Karolyn Wunsch: Little Known Oldest Herr Child



Located on M-21(E Fulton St) halfway between Lowell and Ada Mich on the south side. Only about 30 stones total in the cemetery. Wunsch stone is the big one in the center above the sign.

A large portion of our Herr Family is not familiar with the story of  Fidel’s oldest daughter, Karolyn, about whom I’ve been corresponding with some of our newly found cousins and her descendants the past few years. . 

Recently, cousin Gerald Wisner sent me a photo of Karolyn’s tombstone in Rolfe Cemetery, Ada, Kent County, Michigan and told me the old Wunsch farmhouse is still standing proud and in good shape  down the road from the old cemetery, where they were buried.  

I’ve also learned much about the Wunsch Family in correspondence with cousin Donna Rogers, and Phil and Marge, who have  published an informative “Wunsch Descendants.,”  web page. 

The second of eleven children born to Fidel Herr and his first wife Maria Anna Schmidt and the first of only four by that couple to live beyond infancy, Karolyn Herr was born December 16, 1803 in Achern, Germany..

Her father Fidel arranged a marriage contract for her with Anton Wunsch, the son of Joseph Wunsch and Margaretha Ullrich, and a potter from nearby Oberdorf near Kuppenheim, on April 24, 1823.   

The happy couple made Fidel a proud grandfather in rapid succession with the births of Appolonia (1824), Sebastian (1827), Agnes (1829) Karl (1830) and Genovefa (1832).  

However, they disappointed old Fidel, when they stayed back in Oberndorf, rather than sail on the General Hamilton with him, his new wife, Maria Anna Hauser, and her brother and sisters, Jane, Fidel, Maria Theresa, Marianna, and Maria Theresa on a six -week voyage to the New World in the Fall, 1831.  

Anton and Karolyn attended the funeral and were at the reading of the will of Karolyn’s maternal grandmother, Johanna Burger in Achern in March, 1832.

I think the silver legacy the couple received from Grandma Burger and father Fidel’s encouraging letters from America finally  influenced them to cross the Atlantic Ocean to join the rest of the Herr Family, sometime between the birth of their daughter, Genovefa on January 3, 1832 in Oberndorf and John Anthony Wunsch in Plymouth, Wayne Country, Michigan on October 10, 1837 (I have not found a passenger record yet for them).

They lived in Plymouth, Wayne County, Michigan until they bought a 40-acre farm in Ada, Kent, County, Michigan on June 17, 1850.

The family, which  is listed in the Ada, Kent County, Michigan Federal Census records for 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900., grew by leaps and bounds to ten children with the Michigan births of Charles, John Anthony on October 10, 1837, Barbara on March 15, 1839, and Mary in 1843.     

All of the children married, Sebastien to Martha Champlain, Agnes to Thomas Barr, Genovefa to Adam Umlor, Charles to Ida A. Haight, John Anthony to Anna Peplow, and Barbara to Mathias Snyder.

Karolyn died on July 30, 1876 and Anton 4 years later on January 31, 1880 on the old farm in Ada, Kent County, Michigan 

Much of the family and descendants have stayed and still live in the Grand Rapids and Grand Traverse Michigan areas today  not too far from the old Wunsch family homestead, where their American Dream all started.