The Kolb family has been traced back to Germany as far as Peter and Elizabeth. Their known children consisted of Phillip, Adam, Peter, Katarina, Heinrich (Henry), Johann (John) and perhaps (Jacob).
A letter dated 27 Dec 1891 written by Phillip, who stayed in Germany, to his brothers in America explains that Katarina had died 26 Nov 1891, and she would have been age 55 in March of 1892. Phillip's son Adam is a sargent with the artillery in Kassel on the Wilhelmshohe, and his daughter Margaretha is married and living in Rosenburg. Phillip's two other sons Johannes and Georg work in Kassel in a machine factory. Phillip is a railroad stationmaster and has written this letter on Sunday while on duty at the station and complains that the trains have interrupted his writing. Also, he explains that everything is very expensive now and gives the following examples: 300 lbs. of corn cost 12 marks, and 300 lbs. of potatoes cost 10 to 11 marks, 1 lb. of porkmeat costs 70 pfennings.
A second letter written by Phillip on 24 May 1903 and says that he has retired from the railroad with a pension of 70 marks. He mentions that he has received the letter that was written 1 May 1903 and that he was sorry to hear of their brother Heinrich's death. Phillip relates a very interesting story about Nikolaus, the brother-in-law who was married to Katarina. It seems that Nickolaus has swindled all the money and property from their father Peter. Phillip says that their parents were forced out of the family home and that with the profits made from the sale, they bought the Iffte Plant for 1,500 Gulden. This was also later pocketed by Nickolaus. Peter was probably not a very good manager of money, as he lent 2,000 Gulden to someone in Schluchtern and some to the Mayor of Werbefritz, and Nickolaus got the rest of the money. It seems that Peter would have starved to death if people had not given him food. Phillip goes on to say what his children are doing. Son Adam is living in Overurfal by Hamburg and working as a railroad station assistant. Son Johannes is in Essen at Kruggsplant. Son Georg is machine operator at Offenbach by Frankfurt. Daughter Margarettia lives in Rothenburg with her husband who works in a mill. Another daughter lives in Breitenbach by Bebra. And Maria lives in Bebra with her husband who works for the railroad.
There was a ten year period from about 1840 to 1850 of German immigration that was due mostly to overpopulation and scarce jobs in Germany. The cheap land and high wages appealed to the downtrodden people of Germany.
I believe that Adam Kolb came to America about 1853. The trip was a long one as a storm is supposed to have blown the sailing ship off course and it took 8 weeks to make the trip to New York. I found him living in Jefferson County, Kansas in the 1860 Census. He was living in the household of John Kolb, age 50, born in Hesse Cassel. I believe this to be an uncle of Adam Kolb. The family story is that there were other Kolb's who were not part of "our family", however, I think they may have been cousins, uncles, etc. There is record of an Adam Kolb in a tax list for Jefferson County in 1859. There is a record of Adam Kolb serving in the Kansas Militia during the Civil War.
Adam Kolb was in the 1870 Census (spelled Kolp in the census) living in Greenwood County, Fall River Township, Kansas, with his wife Mary E. (Harris). They have two children William Henry age 3 and Emma Dean age 4 months. The census indicates that Adam was born in Hasse Cassel, Germany and is 39 years old, he was born 10 Jan 1830. Adam came to Kansas from Pennsylvania. The 1870 Kansas census shows that Adam's wife Mary E. is 23 and was born in Missouri about 1847, and that she came to Kansas from Pennsylvania. Both children were born in Kansas. Henry Kolb (1843), John Kolb (1847), and Jacob Kolb (Aug 1852) were all living in Fall River Township, Kansas in 1870 and all were born in Hesse Cassel, Germany.
Velma Chancy states that John and Jacob came to America together when John was 17 and Jacob was 11. Records indicate that John came from St. Louis, Missouri to Leavenworth, Kansas in 1868. This seems to indicate that John stayed in the St. Louis area for approximately 5 years (1863-1868).
On 30 Oct 1874, Jacob Kolb took out his naturalization papers. He also renounced his allegiance to the Duke of Hesse Cassel Germany that same year.
In 1875 Kansas census the Kolb's were living in Salt Springs Township but probably had not moved because this township was formed after 1870 out of parts of Fall River Township. Adam now has two more children, Catherine born in 1872 or 1873, Albert born about 1874. Henry Kolb is married and his wife is Sarah Elon (Sword) Kolb. Sarah was born about 1853 in Missouri. She came to Kansas from Missouri. Henry came to Kansas directly from Germany. In the household are a daughter Catherine (Katherine) age 1, Frances, a son, age 2, both born in Kansas. Also living with Henry are his brothers John and Jacob both born in Germany and came to Kansas from Missouri. The 1875 Kansas census must have taken place before 18 July 1875, because Jacob was killed by lightning on that date at the age of 22 years, 11 months.
John Kolb was a freight hauler for the government out of Leavenworth, Kansas, and told his granddaughter Velma Chancy that he had made three trips to Denver, Colorado. The 1880 census of Greenwood, County, Kansas, shows John Kolb married to Josephine Nancy L. (Sword) and they have two children. Fredie born 1877 (age 3), and Maggie born 1880 (age 5 months). Josephine was born in Missouri as were her mother and father. Henry Kolb has another son, Phillip age 3. It is interesting to note here that Henry and John have married sisters. The Sword family is one of the first families to settle in Kansas. Adam Kolb is not in Salt Springs Township, he was found living with his daughter Emma Dean (Kolb) Headley in Cherryvale, Montgomery County, Kansas.
On 9 March 1881, John Kolb applied for naturalization and in that same year renounced allegiance to William I, King of Germany. Germany became a unified state about 1880. Before that is was a loose confederation of little dukedoms and kingdoms.
In the Kansas census of 1885, Henry has added another son, John W., age 1 to his family.
Jumping ahead in time to 1910, we pick up Adam Kolb now age 80 and living in the George Britton Headley household. George is married to Emma Dean (Kolb) who is the daughter of Adam. Also in the household are two grandsons of Adam, Ray Britton Headley and Roy Clifford Headley. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mary Stockton Kolb on a trip I made to Cherryvale, Kansas in 1986. She had vivid memories of "Grandpa" (Adam) Kolb and "Aunt" Emma Dean Headley. She said that Emma was very nice person who would do anything for anyone. Adam died 10 Mar 1922, and she explained how it came to pass. It seems that "Grandpa" Adam had been given a horse, and he insisted on taking full responsibility for the animal, even during bad weather. It was a harsh winter, and there was snow and ice on the ground when Adam went one morning to care for his horse. He slipped and fell, which caused injury from which he never recovered. After his death, they had to wait several days to bury him do to the frozen ground. Adam is buried at the Cherryvale Cemetery. It is interesting to note here that the city does not have a record of Adam being buried in the cemetery. However, the records of the local mortuary shows that they were paid to bury him there.
Many of the Kolb's were living near Fall River, Kansas, and were buried in the Ecks-Donart Cemetery. This cemetery was relocated by the Corps of Engineers when Fall River Dam was built because the cemetery would be under water. Reinterment was made in the Fall River Cemetery, two miles west and five miles north of Fall River, Greenwood County, Kansas, in Section 22, Township 27S, Range 12E. The Following is a list of the Kolb family buried there:
Kolb, Clara B. Daughter of Henry Kolb
Kolb, (Infant) Daughter of Henry Kolb
Kolb, Jacob Brother of Adam Kolb killed by lightning
Kolb, John W. Son of Henry Kolb
Kolb, M. A. Believed to be Marion A. Kolb born 1893
Kolb, Philler Believed to be Phillip Kolb
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