Caroline Nicolai was born on March 12, 1829 in the Kingdom of Württemberg, an independent member of the German Confederation. She moved to St. Louis in about 1852.

On January 9, 1853, in St. Louis, Caroline married 33-year-old Hicke Osterkamp, an immigrant from the Kingdom of Hanover. They had three children: Emil (1853), Robert (1855) and Julius (1858), who died in 1860. The family was Lutheran, and attended Robert Immanuel Lutheran Church at Eleventh Street and Franklin Avenue.

Hicke and Caroline used land purchased in 1857 in St. Louis' German-American Soulard neighborhood for their new home and a family run grocery and liquor store, 1221 Soulard Street. Caroline was a crucial part of the business from the start, and presumably was forced to run it by herself between August 1861 and February 1862, when Hicke was away fighting in the Civil War. After Hicke returned from the war with worsening epilepsy, Caroline's role continued to be much more significant than was common for women at that time, as indicated by Missouri's 1863-64 excise tax records, which list the store's liquor sales under her name. The 1870 census taker also listed the family's real estate (worth $5,000, or $110,000 in current dollars) in Caroline's name. In her 1883 will, Caroline arranged for the couple's assets to be held by Robert in trust for Hicke.

Caroline died of rheumatoid arthritis on July 9, 1884 at home, 1115 Soulard Street. She is buried at Gatewood Gardens Cemetery, formerly Picker's Cemetery.

Family[edit | edit source]

Hecke Ostercamp marriage certificate


 Hicke Osterkamp (1819-1889)


 Emil Osterkamp (1853-1914)
 Robert Osterkamp (1855-1915)
 Julius Osterkamp (1858-1860)


 Charles Osterkamp (1884-1947)
 Fred Osterkamp (1885-1947)
 Arthur Osterkamp (1887-1974)
 Walter R. Osterkamp (1888-1916)
 Walter H. Osterkamp (1890-1963)
 Cliff Osterkamp (1892-1959)
 Ella Osterkamp (1893-1894)


 Roy Osterkamp (1912-2002)
 Nanon Masconi (Osterkamp) (c1921-1962)
 Walter H. Osterkamp, Jr. (1924-1993)
 Sue McConnell (Osterkamp) (b. 1935)
 Waite Osterkamp (b. 1939)

Sources[edit | edit source]

State of Missouri marriage record for Hicke Osterkamp and Caroline Nicolai.

Index of Immanuel Lutheran Church Records (entry for Robert Osterkamp).

Certificate for purchase of public land by Hicke J. Osterkamp.

Immigration record for Hicke Osterkamp.

1860 U.S. Census Report (entries for Hicke Osterkamp and family).

Civil War service records for Hicke ("Hirte") Osterkamp.

Missouri excise tax records, 1863-64 (entries for Caroline Osterkamp).

St. Louis City Directory, 1864-72, 1874-75, 1877-83, 1885, 1887-88 (entries for Hicke Osterkamp).

1870 U.S. Census Report (entries for Hicke Osterkamp and family).

1880 (June) U.S. Census Report (entries for Hicke Osterkamp and family).

1880 (Nov.) U.S. Census Report (entries for Hicke Osterkamp and family).

Last will and testament of Caroline Osterkamp.

Burial certificate for Caroline Osterkamp.

Background on Immanuel Lutheran Church, at

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