Oklahoma Ground Sweethearts

May 28th was the birthday of a tall Oklahoman by the name of Newton Amos Bodenschatz.  He was not born in Oklahoma though.  He was born into the family of a farmer from north Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.  Newton was born in 1922 as the tenth child out of eleven to Herman and Rosa (Landgraf) Bodenschatz.  He was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri.  This family bounced back and forth between Immanuel in New Wells and Trinity Lutheran in Shawneetown.  Their first three children and their last four children were baptized at Immanuel.  The ones in between were baptized at Trinity.

I do have photos of both Newton’s parents and his grandparents.  First, here are his grandparents.

Rosalie & Friedrich Bodenschatz
Friedrich and Rosalie (Mueller) Bodenschatz

And his parents.

Bodenschatz Landgraf wedding
Herman and Rosa Bodenschatz

Newton’s older sister, Marie, married Erhard Gerler in 1939, and it is in the photo of their wedding party that you find the only photo I have of Newton.

Gerler Bodenschatz wedding
Ehrhard and Marie (Bodenschatz) Gerler wedding

Newton is the second man from the left.  He would have been 17 years old in this picture.  By the way, the wedding couple in this photo are the parents of Clinton Gerler.

Since this photo was taken in 1939, Newton was still living in Missouri.  The 1940 census shows him at age 18 living with his parents on a farm in Perry County.  Then came World War II.  Newton enlisted in 1942 and served his country until 1945.  As is indicated on a plaque on his gravestone, he also earned a purple heart during this war.

Newton Bodenschatz grave military plaque

After World War II, Newton moved to Alva, Oklahoma.  This little town in the western part of that state had become the home of quite a few folks with Perry County roots.  It was there that he met his bride, and he managed to find one who had such Perry County roots.  Her name was Lorina Lohmann.  Although she was born in Oklahoma, her parents, Martin and Magdalena (Brunkhorst) Lohmann had moved to Oklahoma from Perry County sometime after 1910 and before 1916 when church records indicate that Martin came back from Ellis County, Oklahoma to marry Magdalena.

Newton married Lorina on February 17, 1946.  Here is their Oklahoma marriage license.

Bodenschatz Lohmann marriage license Alva OK
Bodenschatz/Lohmann marriage license

Newton and Lorina had just one child, David Bodenschatz, who died at the age of 16.  So when Newton died in 1995, and Lorina died in 2000, that was the end of this branch of the Bodenschatz family tree.  Here is their gravestone in the Lutheran cemetery in Alva.

Newton Bodenschatz gravestone

These are the only Bodenschatzes in that cemetery, but if you are looking for Lohmanns, you will have better luck.  There are 34 Lohmanns listed in this cemetery according to Findagrave.com.

The name Bodenschatz comes from two German words, Boden and Schatz.  Boden means “earth” or “floor”, and Schatz means “treasure”, or in more romantic terms, “honey” or “sweetheart”.  Newton ended up going to Oklahoma to find both his property and his sweetheart.  He even managed to leave Perry County and still find a Perry County bride.

Just two more things.  Last week, our museum was visited by Harvey and Shirley Schuessler who live in Alva, Oklahoma.  Harvey’s father, Walter Schuessler, moved to Oklahoma after he came of age to do so.  He had lost both his parents when he was very young and was raised by his grandparents.  Harvey came through Perry County to study his family’s roots.  We are always happy to provide the services that we have in our research library that enables people to do this.  Secondly, thanks to Dale Kermse, we now have access to the Zion Lutheran Church records in Alva.  We mentioned in a previous blog post how we hoped to have access to these records, and Dale managed to make that possible.


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