Brunkhorst and Hornbostel – Another Cora Couple

A while back, I wrote a post titled, The Bunselmeyer-Bradley Cora Couple. It told of a couple who spent some time living in the “populated place” called Cora, Illinois, which is located in the Degognia Township of Jackson County. I did a search on the internet to find out the current population of Cora. I failed. Apparently, as a “populated place”, such population numbers do not exist. I am going to tell another story today that involves a couple that at one time lived in Cora. The way I have it figured, after this post is published, I can claim to have written stories about a rather large percentage of the people who have lived in Cora. We begin with today’s birthday boy.

Ernest Heinrich Brunkhorst was born on May 17, 1890, making today his 133rd birthday. Ernest was the son of Heinrich and Catharine (Wichern) Brunkhorst. A previous post was written about Ernest’s parents that described how the Brunkhorst and Wichern names were involved in operating ferry landings on each side of the Mississippi River. Ernest was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois.

Ernest Brunkhorst baptism record – Christ, Jacob, IL

Ernest is found in the 1900 census at the age of 10. Our German Family Tree lists 8 Brunkhorst children, with Ernest being child #4. By the time of this 1900 census, seven of those children had been born. Ernest’s father was a farmer in the Fountain Bluff Township.

1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Ernest was confirmed at Christ, Jacob in 1904. Then, in the 1910 census, we find him still living with his parents at the age of 19. He was helping on his father’s farm.

1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Ernest would get married before the next census, so we will turn our attention to the woman who would become his bride. Her name was Augusta Hornbostel, who was born on June 24, 1896. Augusta was the daughter of Friedrich and Wilhelmina (Fricke) Hornbostel. According to a family tree on, Augusta was part of a large Hornbostel family. She is listed as child #8 out of a total of 11 children in that family. We find Augusta in the 1900 census at the age of 3. Her father was a farmer in the Wine Hill Township in Randolph County, Illinois.

1900 census – Wine Hill Township, IL

That would be the only census entry that I could find for this Hornbostel family. I have every reason to believe that they continued to live in the Wine Hill Township, but I failed to locate a 1910 census entry for them.

The only documentation that I found for the marriage of Ernest Brunkhorst and Augusta Hornbostel is an Illinois marriage record that says these two had their wedding in 1915. Family histories on say that their wedding date was April 4, 1915. Below is an image of the Illinois marriage record. This record indicates the wedding took place in Jackson County. I do know that the books of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob do not contain a marriage record for this couple.

Brunkhorst/Hornbostel – IL marriage record

The German Family Tree lists 6 children born to Ernest and Augusta, all of which were baptized at Christ, Jacob. However, I think there was another child born in 1918 that was not baptized in Jacob. A few years after these two were married, Ernest was required to complete a World War I draft registration. That document is displayed below. There are some interesting items on this form. First, this document says Ernest was living in Willisville, Illinois, which is very near the Wine Hill Township. It says he was working on a dairy farm. This form says Ernest’s birthday was May 28, 1889, which is not correct. This document seems to give evidence that Ernest was not present when the form was completed because he was quarantined for having smallpox.

Ernest Brunkhorst – WWI draft registration

Before the 1920 census was taken, the Brunkhorst’s moved back to the Fountain Bluff Township where Ernest was working on a farm. It doesn’t appear that he owned his own farm because it says he was “working out”. They had just one child, a son named Albert, who is the one that does not have a baptism record in the Christ, Jacob books.

1920 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

The 1930 census illustrates that 5 additional children were born during the previous decade. This family was still living in the Fountain Bluff Township, and Ernest was still a farm laborer.

1930 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

The 1940 census indicates that the Brunkhorst’s had made a move to the Degognia Township. This is when their address began being listed as Cora, Illinois. Ernest was still farming.

1940 census – Degognia Township, IL

Ernest had a World War II draft card completed in 1942. This document is where we see his address given as Cora, Illinois. It says his employer was Harrison Wilson from Ava, Illinois. It looks like Harrison owned the farm on which the Brunkhorst’s were living. This form gives Ernest his correct birthday, May 17th.

Ernest Brunkhorst – WWII draft card

One more census entry can be viewed for this Brunkhorst couple. The 1950 census entry is shown here. Their oldest son, Albert, his wife, and his child were included in this household. Albert is the one who is called the farmer this time.

1950 census – Degognia Township, IL

Ernest Brunkhorst died in 1966 at the age of 75; Augusta Brunkhorst died in 1987 at the age of 90. These two are buried together in the Evergreen Cemetery in Chester.

Ernest and Augusta Brunkhorst gravestone – Evergreen, Chester, IL

The tiny “populated place” of Cora, Illinois is shown on a current map below. I am sure that the Brunkhorst’s residence was located in the surrounding farmland, not in the actual village of Cora, but you can still get the impression that this area is still not very populated to this day. It is one of those few places that makes our town of Altenburg look like a big city.

Cora, Illinois map

2 thoughts on “Brunkhorst and Hornbostel – Another Cora Couple

  1. I graduated high school in 1967 in Murphysboro, Illinois with Ralph Brunkhorst. I believe it is likely that Ralph was biologically connected to this Brunkhorst family. I and
    my extended family (Althoff, Kraft, Michael, Holman) were all affiliated with Immanuel Lutheran Church in Murphysboro, Ill. Still are.


  2. Cora has only 2 or 3 families living it it today!! It does have numerous residences beyond repair that need to be razed!!
    It was never a big Village but had businesses and many more homes at its peak.


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