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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ernest Vienop of Napa, CA - Part 1

I often find irony when I work on my family tree (or rather, my ears start burning).  My Vienop Family tree is no exception to this.  In the past three months, I've worked to update my family tree and post some things online.  And what do you think happened?  Well, the current owner of Ernest Julius Vienop's home in Napa, California contacted me to find out more about him.

I find it rather ironic that I was just on the cusp of figuring out the who, what, when, and where of each Ernest Vienop of Napa.  There were three of them, by the way.  That can make things a bit confusing for people outside of the family (and even within the family too).  I find it is a rather similar situation to the three Richard Flanagan's of Napa, California, too.  Names certainly repeat in family lines of the past, don't they?

With definitive information about my Ernest Vienops, I was able to provide the current owner of Ernest J. Vienop's home with a reader's digest overview of him.  Mind you, he had also tried to do some homework down at the Napa Historical Society but I think that gave him information on the wrong Ernest Vienop.  What am I talking about?   Below are his comments to me via email: 

Great to see that you Vienops are still around and that we may have a connection via my new ‘old’ house. The home is located on what was known as the E. R. Sproul addition, which I understand was a 9,000 acre farm in the mid 1800’s. Currently part of what is now known as Alta Heights my address is on (removed for privacy), however before 1945 or so the street was known as (removed for privacy) which your mom or aunt may remember. There is an old barn on the property as well as a well house if that brings back any memories.

I haven’t found anything too interesting on the property, besides some old bullets, lots of old wall paper, and a belt buckle but the local historical society did have some interesting information. They told me that “The first known resident was Ernest J. Vienop.  His occupation is unknown, and he was unmarried”. 

That’s all I know for now but hope to learn more in the future.

Well, I have more for certain.  I also know that Ernest J. Vienop had a wife and children.  Let's just say that the historical society probably referenced "Uncle Ernest" who was a widower and had no children.  He too lived in Napa, California.  So, what do you think I did next?

Here's the information that I passed along.  I have made it my goal to post my messages here as they are full of information that I do not just want to hide away in a computer file.

Glad to hear from you.    I think that I did find Ernest J. Vienop's home on (removed for privacy),  Napa, CA in a census.  The rest of the Vienop's lived on Laurel Avenue and later up on Willow Avenue in Alta Heights.  I'm not sure how long Ernest J. lived  on (removed for privacy).  He was know at Cousin Ernest to my Vienop Family.  
After reading your message you sent to me over, I really sat down and did some homework about my Vienop's of Napa, CA.  I actually write a blog that journals my genealogy research at (Mine, Yours', and the Other Guy's Genealogy).  I have quite a bit of my own family history in Napa because both of my grandparents were born, raised there, and lived their entire lives in Napa.  I have Vienop's, Borchers', Flanagan's, and a few other surnames that are direct line and cousin's from Napa.  My family lines start there from 1870 and I still have family members living there who are now in their 80s.   There are still female Vienop descendants living in Napa.   Since they don't have the Vienop surname, they are probably hard to find but are still there.  Almost every Vienop that I know of is buried at Tulocay Cemetery.

To give you the reader's digest version of the Vienop story, the original 10 Vienop's to come to Napa, CA, arrived in February 1901.  They were the family unit of John Henry Vienop that included Anna Marie (wife) and their four children - Mary, Minnie, Ernest, and John Henry Jr.   Uncle Ernst Vienop, John Henry's brother also came to Napa with them.  The other family unit was Ernest J. Vienop, Ricky (his wife) and George (their son).  Ernest J. was the nephew of both John Henry and Uncle Ernst.  Ernest J.'s father was Fred Vienop of St. Louis, MO who had passed away in 1877.  Once in Napa, Ernest Julius Vienop went on to have more children with his wife Ricky (Fredericka).

The original reason why the Vienop's came to Napa was because of Anna Marie's failing health.   She was the wife of John Henry.  Anna Marie and John Henry were German immigrants as were Uncle Ernst and their brother Fred.  Another older Vienop brother who also went by the name of John Henry here in the U.S., immigrated from Germany.  Between those four brother's, they lived in St. Louis, MO, Ohio, Daykin, NE, and Napa.  Everyone seemed to go through Daykin, NE at some point.  The younger John Henry (my great great grandfather) went back to Germany and brought their mother back with him.  She lived and passed away in Daykin, NE.   I have the exact town that the Vienop's were from in Germany called Boerninghausen.

My great grandma was Mary Vienop Borchers.   As an adult, she lived up on Willow Avenue in Napa, CA.   Her brother was John Henry Vienop, Jr.  who's business was J.H. Vienop Building Contractor in Napa.  There are many other family history bits and pieces relating to Napa.   Ernest Julius Vienop was my great grandma's first cousin.  Below is the bio of Ernest Julius Vienop as found in a California Biography book for Napa County.

The immediate progenitors of Ernest J. Vienop, Fred H. and Charlotte (Shrick) Vienop, were born in Germany, and upon immigrating to this country they settled in St. Louis, Mo., where the father followed his trade of cigar manufacturer until his death. The mother is still living and a resident of St. Louis. Five children were originally comprised in the parental family, but of these only three are living, and Ernest J. is the eldest of the number. He was born in St. Louis, Mo., November 26, 1871, and his boyhood and youth were passed in the locality of his birth, the public schools of that city also furnishing him with a fair education. When he was about sixteen years old he apprenticed himself to learn the brick-layer’s trade under H. Hartman. a well-known brick contractor of that city. Four years of conscientious and constant work under this instructor found the young man full-fledged and ready to undertake work as a journeyman, and for about eighteen years, or until 1898, he found plenty of work in St. Louis and vicinity.

Mr. Vienop’s first venture from native haunts occurred in 1898 and took him to Fairbury, Jefferson county, Neb., in which vicinity he established himself on a farm and continued farming there for two years, or until coming to California. He reached the Golden State February 22, 1900, coming directly to Napa county, which has ever since been his home and the scene of his activities. Near Napa he purchased a small ranch of five acres on the Monticello road, where he engages in horticulture and the poultry business. His ranch activities may be regarded more properly as a recreation than as a business, however, for he is actively engaged in following his trade of brick contractor. Among the buildings that have been erected un­der his supervision are the Register building, California bakery and Migli­vacca warehouse in Napa, besides which he has erected structures through­out Napa and Solano counties, in fact his services have also been employed on numerous structures in different parts of northern California.

While still a resident of St. Louis. Mo., Mr. Vienop was united in mar­riage in that city with Miss Ricka Schiffmann. who was born there. Four sons have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Vienop : George, William, Walter and Albert. The family attends the Lutheran Church and politically Mr. Vienop is a Republican.  - Written in 1911-12

I hope that you find this interesting.  

Now, I must comment here that February 22, 1900 is really not the correct year.  It was 1901 on that very same date when the Vienop's arrived in Napa, CA.  I have two ways to prove this also.  One would be the eye witness written account by Mary Vienop Borchers, herself, and the other are U.S. Census from 1900.  The census places the Vienop's in Eureka, Jefferson County, Nebraska in June of 1900.  Ernest J. is in Daykin Village, NE during the 1900 census.  So, they could not have been in Napa quite yet.  At least not the majority of them.  Was a Vienop in Napa in 1900?

To be continued...................................


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