ferdinand coming to America and his scandalous marriage.
Barnes thought that the Count's name "would look well on the prospectus of a mining company." The von Hochberg name would look "especially well in Germany, a virgin field for American mining promoters." Eager to show his family that he could succeed in America, Hans Ferdinand accepted Barnes' proposal.
The result was that Hans Ferdinand went out west, did a bit of prospecting, and became involved with Barnes. They founded the Cottonwood Copper Creek Company.
Earlier this year, Hans Friedrich and his wife and young daughter sailed for Germany. They took a suite at the Kaiserhof hotel in Berlin. although Luise was rarely seen at the hotel. She spent most of her time with her family.
This was not a surprise because Hans Ferdinand's family, although eager to welcome the prodigal son home, were not as charitable toward his wife.
It was said, however, that Hans Ferdinand's father, Count Bolko, was the only member of his family, who did not receive him.
Hans Ferdinand spent several weeks in Berlin. He was able to sell shares in his new company to family members, but he was also required to renounce his name because he promised he would not "make capital out of the family name by using it upon mining scheme literature."
Hans Ferdinand Barnes and his family returned to Barnes City.
Unfortunately, the copper mining scheme turned bad by 1908. The German shareholders did not reap a profit, and, according to the New York Times in December 1908, the German shareholders "recently seized $3,000, which was deposited in [Noah] Barnes's name."
In other words, Barnes had perpetrated a scam. It is not known if Hans Ferdinand was a willing partner, but it appears more likely that he, too, fell for Barnes' promises of great wealth. Hans Ferdinand was the scion of a prominent princely family with close ties to the Imperial court, but he was probably out of his league with dealing with Barnes, who was charged with grand larceny. Hochberg was the chief witness. Barnes was convicted and sentenced to Sing Sing, the prison at Ossining, New York.
It was understood that Barnes acted out in revenge by releasing letters that purported to be a "highly compromised correspondence between the Crown Prince and Count Hochberg." Crown Prince Wilhelm and Count Hochberg were childhood playmates and friends. Both had attended school at Plön, and later in Potsdam, where both served in the First Guard Regiment. The Crown Prince was oft praised for his loyalty to his friends, and Hochberg was no exception.

In September 1908, Hans Ferdinand and Barnes sailed back to the US from Hamburg, after another trip to Germany, but Hans Ferdinand did not return with Barnes to Colorado. He was subsequently "fired" from his position with the mining company. Perhaps, by this time, the former count had realized that he and others had been duped. He had been the biggest investor, and, of course, lost the most. He had inherited 100,000 marks and a part of the family estate when his grandfather died, and he had bought 1500 shares in the copper mine.
Hans Ferdinand himself became the chief witness in the case against Barnes, when the lawsuit was brought to court in New York in 1910. The Crown Prince's letters were a part of the evidence in the case against Barnes.
A German newspaper, reporting on the court case, wrote: "Naturally they were and are not meant for public," in reference to the Crown Prince's letters. "But since they have served as pieces of evidence in a public court case, it cannot be avoided that their contents should have become known outside the court room. It is obvious that the letters of the Crown Prince do not have to shun the light of publicity in the least. They show the Crown Prince as a true friend and upright character and can only add new friends abroad to those that he already has."
The first letter that was made public was written in the fall of 1906, shortly after von Hochberg's marriage.
"Dear Mucki (the Crown Prince's name for Hans Ferdinand), Many thanks for your dear letter from which I can see that you are still alive. You know how sorry I am about the whole affair, and I still had the firm hope, you would forget the matter; your motives are unimpeachable and you do every honour, and yet you should not have done it..." In November 1906, the Crown Prince wrote again, telling Hans Ferdinand about a meeting with Han's family. "Your father still loves you very much and is quite broken by the affair, your mother, I hate to say it, has given you up completely. Your father showed me a piece of writing, written by yourself, in which you declared on your word of honour, you would give your name the moment you married the woman of your choice. Mucki, think this over, there's no going back from here. You must give up your name. You must keep your word of honour. When the matter becomes known, and it surely will become known, you will be impossible here and lost for all of us. Take this step and listen to your old friend. I have talked with your father about the matter of money and he wants to give you what you need, you must accept it and not put on any airs."
The Crown Prince wrote again in January 1907, where he responded to Mucki's apparently newsy letter and with details of Noah Barnes' proposition. "...your parents have absolutely not influenced me, but you can't get around your declaration and word of honour. If I had written that 'in the event, that I should marry the aforesaid person, I shall give up my noble name,' then I would have done it by all means. Dear Mucki, believe me, it doesn't make the least difference to me personally, whatever name you give yourself, you will still remain my good, old friend, for whom I'll always have a helping hand, but with your new home and new friends you cannot suddenly get new ideas of honour. There are no mental reservations for a respectable person."
The Crown Prince also referred to Barnes' offer, calling Barnes "really American and theatric." He thought Barnes to be "strange." He concluded this letter with an admonition: "Now good-bye old chap. Continue to be German. Do not become such a Yankee businessman." The Crown Prince signed his letters as 'Caesar.'
It appeared that the count, despite his promise to his family, was determined to retain his family name.
"My child," the count wrote, "could not respect me if I sold my name and birthright for greed of gold." In a letter to his father, the count wrote: "It is not money I want. The blood of the Hochbergs rises in my veins and resents the insult of an interference by an attorney who is paid for trying to take all you have left me -- my name."
Hans Ferdinand was never able to repair the relationship with his father or with the Crown Prince was already in exile in the Netherlands, when Hans Ferdinand returned to Germany,

Hans Ferdinand changed his surname to Hiller on May 20, 1915. It was some time after World War I that Hans Ferdinand and Luise returned to Germany. They settled in Berlin, where Hans Ferdinand Hiller worked for Siemens.
Luise died in Berlin on May 1, 1934. Hans Ferdinand's final years were spent in Altwigshagen in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. He died there on May 25, 1945, only days after the end of the second world war.
Of the couple's four children only Ernestine returned to stay in Germany. Germany. On June 6, 1939, she married Gerhard Felix Moderow, and settled in what would become the German Democratic Republic. As Ernestine was born in the United States, one wonders if she and her husband ever thought about leaving the DDR for the West.
Their first child, Luise Eleonore, was born at Stettin, a city that was handed over to Poland in 1945, and is now known as Sczcecin. The couple had two more daughters, Hedwig Elisabeth and Renata Ruth, and a son, Hans Martin, all of whom were born at Altwigshagen
Gerhard Moderow died at Greifswald in GDR on November 22, 1983. Ernestine is also probably deceased.
Luise Moderow was married at Griefswald on August 7, 1962 to Johannes Georg Mehlig. The marriage ended in divorce in 1973. They had two daughters: Mechhtild and Kordula, who is married to Andreas Lindner. They have one son, Benjamin, who was born at Rostock on February 15, 1990.

Hedwig Elisabeth married at Lubmin, near Greifswald, in July 1976 to Hans Rösicke. She died at Dessau on March 16, 1984. I do not know if Hedwig had any children.

Hans Martin was married on July 3, 1969 at Doberlug-Kirchhain to Renate Margarethe Gericke.

Hans Martin was ordained as a Lutheran minister in 1969 at Greifswald. One can only imagine how difficult it was to follow God's call in a country that largely abolished religion. He studied theology at Greifswald and Halle. Renate was also an ordained Lutheran pastor.
Pastor Hans Martin served in different congregations in Pomerania and Mecklenburg, and has been active in ecumenical matters since the 1970s. Rev. Moderow died on July 28, 2008 at Wackerow near Greifswald. He is survived by his wife and three children, Hans Martin and twin daughters, Elke and Uta. The three children were born at Stralsund.

Hans Martin,Jr., studied medieval and modern history at Leipzig and in France. He is a professor at Thuringer University at Jena. Elke is a lawyer in Cologne and Ute is a scientist working at the Technische Universität in Dresden.

Renata Ruth Moderow was married on March 3, 1973 at Berlin to Sebastian Kähler (J They have one son Goetz August Kähler.

Hans Ferdinand's eldest daughter, Johanna Luise, married on November 7, 1939 to John F.C. Moore. He was born on March 3, 1907. I have not yet been able to determine his date of death, but he died before his wife, whose obituary, as Johanna Louise Moore, nee Hochberg-Hiller, was published in the Philadelphia newspapers on January 29, 2003. She died on January 28, 2003 at the age of 96.
Johanna and John had one son, Christopher Chamberlain Moore, who was born on June 5, 1943. He married Janice Elaine Klinger, on October 14, 1978 at Grace Episcopal Church in Linden, New Jersey. Christopher is an ordained Episcopal priest, and is currently serving at an Episcopal church in Delaware. Christopher and Janice have two children, Alice Louise and Douglas Chamberlain.

Robert Ludwig Hiller worked in academia before his death in 1987. His first marriage to Elizabeth Rice ended in divorce. They had two children, Elizabeth Tobey and Bruce Hiller. Elizabeth has one son, Ethan Raphael Schwartz, by her first husband, Herbert Arnold Schwartz, an attorney. After her divorce from Herbert, Elizabeth married Philip Ziegler. Bruce married Linda Daily, and they had one daughter, Elisabeth April Hiller, before he died in 1972.

In 1978, Robert married German-born Ute Stargadt, who continues to teach English at Alma College in Michigan.

The youngest child, Sophie Hiller, never married and lived in Madison, Wisconsin.


Kalnel said...

Was Luise Carow a relation of Edith Carow, Theodore Roosevelt's second wife?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Unlikely. Luise was the daughter of a glove maker ... no ties to the USA.

Bioleux Polska said...

Thank you very much for this great story. I have been following the Hochbergs from Silesia for a number of years (having been born there) but all I had so far on young Hochberg/Hiller was a newspaper clipping from around 1908-1910.
Regarding his father, a nobleman and a composer, here is an interesting link for the German speakers :
Regards, Martin Mizera, cur. England