Wickenburg's kin welcomed with key

On Saturday Wickenburg Mayor Rui Pereira (left) presents a Key to the Town to Martina Wickenburg Hubrig, whose great-great-grandfather was a great-cousin of Henry Wickenburg. Hubrig came from Essen, Germany, to celebrate Henry’s 200th birthday throughout the weekend.

By Cathy Loupy

Sun Reporter

Crossing an ocean to celebrate a relative’s birthday is quite a feat. Martina Wickenburg Hubrig travelled 5,496 miles to attend Henry Wickenburg’s 200th birthday celebration in Wickenburg last weekend.

Hubrig lives in Essen, the coal mine region of Germany from which Henry Wickenburg hailed. This was Hubrig’s second visit in six years.

Hubrig grew up hearing her father tell stories of their relative Henry who found a gold mine in America (Arizona).

“Finding a gold mine is a very strange life to us in Germany,” Hubrig said. “Which makes him interesting.”

Hubrig is a florist by trade and an historian at heart.  She began a search 14 years ago to find out exactly how she and Henry are related.  

She started her genealogy research at the Catholic Church in Essen where family histories are recorded.

“I found out Henry is a great-cousin of my great-great grandfather,” Hubrig said. “I keep learning from reading books about Henry. Now, I have begun a timeline of Henry’s life from official documents and speaking to relatives.”

Hubrig brought several gifts to Desert Caballeros Western Museum, such as a framed map of Essen, Germany; a framed map of Wickenburg; and a family tree she created showing the Wickenburg lineage.  

She also made a wreath for Henry’s grave. Martina included coal from Germany and gold wire on the wreath.

“He (Henry) knew about coal mining in Essen and came here and found gold,” she said.

Hubrig also brought sunflowers from Germany and picked wildflowers in Arizona to create a wreath representing the two homes of Henry Wickenburg.

Beginning Thursday, Nov. 21 (Henry’s birthday) and continuing throughout the weekend, a host of community activities took place to honor the town’s founding father. Elected officials joined Hubrig in a horse-drawn carriage procession through town; a craft fair took place on Saturday along with live music and dancing; and activities were enjoyed at the newly rebuilt Vulture City.

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