Just the Two of Them

I am once again away from Altenburg for a few days, so I am at the disadvantage of not being able to use the resources we have in our musuem’s library.  I’ll have to just use online sources to find information in the meantime.  As for today’s story, I think our guest blogger, Wayne Schuessler, could do a better job telling this story, but it is too late to ask him to write this post.  Wayne wrote a previous story which mentioned today’s main characters.  That post was titled, Life on the Creek.  Today, we tell the story of Ernst and Martha (Mahnken) Bachmann.

Taking on this story can be a potentially daunting task because both the Bachmann and Mahnken families take up so many pages of our German Family Tree.  Add to that the fact that there are so many repeated first names in these families, and it can get very confusing.  However, in this case, I think I have a handle on the two main characters, and I even think I may have found a piece of information that does not show up in our German Family Tree….at least, not yet.

Ernst Bachmann was the son of Henry and Ernestine (Koenig) Bachmann.  He was the baby in that family, which our German Family Tree shows him being the tenth child born to Henry and Ernestine (not all of them lived long).  His birthday was August 23, 1874, and he was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar, Missouri.  The first census in which we find Ernst was the 1880 census.

Edward Bachmann 1880 census Farrar MO
1880 census – Farrar, MO

Martha Mahnken was born on October 7, 1877 and baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar.  She was the daughter of Friedrich and Maria (Mull) Mahnken.  We find Martha in this interesting 1880 census from Farrar.  It starts on one page and continues on the next.

Martha Mahnken 1880 census Farrar MO

Martha Mahnken 1880 census 2 Farrar MO
1880 census – Farrar, MO

We find 3 year old Martha Mahnken right above another Mahnken family whose father was named John.  Friedrich and John were about the same age, so one must ask the question, “Are they brothers?”  If you attempt to answer that question in our German Family Tree, you cannot say one way or the other.  They are listed separately as coming to America at different times.  I think, though, that I found a definitive answer in some German records.

Our GFT says Friedrich was born on December 27, 1847 in Germany.  I found this baptism record for Friedrich in the Scheeßel records.

Frederich Mahnken baptism record Scheessel Germany
Friedrich Mahnken baptism record – Scheeßel, Germany

This record says Friedrich was the son of Hilmer and Catharina (Wichern) Mahnken.  This corresponds with the fact that our GFT states Johann’s parents were Hilmer and Catharina (Wichern) Mahnken.  In addition, I located this baptism record for Johann Mahnken in Scheeßel.  It also gives the same parents as for Friedrich.

Johann Mahnken baptism record Scheessel Germany
Johann Mahnken baptism record – Scheeßel, Germany

You can also see that Hilmer is living with Johann in the above 1880 census, and it states that he is Johann’s father.  I don’t think there is much doubt that Friedrich and Johann were brothers.  However, keep in mind that there are other Friedrich, Johann, and Martha Mahnkens in our GFT.

We also find the land belonging to Johann and Friedrich (Fred) Mahnken adjacent to one another in this 1915 land map.  I have placed red arrows showing both the Fred Mahnken and Ernst Bachmann parcels of property.

Bachmann and Mahnken land map 1915
Bachmann and Mahnken properties – 1915 land map

Friedrich Mahnken was also one of the passengers on the ship, Carl, that was discussed in the post, Carl’s Arrival, which was published recently on this blog.

Back to Ernst Bachmann.  We find him in the 1900 census living with his widowed mother, Ernestine, and a few others who were not part of their family.

Ernst Bachmann 1900 census Farrar MO
1900 census – Farrar, MO

I was unable to find Martha in the 1900 census.  It was later during that year that Ernst and Martha were married.  They were married on this day, November 1, 1900 at Salem Lutheran Church.  This is their marriage license.

Bachmann Mahnken marriage license
Bachmann/Mahnken marriage license

We also have this photograph of this bride and groom.  I would describe Martha’s dress as one that is black-and-white….black dress/white veil.

Ernst and Martha Bachmann wedding
Ernst and Martha Bachmann wedding

It is likely that Ernst and Martha lived with Ernst’s, mother, Ernestine, until her death in 1906.  The first census in which we find Ernst and Martha as a married couple is the 1910 Farrar census.

Ernst Bachmann 1910 census Farrar MO
1910 census – Farrar, MO

You can see that this document shows just the two of them.  In fact, every census until Ernst’s death in 1932 shows just the two of them.  The last census in which we find Ernst was this 1930 census.

Ernst Bachmann 1930 census Farrar MO
1930 census – Farrar, MO

I would classify the marriage of Ernst and Martha as being one which was quite rare back in the era in which they lived.  It was a time period when families had numerous children.  It was not that unusual to have families with the number of children in the double digits.  Even then, when I find childless couples, they often housed others with them, such as other family members or orphan children who needed housing.  I found no evidence of those situations with this couple.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that it didn’t happen, but the records I could find did not indicate those types of situations.  From 1906 until 1932, it seems to me that it was “just the two of them”.

On December 19, 1932, Ernst died at the age of 58.  His death certificate says that he died suddenly.

Ernst Bachmann death certificate
Ernst Bachmann death certificate

Martha would die on July 19, 1961 of a variety of types of cancer.  This is her death certificate.  It appears that she started with breast cancer, and it spread to her liver and lungs.

Martha Bachmann death certificate
Martha Bachmann death certificate

Ernst took over for his father as being the “Stream Man” mentioned in Life on the Creek.  I can just imagine him and his wife, Martha, sitting together on the very quiet, peaceful porch of their home overlooking the Omete Creek.


Now when I return to Altenburg, I will have to find out German Family Tree Guru, Lynn Degenhardt, and tell him that Friedrich and Johann Mahnken were brothers, and he should consider changing his document to indicate that.  I’m sure he will be thrilled.

One thought on “Just the Two of Them

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