Today’s story is packed full of names that had origins in Scheeβel, an area in Hanover in northern Germany. Many immigrants from Scheeβel arrived in Perry County, Missouri and Jackson County, Illinois in the mid-to-late 1800’s. The couple we will focus on today, for example, was made up of a Brunkhorst and a Mahnke. Other names that come into play here are Miesner, Bellmann, Detjen, and Lohmann.
This story begins with a birthday boy by the name of Johann Christoph Brunkhorst, who was born on January 4, 1856 in Scheeβel. He was the son of Friedrich and Florentina Anna Sophia (Detjen) Brunkhorst. John’s grandmother was a Bellmann. John’s father died the same year that John was born, and his mother died when he was 12 years old. When he was about 25 years old, he emigrated to America. A few census records state that he arrived in 1881.
The future wife of John C. Brunkhorst would be Magdalena Mahnke. (Sometimes the name Mahnke is shown as Mahnken). Magdalena was the daughter of Peter and Maria Margaretha (Miesner) Mahnke. And yes, Magdalena’s parents were both from Hanover. Peter and Maria arrived in America in 1857 aboard the ship, O Thyen. That family is shown on this passenger list, but if you look at the far right, it indicates that two of their children, ages 7 and 4, died on the voyage. In fact, I counted ten people on the same page as this one that died on that trip. It must have been a ship full of disease.
We find the Peter Mahnke family in the 1860 census for Brazeau Township in Perry County.
After their arrival, this Mahnke family had two more children, both girls. The baby of the family was Magdalena, who was born on April 9, 1863. She was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri. Below is her baptism record.
Peter Mahnke died sometime before 1865 because in that year, his wife, Maria married Claus Stueve who was also a widower. We find Magdalena in the 1870 census with the Stueve household. Magdalena had several stepbrothers and a stepsister.
In the 1880 census, we see Magdalena looking as if she had the surname, Stueve. She would be the 17 year-old in this entry.
On August 1, 1886, John C. Brunkhorst married Magdalena Mahnke at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. We have the church record for this wedding.
We also have the civil marriage record for this wedding, but I found it difficult to locate. Ancestry.com had this marriage transcribed as the marriage between John Brunkhardt and Elma Manville at Franklin, Missouri.
John and Magdalena had 3 children, two girls and a boy. Then, Magdalena died in 1894 at the age of 30. So, we have this interesting situation. Since the 1890 Federal census was destroyed in a fire, the only censuses in which we see Magdalena are the ones already displayed. Also, since John did not get to America until 1881, we do not see him in a census until 1900. Therefore, we cannot view any census record that shows both John and Magdalena as a married couple.
John never remarried, and we can see him in the 1900 and 1910 censuses. First, here is the one taken in 1900. Martha Schade is shown as a servant in this household which still had 3 fairly young children in it. I am sure John needed the household help.
Next, we find this Brunkhorst family in the 1910 census which I need to display in two images.
In 1915, a land map was produced for Perry County, and there was some land attributed to John Brunkhorst. This was either John Christoph Brunkhorst or his son, John Claus Brunkhorst. It was probably the same land for both of them over the years.
As it turns out, this was the last census in which we find John Brunkhorst. He died in 1918 at the age of 62. We have his death certificate.
Both John and Magdalena are buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.
The oldest daughter in this family, Louise, married Carl Burroughs, and they spent their lives in and around Frohna. Their son, John Claus Brunkhorst, married Flora Schoenborn, and they also spent their lives in the Frohna area. The story of John and Flora was told in the post, Florida – Born Beautiful. The youngest daughter, Magdalena, married Martin Lohmann, and they ended up living most of their lives in Alva, Oklahoma. In addition, there was another grandchild of Peter Mahnke that ended up in Sylvan Grove, Kansas. Alva, Oklahoma and Sylvan Grove, Kansas are two locations where quite a few Perry County natives migrated in the early part of the 1900’s, and this Mahnke family can find descendants in both places.
In closing, I will also suggest that perhaps our friend in Germany, Hartmut Mensendiek, can find out for us if there is a family connection between the Peter Mahnke in this story and the Mahnken family from which he descends. By the way, Hartmut has now provided a photograph of himself for us. I will include it here.