- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

MOSCOW, Iowa (AP) - An estimated 100 people gathered Saturday at the Kaufmann Family Cemetery in eastern Iowa as part of a full weekend of activities for an annual family reunion.

Jeff Kaufmann, a former state legislator and current chairman of the state’s Republican Party, was the chief organizer of the reunion, which began in 1916, the Muscatine Journal (https://bit.ly/1S7nsJj ) reported. His great-great-great grandparents, Gottlieb and Dorothea E. Kaufmann, arrived in America from Germany in 1847 with 13 family members, including their own children and other extended family.

Relatives of the Kaufmann family gathered on Saturday at the cemetery, which is just north of Moscow in eastern Iowa.

The oldest grave in the cemetery belongs to Gottlieb, and he died in 1854. The last person to be buried in the family cemetery is retired Muscatine police officer Gerald Barclay, who died in 2012.

More than 350 people from more than 30 states and three countries were expected to attend reunion activities over the weekend. Frank Enke, whose great-great-great-great grandmother was Gottlieb’s sister, made the trip from Germany to attend his fourth Kaufmann family reunion.

Jeff said he has helped restore and maintain the cemetery since he was a teenager, with his motivation deriving mainly from his grandfather.

“I grew up on the same farm as my grandpa, whose little brother died of diphtheria in 1909 at age 11,” he said. “The boy asked my grandpa, ‘Henry, do you think anyone will put flowers on my grave?’ So here’s a promise fulfilled to a scared little boy more than a hundred years later.”

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Information from: Muscatine Journal, https://www.muscatinejournal.com

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