Richard Pappe 1860-1919

This biography has been pieced together from a variety of sources. Some facts are fully documented, others are guesses on our part. We welcome any additions or corrections by family members or other researchers. Please contact us if you have additions or corrections to the biography of Richard Pappe.

> Click here to see the Biography of Richard Pappe published in 1929 in OKLAHOMA — A History of the State and its People.

Richard Pappe was born was born in Stotternheim, Germany on December 05, 1860. The youngest of five brothers, he was the son of (Johann) Gottfried Wilhelm Pappe (1811-1894) and his second wife, (Johanna) Catherina Heinemann (1824-?). In January 1864 when Richard was only 3 years old, his father Gottfried Pappe died, leaving Catherine a widow with five young sons plus two older daughters from his first marriage.

As a teenager Richard apprenticed as a baker. About 1980, when he was 20 he married Louise Kornrumpf (1861-1938), who was from the village of Gross Lengden, near Goettingen. Louise, too, had lost her father when she was just three years old and at fourteen had moved to Goettingen to work as a maid. We aren't sure when or where the couple met, but surmise that at some point, perhaps when Richard completed his apprenticeship and became a journeyman, he took a job in Goettingen, which is about 80 miles northwest of his birthplace.

In 1882, Richard and Louise Pappe immigrated to America, departing from Antwerp, Belgium and arriving in New York on April 3rd. With them was an 11 month old son named Robert Pappe. (See ship's passenger list.) From there they traveled to Tazewell County, Illinois, which is where Richard's brother, Albert Ludwig Pappe (1854-1924) lived. Another brother, John Hermann Pappe (1852-1903), had also lived in Illinois from 1872 to 1875 but had moved to Missouri and then to Kansas by the time Richard arrived.

By mid-July 1882, just a few months of their arrival in America, the couple relocated to Newton, Harvey County, Kansas. (See clippings) A few years before that John Hermann Pappe and his family had settled in Newton, where John was working as a baker. Louise's sister, Charlotte Kornrumpf Engel also lived nearby. Within two weeks Richard had opened the Empire bakery in Newton and it was in full operation. The couple's second son, Albert, was born in Newton in July 1893. (see baptism certificate)  By March 1884, two years after immigrating, Richard filed his Declaration of Intent to become a naturalized citizen in Harvey County.

The family didn't stay long in Newton. By March 1885, the Kansas state census shows Richard, Louise and Albert living in Pratt, Kansas. Their first son, Robert, was no longer with the family. In Pratt, Richard opened the City Bakery. (see clipping). In June 1887 another son, Richard Pappe Jr., was born in Pratt. (We suspect that there was also child born about 1885 based on photographs but have no other documentation.) 1887 was the year that the railroad line extended to Pratt, connecting it to Wichita and beyond, so the town was experiencing a period of rapid growth.

In August 1888, five years after his arrival in America, Richard Pappe became a naturalized citizen in neighboring Reno County, Kansas. Two months later, in September 1888, the entire family left for Germany for an extended visit. On December 15th, while Richard and family were in Germany, a son was born to Richard's brother Karl Pappe and his wife Auguste in Leipzig. Richard was invited to be a witness (godfather) at the baptism in January 1889. He probably accepted, because the child was named Richard in his honor. (see invitation)

On February 21, Richard applied for an "emergency" US passport at the US consulate in Leipzig, Germany. (see passport) Then on March 8th the Pappes returned to America. Richard's mother, Catherina Heinemann Pappe, was traveling with them on the ship. The ship's passenger list indicated that Catherine's residence was Leipzig and that she was not planning an extended stay in America.

Disaster stuck in December 1888, while the Pappes were in Europe. The Pappe building in Pratt, Kansas burned to the ground, destroying Richard's business and several others. (see clipping). We don't know if that event influenced Richard to start over in Oklahoma, but just one month after returning to the US to find his business destroyed, Richard Pappe filed a homestead claim in Kingfisher County in the April 22, 1889 opening of the Oklahoma Territory.

About this time one of the Pappe brothers — either Richard or John Hermann — opened a bakery in Wichita. We know this only because of an old family photo taken in Wichita in the late 1880s or early 1990s of a Vienna Bakery. A sign hanging from the side of the awning says "Pappes Vienna Bakery" and the young man standing in front of the building resembles Richard Pappe. But since we have no photos of John Hermann and neither is listed in the city directories, we don't know for certain which brother owned the bakery.

After the "opening" of the Oklahoma Territory in April 1889, Richard Pappe immediately opened a bakery in Lisbon (later merged with and renamed Kingfisher). According to Pappe family oral history, his first bakery was in a tent in the boom town that sprang up literally overnight. It was a true Wild West setting — complete with saloons and brothels and every type of person imaginable. Within a few weeks, wooden buildings began to be constructed in the town, followed by brick buildings a few years later. A few months after arriving in Oklahoma, another son, Arthur Pappe, was born.

In addition to a bakery, Richard had claimed a 160 acre farm east of Kingfisher at Sec 23, Twp 16N, Range 62 but by January 1890 his claim had been amended to Sec 30, Twp 16N, Range 6W. The homestead contract required that Richard make improvements to his property and reside there for five years. His homestead file obtained from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. includes a request for leave of absence from his homestead that was filed in January 1890 in order to earn money to continue making improvements to his homestead. It states that he had already built a "good substantial frame house" on his land, described as "14 x 12 feet with two windows and two doors, a shingle roof and a board floor." He had also broken 12 acres of land and dug a well.

Besides baking, Richard soon branched out and opened what may have been the first of several saloons. About 1893-94 he established the Rock Island Saloon and Vienna Bakery. The saloon/bakery is said to be located in Kingfisher, but we know he went to Enid for a time early on, and he owned a business in Enid where he sold Vienna baked goods and dealt in imported liquors and cigars. So it's possible that this business was there. (see clipping and Enid Bakery)

The Pappe family was always devout and active in the German Evangelical church. In 1875 at the age of 15 Richard was confirmed in Stotternheim. (see confirmation certificate) In 1900, Richard and Louise Pappe, along with nine other families founded a German Evangelical church in Kingfisher. Richard signed the original constitution and served as President and Treasurer for many years. Richard's daughter, Louise Marie Pappe, married William Jersak who was pastor of the church from 1915 until 1918.

Richard's saloon businesses flourished up until the time of Oklahoma statehood in 1907, at which time Oklahoma became a dry state. By that time he had branched out into a number of other endeavors, including restaurants, banking, real estate, and insurance. He was also a Notary Public (see certificate). He accumulated many properties around Kingfisher and built several major buildings, including the Grand Opera (now called the Pappe building) and the R Pappe building next door. The Pappe house on the corner of Eight Street and Miles Avenue that he build in 1910 was one of the finest homes in the town.

Richard was active for many years in the American Organization of United Workmen (AOUW), possibly as early as the time he lived in Pratt, Kansas. He attended many conventions and other AOUW events and was a Director of the Grand Lodge in Kingfisher at the time he died.

Richard and Louise Pappe claimed to have had as many as12 children (see the 1910 census) but we have been able to confirm only eight of them. Its possible that they just quietly buried those that died as infants because no official records can be found. One child, Albert Pappe (1883-1909) died at age 25 and Clara (1897-1906) died when she was eight. Only four others lived long enough to marry and have children. The children of Richard and Louise Kornrumpf Pappe were:

  1. Robert Pappe 1881-?  Born: about April 1881 in Germany. Died: before 1885 in Illinois or Kansas..
  2. Albert Andreas Louis Pappe (aka Albert) 1883-1909 Born: July 26, 1883 in Newton, Kansas. Died: July 26, 1883 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Occupation: Saloon and restaurant owner.
  3. Richard Pappe Jr. 1887-1961 Born: June 30, 1887 in Pratt, Kansas. Died: October 13, 1961 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Occupation: Grocer and Businessman. (see obituary)
  4. Arthur Pappe 1889-1971 Born: October 13, 1961in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Died: February 02, 1971 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Occupation: Carpenter and landlord. (see obituary)
  5. Louise Marie Pappe 1892-1986  Born: January 23, 1892 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Married William Jersak 1881-1961. Died: January 07, 1986 in Springfield, Missouri. (see obituary)
  6. Wilhelm Hermann Pappe 1895-? Born: January 07, 1895, baptized in Enid, OT. Died: Unknown, before 1900.
  7. Clara Pappe 1897-1906  Born: August 02, 1897 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Died: October 29, 1906 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. (see obituary)
  8. Court Pappe 1901-1971 Born: June 21, 1901in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Died: August 17, 1972 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Occupation: Proprietor, Pappe Oil Company and Tourist Court. (see obituary)
  9. Several other children that died in infancy

On April 12, 1919 Richard Pappe died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 58. His widow, Louise, lived another 22 years, passing away on July 11, 1941 at age 80. Both are buried in Kingfisher Cemetery. (see Richard Pappe obituary and Louise Pappe obituary.)


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