The name "Grieb" is possibly a variant spelling of the Swiss German family name Griebe, an occupational name for a butcher or fat dealer, taken from the Middle High German term griube, meaning ‘rendered bacon pieces’, or ‘crackling’ (the crunchy rind left over after rendering pork or chicken fat), or less enticingly, "unsightly, emaciated man." Since the late 13th century, the imperial crest was awarded without raising the beneficiaries to the peerage by from Charles IV ( 1346-1378 ). In the 15th century, they were entrusted to the Palatine with a coat of arms procurement, and also granted a civil Family Crest. The Coat of Arms shown here features a blue shield with a silver lion rampant.
   The Grieb family in our line can be traced all the way back to JOHANN GEORG GRIEBEN and his wife, CHRISTINA MARGARETHA WOLFIN, about whom we know nothing other than their names on their son's baptism and wedding documents:


  • JOHANN MICHAEL GRIEB, was born in 1783 and baptized on 6 Aug 1783 in Möhringen, Oa u. Stuttgart, Würtemberg to CHRISTINA MARGARETHA WOLFIN and JOHANN GEORG GRIEB (SOURCE: Evangelisches Landeskirchenamt, Stuttgart, Deutschland; click on the image at right). He married BARBARA MERZIN ("Merz" in family histories) on 2 Feb 1802 in Möhringen.
  • Personal Information
    Wedding Record
    Name: Johann Michael Grieb
    Gender: männlich (male)
    Event: Heirat (Marriage)
    Date: 2 Feb 1802
    Place: Möhringen, Oa u. Stuttgart, Würtemberg
    Father: Johann Georg Grieben
    Spouse: Barbara
    View image
    SOURCE: Evangelisches Landeskirchenamt, Stuttgart, Deutschland.
       Their son, Michael became a coach maker (I guess dealing in fat was no longer popular) in the Duchy of Würtemberg (in what is now Germany). Würtemberg is located east of the Upper Rhine. Except for the Rhine plain, it's a mountainous and hilly region that includes the Swabian Jura and the Black Forest, drained by the Neckar River. It had been a Duchy (state) within the Holy Roman Empire, and then in 1806 it became a Kingdom with the break-up of empire.¹
       Michael married BARBARA MERZIN ("Merz" in family histories) on 2 Feb 1802 in the village of Möhringen in the Duchy of Würtemberg. The village of Möhringen has a long history: A thousand years ago, it was ruled by the Counts of Tübingen, but they sold the village in the 13th century to the Hospital of Esslingen, and it remained under Esslingen ownership until the end of the Old Empire, in the early 1800s. About this time, Michael and Barbara began to raise a family:


  • CHRISTINA MAGDALENA GRIEB was born on 29 Nov 1802 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg. She was baptized on November 27, 1802 in Möhringen, Oa u. Stuttgart, Würtemberg, to Michael Grieb and Barbara Merzin (SOURCE: Evangelisches Landeskirchenamt, Stuttgart, Deutschland; click on the image at right).
  • MICHAEL GRIEB, JR., born on 22 Oct 1806 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg. He married CHARLOTTE (ELIZABETH MASTELLA) WAGNER on 8 Sep 1833 in Möhringen, Oa u. Stuttgart, Würtemberg. They had nine children, listed below. He died on 23 Jan 1861 in the village of Möhringen in the Duchy of Würtemberg (SOURCE: Evangelisches Landeskirchenamt, Stuttgart, Deutschland; click on the image at right).
  • Wagner
       On the eighth of September in 1833, Michael Jr. married CHARLOTTE (ELIZABETH MASTELLA) WAGNER in Möhringen, during a period of peace, and they started a family. But by 1848 there was a revolution started in the German states. No violence took place in the duchy but King William had to dismiss his ministers due to pressure from the revolutionary movement, and call to power men with more liberal ideas, proponents of united Germany. William proclaimed a democratic constitution, but as soon as the movement had spent its force he dismissed the liberal ministers, and in October 1849 brought his former ministers back into power. By interfering with popular electoral rights, the king and his ministers succeeded in assembling a servile diet in 1851 that surrendered the privileges gained since 1848.
       Michael's family lost many of the freedoms they had gained in the previous three years, and began plotting a way out of their darkening situation. Michael and Elisabetha's children were:


  • JAKOB GRIEB I was born on 07 Aug 1834 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He died on 28 Aug 1834, in Moehringen.
  • JOHANN "JOHN" MICHAEL GRIEB was born on 14 Jul 1835 in Moehringen. In Apr 1855, he applied to emigrate to North America (Wuerttemberg Emigration Index, Stuttgart, #849612). Once in the United States, he married Anna Nunemaker (b. 1846) and had the following children: Charles F. (b. 1867); Elizabeth (b. 1869); Albert (b. 1872), Henry W. (b. 1875); George E. Grieb (b. 1879) and John Jr. John Sr. died on 2 Dec 1910 in Elkhart, Indiana. See his family here. (Photos courtesy of William Keedy.)
  • JAKOB "JACOB" GRIEB II was born on 15 Jan 1837 in Moehringen Stuttgart, Wurtemberg Germany. After his father died in 1860, he applied to leave Moehringen for North America with brother Carl Friedrich, according to the Wuerttemberg Emigration Index (Stuttgart, Mar 1861, #849614) to reunite with his brother, Wilhelm, but his dreams of a better life in a new land were cut short when he died on 30 Aug 1861 in Freedom Township, Washtenaw Co., Michigan.
  • WILHELM (WILLIAM) GRIEB was born on 05 Jun 1838 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He married SALOMA MAMMEL on 14 Mar 1872 in Washtenaw County Michigan. They had 12 children, listed below. See the whole family here. William died on 18 Nov 1901, in Lima Township, Washtenaw County, Chelsea, Michigan. He is buried at Rogers Corner. See his headstone here.
  • DAVID GRIEB was born on 11 Feb 1840 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He died the next day, on 12 Feb 1840, in Moehringen.
  • JOHANNES GRIEB was born on 30 Apr 1841 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He died on 09 May 1841 in Moehringen.
  • ROSINA ELIZABETHA GRIEB was born on 16 May 1843 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. She died on 23 May 1845 in Moehringen.
  • CARL FREDRICH "CHARLES" GRIEB was born on 04 Oct 1844 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg Germany. He applied to emigrate to North America with brother Jakob (Stuttgart, Mar 1861, #849614) and settled in Freedom, Washtenaw County, MI. On 8 Jun 1862 he enlisted in the Union Army in Sharon, Michigan, and became a private in Company B, Michigan 20th Infantry Regiment on 16 Aug 1862. He was mustered out on 30 May 1865 at Delaney House, Washington, DC. After the war, he married CLARINTHA AMELIA "CLARA" BOWLES of Chelsea, Michigan, on 15 Feb 1872. They had four children: John Edward Lacey, Charles F., Alice Elizabeth, and William. In the 1880 census, they lived in Sylvan, Washtenaw, Michigan, then moved to Ingham County. Carl died on 24 Aug 1930 in Webberville, Ingham Co., Michigan.
  • JOHANN GOTTLOB GRIEB was born on 06 Oct 1847 in Moehringen, Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He died on 9 Oct 1847 in Moehringen.
  • Personal Information
    Passenger List
    Name: Wilhelm GRIEB
    Age: 17
    Ship: Hevetia
    Arrival Date: 1855
    Port of Departure: Wuerttemberg
    Place of Origin: Moehringen
    Port of Arrival: New York
    View image
    SOURCE: New York. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
       We have scattered information on the Grieb family from various documents and historical books. Records in Germany at Mohringen Lutheran Church show Johann Michael emigrated to America in 1853, Wilhelm in 1855 and Elizabeth with sons Jakob and Carl Friedrich in 1861.
       A Michael Greib, age 35, is listed as sailing to America from Havre on the ship James L. Bogert, arriving in New York on July 26, 1852 (Apr 1855, Destination: N.-Amer Number: 849612).
       William told a biographer that he came to America in 1855 (as seen in the passenger list at left), and settled in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his brother John Michael, worked for about six years. About this time his mother came to this country and bought a farm in Freedom tp. Charlotte arrived with two sons Karl, (Charles) and Jakob. The family settled in Michigan, as Charlotte's brothers were in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area working as tailors and farmers. (The book "Germans to America" confirms that Wilhelm, age 17, came on the ship Helvetia from Havre, arriving June 20, 1855.)

       On 14 Mar 1873, William married SALOMA MAMMEL, born in Freedom township in 1848. Her parents came into Scio township when she was four years old, and remained until she was 17, when they removed to Freedom township again. They have a family of 4 children—Catherine, Charles, Frank and an infant. (Later came our ancestor MARTHA GRIEB, at right.) William was a member of the Lutheran Church, and a successful farmer. His parents were members of the same denomination. His father died in 1861 and his mother Feb 6, 1880. (This was taken from "History of Washtenaw County, Michigan: and Biographies of Representative Citizens. History of Michigan", published by C.C. Chapman & Company, 1881, p. 814).

    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name: William Grebe
    Age: 40
    Birthplace: Germany
    Home in 1860: Lima, Washtenaw, Michigan
    Estimated Birth Year: 1840
    Status: Married
    Roll: T9_608
    Enumeration District: 230
    Profession, Occupation ot Trade: Farmer
    View image
    View blank 1880 census form
    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name: William Grieb
    Home in 1900: Lima, Washtenaw, Michigan
    Age: 61
    Estimated birth year: June 1838
    Birthplace: Germany
    Occupation: Farmer
    House/Farm: Farm
    Own/Rent: Own
    Read/Write: Yes/Yes
    Speak English: Yes
    Roll: T623_746
    Page: 4A
    View image
    View blank 1900 census form
    SOURCE INFORMATION: United States Federal Census. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC

    Wilhelm and Saloma Grieb

       Carl (Charles) Grieb and Catherine Mammel were attendents at Wilhelm and Salome's wedding at Zion Lutheran on Rogers Corners. Salome stayed true to her old-fashioned farm roots. Well into the 20th Century, Dorothy Pritchard remembers watching Salome drive past the Pritchard house in her horse and buggy to visit her son Reuben and his family. They had the following children:


  • CATHERINE EMMA GRIEB was born on 21 Mar 1873 in Lima Township, Washtenaw Co. Michigan. She married JOHANN GEORGE ZAHN on 20 Apr 1899 and they had two kids: Johann and Bertha. Catherine died on 18 Nov 1941 in Chelsea, Washtenaw Co., Michigan.
  • KARL CHARLES "CHARLIE" GRIEB was born on 29 Mar 1874 in Lima Township, Washtenaw County, Chelsea, Michigan. He married MARY MAGDALENA LOEFFLER and they had a son, Wilbur in 1897.
  • WILHELM GRIEB was born in July of 1875. He died on 31 Aug 1875.
  • JOHANNES G. GRIEB was born in October of 1876. He died in August of 1877.
  • FRANK FREDERICK GRIEB was born on 19 Mar 1878 in Lima Township, Washtenaw Co. Michigan. He married ELIZABETH ANNA GUENTHER on 11 Dec 1902, and had two daughters: Emma and Edna. Frank died on 08 Dec 1948 in Chelsea, Washtenaw Co., Michigan.
  • LUDWIG GRIEB was born and died in 1879.
  • MARTHA CAROLINA GRIEB was born on 08 Dec 1880 in Lima township, Washtenaw County Michigan, her father, Wilhelm, was 42 and her mother, Salome, was 32. She married a farmer named MARTIN WENK on 06 Jan 1909. They had six children during their marriage, listed below. She died from "cardiac insufficiency" and arteriosclerosis on 27 Mar 1937 in Freedom Township, Washtenaw Co., Michigan, according to her death certificate (SOURCE: Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan), just a few years before her namesake granddaughter, MARTHA WENK, was born.
  • EUGENE GRIEB was born on 23 Mar 1883 in Lima Township, Washtenaw Co. Michigan. Eugene died on 24 Oct 1962.
  • BERTHA FREDERICKA GRIEB was born on 05 Nov 1884 in Lima Township, Washtenaw Co. Michigan. She married GODFRIED ANDREAS EISELE on 28 Jan 1914 and they had two sons: Paul and Oskar Eisele. Bertha died on 02 July 1945 in Scio Twp, Washtenaw County, Michigan.
  • GUSTAV ADOLF GRIEB was born on 05 Oct 1886. He died on 29 Oct 1921.
  • REUBEN GRIEB was born on 02 May 1887. He married AMANDA TRINKLE on 15 Nov 1911 and they had two sons, Leroy and Earl. Reuben died on 23 Dec 1969.
  • JULIUS OSCAR GRIEB was born on 24 May 1890. He died in October of 1902.
  • Martha Carolina Grieb in her youth; posing with sisters Catherine Emma and Bertha; and later in life.

       Their daughter MARTHA CAROLINA GRIEB (b. 08 Dec 1880 in Lima township) was a pretty, delicate child who looked mature beyond her years—and very serious. She married MARTIN WENK on 06 Jan 1909, and they had six children together a small, 10-acre farm in Freedom Township.
       In 1923, Martin bought his family's 40-acre farm (with another 40 acres of marshland in the Tamarack Swamp) in Freedom Township after his mother died. He then bought another 30 acres of field between the two farms, creating a substantial 130-acre family estate.
       By the time of the 1930 Federal Census, Martin (54) and Martha (49) are still in Freedom, and all the kids still live at home, working the farm: Elmer (20), Erwin (19), Rubena (18), Edna (16), Ernest (15), and Norman (12). Martin is listed as a "working farmer," as a general farmer, as do all of his sons, but the threshing business is no longer reported. Martha would die seven years later, on 27 Mar 1937 in Freedom Township, from a weak heart. But her children all lived long, happy lives:


  • ELMER OSWALD WENK, b. 22 July 1909 in Lima Township, Washtenaw Co., MI. He went to Seminary at age 14 in St Louis Missouri. Because he did not have high school he also took High school there. Went by train, sent laundry home weekly. He got homesick, took the train home. Erv picked him up at station. (As narrated by Ernest Wenk, May 2001.) Elmer married Pearl Reed later in life, but they divorced on 22 Oct 1969. He died on 17 June 1976.
  • ERWIN MARTIN WENK, b. 13 Aug 1910 in Lima Township. He was an expert with engines and mechanical devices, but instead of choosing a career in that craft, chose to become a farmer like his father. He married DOROTHY PRITCHARD and had the following children: Martha, Irene, Donald, Chuck, Paul and Jean. Erwin died on 19 Oct 1982.
  • RUBENA MARITTA WENK, b. 10 Oct 1911 in Lima Township, Washtenaw Co., MI; Baptized 19 Nov 1911 at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Freedom Township. She married Walter George Loeffler (23 Nov 1909 - 27 Oct 1991) and they had the following children: Arlene (b. 05 Aug 1936. Read her family history here), Norman (b. 23 Apr 1941) and Carl Loeffler (1946 - 2001). Rubena died on 2 October 1987 in Freedom, Washtenaw, Michigan.
  • EDNA ANNA WENK, b. 13 Apr 1913 in Freedom Township. She loved to have "get togethers" according to Dorothy Wenk. She married Carlton Paul Burkhardt (22 Aug 1912 - 28 Dec 1968) in May, 1941, and they had the following children: Ronald Martin (b. 23 May 1942), Karen (b. 28 Dec 1944) and Gary Burkhardt (28 Jun 1949 - 27 Jun 2005). Edna died on 6 December 1974 in Manchester, Washtenaw, Michigan.
  • ERNEST WILHELM WENK, b. 09 June 1914 in Freedom Township. He farmed the Wenk homestead where he and his father owned and operated a sawmill. He worked for Chrysler at the Chelsea Proving Grounds. He enjoyed deer hunting, trapping, and fishing. On February 7, 1942 he married Edna M. Horning, and they had three children: Kenneth Carl, William Ernest (m. Marlene) of Denver, Colorado and Carolyn Elaine (m. Patrick) McNamara of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ernie passed away at age 91 on Thursday January 26, 2006 at the Chelsea Retirement Community.
  • NORMAN OSCAR WENK, b. 18 Jan 1918 in Freedom Township. He played baseball and football at Chelsea High, and married Lorena Alma Hieber (b. Nov. 1920) on 29 Aug 1942. Norman entered the U.S. Service February of 1942 and was sent overseas January 1945, landing at La Havre France, then invading Germany. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt., coming home February 1946. Norman and Lorena had the following children: Barbara Jean, Marilyn, Anita, Daniel and Robert Wenk. He and Lorena currently reside in downtown Chelsea.
  • NOTES:

    ¹—Political unrest in Würtemberg from 1815 until 1819 had resulted in the issuance of a constitution by King William I (reigned 1816-64), establishing a bicameral legislature, making Würtemberg was a center of liberalism in 19th-century Germany. It joined the Zollverein (Customs Union) with Prussia in 1834, but King Charles (1864-91) sided with Austria in the Seven Weeks' War (1866) and was forced to pay an indemnity by the victorious Prussians. In 1918, Würtemberg became a republic called the Free People's State of Würtemberg. Under the Nazi regime a "Reichsstatthalter" (lieutenant governor) for Würtemberg was appointed in 1933, and the state's government was subordinated to that of the Reich in 1934, while the Landtag, or State Diet, was abolished. After World War II, Würtemberg was divided between the United States and French occupation zones and became part of two new states: Würtemberg-Baden and Würtemberg-Hohenzollern. After the Federal Republic of Germany was formed in 1949, these two states merged with Baden in 1952 to become the modern German state of Baden-Würtemberg.



    JOHANN MICHAEL GRIEB (b. 1783), who married BARBARA MERZ and begat...

    MICHAEL GRIEB, JR. (1806 - 1860) who married CHARLOTTE (ELIZABETH MASTELLA) WAGNER (1809 - 1880) and begat...

    WILHELM (WILLIAM) GRIEB (1838 - 1901) who married SALMA KATE MAMMEL (1848 - 1932) and begat...

    MARTHA CAROLINA GRIEB (1880 - 1937) who married MARTIN WENK (1876 - 1964) and begat...

    ERWIN WENK (1910 - 1982) who married DOROTHY PRITCHARD (b. 1918) and begat...

    MARTHA WENK (b. 1940) who married CARLETON MARCHANT HAUSE, JR. (b. 1939) and begat...

    JEFF (who married LORI ANN DOTSON), KATHY (who married HAL LARSEN), ERIC (who married MARY MOONSAMMY), and MICHELE HAUSE (who married JOHN SCOTT HOUSTON).