From Heppenheim to Hawaii – the life of Marianne Cope

Sister Marianne Cope in her youth. From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Sister Marianne Cope in her youth. From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Last week I heard from a Knapp cousin who recently discovered Knapp Notes while doing family history research. Barb Brown had an intriguing story to share with us.

It’s an amazing story of how a young girl from Heppenheim sailed from Germany on the same ship that carried one of our ancestors to America – and grew up to do incredible things. Here is Barb’s letter below:

Dear Ann:

I recently stumbled upon “Knapp Notes” in researching my family history.  Johann Klein (1801-1883) and Elizabetha Knapp (1803-1841) are my 3rd great grandparents.

Do you have any information on Elizabeth’s grandparents and earlier?  I would appreciate any assistance you can give me.  I noticed in the “Notes” references to the Moledor’s.  My 2nd great-grandfather is Johann Moledor (1816-1876).  I have a copy of his Reisepass a cousin generously shared with me if you are interested.

I also noted the name Trares listed on your website.  I am not related to the Trares, but researching genealogy often leads to tangents.  One of these side investigations led me to the following, which you may find interesting.

When he was 14, John Lewis Trares (1825-1904)  arrived in the U.S. on the ship Ariosta on October 16, 1839 (per New York Passenger List , 1824-1957).

Turning to the next page of this same passenger list (traveling on the same ship), you will find the Peter Koob family.  Note that the youngest of the family, Barbara, was 1 1/2 years old.  The Koob family was from Heppenheim, Hesse.  Upon reaching the U.S., the Koob family moved to Utica, NY where the family name became Americanized as Cope.

Barbara became a nun  and taught in the schools in the area and also became a principal.  She established two Catholic hospitals in the area and acted as administrator.  In 1883, the king of Hawaii pleaded with religious orders asking for help in caring for lepers.  Over 50 religious orders were contacted.  Only Barbara responded with enthusiasm. She and six other sisters went to Hawaii to care for those devastated by this disease.  She cared for Father Damien , also known as St. Damien of Molokai, in his last months.

By the way, upon entering her order, Barbara became Sister Marianne.  She was canonized in 2012 by Pope Benedict as St. Marianne Cope.

Had the Koob family traveled west with the Trares, instead of heading north, we may have had a saint from our parish of St. Joseph, Randolph.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of information.


Barb Brown

(A distant Knapp cousin)

Thanks, Barb, for sharing this fascinating bit of history with the other members of the Knapp clan. Please note Barb’s request for assistance with learning more about her Knapp, Klein and Moledor connections. If anyone has any information to share, please contact me at Knapp Notes and I’ll pass along the information to Barb.


Wish to learn more about Marianne Cope and her work with the lepers in Hawaii?



This entry was posted in Catholic Church, Germany, Heppenheim, Hessen, St. Joseph Randolph, Trares and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to From Heppenheim to Hawaii – the life of Marianne Cope

  1. Greating from Heppenheim, Hesse, Germany. It’s true, that Barbara Koob (Marianne Cope) arrived New York on the ship Ariosta on October, 1839 – but as I read, master D. C. Lottrrop signed the passngers list on October 10th, 1839. The majority of the passengers were families from Heppenheim and the villages Kirschhausen, Sonderbach and Erbach. Most of them movend to Portage County and there to the Randolph township and to the Suffield township.
    One of the passngers, Georg May, emmigrated in 1832 to Ohio, moved back to Hesse to take his mother and two of his sisters to US on the Ariosto.
    The other families in the List of Passengers are:
    Martin Bauer (Bower), Peter Klein (Kline), Mathes Trares (Traris) und Friedrich Antes from Kirschhausen
    Peter Klein (Kline) from Sonderbach
    Adam Hohenadel (Honadel) and Gerhard Breier (Briar, Prier) from Erbach
    Martin Mischler (Mishler, Mesler), Georg May, Johannes May, Ignatz Kämmerer (Kimmer), Martin Grosmann and Peter Koob (Cope) from Heppenheim
    Also on the ship were Wilhelm Koll from heppenheim and Peter Shäfer (Shefer) from Kirschhausen.
    So far I found In the US Census of 1840 Martin Bower, Gahart Prier, Adam Honadel, Peter Cline, Martin Mesler, Mattis Traris (Suffield). From Ohio, some of the emigrants migrated further west, including to Indiana or Illinois.

    If you want to learn more about your German relatives from Heppenheim and the hamlets, please write. I am interested in the data of the emigrants from Heppenheim and the surrounding villages. In addition to the names already mentioned, well-known names such as Antes, Engelhart, Guthier (Gouthier), Jordan, Knapp, Lang (Long), Luley (Luli ?) or Rothermel – some in Americanized form – descend from this area.

    Manfred Bräuer, Historical Society of Heppenheim


  2. Mary Lou Wise-Kreitz says:

    Very interesting. I mentioned Barb’s entry to my brother Bob thinking I was telling him something new. Well don’t you know, he has been to the shrine.


  3. Fran Bates says:

    Kathy, we may be related to a saint! Now we have a witch and a saint, and a whole lot in between.

    Love, dad

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Michael Wise says:

    Great post Ann.  I knew a little about Marrianne Cope, but had no details except word of mouth. Thank you for this information.Michael Wise


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