Myth: As Tebbe was sailing to America with
his parents, his father was murdered on the ship for his money and then
buried at sea.
Fact: Tebbe's obituary
and ship records indicate that he came to America in 1867 with his
paternal grandparents; other ship records show that his mother, Lucke
Willms, came to America in 1889 with her husband Heink Willms and the
Willms children. The Willms family settled in Iowa.
Myth: Lucy Willms sent her son Tebbe to
live with the Klattenburg family.
Fact: Tebbe is listed on the 1880
census as living with the George Klattenburg family in Danforth, Illinois
(written on the census record as "Tabbe Iman"). The Klattenburgs
were from the same area of Germany that Tebbe came from. It is
believed that he went to live with them after his grandparents died.
Lucy may have been involved in this decision -- but she was
still in Germany at the time.
Myth: Step-father Heink Willms hated Tebbe and tried to kill the
boy by drowning him in a well.
Fact: This one might be
true, but we don't really know. If true, it helps explain why Lucy
sent her son with his grandparents to live in America .