Source: "The Nathe Family Tree 1700-1900" by Beverly Nathe, in the collection of the Stearns Co. (St. Cloud, MN) Historical Society Research Center.                                          Photo: Repe, Germany



The Nathe family were German immigrants to America in the 1800s. Their history can be traced back to Kruberg, Germany, (West Central Germany "Prussia"), where Wilhelm Nate (a Shoemaker) was born in 1793, to Johann Nate and Anna Margaretta Klein.

Wilhelm's wife was Anna Margaretha Besting, daughter of Wilhelm Besting (also a shoemaker), and Maria Drucker, born in November, 1804, in Nieden HeIden, Germany.

After they married, about 1827, Wilhelm Nate and Anna Margaretha lived in Repe, Germany, where they had 7 children. Wilhelm died in Helden, Germany on January 9,1843, of "kopf-krankheit", leaving his 39 year old widow with 6 children, ages 1 to 15 years old. Their 7th child died the same year as Wilhelm, at about a year old.


1. Anna "Catherine" Nathe (Primus) b. 9/24/1828 d. 8/14/1901
2. Anna "Elizabeth" Nathe (Homberg-Zierden) b. 1/28/1830 d. 2/5/1905
3. Anna Maria Nathe (Schulte) b. 12/6/1831 d. 3/7/1920
4. Anton Nathe Sr. b. 3/15/1834 d. 1/7/1900
5. Joseph Nathe b. 9/4/1836 d. 8/4/1896
6. Casper "Johann Kasper" Nathe b. 8/11/1839 d. 5/20/1893
7. Maria Katherina Nathe b. 4/6/1842 d. 1843 (died at 1 year old)

His children, however, emigrated to America. In the 1830s the established way to the upper midwest was to take the Pennsylvania RR to Pittsburgh, thence on the Ohio to the Mississippi river, then north to St. Louis, Iowa and the areas just beginning to open up in Minnesota. Somewhat later the Great Lakes were used for westward travel. The route was from Pittsburgh to Cleveland, then by Lake Ontario steamer to Toledo where the Maumee River led west to Ford Wayne, Indiana. A large German population was settled there, working on the canal linking the Maumee to the Wabash river.

After some correspondence with the Archivist at St. Johns Abbey, Collegeville, MN, the West Gennan Tourist Bureau, several German priests and teachers, including the Dean of the Cathedral at Olpe, the history of the hamlet of Repe began to emerge. It lies in the Westphalian hills of the Diocese of Olpe, county of Arnsberg, between Siegen and the Lenne River, or northeast of Olpe.

In fact, Repe, Helden, Nieder-Helden, Kruberg and Rahrback are all close together- each in its own valley. Repe had no municipal or church administration, did all of its business, marrying, baptizing, and burying in HeIden, and after 1885 was absorbed into that town. Rahrbach, which appears on most maps, north of Siegen, is in the deaconate of Elspe and is a larger town.

Repe is about a block long, has a tiny church now, one gastutte, with barns along both sides of the road. There are deep pine forests on the hills, and the people are occupied with logging as well as fanning.


Repe village: 1910 population 143; Helden village: 1910 population 238; Kruberg not on the map, it is 11 km south of Attendorn and 8 km east of Olpe. All three places are situated in the county of Olpe, which is one of the counties making up the government district of Kruberg. Notes from Werner E. Baumeister

The European research was provided by Sarah K Nathe, of Boulder, CO.


    The family migrated (from Germany to the U.S.) in sections; the John Primuses (Catherine) in 1855, after a nine week journey, had gone to Milwaukee. The three young men had trades; Anton was a shumacher (shoemaker) as his grandfather, Wilhelm Besting, and his father before him. Joseph and Kasper (Casper) were carpenters, came to America in 1857, and worked in St. Louis and Milwaukee before going to Minnesota to homestead in Grove township.

    (If you have the Meire Grove Centennial book, Deep Roots, cherish it - it is well written and complete. It covers ship-board conditions on those long voyages from Rotterdam to Philadelphia, the early pioneer days in Minnesota. and is an album of priceless pictures.)

    By this time, the name has become 'Nahte' because of the pronunciation, and at the insistence of the clerks who took liberties with the names of the immigrants who were registering. From 1860 to 1900 the name was most often spelled Nahte, until John Nathe changed the spelling to "Nathe", sometime between 1915-1928.


    Wilhelm's second daughter, Anna " Elisabeth" NATHE, 28 JAN 1830 married Eberhard Homberg in 1853 in Helden, Germany. Their daughter, Elizabeth Lizzie "Berta" HOMBERG 11 NOV 1854, was born aboard ship and married Andrew "Andreas" Peter BARTHLE b: 09 DEC 1848 in Waldstetten, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg, Germany. Thus everyone on Andrew's line is also on the Nathe line.


    In 1857, Joseph age 21, and Caspar age 18, left for America. They spent some time in St. Louis earning money to send back to Germany for the rest of the family. It is said that they worked at anything, including hauling garbage with a mule drawn cart, sometimes eating from the garbage of the rich, even though by trade they were carpenters.

    "Joseph Nathe, the pioneer was born in Germany and in 1859 came to America and located in Stearns county, where he secured a homestead of 160 acres in section 20, Grove township. At about this time he was married to Elizabeth Martho, who parents Christof and Gertrude Martho, had come from Germany. and settled where New Munich is now located. they being first settlers in that village. In the Martho family there were eight children.

    After his marriage, Mr. Nathe took up residence on his claim, making a home for his bride in the log cabin which he had constructed. Few people of the present generation realize the hardship and deprivations of those days. The land was broken with the aid of oxen. The only farm was was one made of rough hewn timber. the wheels being slices from a giant oak tree.

    When Mr. Nathe wished to attend church in New Munich, he was often forced to wade across the river entirely disrobed, carrying his clothes high and dry over his head. Being a carpenter by trade he manufactured many conveniences for the neighborhood, one of his pieces of work being ingenious, even if crude, threshing machine operated by horse power.

    In about 1860, Joseph who had been working as a carpenter, left for Stearns County, Minnesota, where German Catholic immigrants were claiming land that had been opened for settlement since the treat of Indians had moved west to Dakota Territory. The community was called Grove Township, and eventually Meire Grove. Joseph claimed the land and began farming.

    He helped to erect the long building, the frame building, and the present brick building for the church at Meire Grove. He also donated $500 for the parish, just before leaving for the south. After leaving Meire Grove, he located on 240 acres of orange and timberland in St. Joseph, Pasco county, Florida where he remained until his death.


    About 1868, Joseph went to Anton to offer him his farm. Apparently Joseph or one of his children had a health problem which caused the need to move south to Florida

    The records also show that Joseph and Elizabeth stayed in Meire Grove until after their last daughter's birth in 1880,

    The Joseph Nathe family who moved to Florida about 1880, spelled their name "Nathe".

    Joseph and Mary Elizabeth (DeMarto) Nathe, had 8 children. Their eldest child, Anna, was married and remained in Minnesota when the family moved to Florida.

    After arriving in Florida, the Nathes settled in Chipco, a town with one store and an old freight car for a depot. They bought land and built a home where Gertrude Nathe Gude lived. Theirs was the first recorded deed in Pasco County. They attended Church in San Antonio.

    Joseph and Mary Elizabeth had given the material for the chruch in Meier's Grove, Minnesota, where they lived before coming to Florida. Since there was no church near their home in Florida, they built the Catholic Church. The settlement was named St. Joseph after Joseph Nathe.

    Joseph died August 4, 1896, at St. Joseph. His wife, Mary Elizabeth, eventually moved back to Minnesota, along with her son Anton. Joe & Chris remained in St. Joseph.

    Joseph's second child, Casper Joseph (Joe) Nathe, was born in New Munich, Minnesota, on November 1, 1866. Because of his health, his family moved to Florida in 1887, when Joe was 21 years of age.

    On April 28, 1891, Casper Joseph (Joe) Nathe and Mary Elizabeth Barthle were married. Joe's health still was not good, and the doctors told him he would only live about 5 years. Joe & Lizzie started farming, then planting citrus trees. They had 14 children.

    Joe died at his home in St. Joseph on June 26, 1948, after 57 years of marriage. Lizzie died November 22, 1953. They had 66 grandchildren, 166 great-grandchildren, and 99 great-grandchildren. All children of Joe Nathe and Mary Elizabeth Barthle are on Bernard Barthle's line.