You will read another tale today detailing the marriage between a Lutheran and a Roman Catholic. In such cases, we often see the Lutheran become a Roman Catholic or the Roman Catholic become a Lutheran. However, in today’s case, we see that each partner in the marriage retained their own church membership throughout their lives.
I will begin with the Roman Catholic. Ferdinand Bohnert was born on April 11, 1848, the son of Caspar and Franziska (Meyer) Bohnert. Family histories on Ancestry.com claim that Ferdinand was born in or around Longtown, Missouri. Caspar’s family arrived in America in 1846, traveling to this country aboard the Leodes. This couple had six children before coming to America, but 4 of them had died at a very young age. Only two children are shown on the passenger list below.
After arriving in Perry County, Caspar fathered 5 more children, 4 of them boys. His wife, Franziska, died, probably as a result of the last child being born in 1852. Caspar than married Elizabeth Hurst, and that couple had 7 more children, all of them boys. It’s no wonder that there are so many Bohnert’s still living in Perry County to this day.
Ferdinand Bohnert is found in his first census record when the 1850 enumeration was taken. Ferdinand is said to be 4 years old, but I think that is incorrect.
Ferdinand is next found in the 1860 census where Ferdinand was 12 years old. You can see that the Bohnert household had become quite large and made up of almost all males.
I actually found Ferdinand in two different census entries in 1870. I will show the first now, and you will see the 2nd one later. This entry shows Ferdinand living with his parents, and it says he was 19 years old, which was once again wrong.
Now, we will look at Ferdinand’s Lutheran bride, Barbara Hahn. Barbara was born on June 2, 1851, making today her 170th birthday. She was the daughter of Friedrich and Anna Catherine Hahn. Anna Catherine’s maiden name is a mystery, although there is some evidence that it might have been Whitten. The Hahn’s had arrived in America, making the voyage aboard the President Schmid in 1850.
Barbara was baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg. She is found in her first census in 1860 at the age of 9. Her father was a farmer.
When the 1870 census was taken, we find an interesting situation. Not only do we find the Hahn family, but we also see the other listing for Ferdinand Bohnert, where we find him as a farm laborer in a nearby household. I think we can see how Ferdinand Bohnert and Barbara Hahn got to know one another.
On October 14, 1872, Ferdinand Bohnert married Barbara Hahn. We can view the civil record for their marriage. The pastor who performed the wedding was Rev. O.F. Voigt, who has been mentioned in two recent blogs as the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim. Before serving Friedheim, Rev. Voigt was the pastor in Friedenberg.
We can also view a second civil record for this couple.
There are 6 children listed in the Ferdinand Bohnert family in our German Family Tree, and all of them appear to have been baptized, confirmed, or buried as Lutherans. We find this family in the 1880 census living in the Central Township. They were listed in this entry right next to Barbara’s parents. There were 3 Bohnert children at this point in time.
Next, we can look at the census taken in 1900. One daughter, Elizabeth, had gotten married early in 1900, so she is no longer listed in this household.
The 1910 census would be the last census in which we find Ferdinand Bohnert. This time, this household was living in the Salem Township. It also says that Ferdinand had changed his occupation. He was called the proprietor of a flour mill.
The photograph below shows the Crosstown Flour Mill and some of the Bohnert’s standing in front.
Ferdinand Bohnert died in 1914 at the age of 65. His death certificate says that he was a miller.
Even though he had died the year before the plat maps were produced in 1915, we find a parcel of land located near Crosstown with the name of F Bohnert.
Barbara Bohnert was still found in 3 more censuses after her husband’s death. Here we see her in the 1920 census. She was living with her son, Martin, and his family. Martin was a miller.
It is likely that the photo shown below was taken of Barbara after her husband died. We have no such portrait for Ferdinand.
Next, we find Barbara in the 1930 census still living with Martin’s family.
The last census in which we find Barbara was the one taken in 1940. This time, the census stated that the family was living in Crosstown.
Barbara Bohnert died in 1941 at the age of 89. It would have been helpful if her death certificate would have given her mother’s maiden name.
It turns out that Crosstown was a good place for Ferdinand and Barbara to live. It was the only community in our East Perry County area that had both a Lutheran and a Catholic church, and each of them has its own cemetery. Ferdinand is buried in the St. James Catholic Cemetery, and Barbara is buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery. Those cemeteries are located across the small village of Crosstown. They will both be in heaven together. I am not one of those people that believes there will be a separate place in heaven for the Lutherans as opposed to the Catholics.
To this day, there are both Catholic Bohnert’s and Lutheran Bohnert’s in this area. I may be wrong, but I think the Catholic Bohnert’s might outnumber the Lutheran Bohnert’s. Please tell me if I am wrong about that.