Beginning of the Mahnken-Versemann Branch

I will discuss two quite prominent names which can be found in the history of East Perry County today.  Those two names are Mahnken and Versemann.  Our research library does not have family history binders for either one of these names, but a rather interesting drawing has been made of the Versemann family tree.  One of the branches of that tree drawing is the Marie Versemann Mahnken branch, as shown in the photo below.

Versemann Family Tree Mahnken Branch (2)
Marie Versemann Mahnken branch

Marie Versemann and Johann Mahnken were married on this day in 1878.  Let’s take a look at these two personalities.  One similarity we find right away is that both of them were born in the region known as Scheeβel in Germany.

The first to be born was Johann Mahnken, whose birthday was October 27, 1844.  His parents were Hilmer and Katherine (Wichern) Mahnken.  In the case of Johann, we have his baptism record from Scheeβel.

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

This Mahnken family (and it was not the only Mahnken family to come to Perry County) arrived in America in November of 1867.  Johann was 23 years old.  They traveled aboard a ship named Uhland and landed in New Orleans.  The passenger list for them is shown below.

Mahnken family passenger list Uhland 1867
Mahnken family passenger list – Uhland – November, 1867

Maria Versemann was born on July 5, 1859.  That made her about 15 years younger than Johann.  She was the daughter of Johann and Maria (Brockmann) Versemann.  It appears that Maria’s mother died when she was a youngster because when the Versemann family made the voyage to America in 1868, Johann came with his second wife, Engel (Hollmann) Versemann.  We find them on the ship, Berlin.  I must show two images of that passenger list.

Johann Versemann passenger list Berlin 1

Johann Versemann passenger list Berlin 2
Versemann family passenger list – Berlin, August, 1868

For some reason, Maria is shown to be 6 years old on this list.  If she was born in 1859, she must have been 9 years old.

That leads us up to the wedding that took place between Johann and Maria in 1878.  The civil record for this marriage is shown here.

Mahnken Versemann marriage record Perry County MO
Mahnken/Versemann marriage record – Perry County, MO

At this point, I want to take just a little time to discuss the spelling of the Mahnken name.  If you look at the above form, as well as the passenger list for Johann, you will see the name spelled Mahnke….without the “n”.  All I can say at this point is that I have been told it is something about the German language, and there are a few other names where we see this happening…e.g. Stueve and Stueven.

The first census record in which we find this couple was the one taken in 1880.  A set of twins had been born into the family, and Johann’s father, Hilmer, was living in their household.  The twin named Catherine died later in 1880.  The census entry is shown below.

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

Since there is no 1890 census available, the next census we find for this family was in 1900 for Salem Township, which is notorious for being hard to read.  Johann was a farmer all his life.

Johann Mahnken 1900 census Salem Township MO
1900 census – Salem Township, MO

Johann and Maria can still be found in both the 1910 and 1920 censuses.

Johann Mahnken 1910 census Salem Township MO
1910 census – Salem Township, MO

In the 1920 census, they were living in the household of their son, Gottlieb Mahnken.

Johann Mahnken 1920 census Salem Township MO
1920 census – Salem Township, MO

The plat maps for Perry County were produced in 1915, and in those maps, we find several parcels of property attributed to Mahnken’s.  Two of them are John Mahnken.  I may be wrong, but I think the Johann Mahnken in this story is the one toward the bottom.

Mahnken land map 1915
Mahnken land map 1915

Johann died in 1928 at the age of 83.  We have his death certificate, which says the cause of death was an injury he received from a fall.

John Mahnken death certificate
Johann Mahnken death certificate

Maria died in 1939 at the age of 79. Below is her death certificate.

Maria Mahnken death certificate
Maria Mahnken death certificate

Both Johann and Maria are buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar, Missouri.

The surnames of Mahnken and Versemann can be found in church records all throughout East Perry County, Missouri and Jackson County, Illinois.  The Versemann Family Tree was drawn many years ago and would now have many more smaller branches on it if it were updated.  If someone would draw a Mahnken Family Tree, it would also require a lot of paper.  I will just add that our museum would love it if someone from each of these families would make family history binders that could be added to the collection of our research library.


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