County, IL, newspaper article
regarding the Kiel Stone House
Henry Kiel who built the stone house described in
the article below was born Johan Heinrich Kiel on Oct 17, 1823 in Flechum, Haseluenne, son
of Johan Bernard Kiel and Anna Wuebben. In 1825 and 1827, when siblings were born, the
family was living in Gross Stavern, Soegel. Henry's wife Anna Catharine Baalmann was born
in Soegel parish on Apr 3, 1827, possibly in Eisten. She departed for America in 1845, at
age 18, with her parents, Herman Heinrich Baalmann and Maria Adelheid Toebben, and four
siblings. Henry and Catharine were married in 1848 in St. Louis, MO but they left that
city soon afterwards to make their home in Calhoun County, Illinois.
The newspaper was probably the Alton Evening
Telegraph. The date of the article is not known.
out a place in Meppen history
|By Ande Yakstis
Telegraph staff writer
Meppen - German immigrant Henry Kiel settled in
Calhoun County in 1847 and built his famous stone house from limestone carved out of the
"My great-grandfather Henry Kiel built our stone home 150-years ago and our children
were the fifth generation to live in the house," said Elmer Kiel, who was raised in
the historic home in the tiny town of Meppen.
Kiel and his wife, Lois, are proud to show visitors their stone home nestled along the
beautiful limestone bluffs in Kiel Hollow.
The big stone house stands alone in a valley in a rustic farm setting of cattle grazing
along fields of bright green winter wheat.
Henry Kiel carved each stone out of the limestone bluffs to build his tow-story home in
Meppen, a quiet farming community along the scenic river bluffs in south-western Calhoun
County, said Elmer Kiel, who continues to farm the land with his family.
The old house is full of wonderful memories for the Kiel family during the last 150
years," Lois Kiel said.
|This antique photo shows
German Immigrants Henry
Kiel and his wife, Catherine,
who built the famous Kiel
Stone House in 1847 in
Meppen in Calhoun County.
A visitor who stands on the front porch of
the Kiel house can look across the valley and see the majestic steeple of St. Joseph
Catholic Church built from stone carved out of the same bluffs as the house.
A little country school house was also built from the bluff stone in 1863 and it still
stands," Calhoun County historian and author Larry Underwood said.
|Apple and peach trees will soon be showing their spring blossoms in the
hills of Meppen, a pleasant community of 200 residents a few miles north of Brussels in
The town of Meppen was named after Meppen, Germany, said Underwood, who loves the quiet
country setting around his home in Meppen.
German immigrants came from Meppen Germany and settled in Calhoun to build log houses,
plant crops and cut timber, said
For the Telegraph
This photo shows the 150-year-old Kiel Stone House
built from stones
carved out of the limestone river bluffs of Meppen in Calhoun County.
|Underwood, a retired social studies and German Language instructor at
Brussels High School.
"On Sept. 29, 1876 the Meppen Post Office began operation," said Underwood, who
saw the post office close a few years ago.
The names of German immigrants such as Siemers, Kiel, Sievers, Hillen, Brinkman, Bonner,
Droege, Bloom, Moenning, Schleeper and Kronable were among the early settlers.
"Until 1918, residents spoke the German language in the church and school,"
Visitors drive into the Meppin community in the fall to see the Kiel house surrounded by
trees with the red and gold colors of autumn.
Elmer and Lois Kiel raised their children, Edward, Mary,
Carl, Diann, Joan and Leonard in the old house.
In 1864, before St. Joseph Catholic Church was built, people gathered on the second floor
of the Kiel house for Sunday worship services.
The Rev. Francis Witthaut, the first Catholic priest, arrived in Meppen in 1864 and
recited the Sunday Mass in front of a portable altar upstairs in the Kiel home.
"There were funeral services and church weddings upstairs in the Kiel house,"
Lois Kiel said.
Elmer Kiel remembered when neighbors gathered in the home on Saturday nights for an
evening of country style entertainment and dancing.
"My father, Bernard Kiel, sat at the old piano and played tunes such as the "Red
River Valley" for couples to dance," he said.
The 13-room stone house, with 18-inch-thick walls, has stood against big storms, even a
tornado which ripped throughout the valley, Kiel said.
"It's a grand old house with a lot of nice memories and family history," Kiel