John Bernhardt of Switzerland, Missouri, and Illinois

Johann (John) Bernhard (Bernhardt) and his wife Anna Krebs were my great-great-grandparents. A ship manifest lists them as leaving Switzerland in 1854 and arriving at New Orleans in 1855.

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Birth of Johann Bernhard

Johann Bernhard was born 10 Jun 1826, apparently in Hasle-Rüegsau, Bern, Switzerland. Records of the Allgemeine Christliche Kirche in Highland, Madison Co., MO refer to Hasle-Rüegsau as being his “Herkunftsort” (place of origin). “Herkunftsort” does not, however, appear to be a standard German genealogical expression, and seems to be somewhat vague in meaning. His Civil War records, however, refer to his birthplace as being what looks like “Flasli.” This could easily have been a misreading of a handwritten “Hasli” or “Hasle.”

Hasle-Rüegsau, Bern, Switzerland church records refer to a Hans Bernhard who was a son of Christen and Anna (Strahm) Bernhard. That Hans Bernhard was born or christened (presumably the latter) on 18 Jan 1826 in Hasle-Rüegsau. (My ancestor Johann was born 10 Jun 1826, not 10 Jan 1826.) That Hans (or Johann), however, according to Hasle-Rüegsau church records, married Rosina Messer in 1858. This must pertain to a different Johann. There was also a Johannes Bernhard born or christened (presumably the latter) on 2 July 1826 in Hasle-Rüegsau (my Johann was born 10 Jun 1826), a son of Andreas and Anna (Locher) Bernhard. This was quite possibly him.

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Birth of Johann’s wife-to-be

John’s wife-to-be Anna Krebs was born in Switzerland 20 Apr 1834. Her “Herkunftsort” (literally, place of origin) according to Highland, Madison County, Illinois church records was Wühtrach, Konolfingen district, Bern canton. A Swiss relative tells me that “Herkunftsort” is not, however, a commonly used term in Swiss records, and that its meaning is ambiguous.

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The Greenville Advocate (Greenville, Bond County, Illinois) of 10 Sep 1908 says that John “was married in the old country and came with his wife to this country in 1852.” This is in spite of the fact that he appears on a ship passenger list as arriving in America in 1855.

One of John’s pension application forms for Civil War service refers to his marriage in America in 1857. Records refer, however, to the following bits of contradictory information:

  • The Greenville (Illinois) Advocate printed the statement on 10 Sep 1908 that John “was married in the old country and came with his wife to this country in 1852.”
  • The Greenville, Illinois Sun said on 31 Dec 1908 that his wife Anna “was married in 1854 to John Bernhardt, in St. Louis.”
  • John himself completed a Civil War pension questionnaire on 5 Jul 1898 in which he stated that he was married to “Miss Anna Krebs” on 13 Apr 1857 in St. Louis. He added that the ceremony was performed by Frederick Flach.
  • John’s wife Anna herself completed yet another pension affidavit on 12 Sep 1908 (as his widow) in which she refers to their marriage as that of Anna Barb Döpfer to John Bernhard on 21 Nov 1852 in St. Louis. She added that the ceremony was performed by Fr. Picker, Pastor, and that neither of them had been previously married. This could not have been a matter of the wrong sheet being added to John’s pension file, because on the form she identifies him by military unit as well as by his date and place of death.
  • The 1852 marriage does, indeed, appear among St. Louis marriage records. In that record, the names are listed as “John Conrad Bernhard” and “Anna Barb Döpfer.” He is referred to, however, as being from Germany rather than from Switzerland. (More on this below.) Note that the ship passenger list discussed below shows John arriving in America in 1855 with his wife-to-be Anna and her parents, and there she is referred to as Anna Krebs.
  • Mentions of John in Pocahontas, Bond County, Illinois area newspapers refer to him as “J.D. Bernhardt,” not “J.C. Bernhardt.” The 1852 marriage record refers to him as “John Conrad Bernhardt.”
  • The Anna in the 1852 marriage record was “Anna Barb Döpfer.” The Anna who married John was clearly surnamed Krebs. When she arrived in America in 1854 with her parents, her surname is clearly referred to as Krebs in the ship manifest. Further, substantial family tradition asserts that she was the sister of Marie/Mary Ann Krebs. She appears on the ship passenger list with her sister. (Mary Ann married Rudolph Hunziker and they settled in Bollinger County, Missouri.)
  • The 1893 marriage certificate for their son Fred (Fritz) refers to his father as “John Bernhardt,” but his mother’s maiden name is listed as something beginning with “Sch.” The name appears to be “Ann Scharstens” or “Ann Scharstino” or something similar.

What apparently occurred was that Johann (John) and Anna came to America in 1852, and were then married in 1857 in St. Louis by Frederick Flach. When John and later his widow Anna submitted pension affidavits, John merely gave his marriage data from memory, but Anna tried to find a record. John submitted his form during his lifetime, and presumably did not need to submit an affidavit proving marriage. After his death, Anna applied for a widow’s pension, and she would have had to prove that they had been married. Because she was unable to find her marriage to John recorded in St. Louis, she went with the closest match among available records, assuming that it was the correct record but that the information had simply become garbled or miscopied, or that, if it was the wrong record, perhaps the Pension Bureau would still accept it as proof. That appears to be what happened.

Examination of the 1852 record makes it clear that this is referring to a different couple. Not only is the husband from Germany, not only is the wife’s surname wrong, but the wedding was not recorded out of sequence: It really was an 1852 wedding, performed before John and Anna came to America from Switzerland.

When Anna later filed her pension affidavits in order to obtain a widow’s pension, she tried to obtain a record of her marriage. Here, evidently, is why she was unable to find the record: According to the affidavit that John submitted, they were married in St. Louis in 1857 by Frederick Flach. Flach would have been a poor choice as a person to perform the marriage, because he is remembered today as having submitted few of his marriages to the Recorder of Deeds office. In addition, since he was a justice of the peace, presumably no church records would mention the marriage.

A web page in the St. Louis Genealogical Society website titled “Long Lost Marriage Records of Justice Fr. Flach, 1857-1858” refers to some of Flach’s records. Someone found, in a museum in Washington State, a small book of marriages performed by Flach in St. Louis, where Flach was a justice of the peace. That book covers the period July 1857 to March 1858, when he performed 43 marriages. Of those 43 marriages, only 2 were recorded in the Recorder of Deeds office.

This suggests that Flach simply never got around to submitting most of the marriages. Perhaps he intended to, but died before doing so. He died “shortly after” the last entry in the book, dated 6 Mar 1858. John and Anna were married, according to John’s own testimony, by Flach on 13 Apr 1857. Flach’s record book, unfortunately, does not begin until Jul 1857. Presumably he kept an earlier book as well but, if so, it evidently has never been found.

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The 1854 St. Louis city directory (possibly prepared in 1853) lists a John Bernhard, who was a cooper who “resides west side alley, between Mulberry and Cedar, 3rd and 4th.” This is likely the John Conrad Bernhard from Germany who was the subject of the 1852 marriage record, since a somewhat later city directory refers to “Conrad Bernhard” as a cooper.

Johann’s emigration to America with the Krebs family

Johann Bernhard left Switzerland Dec 1854 for America from the port of Le Havre onboard the ship Gosport.

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Arrival in America

Johann Bernhard arrived at New Orleans, LA 13 or 15 Jan 1855 with Anna Krebs. In the ship’s manifest, she still bore the Krebs surname and was accompanied by her sister and parents. According to family tradition, they then made their way by riverboat up the Mississippi to St. Louis.

The following is a list of those in his party onboard the Gosport. Note that not all age information is entirely correct:

  • #213 Krebs, Ulrich, age 65 (therefore born about 1790)
  • #214 Krebs, Elisabeth, age 56 (therefore born about 1799)
  • #215 Krebs, Anna, age 18 (therefore born about 1837; age should have been 21)
  • #216 Krebs, Anna Marie, age 9 (thereforeborn about 1846)
  • #217 Bernhard, Johann, age 18 (therefore born about 1837; age should have been 28)

Johann came to America with the Ulrich Krebs family, as already mentioned, on the Gosport. The ship landed at New Orleans, evidently on 15 Jan 1855. The date of 13 Jan 1855 was corrected to read 15 Jan 1855, which suggests that the arrival date was probably anticipated as being the 13th, but extended to the 15th.

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Marriage to Anna Krebs

On 13 Apr 1857, according to one of his pension records, he married Anna Krebs. She was a daughter of UIrich Krebs and his wife Elisabeth (Spangler) Krebs. All three (along with Anna’s sister) had accompanied Johann when he traveled to America in 1854-1855, as noted above.

Ulrich was born about 1788-1790 in Switzerland and died in 1868 in Highland, Madison Co., IL. His age is listed as 65 on the ship passenger list dated 13 or 15 Jan 1855 when he arrived in New Orleans. Ulrich’s wife Elisabeth was born in 1798 or 1799 in Switzerland died in Highland. She is listed as being 56 years old on the ship passenger list dated 13 or 15 Jan 1855 when she arrived in New Orleans. Her age is not easily readable in the 1860 census, but appears to be 62, which of course would suggest a birthdate around 1798. In the 1860 census, Elisabeth Krebs is listed in Madison Co., IL, living with her daughter Anna and son-in-law John Bernhard.

Anna’s “Herkunftsort” (literally “place of origin”) according to Highland, Madison Co., IL Allgemeine Christliche Kirche church records was Wühtrach, Konolfingen area, canton BE [Bern]. That may, however, have simply been the town in which she held citizenship and she might not have actually lived there.

Anna had a sister named Mary Ann Krebs, who was born on the 14th of June in a year between 1845 and 1848 in the canton of Bern. On 21 Oct 1867 in Madison Co., MO she married Rudolph Hunziker, and they settled in Bollinger Co., MO. Rudolph was born 10 Jan 1846 at Leimbach, Aargau canon, and died 13 Aug 1927 at Marble Hill in Bollinger Co. Rudolph and Mary Ann Hunziker are both buried in Bollinger Co., MO.

1857 city directory listings

The 1857 St. Louis city directory lists “Conrad Bernhard,” a cooper living at 365 North 11th. This was likely the John Conrad Bernhard from Germany who was the subject of the 1852 marriage record.

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1860 census

The John (Johann) Bernhard (Bernhardt) family appears in the 1860 census in 3N 5W(?), Madison Co., IL with post office at Highland. They were living with John and Anna Hildebrand (born in Baden, Germany; his occupation looks like “Brick maker”). Johann Bernhard is listed as “John Bernard,” age 33 (should have been 34), born in Switzerland, carpenter, with 25-yr.-old wife Anna (should have been 26), born in Switzerland, daughter Elizabeth (age 2) and son John (age 4) (both children born in IL), and Elizabeth (Krepes? – hard to read – should have been Krebs), age 62(?), born in Switzerland.

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Civil War service

John Bernhard entered the Union Army 18 Jul 1861 in St. Louis, for Civil War service. He became a private in Company B, 15th Missouri (the “Swiss Regiment”). He participated in the Battle of Pea Ridge and at the Siege of Corinth. John was discharged Feb 1863 on a surgeon’s certificate.

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John was living in 1866 in Highland, Madison Co., IL, where he was a carpenter.


John Bernhard(t) was naturalized 27 Oct 1866 in Madison Co., IL..

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1870 census

The family appears in the 1870 census near Jamestown, Clinton Co., IL, where John is listed as a farmer. (According to family tradition, while living there he made coffins.)

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His move to Bond County, Illinois

By 1873, the family had moved to Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL.

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Land transaction

John Bernhard of Bond Co., IL was grantee in a deed involving land in Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL, dated 14 Oct 1875.

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Land transactions

John Bernhardt of Bond Co., IL was grantee in a deed involving land in Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL, dated 5 Feb 1877.

John and Anna Bernhart of Bond Co., IL were grantees in a deed involving land in Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL, dated 23 Jul 1877.

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1880 census

The family appears in the 1880 census in Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL, where John is listed as a cabinet maker.

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Land transaction

John Bernhart Jr. of Bond Co., IL (presumably John’s son) was grantee in a deed involving land in Pocahontas in 1887. The actual date was left blank, but the deed was filed for record on 12 Mar 1887.

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Land transaction

John Bernhardt purchased land in Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL at an auction on 18 Jun 1891.

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Land transactions

John Bernhardt purchased land in Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL at an auction on 16 Jul 1892.

John Bernhard of Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL was grantee in a deed involving land in Pocahontas dated 12 Nov 1892.

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Land transactions

John Bernhard, whose place of residence was left blank, was grantee in a deed involving land in Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL dated 16 Feb 1893.

John Bernhardt of Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL was grantee in a deed involving land in Pocahontas dated 30 May 1893.

John Bernhard of Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL was grantee in a deed involving land in Pocahontas dated 14 Oct 1893.

John Bernhard of Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL was grantee in a deed involving land in Pocahontas dated 13 Nov 1893.

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Land transactions

John Bernhard of Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL was grantee in a deed involving land in Pocahontas dated 5 April 1894.

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Land transactions

John Bernhard was grantee in a deed for Lot 2, Block 10 in Robinson Cemetery, dated 24 Apr 1896. The information was repeated in a separate deed dated 22 May 1909, a few months after his death.

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1900 census

John appears in the 1900 census in Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL. At the time, he was not working.

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Death of John Bernhardt

John Bernhardt died 7 Sep 1908. He died on the 7th, his body was found on the 8th, and he was buried on the 10th. He died between St. Jacob and Highland, Madison Co., IL.

His death made front-page headlines locally, because at first it was thought that he might have been murdered. This was because he was found alongside a railroad track with an obvious injury to the head. See “Facts Disprove Murder Theory,” Greenville Advocate, Greenville, Bond Co., IL, 10 Sep 1908, p. 1; The Sun, Greenville, IL, 10 Sep 1908, p. 2; the Highland Journal, Highland, Madison Co., IL, 10 Sep 1908, p. 1; and The Pointer, Riverdale, Cook Co., IL, 18 Sep 1908, p. 2.

According to a 1911 letter from his daughter Lena, “Father’s death was such a shock to mother, or I think she still would be living. He went to Highland on the afternoon train, or started there rather. The train was crowded and father was almost deaf. They took him to St. Jacobs, 5 or 6 miles farther. He tried to walk back to Highland and he was subject to heart failure. He dropped dead on his way back to Highland. It was certainly awful for us all.”

John was buried in Robinson Cemetery near the town of Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL. Grave markers for John and Anna are located not far from a large mausoleum in the southeast part of the cemetery. A standard government-issue Civil War veteran’s tombstone for John is located next to his regular tombstone.

Death of Anna (Krebs) Bernhardt

Anna died at 8:40 p.m. at home in Pocahontas. See the Greenville Advocate, Greenville, Bond Co., IL, 31 Dec 1908, p. 6, col. 1, and The Sun, Greenville, IL, 31 Dec 1908, p. 2 col. 3 (see also p. 6 under “Pocahontas”). She was buried on the 30th in Robinson Cemetery near Pocahontas.

Children of John and Anna Bernhardt

John Bernhardt

John, Jr. was born 18 Aug 1857 in Missouri or Illinois (sources differ). He was born in Illinois according to the 1860 census, but in Missouri according to the 1870 census. Missouri is unlikely to have been stated as a birthdate unless it was correct, since the family was living in IL at the time of that census. On the other hand, his death certificate says that he was born in Ellington, Missouri, which would seem extremely unlikely. Ellington is in southeast Missouri, in Reynolds County, and the family was not otherwise known to have been there. A typed manuscript by a relative says that he was born in Highland, Illinois.

John appears to have been christened 10 Jun 1860. He lived most of his adult life in Ohio. For some unknown reason, he is consistently referred to in Ohio records and newspaper accounts as “Benhard,” “Benhart,” or “Benhardt,” with no “r” in the first syllable. His Ohio death certificate refers to him as “John Benhardt.”

A typed manuscript by a relative says regarding him, “John was a cabinet maker, the same occupation as his father.” He is indeed listed as a cabinet maker in the 1880 census, and as a carpenter on his death certificate. An obituary at his death referred to him as a carpenter.

He lived in or near St. Joseph, Missouri for a time when a young man, according to family tradition. This would have likely been between the 1880 census, when he was living with his parents, and the 1900 census, when he was married and living in Ohio.

He was married about 1891 to Ida May Keller. She was born 22 Sep 1865 in Allen County, Ohio. She was a daughter of Abraham Keller and his wife Sophia (Spangler) Keller. Abraham Keller was born 30 Oct 1844 at Elida, Allen County, Ohio, and died 26 Jan 1917 at Elida. He was a farmer and a butcher. Sophia was born 27 Jun 1846 in Fairfield County, Ohio and died 19 Nov 1922 at Elida. Ida died 13 Oct 1944 in Memorial Hospital in Lima, Allen County, Ohio and was buried near Elida, Allen County, Ohio in Salem Cemetery.

John and Ida adopted Ida’s niece, Olive Mae Keller. She was called Mae, and was born 12 May 1917. Mae was a daughter of William Ray Keller, called Ray, born 30 Jan 1895 at Elida, and his first wife, Ollie Allemeier. (He later married Mary Pauline Bucher.) Ray Keller, who was a real estate salesman, died 27 Oct 1971 at Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida. Mae graduated from Elida High School in 1935. On the 5th of June of that same year, she married Richard Howard Mann.

Richard Howard Mann, called Howard, was born 9 May 1912 at Delphos, Allen County, Ohio. When he was 15, he was working at the Odin cigar factory. He lived at Columbus Grove in Putnam County, adjacent to Allen County, when he was 22.

Howard placed a classified ad in the Lima News on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of Mar 1949 in order to sell a car. This was a 1947 Reo Model 25 T. Contact information provided read “Phone 19-694, Howard Mann, Elida, O.”

He ran another classified ad in the same paper on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of Aug 1952. This time he was selling a six-room and one-bath house in Elida. The house featured a garage, storage building, new siding and insulation, and an “automatic space heater.” Contact person was “Howard Mann, Elida.”

Howard and his daughter were in a quartet that performed a trumpet number in a special Easter service in 1958 at the Elida Evangelical United Brethren Church. Later that year, he was on a committee of the local American Legion post responsible for bringing the U.S. Marine Band to Lima for a concert.

About a year later, shortly before the concert, he played trumpet in the local Bengal Lancers band in the public square in Lima in a publicity event for the Marine Band concert. That same year, the Bengal Lancers sold all their old instruments to Howard Mann, who wanted to use them for the American Legion. A newspaper mentioned him playing trumpet with the American Legion’s Lancer Band in 1960.

Howard Mann died at 3 a.m. on 14 Jul 1985 at his home in Lima. He was cremated after a funeral in Delphos. Mae died 18 Apr 2003 and was cremated. Her ashes were to be buried “at a later date” at Salem Cemetery near Elida, Allen County, Ohio.

John Bernhart (Bernhardt), Jr. was the grantee in a Bond County, Illinois deed filed in 1887. The deed’s actual date was left blank, but it was filed for record 12 Mar 1887. In the deed, John Bernhart, Sr. of Bond County, as grantor, turned land in Pocahontas, Bond County over to his son, John Bernhart, Jr. of Bond County, as grantee.

John is listed in the 1900 census in German Township, village of Elida, Allen County, Ohio. His occupation was cabinet maker, and he is listed as “Benhardt.”

The Lima, Ohio Times-Democrat noted on 5 Mar 1913, p. 6, under “Elida,” that he had been very ill from a stomach illness. His name was spelled “Benhardt.” His name was spelled the same way in the Lima News on 3 Feb 1914, p. 5, under “Elida,” when it was noted that he had been sick for quite a while and was sill so.

Ida Sophia Keller, a niece of John Bernhardt, Jr.’s wife Ida, was married on 17 Nov 1915. The wedding ceremony was performed in the Bernhardt home at Elida, Allen County, Ohio.

John died at 5 p.m. on Saturday, 17 May 1930, while sitting in a chair at home at Elida. He was 73, and had experienced some minor heart attacks at various times during the preceding winter. The funeral was held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, 20 May 1930 at the Lutheran Church in Elida. He was buried near Elida in Salem Cemetery.

Elizabeth Bernhardt

Elizabeth Bernhardt, called Lizzie, was born Anna Elisabeth Bernhard 11 Dec 1858 in Illinois and christened 18 Dec 1858. She would appear to be the individual mistakenly listed in the 1870 census (while the family was living in Clinton County, Illinois) as “Louis.” The gender appears to be “M,” but perhaps overwritten with an “F.” (The next listing, for Bertha, more clearly shows overwriting in the gender column, suggesting that there was some confusion about the entries.)

Around 1882 in St. Louis, Elizabeth married Gustafus (Augustus) Davidson, called Gus. He was born in Mar 1852 in Pennsylvania. Both his parents were born in Pennsylvania according to the 1900 census.

Gus and Lizzie moved from Illinois to Wichita, Kansas, where Gus worked in a harness shop. From there, they moved to Geuda Springs, Kansas, which is located in both Cowley and Sumner Counties close to the Oklahoma state line.

Elizabeth is presumably the Mrs. Davidson of Geuda Springs, Kansas mentioned in the Arkansas City Republican, Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas, 17 May 1884. She had come to Arkansas City during the previous week for medical care under a certain Dr. Jamison Vawter.

At Geuda Springs, Gus ran a blacksmith shop and made carriages. He participated in the Cherokee Strip run, in which would-be homesteaders competed for land in Oklahoma. He was able to go deep into Oklahoma, but was unsuccessful in getting any land.

After returning, however, he entered into a deal with a young boy who held a claim in Kay County, Oklahoma but who was ineligible to enter the claim. As a result, Gus moved his family into Kay County, Oklahoma, where they took up farming.

The family appears in the 1900 census in Vernon Township, Kay County, Oklahoma Territory. There Gus was a blacksmith and farmer.

Gus died at 3 a.m. on 8 Nov 1906. He had been sick for a while. The funeral was held in Geuda Springs, Kansas, which is where he was buried. An obituary appeared in the Republican News Journal, published in Kay County, Oklahoma, on 16 Nov 1906.

After her husband Gus died in 1906, Elizabeth and her daughter Bessie moved into unincorporated Peckham, Kay County, Oklahoma. There, Bessie worked in the post office. Elizabeth and Bessie made some trips from Oklahoma into Illinois to visit relatives. That is where Bessie met her husband to be.

Elizabeth appears in the 1910 census, taken 6 May 1910, in Vernon Township, Kay County, Oklahoma. She is listed as a widowed head of household, with her daughter Bessie. In the 1920 census, taken 15 Jan 1920, she appears in unincorporated Peckham Town, South Vernon Township, Kay County, Oklahoma. There she is listed as a widowed head of household, living alone.

The children of Elizabeth and Gus Davidson were Artie M. Davidson, born in Kansas in Mar 1884, Glenn B. Davidson, born in Apr 1886 in Kansas, and Bessie May Davidson, born 19 Sep 1893 at Geuda Springs.

Glenn appears in the 1910 census as a farmer in Vernon Township, Kay County, Oklahoma. About 1905, Glenn married Gertrude, born about 1887 in Arkansas. They had at least two children, sons Rayman (born about 1906) and Orrel (born about 1908).

Bessie married Fred Alvin Mueller, who was born in 1890 and who died in Kansas in 1966. Fred was bought up in Bond County, Illinois. After Bessie’s father Gus Davidson died, she and her mother Elizabeth made some trips from Oklahoma into Illinois to visit relatives. That is how Bessie met Fred.

After they married, Bessie and Fred moved to Angleton, Texas. There they farmed until 1915. Because of the high humidity and the hurricanes in Texas, they decided to move to a new home southwest of Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas, near the Kansas/Oklahoma state line.

There, Fred worked for a gas company. Then they moved onto a farm in East Bolton Township. They moved to the community of South Bend in 1929, and lived there until Fred retired in 1965. From there they moved to Dearing, Kansas, evidently in Montgomery County.

After Fred died in 1966, Bessie moved the following year back to Cowley County, Kansas. She lived in Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas until she died in 1977. She is buried in Geuda Springs Cemetery.

Bertha Bernhardt

Bertha was born 16 Jan 1861 in Illinois according to one source. Her death certificate, however, says 16 Jan 1865 and the 1900 census says Jan 1865. She is listed as 8 years old, however, in the 1870 census, therefore born about 1862, and 16 Jan 1861 has been cited as her birthdate. In addition, she is absent from her parents’ household in the 1880 census.

After the death of her father John (Johann), her siblings brought suit against her, her husband, and two others in Circuit Court, Bond County, Illinois, over settlement of the estate. (See chancery publication notices for four consecutive weeks beginning 12 Aug 1909 in the Greenville Advocate, Greenville, Bond County, Illinois.)

Bertha is said to have married Frederick William Storck, called William, about 1887. The 1900 census does indicate that they married about 1887. Both his parents were born in Germany, according to the census.

The 1900 census shows Bertha and Will living at 4925 Terry Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri. He is listed as “Frederick W. Storck,” with occupation listed as “commercial traveller.” Above that is written “clothing.”

Bertha was living at 4925 Terry Ave. in St. Louis in 1911. This was her late address before she entered a sanitarium one year, 8 months, and 28 days before she died. Frederick William Storck died by 21 Apr 1915.

Bertha died 21 Apr 1915 of broncho pneumonia in Sanitarium 24 in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. She was buried 23 Apr 1915 in Valhalla Cemetery in St. Louis County, Missouri. (Since 1876, St. Louis City has not been a part of any county.)

Children of Bertha and William were William Storck and Herbert J. Storck. William, Jr., called Will, was born 5 Jul 1887 in St. Louis. He married Helen L. Cotter and distributed tape machines. His late address was 7548 Teasdale Ave., University City, St. Louis County, Missouri. He died 26 Sep 1952 in University City of chronic myocarditis with arteriosclerosis, and was buried 29 Sep 1952 in Valhalla Cemetery.

Herbert J. Storck was born 8 Jun 1892 in St. Louis. He married Edna Daly. He died in Oct 1963 in Florida.

Mary Bernhardt

Mary was originally named Maria. She was born 10 Oct 1864 in Illinois and was christened 2 Apr 1865 in the Allgemeine Christliche Kirche (loosely translated as General Christian Church) in Highland, Madison County, Illinois. (See Book 2, p. 309, of the church records.)

She married Charles Schulz or Schultz. They had a son named Edwin.

Mary died at age 32, leaving a husband and two children. Lena wrote, “Mary lived in St. Louis also. She is buried there. She, her boy, and husband all died in one year; just a few months apart. She was sick a great deal and I staid with her most of the time.”

Fred J. Bernhardt

Fred J. Bernhardt was born as Fritz Bernhard on 10 Jul 1870 at Jamestown, Clinton County, Illinois. He went by the name “Fritz” until he was at least 19.

Fred was a cabinet maker and carpenter, as was his father. Later, however, he worked as a tinner and worked with galvanized iron. He was listed as a painter in the 1900 census, as a “common laborer” in the 1910 census, and as doing “labor,” “car repair” in the 1920 census.

In the People of the State of Illinois v. C. Burshaw, Wm. McCallum, and Fritz Bernhard, 1889, Bond County, Illinois, McCallum and Fritz Bernhard were charged with “assault on Charles C Gordon by Stopping his horse on the publick road and following him (he Gordon being in cart with Miss Ida Haney) and the others being in a buggey followed the said Charles C Gordon at a high rate of speed for one mile and forsed them into a ditch and broke the cart and using loud and profane language and at same time firing off pistols.” On another occasion, he broke into someone’s house in Bond County and stole a keg of wine.

Fred was married 7 Dec 1893 in Greenville, Bond County, Illinois to Luella Hurley, called Lulu. She was born 12 Nov 1875 at Wisetown, Bond County, Illinois, a daughter of Noah Mason Hurley and his wife Amanda (Johnston) Hurley. Noah was born about 1845 in Illinois and died 13 Feb 1931 at Greenville. Amanda was born about 1858 in Illinois.

Noah Hurley appears in the 1870 census in Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL, where he was a farmer living alone. In the 1880 census, Noah was living on S. Second St. in Greenville and working as a stone cutter. In the 1900 census Noah Hurley was a house carpenter living in Central Twp., Bond Co., IL, with “Greenville” crossed out in the listing. Noah was listed as a labor in the 1910 census and still living in Greenville, on S. Second Street. Noah was living at 560 Allen Ave. in Greenville in the 1920 census and working as a house carpenter.

Fred ran for town clerk of Old Ripley, Bond Co., IL as a Republican candidate in 1904. In 1934 he bought a lot in Mt. Auburn Memorial Park Cemetery, Greenville, Bond Co., IL. The deed stated it was “for the interment of white human beings only.”

Fred shows up in the 1900 census in Burgess Twp., Bond Co., IL, where he is listed as Fred “Bernhard,” painter. He was living next door to Joseph Hurley and his wife.

A deed dated 23 Apr 1903 in Bond Co., IL names Fred Bernhardt of Ripley as grantee for land in Bond Co. Another deed, this one dated 21 Aug 1905, lists Fred Bernhardt of Old Ripley as grantee for land in Bond Co.

Fred is listed in the 1910 census in Mt. Vernon, Jefferson Co., IL, as a “common laborer.”

Fred Bernhardt of Mt. Vernon is grantee in a deed dated 7 Jul 1910 for “out lots” in Greenville, Bond Co. On 12 Jan 1912 Fred Bernhardt of Greenville was grantee on a deed to lots in the Woodlawn addition to Greenville. In the same month but on the 16th, Fred Bernhardt of Greenville was grantee in another deed involving a lot in Woodlawn.

Fred appears in the 1920 census in Greenville, Bond Co., IL, where his address looks like 807 Monroe St. but is difficult to read. His occupation is listed as “labor,” “car repair.”

Fred and Lulu Bernhardt were grantees for lots in Woodlawn addition in a Bond Co., IL deed dated 30 Apr 1921. Fred and Lulu Bernhardt of Greenville were grantees in Bond Co., IL deeds dated 3 Apr 1925, 12 Sep 19927, and 29 Mar 1929 to lots in Greenville. In 1930 they were still living in Greenville.

Fred and Lulu Bernhardt of Greenville were grantees in a Bond Co., IL deed dated 17 Jun 1932 to Lot 93, Section B in Mt. Auburn Memorial Park “for the interment of white human beings only.” Fred and Lulu Bernhardt of Greenville were grantees in a 19 Apr 1944 Bond Co. deed to a lot in an addition to Greenville.

Fred died at 10:40 a.m. on 7 Sep 1951 in Waukegan, IL and was buried 9 Sep 1951 in Greenville, Bond Co., IL. An obituary appeared in the Greenville Advocate on 10 Sep 1951, p. 2. He was buried in Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

Luella died 18 Jan 1966. Her obituary appeared in the Greenville Advocate, Greenville, Bond Co., IL, date unknown.

William E Bernhardt

William E Bernhardt was my great-grandfather. I am old enough to have some memories of him while he was living at the home of his son William C. Bernhardt, my grandfather, south of De Soto, Jefferson Co., MO. The family’s understanding has always been that the middle initial “E” did not stand for anything, but was merely used in order to distinguish him from his son William C. On William E’s World War I draft registration card he signed his name as William Edward Bernhardt, but this was likely just because he was required to supply a middle name.

William E Bernhardt was born 10 Oct 1873 in Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL, and was called Willie as a child.

William’s sister Lena commented in a 1911 letter, “I had a card from Will last week . . . . I am sure you would like him, if you should meet him. He is so jolly. He is my favorite brother.” His World War I draft registration describes him as of medium height and build, with light brown eyes and black hair.

By spending time around railroad depots when he was young, William E Bernhardt became proficient at Morse code. He eventually became a railroad telegrapher, and later worked for Western Union. He is said to have strung some of the first west coast telegraph lines. He lived in Denver and Los Angeles while working for Western Union.

In an undated letter from Los Angeles, he wrote, “I worked as telegraph operator at Fredericktown, Delta, and Charleston, and was train dispatcher for two years having charge of the trains on the Belmont Branch . . . .”

He married Ida May Griffith on his birthday in 1897 – 10 Oct 1897 – at the Griffith home in Richmond Heights, St. Louis Co., MO. He is said to have married on 16 Oct 1897, but that date contradicts the date found on an original marriage certificate in the family possession. The wedding was performed by W.H. Lewis, minister.

Ida May Griffith was born 25 Aug 1874 near Leasburg, Crawford Co., MO, and was a daughter of Charles Wesley Griffith and his wife Livonia (Givens) West Griffith.

The way that William E Bernhardt and Ida May Griffith met was that she was working in a restaurant in St. Louis, while he was working across the Mississippi River in East St. Louis. Each day he would walk across the river to eat in that restaurant.

After marriage, he considered buying land around the present-day site of the hospital that is across I-64 from Forest Park in St. Louis. He reasoned, however, that if he was going to buy land that far out in the country, he might as well relocate in Jefferson Co., MO, where he could get a much better deal.

As a result, he purchased 40 acres with house, barn, and smokehouse in Valle Twp., Jefferson Co., MO. He, his wife, and his parents-in-law moved there around 1898. (See Jefferson Co., MO deed 26 Mar 1898, with quit-claim deed 5 Dec 1913.) He bought additional land 23 Jul 1900 and 4 Jan 1904.

The 1907 Jefferson County Directory (possibly compiled the year before) lists W.E. Bernhardt, telegraph operator, with P.O. at Vineland. In the Nov 1907 section of the school record book for Springdale School in Jefferson Co., MO, his son Lester is noted as having “Left dist.,” in other words, having left the district.

A 1907 photo shows William E Bernhardt working in the Western Union office in Denver. A 1908 postcard is addressed to his wife, living at 2110 Arapahoe Street in Denver. The Springdale School record book shows that William E Bernhardt’s two sons William and Lester “moved away” in Sep 1908. Lester re-entered in Oct of that year, William in Nov. Then William “moved from Dist.” 1 Nov 1909 while Lester remained. William did not return.

William E Bernhardt bought more land in Jefferson Co., MO 4 Jun 1910. He shows up in the 1911 Los Angeles City Directory, however, as a telegraph operator living at 1034 Denver Ave. The 1912 directory gives the same information, while adding that he was a telegraph operator for Western Union. A postcard sent to him on 1 Aug 1912 is addressed to 1401 DeLong Ave. in Los Angeles. The 1913 Los Angeles City Directory shows him living at the same address as that written on the postcard.

His residence is again shown as Vineland, Jefferson Co., MO on 12 Sep 1918, when he registered for the draft. The 1920 St. Louis City Directory shows a W.E. Bernhardt living in the Benton Hotel. This is likely him, since he would work in St. Louis during the week, then return to southern Jefferson Co., MO by train on the weekend.

He purchased more land in Jefferson Co., MO on 12 Jul 1927. A 1928 envelope is addressed to him at RFD 3, De Soto, MO.

Ida May (Griffith) Bernhardt died at 6 a.m. on 20 Apr 1947 in the Bernhardt home in Valle Twp., Jefferson Co., MO of cerebral hemorrhage and hypertensive cardiovascular disease. An obituary appeared in the De Soto Press, De Soto, Jefferson Co., MO, 25 Apr 1947, p. 1. She was buried 23 Apr 1947 in Masonic Cemetery near Blackwell, St. Francois Co., MO.

William E Bernhardt was a 50-year member of the Masonic lodge in De Soto, Jefferson Co., MO.

William E Bernhardt died of myocarditis 13 Jan 1959 at the home of his son William C. Bernhardt, my grandfather, in Valle Twp., Jefferson Co., MO. I attended the funeral. An obituary appears in the Jefferson Republic, De Soto, Jefferson Co., MO, 15 Jan 1959, sec. 1, p. 5. He was buried in Masonic Cemetery near Blackwell.

Children of William E and Ida May (Griffith) Bernhardt were my grandfather William Charles Bernhardt and his brother George Lester Bernhardt, called Lester. William was born 23 Jul 1898 in Valle Twp., Jefferson Co., MO and died 22 Mar 1982 in Valle Twp. Lester was born 17 Oct 1900 in the same location, and died 26 Aug 1966 in Wichita, KS. William married Celestine Bertha Ross, and Lester married (1) Addie Lillian Brod on 16 Jun 1923 and (2) Kathareen Thelma Brady on 14 Dec 1957.

Lena Bernhardt

Lena was born 10 Mar 1877 in Pocahontas, Bond Co., IL. She is listed as “Leila” in the 1910 census.

On 10 Oct 1900 in Bond Co. Lena married George Herman Grafe (pronounced GRAY-fee). He was born 18 Nov 1874, according to the Social Security Death Index and his obituary, although the 1900 census says he was born in Nov 1875. He was born at Old Ripley, Bond Co., IL.

George Herman Grafe was a son of Peter H. Grafe and his wife Magdalene (Hochdörfer) Grafe. Peter H. Grafe settled in Bond Co., IL in 1873 and lived at Old Ripley. Around 1875 Peter H. Grafe was running the Old Ripley Hotel and Saloon, which boasted that it offered “good accommodations for travelers.”

Magdalene (Hochdörfer) Grafe was born in Mar 1853. She was born in MO according to the 1900 and 1920 censuses. Magdalena was called Lena. Her husband Peter H. Grafe had died by the time of the 1900 census, which lists Magdalena (Hochdörfer) Grafe as Lena Pierron, living in Greenville, Bond Co., IL. Evidently this second husband had also died by this time. In the 1920 census she is listed as Lena Pierron, a widow living at 721 S. Second in Greenville.

The 1910 census lists the George Grafe (spelled “Graffe”) family as living at 723 S. Second, Greenville, Bond Co., IL. George was working as a “tester, milk condenser.” George worked at Helvetia Dairy, which later became Pet Dairy, in Highland, Madison Co., IL.

The 1920 census shows the family still at the same address. George’s mother, Lena (Hochdörfer) (Grafe) Pierron, was living next door at 721. George’s occupation again had something to do with milk, although not all the listing is clearly readable. A married couple, Josiah and Delia Maples, were living in the same household.

The other of the two Lenas, Lena (Bernhardt) Grafe, died 1 May 1935 at Highland, Madison Co., IL. She was buried in Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Greenville, Bond Co., IL.

George Grafe is presumably the “Grafe of Greenville” who scored 12 points in a basketball game 24 Jan 1941 in East Alton, IL. His team, the Western Super-X, won the game against the Greenville Shells 46 to 33. A local paper referred in the same article to “plant league games,” so perhaps the Western Super-X team was connected with his place of employment.

George Grafe died at Utlaut Memorial Hospital in Greenville, Bond Co., IL on 12 Jun 1971. He was buried 15 Jun 1971 in Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Greenville. An obituary was published in the De Soto Press, De Soto, Jefferson Co., MO, 21 Jun 1971, sec. 1, p. 2 (published there because of MO connections).

George and Lena (Bernhardt) Grafe had a son, George B. Grafe, who was born 5 May 1907 in IL. He died 11 Dec 1944. The Alton Telegraph, Alton, Madison Co., IL, 25 Jan 1940, p. 2, refers to a George B. Grafe of Hillsboro, Montgomery Co., IL, but it is not clear whether this is the same individual.

Adolph Bernhardt

Adolph’s place in the birth order is unknown. He died at the age of 11 months.


One response to “John Bernhardt of Switzerland, Missouri, and Illinois

  1. Hello
    Do you need more informations about Anna Krebs?
    What your swiss relative said, is not quite right. Every
    Swiss citizen has a “place of origin”, we call it “Heimatort”.
    The “Heimatort” of Anna and her family is Nieder-Wichtrach,
    canton of Bern, church parish of Wichtrach.

    Many of us have emigrated to the U.S. ….,
    my gg grandfather died in St. Louis MO, as an
    American citizen…

    Greatings from Switzerland
    A. Krebs

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