A girl’s birth took place on this day in East Perry County in 1889. That birth had some rather unusual characteristics. Then later that girl was married in Kansas. That marriage also had some rather unusual characteristics. I will attempt to tell that story today, even though it does contain some unanswered questions.
The birthday girl was Hanna Lydia Blanken. Lydia was the daughter of Henry and Maria (Reinemer) Blanken of Altenburg, Missouri. Take a look at this baptism record from Trinity Lutheran Church.
A translation of the German in this record says that Lydia was an illegitimate child. It gives the name of Heinrich Blank as the father and Maria Reinemer as the mother. Yet I was also able to find this marriage license for Henry and Maria from 1883, six years before this birth.
Maria was from Cape Girardeau County and this marriage took place in Uniontown, Missouri. Rev. Polack was the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, but the name for the pastor on this form does not look like his.
I suppose one possibility for Lydia being called an illegitimate child would be that there was a different mother than Maria that is not noted in the record, but it remains a mystery to me.
In a previous story on this blog titled, The Blancken Brood, it was stated that two Blan(c)ken brothers moved to Kit Carson County in Colorado around 1900. One of those brothers was Lydia’s father, Henry. We find this Blanken family in the 1900 census living in Kit Carson County.
I have included the next two families shown below the Blanken family. Both of them are Reinemer families from Missouri. Because of the similar ages to Maria, I conclude that they are her brothers. The men are all listed as stock raisers. The closest city to them was probably Flagler, Colorado.
That bring us to 1907 which was the year that Lydia got married. Here is her marriage license, and it is not from the state of Colorado. It is from Kansas.
The first thing you probably notice is that Lydia’s new husband was also a Blanken. Even more surprising is that Herman Blanken was a 24 year old man also from Flagler, Colorado. Yet they were married in Junction City, Kansas. Both Flagler, Colorado and Junction City, Kansas had Lutheran churches established by this time.
Herman Blanken was the son of Johann and Elizabeth (Settgast) Blanken. I did find this baptism record for Johann Blanken, Herman’s father, in the church records in Lamstedt, Germany, a church from which many Perry County immigrants came.
However, I could not locate any evidence that there was any relationship between the two Blanken families. Herman was born in Kansas in 1886. The reference that he lived in Flagler, Colorado on his marriage license might indicate that he had been living there prior to his marriage, but we do know that after his marriage, he became a farmer in Geary County, Kansas which is where Junction City is located. Here is the 1930 census from Ogden, Kansas for Herman’s family. Ogden is just down the road from Junction City.
As you can also see, Herman and Lydia had five children, four boys and a girl.
Herman died in 1949; Lydia died in 1966. They are both buried in the Sunset Cemetery in Manhatten, Kansas, which is also located near Ogden. Here are their rather unusual gravestones. It is not often that you see names inscribed on gravestones in cursive.
I found quite a few characteristics in this story which are rather rare. I guess that is what attracted it to me.