Family Histories: A-B

Family Histories


Planning to settle in California, the J. M. Abels family, originally from Alsace-Lorraine and Bremen in Germany, instead came to Eudora in 1859. Son Henry Abels said when his family traveled to Eudora by boat from New Orleans, the stern wheeler boat stopped in St. Louis, and Caroline Schneider boarded on her trip to Eudora to meet her fiancé, Charles Lothholz. At Booneville, Missouri, August Gabriel also got on the boat to come to Douglas County. Lothholz met the boat at Kansas City to bring his soon-to-be bride by stagecoach to Eudora. The Kansas River was in flood stage with a swift current and driftwood, causing the captain to tie up at Shawnee. Camping Indians, Abels said, yelled wildly and the coyotes howled, frightening the boat passengers. When the Abels family arrived June 4 and left the boat at the mouth of the Wakarusa River, most of the town met them, including Charles Lothholz and his bride, Charles Achning, Fred Pilla, Charles Durr, A. Summerfield, Anton Getker, a Schuricht, Peter Hartig, Prang Vogel, a Meyer, a Deichmann, and others. Henry married Louisa Fieldler on March 4, 1868, and was a Eudora postmaster for 16 years. Their children were Will, Benjamin, Lydia, Henry AbelsOllie, Mrs. George Seybold, Mrs. Homer White, and Mrs. Carl Lundberg. Henry Abels’ brother, Ernst Jakob Heinrich “Ernest,” born in New Orleans, was age six when the family came to homestead on the first quarter section in Johnson County along what is now old Highway 10. Ernest married his neighbor, Rosena Eisele. Their first child, Alfred, died at age one when his high chair turned over and his head hit the ground. Their other children were Karl, Ester, Ludwig Arthur, Edwin Friedrich, and Johannes Heinrich. Edwin, born September 15, 1891, and pictured here, married Marie Robinson, daughter of W.H. Robinson; became editor of the Lawrence Outlook (originally called Douglas County Republican); and served four terms (House, 1937; Senate, 1939-1947) in the Kansas Legislature. Source: Ernest Abels’ obituary (1917), Henry Abels’ obituary (1918), and “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977); "House Resolution 6136," Journal of the House of Representatives, Kansas Legislature; and Eisele Family and Hornberger Family (March 1, 1977) by Clifford Eisele

A farmer in Section 30 with 120 acres, J. R. Allen Jr. was born in Monmouth, New Jersey, on December 14, 1832, and was the son of Joseph R. Allen and Anna ( Richardson ). He grew up in Monmouth, and, in 1852, moved to Iowa. In 1856, he came to Kansas, an active Free-State supporter, and settled in Kaw Valley before buying a Belleview farm in 1865, according to his 1917 obituary. He married Emma, daughter of Thomas Pearson and Rhoda ( Rogers) in Newton, Iowa, on May 28, 1857. They had five children: Jennie S. (born July 22, 1858); James T. (born December 16, 1863); Elmer F. (born August 20, 1866); Edwin C. (born January 26, 1871); and Bertha G. (born November 12, 1874). Emma was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Source: History of the State of Kansas (1883) by William Cutler

Conrad Altenbernd was born in Lippedetwald, Germany, on January 8, 1837 and died November 17, 1919 in Eudora at 82 years of age. He married Wilhelmina Katharine “Katy” Siggs in 1860. Katy, born in Prussia, died October 9, 1921. Their first child, Heinrich Wilhelm, was born in Eudora in 1861. Other children were: Wilhelm, Minnie (who died at age 6 and was buried in the Eudora Cemetery), and Conrad Samuel. Conrad bought enough land from local Indians for two adjoining farms, which he shared with his brother, William, who married Katherine, born in Hessen Darmstadt , Germany, on February 2, 1839 and came to Port Washington, Wisconsin, at age 11. Their children were Fred, Louis, Carl, Will, Louisa, Mrs. Ed Schaake, Mrs. Frank, and Mrs. Emil Hoelzel. A sister of Conrad and William, Caroline, also came to Eudora with her husband, John Tornedon. Source: Alternbernd Family Tree (1999) by Sheila Altenbernd, Peoria, Arizona; Eudora News (October 2, 1997); Katherine Altenbernd’s obituary (1913); Lorene Cox; by Erik D. Mueller-Harder

Born in Nairnshire, Scotland, March 14, 1832, John Anderson was the son of John Anderson and Isabella (Henderson). He immigrated to Canada in 1856 and stayed there 12 years before he settled in Section 26 southwest of Eudora on his 160 acres. He married Justina D., daughter of John McIntosh and Margaret (Simpson) in Auldearn, Scotland, on December 23, 1859. They had five children: Margaret (born March 2, 1861 ); Isabella (born October 23, 1863); Lizzie (born March 23, 1865); Justina (born December 23, 1867); and Mariann (born June 7, 1869). Source: History of the State of Kansas (1883) by William Cutler

The Baeckers came from the border area between Germany and France to Chicago in 1869, then two months later moved to the Captain’s Creek area, 10 miles southeast of Eudora. Source: 1911 obituary

William Bartz lived two miles south of Eudora. His family included seven sons and three daughters. Some of them were Ed, Will, Mary (Muzzy), and Amelia (Barley). Bartz was born around 1843. The Bartz name does not appear on the 1880 census, so they presumably came to the Eudora area after that time. A Bartz was noted in an 1893 newspaper harvesting ice from the river. Source: William Bartz’s obituary (1911)

Henry Basemann was born August 7, 1812, Senderslobe, Saxony, and emmigrated to New York City in 1842. He joined the 12th Kansas Infantry Company E and served in the Civil War for three years. He married his wife, Frances, around 1844 in New York City. She was born November 5, 1819 in Germany. Their children were Henry Jr., born January 13, 1845, in New York City and died May 16, 1832 in Fort Scott; Louisa, born 1850 in Ontario, Canada, who married George John Stadler and died May 10, 1927 in Eudora; Carrie, born June 1, 1854, in Canada and died July 22, 1875 of burns received while making a fire with coal oil in Fort Scott; and William. Henry Sr., Henry Jr., Carrie, and Frances are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Scott. Louisa is buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Eudora.

Frederick Bernitz came to the United States from Prussia in the early 1800s. He and his wife, Mary, moved from Tipton, Indiana, in 1861 with their children, Frank, Theodore, Mary, and Emma, to the Eudora area. They first lived in a small house just north of the old Pilla Department Store, 701 Main Alice BernitzStreet. Their daughter Alice (“Allie”) was born there and pictured here at age 91. Frederick Bernitz purchased land along Captain’s Creek from an Indian named Rodgers in 1863 and had to go to Wyandotte to get the deed. Frederick farmed the land, built a home, and planted a large apple orchard west of the house. Frank got a job to build fires with coke for the Santa Fe Railroad in Topeka. He asked Dan Reber to show him how to build such fires because Reber had experience building fires with coke at the Eudora Mills. After Frederick died, Allie took over the farming and lived with her mother, Mary, and son, Arthur, age three after her husband died. Arthur attended Oberlin District 80. When his teacher died, he walked to Weaver and attended school there. Emma married Carl Pfleger. Theodore worked for the Santa Fe Railroad and was fatally injured when he was crushed trying to couple two cars together. Arthur married Pearl Strobel in 1929. Pearl’s siblings were Anna, Alvina, Helen, Joe, Dan, and Woodrow. After their marriage, Arthur and Pearl lived at the home place for 46 more years. They had two children, Wanda and Myron. Arthur recalled taking wagon loads of apples to the cider mill in DeSoto. The family also dried apples. One favorite family dish was schnitz and knepp, made with dried apples, sugar, a bit of ham, and dumplings. Arthur and Pearl moved to Eudora in 1975, because a highway was built that cut through their farm and required their house to be razed. Source: “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977)

F. Xavier Blechl (also spelled Blochl), a weaver born in Bischofsreut, Niederbayern, Germany, his wife, Katharina (Nigl), born in the same location, and children came to New York from Liverpool May 8, 1872 on the S.S. Canada. Their children were Anna, Johann Baptist (lived only a few days in 1853), Therese (lived less than a month in 1854), Ludwig (lived two months in 1855), Therese (2) (married Charles Neustifter), Karolina married Joseph Furthmeyer), and Franziska (married John Greiner), (married John Blechl). Another Bechl, Franz, had came to Eudora in 1861 in a group traveling by ox teams and horse-pulled prairie schooners from Illinois and Missouri. With his wife and children, Franz built a sandstone house, which the family lived in for several years, before moving to a farm two and one-half miles southeast of town. Of their eight children, six were alive at their 50th anniversary: Theresa (Rothberger), Lizzie (Greiner), Katherine (Winter), Joseph, and Agnes. Son Frank, married Anna Sommer. Source: American Online Family Group Record for F. Xavier Blochl and Eudora Weekly News (April 30, 1936)

The fourth child of Christian and Karoline Bohnsack, August Bohnsack was born close to Gordenville, Missouri, in 1848. Several members of his family are buried in the German Methodist Church cemetery there. August married Henrietta Nothdurft who died two years later. That same year, he married Carolina Neumeyer. The dampness in the area made him ill, so he moved his family to Great Bend, Kansas, in 1878. In 1889, he bought a farm by Captain’s Creek south of Eudora. Later he moved to the 240 acres he bought in the Belleview area and lived in a white sand rock house. At age 59, August died and was buried in the Eudora Cemetery. The children of August and Carolina were Wilhelm, August, Johan, Emma, Daniel, Edwin, and twin boys who died at birth. Most of the children moved to Topeka. August Jr. married Ella Schellack and farmed her parents’ farm before he built a Standard Oil Service Station in Eudora. Emma, who died at age 34, married Frank Madl, then Henry Kennedy, both of Eudora. Another, Herman, son of Christian and Karoline, also moved to Eudora. He worked at the Schubert Funeral Home in Lawrence, joined the army, and was a telegrapher for the Santa Fe Railroad in Eudora. Known as “Beanie,” he delivered mail in Eudora and married Ethel May Vitt in 1920. Herman, who had a large garden at his 730 Church Street home, had a twin brother, his father was a twin, two of Herman’s daughters were twins, and one of those daughters had twins. Source: The Descendants of Christ Bohnsack, by Delta (Bohnsack) Raley, 1935 Alabama Street, Lawrence, Kansas

James and Mary “Clementine” Brazil came to Eudora around 1865 and had a farm eight miles southeast of the city. They attended the German Methodist church. Their nine children included Ella (Musick), Eliza (Ward); Amelia; Denny; and Mrs. Charles Gottstein. Source: Mary Brazil’s obituary (1911)

Peter Brecheisen (1823-1875), a stonecutter and mason of Linienhausen, Alsace, and Wilhelmina Vitt of Wiel Baden, Germany, (1826-1903) had their first child, William, before they came to America . Peter arrived first about 1845, and Wilhelmina two years later. They married in Chicago, and Leo Vitt, Wilhilmina’s brother, brought young William to them in 1851. Four times, Peter tried to set up a farm in the Eudora area. The Clearfield farm he ultimately settled at in 1858 was the former property of Polly Chewe, a Shawnee who sold 200 acres to him. He built a sandstone house (razed in 1971) marked with his trademark “P.B.” in 1867. Inhaled dust from his trade, many thought, caused Peter to die young. Wilhelmina, 49, with five children under age 21, married Bernhardt Kramer, a neighbor, in 1879. He died the next year, and she ultimately settled in Osage County in 1884. The children of Peter and Wilhelmina were William (married Amelia Schendel); Peter (married Caroline Neis); Sophia Mary (married Henry Schendel); John (married Ursula Maier); George (married Anna Weil); Sarah Elizabeth (died at age 16); Charles (married Elizabeth Brown, then Minnie Jones); Edward Emil (married Anna Ulrich); and a daughter who died at or near birth and was buried at their Clearfield farm. Source: Family History of Peter Brecheisen I (1979) by LaVerne Brecheisen, Charles Brecheisen Sr., and Mary Brecheisen Rodewald

BreithauptsGeorg Frederick Breithaupt, born May 6, 1832, in the village of Mundinpen, County Emmendingen, Baden, Germany, came to the United States by sailboat in 1850 as a stowaway to avoid army service, according to a family Bible. The trip took 81 days to New York. He was one of five children born to shoemaker Geog Friedrich Breithaupt and Anna Catherinea (Hornecker). In 1854, Frederick, as he was known, moved to Davis, Illinois, and married Salome (Weber) (born June 6, 1836) who came from Alsace, Germany, by sailboat. Roy Breithaupt told Ezra Breithaupt that their grandmother [Salome Breithaupt] told him her complexion was such a reddish-dark color because she was French Moroccan and had some Indian blood. When the Boer War started, she and another young lady escaped from French Morocco on a sailboat and went to Spain, and then Alsace. She made her way to Paris and went in the open door of a butcher shop asking for help. She lived in that shop for two years and never went out. When the war was over, she came to America.Pictured above, they homesteaded in Davis, Illinois, and migrated to Breithaupt homeDouglas County in 1856. They came by oxen team in a covered wagon and homesteaded 120 acres two miles east of Clearfield. Frederick joined the Union Army April 13, 1862. He served with a detachment in Benton Barracks, Missouri Company D2, Battalion Cavalry and was discharged September 4, 1863. Salome kept the farm going that they had bought from M. Coffey, a Shawnee Indian. Their 11 children were Lydia (who married Johann Schubert), George (who married Mary Redding and farmed two miles east of Clearfield ), and John (who married Eva Easdale and later Ida Neiger), while Indians made frequent visits. Additional children born were: Mary (Fleer) Gideon (who married Pauline Kramer and operated a grocery store and post office in Clearfield), Kathryn (Westerhouse), Charles (who married Mary Schmidli and farmed in central Kansas and Kerman, California), Sarah (Schmidli), Emma (Schmidli), Samuel (who married Ida Baecher and became an Evangelical minister), and Martin (who married Chloa Kretsenger and farmed with his father). Frederick attended Evangelical Association Church at Clearfield (now United Methodist) and farmed till his death November 13, 1898 of pneumonia. Minnie (Edelbrock), Martin’s daughter, used to go with Salome by horse and buggy to Edgerton to pick up a Civil War pension check. Salome later moved to Eudora and lived with daughter Lydia until Salome died September 1917. The Breithaupts are buried in Clearfield Cemetery. Martin retired from farming in 1945. Chloa sold the farm in 1955. Minnie and Chloa organized the first Breithaupt reunion in 1943. It was held each year on the second Sunday in June. Source: Minnie Edelbrock in Douglas County, Kansas, Family Histories 1991-1992, Vol. 1 by Carol Buhler Francis; Eudora Enterprise (June 19, 1968); and family genealogy letters of Henrietta Schubert Fuller. [Note: Douglas Breithaupt, Toronto, Canada, had “The Chronicles of the Breithaupts, No. 1” translated into English. It traced the family to 1446.]


Brender smithyJohn Brender was born October 2, 1830, in the town of Giengen , Oberabt Heidenheim, on the River Branz in Wurtemberg, Germany. There he learned the blacksmith trade at the age of 14. He left his native country for New York City in 1851. The following year, he went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1854, he went to live in Chicago. After three years, he left Chicago to be a member of the town company that settled Eudora. On July 26, 1858, he married Cornelia Morse (1842-1864 or 1866). Lulu LothholzThey had three children, Frederic (who became a Eudora blacksmith as his father as shown in this photograph of his smithy and implement store on East Seventh Street, Ella Almira, and a child who died young. The family lived on a farm one and one-half miles southwest of Eudora. During the Civil War, John was a member of the state militia. On December 25, 1867, he married Nancy Ellen Shirley, born in Ohio, and a native of Missouri. They had four children: Ida, Maria, John, and George. Ella Almira married George Edward Miller and lived on a farm one and one-half miles southeast of Eudora. Their children were William, Harry, Raymond, and Luella "Lulu" (Lothholz), shown here in photograph. Source: History of the State of Kansas (1883) by William Cutler; 1880 U.S. Census; and obituary of Ella Almira (Brender) Miller (October 31, 1924)


BroersBorn February 21, 1873, in Minonk, Illinois, George Broers moved to Eudora area in 1898 from Wichita and that same year married Anna Spitzli who was born in St. Charles, Iowa, on October 5, 1876. They farmed with horses till 1925 and had Roy, Pearl, Floyd, Clarence, Fern, Oscar, Kermit, Ezral, and Homer, in the order listed. All nine children spent their eight grade school years in Weaver’s one-teacher, one-room school and graduated from there. This photograph is of the George and Anna Broers' family. Source: Oscar Broers in Weaver by Margaret Spitzli Gabriel

Brune John Henry Brune, born near Halle, Germany, came to American and was an ordained minister in the German Methodist Episcopal Church. He married Wilhelmina Bromelsick, who had come from Germany to live in Hermann, Missouri. They had Edward and George, before Brune died at age 33. Wilhelmina came to Eudora in 1879 and lived on a 40-acre farm with her second husband and children. Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Leavenworth, Douglas and Franklin Counties, Kansas: Containing Portraits, Biographies and Genealogies of Well Known Citizens of the Past and Present. Chapman Publishing Company, 1899.

Copyright 2015. Cindy Higgins. Where the Wakarusa Meets the Kaw: A History of Eudora, Kansas. Eudora, KS: Author.