The Bunselmeyer-Bradley Cora Couple

A man with a surname that has yet to appear on this blog will be the central character in today’s story. The woman who would become his wife also has a new surname for this blog, but once you discover what her name was, I am sure you will conclude that she does not have German roots.

Johann Friedrich Bunselmeyer was born on July 11, 1884, making today his 138th birthday. John was the son of Henry and Carolina (Heimbokel) Bunselmeyer. Sometimes Carolina’s maiden name is spelled Heinbokel. I only discovered this story because John was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. His baptism record is the only record to be found in our German Family Tree. I have to display his baptism record in two images.

John Bunselmeyer baptism record – Christ, Jacob, IL

The Bunselmeyer’s were from the Degognia Township of Jackson County, Illinois. In the days before the advent of the automobile, it would require a rather long (time-wise) trip to get to the church in the Fountain Bluff Township. That might explain why John was born in July, but would not be baptized until October. Because we cannot view the 1890 census, it would be 1900 before we find John in a census entry. His mother had died in 1897, so she does not appear in this image. John was a 15 year-old who was working on his father’s farm.

1900 census – Degognia Township, IL

Next, we find John in the 1910 census. John is listed as having no occupation, which is somewhat puzzling since John was in his 20’s.

1910 census – Degognia Township, IL

We will now turn our attention to the woman who would become John’s wife. Her name was Myrtle Bradley, who was born on November 27, 1890. Myrtle was the daughter of William and Amanda (Johnston) Bradley. Her family was also from the Degognia Township. I was able to locate an family tree that traced the Bradley name back to the 1700’s. That name was placed in York County, Pennsylvania, then to North Carolina, Tennessee, and finally Jackson County, Illlinois. Because of a record that will be displayed later, I believe the Bradley’s were likely Presbyterians. Myrtle was 9 years old when she shows up in the 1900 census.

1900 census – Degognia Township, IL

When the 1910 census was taken, Myrtle was no longer living with her parents. She was still living in the Degognia Township, but she was a servant in another farmer’s household.

1910 census – Degognia Township, IL

I was unable to find any sort of documentation for the marriage of John Bunselmeyer and Myrtle Bradley, but Myrtle’s later obituary states that they were married on January 2, 1913. This couple would have two children, both sons. John Bunselmeyer had to complete a World War I draft registration in 1918. It gives Cora, Illinois as his address. His uncle, F.W. Bunselmeyer, was the registrar.

John Bunselmeyer – WWI draft registration

The 1920 census shows the Bunselmeyer couple with both of their sons. John was a farmer.

1920 census – Degognia Township, IL

The Bunselmeyer’s household had one addition to it when the 1930 census was taken. John’s father, Henry, at the age of 70, was living with them.

1930 census – Degognia Township, IL

The last census in which we find John Bunselmeyer was the one taken in 1940. By this time, each of their sons was in his 20’s. Their oldest son, Earl, was a gas station attendant.

1940 census – Degognia Township, IL

John had a World War II draft card completed in 1942. This form says the Bunselmeyer farm was near Cora.

John Bunselmeyer – WWII draft card

John Bunselmeyer died in 1949 at the age of 64. A death record for John is found in the books of the Cora Presbyterian Church.

John Bunselmeyer death record – Cora Presbyterian, Cora, IL

Myrtle Bunselmeyer is found in the 1950 census as a widow living with her son, Henry, and his family.

1950 census – Degognia Township, IL

Myrtle died in 1972 at the age of 81. We can view her obituary that was published in a local newspaper.

Myrtle Bunselmeyer obituary

John and Myrtle Bunselmeyer are buried together in the Evergreen Cemetery in Chester, Illinois.

John and Myrtle Bunselmeyer – Evergreen, Chester, IL

There is one situation that I have not mentioned about this family that makes me giggle. John and Myrtle’s son, Earl Bunselmeyer, married a girl named Pearl Arbeiter. What a great combo…Earl and Pearl.

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