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The Rassman Family History

 [Courtesy of Larry Shoger]

There is not much known about the early origins of the Rassman family, however, we do know the family is of German descent.

Our Rassman (also spelled as Rassmann, Rossman and Rossmann) family came from the village of Sarnow on Anklam located in the province of Pommern, Germany.  This province is located in the northeastern corner of Germany (formerly known as Communist East Germany).  The area is predominantly Evangelical Lutheran.

50th Wedding Anniversary

Fred, Sr. and Anna (Souhrada) Rassman

Friederich Gustave Karl Rassman was born on November 12, 1869 at Sarnow on Anklam, Pommern, Germany to Friederich J. and Fredericka Rassman.  He was baptized on December 5, 1869 and confirmed on March 28, 1883 in Germany.  His father, Friederich J. Rassman was born on December 16, 1830 and his mother, Fredericka, was born on March 22, 1837.  Friederich Gustav Karl Rassman’s siblings included four sisters and four brothers.  At this time, only one sister and one brother we know are Herman and Wilhelmine Emilie – Mrs. Herman C. Mader.


Fred immigrated to America in between 1889 -1891 and was 21 years old.  It is believed he came to America with his parents.  He settled in the Alta Vista, Chickasaw County, Iowa vicinity where his sister, Wilhelmine Emilie (Rassman) Mader and her family were living.  In 1892, Fred and his parents moved to a farm southeast of Saratoga, Howard County, Iowa.  During the first few years, Fred was employed as a farm hand for Conrad Schwacke, a German immigrant farmer, who lived three miles north of Elma, Iowa.


In early 1897, Fred’s sister, Wilhelmine Emilie, and her husband, Herman C. Mader, and their two small children, Amelia and Fred, settled on a farm in the Saratoga, Iowa community.  On June 2, 1897, Wilhelmine Emilie, passed away from a stroke.  She was laid to rest in the Alta Vista Lutheran Church cemetery.  A year later (1898), Herman C. Mader remarried to a widow named Sophia Wedermeier.  She had a son, Emil, by her previous marriage.  Herman and Sophie lived on a farm in Paris Township, Howard County, Iowa near Cresco.  Their first child, William, was born on this farm.  Sometime between 1899 and 1900, Herman moved his family to a farm near Mayhew Lake, Minnesota, located a few miles north of St. Cloud.  They had five more children on this farm, namely: Richard, Paul, Bertha, Walter and August.  Around 1910, Herman moved his family to Oakland, California.

Herman & Sophie Mader family

Back row (l to r):  Fred, Emil, Richard, Wiliam

Middle row (l to r): August, Amelia, Paul, Bertha, Walter

Front row (l to r): Sophie and Herman

Taken about March 1889

Front row (l to r): Fredericka Rassman and Wilhelmine (Rassman) Mader holding her daughter, Hermoine Caroline Friedericke (Amelia) Mader

Back row (l to r): Frederich G.K. Rassman, Herman Rassman, and Herman C.F. Mader

Herman Carl Frederich Mader – soldier Mecklenberg Army

Herman was born April 23, 1863 at Richtenberg, kreis Franzberg, Pommern, Germany to Frederich and Emilie (Mornick) Mæder.  He was drafted into the Prussian Army at a young age.  On November 4, 1888, he was united in marriage to Wilhelmine Emilie Rassman.  She was born January 24, 1863 at Sarnow on Anklam, Pommern, Germany to Friederich J. and Fredericka Rassman.  They immigrated to America, arriving at New York on April 16, 1889 on ship named Slavonia.  Herman and his family settled first in Wood County, Ohio near the town of Wallbridge.  They were the parents of three children, namely: Hermoine Caroline Friedericke (commonly known as Amelia), Herman Friederich John (commonly known as Fred), and Elma Frieda Johanna (commonly known as Alma).  Amelia was born in Sarnow on Anklam and was only 6 months old when she came to America.  Alma died on July 19, 1890 in Wallbridge, Ohio at the young age of 3 months and 17 days.

Taken prior to 1899

Fredericka and Friederich J. Rassman

Fred Rassman’s mother, Fredericka Rassman, passed away on Jun 8, 1899 and was buried at the Saratoga cemetery in Saratoga Township, Howard County, Iowa.  She was later re-entered into the New Oregon cemetery, south of Cresco, Iowa next to her husband, Friederich J. Rassman. 


Fred Rassman’s father, Friederich J. Rassman, passed away on December 29, 1912 on Fred’s farm in Lincoln Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa. As stated above, he was buried at New Oregon cemetery, New Oregon Township, Howard County, Iowa.  Friederich was blind for many years.  The 1900 census states that he was blind during the enumeration and that he immigrated to America in 1891.


On June 18, 1900, Fred Rassman was united in marriage to Miss Anna Katherine Souhrada at the Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran church parsonage in Cresco, Iowa by Rev.

Niedermeier. (Miss Anna Katherine Souhrada was the daughter of Vaclav and Kathryn Ann (Bican) Souhrada.)

Taken June 18, 1900 at Cresco, Iowa

Wedding picture of Friederich “Fred” G.K.Rassman and Anna Katherine Souhrada

Fred and Anna began their married life together on a farm in Saratoga Township, Howard County, Iowa.  This farm was near the Souhrada farm and Fred’s father lived with them.  The first two children, Frederich August Carl, and William Herman Karl, were born on this farm. 

In 1903, Fred and Anna purchased a farm located four miles southeast of Cresco, Iowa.  This 160 acre farm was situated on section 6 of Orleans Township.  All but 14 acres was clear of trees.  Over the years, Fred and his sons, cleared off most of the trees and sold the wood for additional income.  Fred and Anna’s two youngest sons, John Henry George and Albert Delbert, were born on this farm.

Over many years of hard work and thrift, Fred, Sr. and Anna were able to purchase two additional farms.  The north farm was located on section 13 of Albion Township, Howard County, Iowa.  This farm contained 160 acres and was located just a few miles northwest of Cresco.  The other farm was located on section 32 of Orleans Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa.  This farm contained 80 acres of land.  Fred, Sr. and Anna were able to provide a farm for each of their four sons to live on which is a dream few parents were able to achieve during the depression era.

In 1945, Fred, Sr. and Anna, retired from farming and moved into Cresco, Iowa where they lived out the remainder of their lives.  During his early years of retirement, Fred, Sr. helped neighbors with odd jobs and helped care for gardens and lawns.  He and Anna were also in charge of cleaning the Immanuel Lutheran church for five years.

Fred, Sr. passed away on March 19, 1962.  Anna lived several more years, passing away at Howard county hospital in Cresco on May 22, 1981 at the age of 99 years.  She had lived at a rest home in Cresco for a number of years.  Both Fred, Sr. and Anna were buried at the New Oregon cemetery south of Cresco.

 To view additional photos of the Rassman family, click here >> Rassman Photo Album