The Kücks Tangled Web

Let’s rewind once again, to Ohlrick Kucks. That old rascal who clipped his grandchildren’s nails too short, hoarded the candy, and may have had an alias.

I previously mentioned that another researcher through a different family line also recorded an alias story and gave his alias as Henry Brandt. But when would he have used this alias? How did this other researcher come up with the name, Henry Brandt? If his alias was Henry Brandt, why would he have chosen this name?

Well, I now have a theory.

Let’s start with when he would have used an alias. I think the stories have been confused. The story in our family is that he was reading the newspaper in the days leading up to the marriage of one of his daughter’s when he jumped up and exclaimed he was a deserter, had just been pardoned (presumably via some newspaper article) and his real name was Ohlrich Kücks.

The problem: His marriage record names him as Ohlrich Kücks. His children’s marriage records all name him as Ohlrich Kücks. Census records name him as Ohlrich Kücks. He doesn’t appear to have used an alias.

  • 1853: Born and baptized as Öhlerich Kücks

  • 1870: Arrives at New York as Oelrich Küks

  • October 1872 – May 1873: Enlists in the U.S. Army in Chicago, IL as Ohlrick Kucks. He was sent to the 2nd Cavalry, Co. I. Deserted from Fort Omaha, Nebraska or Ft. Sanders, Wyoming, the two places this company was operating from between 1872-1873.

  • May 1873-December 1877: Whereabouts unknown.

  • 25 January 1878: Marries Margaretha Hinkel as Ohlrick Kucks at Mondamin, Harrison County, Iowa

  • 1885-1900: In the Iowa State Census he is recorded as Ohlrich Kucks and in the Federal Census as O Kucks.

  • 1902: Marriage of first child, Elizabeth Kucks. She names her father as Ulrich Kucks. Her siblings also all name their father as Ohlrick when they get married after 1902.

So…if this story is true, I propose that he lived under an alias in the years 1873 through 1877, and it was the eve of his own marriage that he would have exclaimed to the family that he had been a deserter and could go back to using his real name.

For the next two questions, how did this other researcher come up with the name, Henry Brandt? And, if his alias was Henry Brandt, why would he have chosen this name? Both could be explained by the same theory as follows.

Ohlrich was not the first one in his family to arrive in the United States.

Ohlrich’s maternal uncle, Cord Schröder, immigrated to Harrison County, Iowa around 1865 after his marriage and the birth of his first two children. His wife’s name was Metta Brandt. They had at least 8 children together. One son, Hinrich Schröder, who was born in Germany in 1863 either doesn’t make it to the United States with the family or dies shortly after arriving. I am leaning towards the latter as I have not found his trail in the U.S., he is not buried in Germany, and he is not mentioned in Cord’s will. Anyway, the name Henry, or Hinirch, was given to various cousins in various branches of the family. Remember, Ohlrich had two brothers, John Henry and Henry, who lived in Iowa as well.

Incidentally, Ohlrich was close enough to his Uncle Cord, to be a witness for Cord’s will in 1915. Ohlrich’s father died about 10 years earlier, but Cord’s sister, who was Ohlrich’s stepmother/aunt, was still living and in Iowa.

Will of Cord Schröder with Ohlrich Kucks as witness on 2 September 1915, in Modale, Harrison County, Iowa. This would have to be Ohlrich the younger as Ohllerrich the elder died in 1904., Iowa, Wills and Probate Records, 1758-1997.

So, the story of him using an alias is more plausible than I had originally believed. If he did use an alias, it was very likely to have occurred between 1873 and 1877. He may have returned to Harrison County, IA after his desertion because he had family there, who took him in and sheltered him. He would have chosen Henry Brandt because of the Kücks and Schröder family association to Brandts back in Germany.

The Kücks and Schröder families are intricately connected to the Brandt family. Cord’s wife, Mette, is not the only Brandt personally known to Ohlrich. As I mentioned already, Ohrlich’s brother, Clause, married Catherine Brandt in Iowa. And Ohrlich’s paternal grandmother was Anne Catherine Brandt. His cousin, Dietrich Schröder married another Catherine Brandt in Iowa. And his cousin, Elizabeth Schröder married a Brandt. I suspect that if I keep digging, I will find more Brandts in the tree.

Those Kücks and their tangled web.