Otto Stange was born on March 9, 1836 in the holländer’s house next to the old water castle of Plattenburg. His parents were Friedrich Stange and Caroline Bochin Stange and he was their 5th child, in fact he was the fifth son! So, there was a lot going on in the house, not only with 5 boys but also with the grandparents Johann Friedrich and Maria Stange living in the household. When sweet little Otto is two months old, his brother Friedrich, then 4 years of age, suddenly dies of shingles and is laid to rest next to his four Leiffheidt-cousins on the cemetery of Groß-Leppin. So far Friedrich’s family had been lucky, it was the first child to lose, the other ones, August Justus (9), Carl (6), Albert(1,5) and Otto were healthy and strong. That was much more than other families could say, not only the forester family Leiffheidt with Friedrich’s sister Dorothea had gone through a lot, even the owners of the manorial farm of Plattenburg, the noble family von Saldern had suffered many losses.
The children’s’ lives were always in danger, be it because of infectious diseases, diarrhea or even a bad cough could led to death. But maybe the very strict hygienic rules in the Stange-household due of their dairy business, were a reason for them not having gone through too many diseases? And of course there was plenty of food in this household, not only milk and cheese but also meat from the pigs they had. Or maybe they simple had been lucky. But there were others dangers to a child living on the country side; there simply could have been accidents, maybe being run over by a horse, the danger of open fire or the risk of drowning.
And so it was; on October 10, 1845 Otto fell from an wagon and died due to this accident. He was laid to rest next to his meanwhile 6 Leiffheidt-cousins and his grandmother Marie Stange, who had died the year before and his grandfather Johann Friedrich Stange, who had died only one month earlier.
But he was not forgotten. His brother Albert, who had immigrated to America, named his son Otto. This is what he wrote to his brother Carl in Germany in 1865: “When I told you about my marriage and the birth of a daughter in my last letter, please know that since then we have one more daughter and then a dickes fettes Söhnchen (=a little fat baby boy), a little Otto, who looks just like his Uncle Otto, bless his memory. He was born on November 7, 64. At the age of 3 weeks he all of the sudden got seriously ill, so that we were afraid he would not live to see the next morning, but he stayed with us thanks to God’s help and now he is healthy and well.”
His brother Carl named his second son Otto as well. And this Otto became 99 years old!
Coming soon: Cousins – Justus: The Prussian Way