The Luers Family in America
Polli Jost Turner, Editor

I have taken this information, as well as the family tree of the early generations of the Luers family, from a book, The Luers Family in America, compiled by W. H. Meyer in 1940. I’m using only the information about the direct line we can trace back--if we included the rest, this, too, would turn out to be a book! I will quote directly, using elipses when omitting sections.

We have recently found that Sudweighe is now known as Sudweyhe. It is south of the city of Bremen, in the district of Syke.



"The setting for the first part of the story of the Luers family is in Sudweighe amt Syke, in Hanover. Hanover, now a province in northwestern Germany, was at the time our story begins, an independent duchy or electorate. At that time, the Elector of Hanover was also the King of England. He is known to us as George III, against whom the American colonies fought in the Revolutionary War.

"Sudweighe was (and still is) a little German village most of whose residents tilled the soil of the surrounding villages. The farmer did not live on his farm but in a village along with all the other inhabitants of the neighborhood. He left for his work in the fields each morning and returned to his home in the village each evening. This is still the rule over most of continental Europe.

"The story opens in the year 1767, eight years before the opening guns of the Revolution were fired at Lexington and Bunker Hill. In that year a daughter was born into the home of one of the villagers of Sudweighe. She was christened Anna Margarethe Wetzen. Near the same time, though we do not know the exact year, a son was born into another Sudweighe home, who was named Herman Luers. The birth of these two is of interest to members of the Luers clan in America for they are the ancestors of us all.

"These two grew up in the village and in 1795 they were married. To them were born two sons and three daughters. These all grew to manhood and womanhood in Sudweighe. Heinrich, the firstborn, married Anna Margarethe Schersell in the year 1830. They lived in Sudweighe until the year 1851. They had two children, Herman and Margarethe, who were born and grew to young manhood and womanhood there.

"Anna Christina, the secondborn, in the year 1821 married Johann Albrecht Meier, from the neighboring village of Wachendorf amt Syke. This couple made their home in Wachendorf until 1839 and during this period five children, three sons and two daughters, were born to them. . . . The youngest of these, Johann Heinrich Meier [John Henry Meyer], was the writer’s father.

"Herman Luers, the third child of Herman and Margarethe Wetzen Luers, married Meta Koch in 1829. This couple made their home in Sudweighe where four sons and one daughter were born to them. The mother, Meta Koch Luers, died there in 1854. The third son, Frederich, was drowned in or near Sudweighe in 1855, then twelve years old. The two older sons left Sudweighe in 1851 as young men. The father, daughter and younger son remained there until 1861.

"Marie Elizabeth Luers, fourth child of Herman and Margarethe Wetzen Luers, grew up in Sudweighe, lived there until 1845, but did not marry there. Her younger sister, Adelheid, also grew up in Sudweighe, married George Grimma in 1844 and remained there for only one year after their marriage.

"All the sons and daughters of Herman and Margarethe Wetzen Luers emigrated to America between the years 1839 and 1861. Their mother also came with them, the father having previously died in Sudweighe. This is the very brief story of the German origin of "The Luers Family in America."

"In this chapter begins the exodus of the Luers family which takes it far across land and sea. They did not all leave at one time but in four groups, in 1839, and in 1845, in 1851, and 1861.

"In 1839, one hundred and one years ago [151 years ago now!], the first group bade goodbye to Sudweighe, to their neighbors, friends and relatives, and turned their faces toward the New World. And this new world was a world of strangers with strange customs and a strange tongue. It must have taken courage of a high order to sever all ties with life as they had known it, to accept whatever this new and strange world might have for them, and without hope of ever returning to the old again.

"This pioneer group was composed of my grandparents, Johann Albrecht and Anna Christina Meier and their five children, then from four to seventeen years of age. It is said Grandmother persuaded Grandfather to make this move that their growing sons might escape the compulsory military service that would have been their lot in Hanover. She wanted her sons to escape being targets for bullets in the wars so common in that era. . . . And in addition they both wanted for their children the greater opportunities they hoped to find in America.

"They sailed about the first of June from the nearest port, Bremen, and experienced a very stormy passage. After the severe hardships of thirteen weeks passed in the steerage of an old sailing vessel in rough seas, they first set foot on American soil in the port of New York on the first day of September, 1839. . ."



The family lived in Kentucky for three years and then moved on to the Dutch Creek Township, Washington County, Iowa. The family spread out from there.

". . . Induced, no doubt, by reports from those already in America, a second contingent of the Luers family severed home ties in Sudweighe amt Syke and sailed for America in 1845. In this group were Grandmother Meier’s youngest sister, Adelheid and her husband, George Grimma, and Grandmother’s other sister, Maria Elizabeth Luers, then unmarried."



They joined the earlier group of pioneers in Iowa, and settled nearby, again, their descendants spreading across the country from there.

"The exodus . . . did not stop there. In 1851 a larger group from the little village of Sudweighe embarked upon the long voyage to America. In this group were Grandmother Meier’s oldest brother and his wife, with their son, Herman, then nineteen, and their daughter, Margarethe, then sixteen. Two nephews, Herman and Johann Dietrich Luers embarked with them, the first then twenty-one, the second eighteen. Also with these came Great Grandmother Anna Margarethe Wetzen Luers, though she was then eighty-four years old. . . .

"Johann Dietrich Luers, the younger nephew [and our ancestor], . . . married in 1859 Anna Mary Straiter. A short time previous he had purchased from the government one hundred sixty acres of farm land and eighty acres of wood land, near the farm on which George Grimma had settled a few years before, at Hebron in Adair County. He had built a log house on this farm which became their first home. Johann D. and his wife lived all their life on this farm and it is now the home of their youngest son, Frank Luers and grandson John Lyle Luers. The wife of John Lyle Luers is Fern Grimma, great-granddaughter of the George Grimma who first settled in Adair county, and a third cousin of her husband.

"Johann Dietrich Luers and Mary Straiter Luers raised a large family on this old homestead and a large number of their descendants are living now on farms and in towns in that section of Iowa. The whole number of their descendants living today [1940] is over 130. Theirs is the second largest branch of the clan.

"The exodus of the Luers family was not completed with the sailing of the third group in 1851. Still left behind in Sudweighe amt Syke, were Herman Luers, . . . [Johann Dietrich’s father] . . . , and his wife Meta Koch Luers, with their two younger sons and their only daughter. . . .

"Of those left behind, Meta Koch Luers died in the year 1854 in Sudweighe. The third son, Frederich, was drowned there in the year 1855 when twelve years old. These two deaths left but three of the family in Sudweighe, Herman Luers, his youngest son, Heinrich, and his only daughter, Anna Mary. In 1861 these three sailed from Bremen to join the rest of the family in America. Anna Mary was 21 at this time, and Henry was 16. The Civil War was being fought at the time. Before their ship reached the port of New York it was blockaded and they could not enter there. They were frightened by the prospect of having to enter through New Orleans, and being faced with the almost impossible task of getting through the military lines into the northern states. However, their ship finally succeeded in entering the port of Baltimore, and they were landed there. Their arrival in Iowa, a few weeks later, reunited the entire family in America which had been divided since the first group left Sudweighe 22 years before. . . .

"A large gathering of the clan occurred in 1916 at the "Old Brick House". The occasion was the 50th wedding anniversary of Uncle Henry and Aunt Elizabeth Luers. About 120 members of the clan gathered there for the celebration. At this gathering the writer compared the coming of the family to America with the Biblical story of Abraham leaving Ur of the Chaldees and going into a far country to find a land flowing with milk and honey. Uncle Herman Luers, [Johann Dietrich’s father], immediately arose and said it was literally, as well as figuratively, true that the family came to America and found a land flowing with milk and honey. That cows which pastured along the creeks furnished milk in abundance, and a plentiful supply of honey was obtained from the bee trees in the woods.

"One of the most worthwhile things handed down to us by our forebears is a sound religious faith. Those born abroad were all brought up in the sound doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. When they came to America they settled in communities with other Germans of the same faith, and within a few years an Evangelical church was organized in each community. . . . at Hebron, in Adair County, an Evangelical church was organized early, of which Johann Dietrich Luers was a charter member. This church is still in existence, and a number of Johann Dietrich Luers’ descendants are still members of it.

"These churches were all German language churches originally, but for many years the services have been held in English. Many of the Luers clan are still members of the Evangelical church. Most of the others are members of the Methodist, Episcopal, the Baptist, the Presbyterian, and Congregational churches. As far as the writer knows all are protestants. Let us be proud of the fact that our ancestors contributed largely to the upbuilding of Christian citizenship in these communities."


The Luers Family
The Luers, about 1905
Mattie, Frank, Anna, Emma
Christine, Anna Mary Straiter Luers, Lydia


The author counted the Luers family and their descendants in the U.S. (all those whom he listed in his book, both the dead and the living), and came up with a total of 801 clan members, as of 1940. He estimated that over 630 were still alive at that time. The four Joneses (Marge, Jeane, Helen and Ray) were the most recent he had in our line of the family. It would be interesting to get an update on the total number of clan members today, 50 years later!


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March 1, 2013
Polli Turner


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The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and kind in all His deeds!
The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth!
Psalm 145:17&18 (NASB)