Brunkhorst Weds Wichern in Jacob

When I found a marriage that united a Brunkhorst with a Wichern on this date back in 1881, I immediately thought of two boat landings along the banks of the Mississippi River.  These landings no longer exist, but they once were important places back when there were no bridges nearby to enable folks to cross from Missouri to Illinois.  One landing located on the Illinois side was called the Brunkhorst Landing.  The other landing was located on the Missouri side and was called Star Landing or Holschen’s Landing.  Star Landing was originated by a man by the name of Daniel Wichern. Below are two maps showing Holschen’s Landing and Brunkhorst Landing.

How appropriate would it have been if this Brunkhorst/Wichern marriage would consist of someone from each side of the river?  However, this married couple does not fill the bill.

There’s another issue to discuss before we proceed with this story.  Another interesting aspect of this situation is that there were Brunkhorst’s and Wichern’s on both sides of the river, and they may or may not be related.  And it appears they all came from the same area in Germany…the Scheeβel area.

Let’s start with the Brunkhorst who was part of the 1881 marriage.  Heinrich Brunkhorst was born on June 7, 1858 in Ostervesede, Germany.  Census records state that Heinrich’s immigration year was either 1872 or 1873.  He settled in the Fountain Bluff Township of Jackson County, Illinois.  There was a Johann Brunkhorst living in that township who had arrived in 1868 or 1869 who was about 6 years older than Heinrich.  Our German Family Tree does not establish a relationship between these two.  I think they are brothers.  Here’s why.   First of all, from church records, we know that Heinrich was the son of Johann and Anna (Boesch) Brunkhorst, who were born and died in Germany.  Next, I found a baptism record for a Johann Brunkhorst who was the son of Johann and Anna (Boesch) Brunkhorst.  Here is page on which we find that baptism record.  At the top of the page, it says these baptisms took place in 1851.

Johann Brunkhorst baptism record Scheessel Germany 1851

The last record on that page is the one for Johann Brunkhorst.  It says he was born on August 15th.  It also shows his father as another Johann Brunkhorst and his mother as Anna geb. Bösch.  It also gives the birthplace as Ostervesede.  Here is that record enlarged.

Johann Brunkhorst baptism record enlarged Scheessel Germany 1851
Johann Brunkhorst baptism record – Ostervesede, Germany

The only problem with this is that all the folks on say he was born on August 15, 1852, not 1851.  I was unable to find such a baptism record for Heinrich Brunkhorst, but even so, I think he was Johann Brunkhorst’s younger brother.  By the way, there was another Johann Brunkhorst on the Missouri side of the river, and I find no connection between them.

Next, we will take a look at the Wichern who was part of that 1881 wedding.  Her name was Katherine Wichern, the daughter of Johann Friedrich and Engel (Volckmer) Wichern.  She was born on February 28, 1860 in Rotenburg, Germany.  I was unable to find any connection between this Wichern family and the one that lived near Star Landing in Missouri, but that does not mean there wasn’t any.  The records I was able to find said Katherine was the 5th of 5 girls to be born into her family.  In 1878, part of that family traveled to America, including Katharine.  Two other girls from that family came to the United States earlier.  The Wichern family sailed aboard the Leipzig that landed in Baltimore.  Katherine was 18 years old at the time.

Wichern family Leipzig passenger list 1878 Baltimore
Wichern family – Leipzig passenger list – 1878 – Baltimore

That leads us up to the marriage of Heinrich Brunkhorst and Katherine Wichern on April 21, 1881.  The marriage took place at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois.  We have the church record for this wedding.  It was the only marriage at that congregation in 1881.  The record has to be shown in two images.

Brunkhorst Wichern marriage record Christ Jacob IL

Brunkhorst Wichern marriage record 2 Christ Jacob IL
Brunkhorst/Wichern marriage record – Christ, Jacob, IL

According to our German Family Tree, this couple had 8 children.  We find this family for the first time in the 1900 census, in which Heinrich was a farmer, and there were 7 children in his family.

Heinrich Brunkhorst 1900 census Fountain Bluff Township IL
1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

We find this couple in the next three censuses.  Here is the one from 1910.

Heinrich Brunkhorst 1910 census Fountain Bluff Township IL
1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Next, here is the one for 1920.

Heinrich Brunkhorst 1920 census Fountain Bluff Township IL
1920 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

The last one in which we find Henry and Katie was the one from 1930.  It looks like they had an empty nest, but the Vachata household shown right above them includes their daughter Sophia.

Heinrich Brunkhorst 1930 census Fountain Bluff Township IL
1930 census – Fountain Bluff Township, MO

Katherine Brunkhorst died in 1933 at the age of 73; Heinrich Brunkhorst died in 1934 at the age of 75.  Heinrich and Katherine were buried in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Jacob, Illinois.

Heinrich and Katherine Brunkhorst gravestone Christ Jacob IL
Henry and Catherine Brunkhorst gravestone – Christ, Jacob, IL

Because they were involved in landing on both sides of the Mississippi River, folks with the surnames, Brunkhorst and Wichern, were instrumental in linking people to others across the river for quite a few years.  Now, you have heard the story of a Brunkhorst and a Wichern that were linked together.



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