California Wunder(lich)

For years and years, I have planted a variety of bell pepper in my garden called California Wonder.  It is a wonderful plant that produces large, sweet bell peppers.  One of the favorite meals made by my wife is stuffed green peppers.  California Wonder peppers are a chief ingredient for this wonderful dish.  Today’s story is about a California Wunderlich.

Martin Wunderlich was born on March 28, 1864 and baptized shortly thereafter at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri.  His parents were Johannes and Mary (Bendel) Wunderlich.  Johannes (John) was an 8 year old passenger on the Republik in 1838-1839.  John married Maria Josephine Bendel in 1857.  I found an indication on that said Maria was born at sea on September 11, 1839.  Martin was the fourth of ten children born into this family.  Six of the ten children were males and carried the Wunderlich name into the next generation.

Johannes Mary Wunderlich
John and Mary (Bendel) Wunderlich

Martin was thirty-four years old before he married Bertha Elizabeth Litzelfelner.  Now there’s a mouthful.  Bertha was the daughter of Albert and Eva Marie (Meyr) Litzelfelner (shown in these photos).

Believe it or not, Martin and Bertha’s wedding anniversary was on Christmas Day.  They were married on December 25, 1898.

Wunderlich Litzelfelner marriage license
Wunderlich/Litzelfenner marriage license

Here is an early picture of this Wunderlich couple.

Martin Bertha Wunderlich

Shortly after their marriage, they moved to Kansas.  Their first daughter, Nora, was born in Sylvan Grove, Kansas in 1899.  Here is the 1900 census from Sylvan Grove that shows Martin as a grain dealer.

Wunderlich 1900 census Sylvan Grove
1900 census – Sylvan Grove, KS

All of Martin and Bertha’s children were born in Sylvan Grove, Kansas.  Several folks from Perry County moved to Sylvan Grove, Kansas in those days.  You can find many Perry County names in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Cemetery, but no Wunderlichs.  That’s because none of them died before Martin and his family moved away.

It is in the 1920 census where it says that Martin’s mother was born on the Atlantic Ocean.  I would show it to you, but it is almost impossible to read.  The family was still in Kansas for that 1920 census, but it was not long after that that this family moved to California.  In a 1923 city directory for Santa Ana, California, we find the Wunderlich family.

Wunderlich Santa Ana, California directory

Martin is described as being a rancher, and three of his children are shown as still living with the family.  Here is a photo of the Wunderlich children.

Elfrieda, Leona, Hilda, Albert, Nora Wunderlich
Elfrieda, Leona, Hilda, Albert, and Nora Wunderlich

Here is a photo taken of the Wunderlich parents when they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 1923.

Martin Bertha Wunderlich 1923

One year later, Martin died.  He was only 59 years old.  Here is a California death index that shows deaths in California from 1905-1939 which includes Martin.  The Albert Wunderlich shown here is not Martin’s son.

Wunderlich CA death index 1905-1939

As you can see, there were plenty of California Wunder(lich)s.





3 thoughts on “California Wunder(lich)

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:

    I had a regular doctor’s checkup today, so I did not have time for researching a new story. Instead, I found a post that was written on this day 5 years ago.


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