Descendants of the late John and Caroline Mellenbruch Otte gathered July 19 for the 57th annual reunion.
The pitch-in meal began at 12:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall at St. Paul Lutheran Church Borchers with the 33 members present reciting the common table prayer.
Following the meal, Olga Otte read the minutes of last year’s reunion and the treasurer’s report.
The group voted to donate $50 to St. Paul for use of the building and $50 to Anchor House, which helps the homeless and hungry in Jackson County.
Prizes were given to Bertha Otte and Brennen Rorick for being the oldest and youngest members present.
Carol Huffmeyer and Karen Wiesehan won prizes for having birthdays closest to Grandma Otte’s birthday of May 29 and Leland Otte for his birthday being the closet to Grandpa Otte’s birthday of Oct. 29.
Doris Rorick won a game in which each ancestor’s name was to be matched to their life dates. This was a very difficult game since the birth dates for the great-grandparents ranged from 1810 to 1822 and for their 10 grandchildren from 1878 to 1897.
Nearly everyone won prizes during Otte bingo. Instead of numbers, the cards were filled with the German-spelled baptismal names and places associated with the Otte family.
Vor dem Brucke, Germany, is the tiny hamlet where the ancestral Otte home still stands. Venne, Germany, was the town where men who had checked out this area met with the German families who wished to immigrate to America.
Most of the family came through Cincinnati, Ohio, and Johann Heinrich Otte and Anna Maria Mellencamp were married there.
Hannover, Germany, was the name of the region or state in Germany from where most of the ancestors originally came.
Johann Heinrich Otte and Conrad Mellenbruch were two of the 18 men who organized St. Paul Lutheran Church in 1852.
The Rev. H. Borchers was the minister of the church for about 30 years shortly after its founding.
The family of the late Henry and Mary Wente Otte will be the hosts for next year’s reunion July 17, 2016, at the fellowship hall.