Brunkhorst and Dietrich in Coffeyville

I have discovered that several natives of this area migrated to settle in the vicinity of Coffeyville, Kansas, which is right on the border between Kansas and Oklahoma. Many of those folks had connections to Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. I will be writing another one of those stories today.

We begin with a special birthday. On September 15, 1897, Bertha Hulda Louise Dietrich was born in Jacob, Illinois, making today her 125th birthday. She was the daughter of Adolph and Maria (Sauerbrunn) Dietrich. I am able to show you the wedding photo of Bertha’s parents.

Adolph and Maria Dietrich wedding

Just yesterday, I wrote a Dietrich story. The Gottlob Dietrich in that story would have been Bertha’s grandfather’s brother…or great uncle. Bertha was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. We can view her baptism record in two images.

Bertha Dietrich baptism record – Christ, Jacob, IL

Bertha is found in the 1900 census at the age of 2. Her father was a farmer in the Fountain Bluff Township. There were several other individuals in this entry who had almost no information given for them, but the surnames, Engert and Roth, are certainly familiar names to Perry County.

1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Next, we find Bertha in the 1910 census at the age of 12. Right below the Dietrich’s on this entry you will see a Brunkhorst family. I have highlighted both Bertha Dietrich and Edwin Brunkhorst because those two would become husband and wife before the next census was taken.

1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, MO

Edwin Gustav Brunkhorst was born on March 4, 1895, the son of Henry and Catherine (Wichern) Brunkhorst. Like Bertha, Edwin was baptized at Christ Lutheran in Jacob. Here is his baptism record.

Edwin Brunkhorst baptism record – Christ, Jacob, IL

Edwin was 5 years old when the 1900 census was taken. He was part of a rather large family.

1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, MO

I have already shown Edwin in the 1910 census, so I will skip ahead to 1917 when he had a World War I draft registration completed. Edwin had a St. Louis address and was working as a conductor for the United Railways.

Edwin Brunkhorst – WWI draft registration

Edwin did get called into military service during that war, and was even sent overseas. The document below gives evidence of Edwin getting on a ship to head toward France and the war in 1919. Edwin was part of a machine gun battalion.

Edwin Brunkhorst – WWI military record

There is a mystery in this story. Edwin was single in 1917 when he had his World War I registration filled out. In the 1920 census, we are going to find out that he was married to Bertha. Both Edwin and Bertha were members of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, but there is no marriage record for these two in the books of that congregation. To add to the mystery is the fact that I located the wedding photograph for this couple. It sure looks to me like this pair is all dressed up for a fine church wedding, but I have no idea where they got married. If they got married at Christ, Jacob, they have no record of it. I also could not locate any kind of civil record for this wedding.

Edwin and Bertha Brunkhorst wedding

In the 1920 census, we find Edwin and Bertha living with Edwin’s parents in Jacob.

1920 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

It looks as if this Brunkhorst couple had 6 children, and when the first one was born in 1921, she was born in Oklahoma. When the 1930 census rolled around, the Brunkhorst’s were living in the Hickory Township of Nowata County, Oklahoma. Although that was in Oklahoma, it was located right south of Coffeyville, Kansas. By this time, there were 3 daughters in their family. There was a parochial school teacher named Ervin Dobberpuhl living in their household.

1930 census – Hickory Township, Nowata County, OK

I am going to display a photo I located of Edwin and Bertha Brunkhorst that shows them when they were still relatively young.

Edwin and Bertha Brunkhorst

Next, we find the Brunkhorst’s in the 1940 census, still living in the same location. Edwin was a farmer with all 6 children listed in this entry. The last two children in this family was a set of twins born in 1934.

1940 census – Hickory Township, OK

In 1942, Edwin had a World War II draft card completed. This form says that he got his mail on a route originating in Coffeyville, Kansas while he was living in Oklahoma.

Edwin Brunkhorst – WWII draft card

One more Federal census for Edwin and Bertha can be viewed…the one taken in 1950. Only 3 children were living with them at that time.

1950 census – Hickory Township, OK

It appears that when Edwin quit farming, he moved into Coffeyville. We find him and Bertha in a 1963 city directory for that city.

Edwin Brunkhorst – 1963 Coffeyville city directory

At a later time in their life, the photo below was taken of Edwin and Bertha. It looks like they were celebrating an anniversary.

Edwin and Bertha Brunkhorst

Edwin Brunkhorst died in 1968 at the age of 73; Bertha Brunkhorst died in 1990 at the age of 93. These two are buried in the Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Coffeyville, Kansas. Edwin’s gravesite gives evidence of his World War I military service.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is located in Coffeyville, Kansas. That congregation was established in 1892, so this year, they would be celebrating their 130th anniversary. I would love to look through their church books someday to see how many names I can find that had their origins from our vicinity here and around Perry County.


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