Detlef Anton Ohrt (1837-1922)

Detlef Anton and Martha (Jensen) Ohrt

Obituary of Detlef A. Ohrt

“Detlef A. Ohrt was born Sept. 10, 1837 on the North Sea Island of Pellworm belonging to S[c]hleswig Holstein, Germany, died Apr. 28, 1922 in Dexter, Iowa.

“In 1865 he married Martha Maria Jensen, a faithful and devoted wife who preceded him in death ten years ago in January 1912.


“He decided to make America the home of his family and so he and his wife with their two daughters, Anna and Joanna, embarked [on the ship Thuringia], reached New York June 12, 1871. On June 19, 1871 he and his family reached Dexter, Iowa.

“He subsequently settled on a farm south east of Dexter known as the Ohrt homestead where the greater part of his life was rounded out.

The Ohrt homestead NE of Dexter: Standing: ____, _____, Anna (Ohrt) Blohm, Anna (Jensen) Ohrt. Seated: ____, _____, Detlef Ohrt.

“He and his family became members of the local Zion Lutheran Church, and since 1885 he became an active member.

“In Dexter the Ohrt home was blessed with a daughter Christine and in Madison County two sons were born, Peter M. Ohrt and John C. Ohrt.

“Since fall in 1910 Mr. Ohrt and his wife moved to Dexter to live with their daughter Christine. Here two years later Mrs. Ohrt passed away.

“Mr. Ohrt leaves to mourn his death two daughters Anna, widow of the late Mr. Geo. A. Blohm, and Christine, two sons, Peter M. Ohrt and John C. Ohrt; one brother in Germany, John Ohrt, and a sister Anna also in Germany; fourteen grandchildren.

“The days of his earthy sojourn have been eighty four years, seven months, and eighteen days.

“The funeral services were held Sunday at 10:00 at the home and at 10:00 [sic] at the Lutheran church in charge of Rev. ___.

“Through an oversight the name of Mrs. JHanna [sic] Ohrt whose marriage to J.H. Clausen occurred in 1887 and whose death occurred in 1894 was unintentionally missed. The obituary was written by Mr. Ohrt himself some time previous to his heath. – Edi.”


Detlef loved horses and began raising “spotted ponies.” (And, according to a family story, that Detlef Ohrt sold one of his precious horses to the outlaw, Jesse James.)


They even dressed up for this photo!


Dethlef was the son of Johann Jakob and Johanna Sophia (Petersen) Ohrt of Pellworm, Schleswig, [then] Denmark.

Tammwarft farm on Pellworm. (Original photo: Betty Lee)
Johann Christian Ohrt (1853-1928) m. 1881 to Emma Detlefsen (1858-1941). Their son was Johann Jakob Ohrt (1886-1963), daughters Elizabeth, Johanna, Ida, and Laura. 
Tammwarft farm, taken 1990 by Russell Jensen

Pellworm is a North Frisian Island in the North Sea, west of Schleswig Holstein District, which is the northern-most district in Germany. The island lies about 20 miles from Germany and about 30 from Denmark. The population of the island is German, Danish, and Frisian.


The land is low-lying and criss-crossed with canals. Poles were left along the canals to use as pole-vaults in shortcuts. The longest dimension of Pellworm is five miles. Windmills are needed to pump out water.

“Warft” means a farmhouse-barn. It had a thatched roof. “Koog” is land reclaimed from the sea or protected by a dike.

Children of Dethlef and Martha Ohrt

Anna Marguerite Ohrt (1866-1934), married George Amus Blohm. Children: Martin Anton Blohm, Carl Detliff Blohm, Martha Blohm, George Albert Blohm, Hannah Christine (Blohm) Cox, Carrie Helen (Blohm) Marsh, William Richard Blohm, Ruby Emma (Blohm) Neal, Edwin Hoyt Blohm, Walter Conrad Blohm, Frank Delwood Blohm.

Johanna Justine Ohrt (1868-1894), married Johannes Herman Clausen. Children: Ferdinand Detrich “Buck” Clausen, Detlef Clausen, Walter Martin Clausen, Hilda (Clausen) Boos.

Christine Fredericke “Tine” Ohrt (1873-1946), unmarried. Tine Ohrt and her niece Martha Blohm visited Germany together. They were on the last boat out of Germany to return to American before WWI broke out.

Peter Martin Ohrt (1885-1966), married Eva Maude Payton. Children: Payton D. Ohrt, Betty Marie (Ohrt) Lee, Paul M. Ohrt.

Paul M. Ohrt, WWI–Medical Department, served in New Guinea and the Philippines

John Conrad Ohrt (1887-1948), married Delia Louella French. Children: Herbert K. Ohrt, Louella Jean Ohrt, Robert C. Ohrt, Jeanette Mae (Ohrt) Tippen.

Mary (Wells) Jobst’s Visit to Pellworm

Mary (Wells) Jobst (who descends from Anna (Ohrt) Blohm, as I do–her mother and my dad were first cousins) visited Pellworm in 2017. Our Blohm and Ohrt ancestors left there for America in 1870 and 1871, the Blohms said, so their sons wouldn’t have to fight for the Kaiser. (Schleswig-Holstein had been part of Denmark until Germany managed to take the area.)

Mary was given a history in German of the Ohrt family, which includes pictures of our ancestors, Dethlef Anton and Martha Maria (Jensen) Ohrt–near Dexter, Iowa.

Pell(3 (2)
Shows Tammwarft farm.
Pell(5 (2)
The Ohrts of Dexter, Iowa, on page 62 of Paul Ohrt seine Vorfahren und seine Nachtommen.


Information from Russell R. Jensen, Mary (Wells) Jobst, and Allen Ohrt, as well as the obituary of Dethlef A. Ohrt.


  1. I don’t think I followed exactly how the people with the farm in the island were related to the Ohrts in Iowa. Johann was “John” in the obituary? And Paul? Is Mary a cousin of yours?

    • Wow, it wasn’t very clear, was it? Johann never came to America, but was the father of Dethlef. Peter and John were sons of Dethlef. Paul was Peter’s son. I don’t remember him, but I do remember his sweet sister Betty (Ohrt) Lee.
      Mary’s mother, Peggy (Blohm) Wells (who will be 89 or 90 next week) is my dad’s first cousin.

  2. Oh, my, Johanna was my Grandpa Walter Clausen’s mother, so my great-grandmother! However, she died when grandpa was just a toddler. I have her marriage certificate and confirmation certificate from Zion Lutheran Church. I’m so excited to be reading all this history. I’m still teaching, but I’m enjoying some summer days off! I so wish I had written things down when my dad mentioned them. Sadly, I only have vague memories now.

  3. The “oldest” surnames on my LEVSEN family tree are: Fedders, Harrsen, Jansen, Stockfleth, Christiansen, and Holub. There was a double Holub cousin. I believe she introduced my Levsen grandparents. There are many more surnames on the large tree containing both U.S. and German citizens which was compiled by Heinz Levsen and an earlier relative.

  4. My grandfather was Peter Martin Ohrt and Maude Payton Ohrt , (his wife) our grandmother . We lived with our grandparents north of the Ohrt farm ( Ed and Helen Rohr) for eight years and visited our Ohrt grandparents often.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.