The Sea Voyages to America, and
the Bohnstedt Settlers in Ohio

by Thomas Allen Bohnstedt, California USA
     (the text of this page is my intellectual property. Please do not copy and repost without my written permission)


View of the Muskingum River looking south.  The area on the opposite shore is where Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt, the first of this Bohnstedt family, to settle in America, established a farm.


Before the Statue of Liberty...

When we think of Europeans immigrating to America we tend to think of shiploads of people entering through New York Harbor as they stand on the upper deck, and look with wonder at the Statue of Liberty as they drift past her on their way to the Ellis Island Immigrant Inspection Station.

"Welcome to the Land of Freedom" by Bettman, illustrates a stereotypical image European immigrants entering the U.S. through New York Harbor

But for the Bohnstedts ... that wasn't us.   The ancestors of the American Bohnstedt family entered America through several different ports including Baltimore and Philadelphia, as well as New York, over a period of time, before construction began on the Statue of Liberty in 1875.

We know of five sons of Johann Gottlieb Bohnstedt and Johanne Amalia Christina (Tausendpfund) Bohnstedt:

1. Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt (1796-1875)
2. Friedrich Heinrich Wilhelm Bohnstedt (1798-?)
3. Johann Carl Christian I Bohnstedt (1800-1875)
4. August Georg Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt (1801-1880)
5. Johann Wilhelm Christian Bohnstedt (1805-1848)

Details and history of the second son are sketchy.  We are not even 100% of his correct full name.  But with regard to the other four, we are on solid ground and we have documentation to support the information that we have presented in this work.  Because of recently discovered documents we now know that the fifth son, Johann Wilhelm Christian Bohnstedt did not emigrate to America, nor did his children.  He had Two sons and three daughters.  The three daughters married and remained in Germany.  The two sons both died very young, ensuring that the Bohnstedt name would not continue from that line.

As for the second son, Friedrich Heinrich Wilhelm, we know of only two children, and our information is certain for only one.  That family "line" is shrouded.  Of the one son for whom our information is certain, he had no children.

But with respect to emigration and immigration, we know this:

- The first son, Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt, came to America in 1825 at the age of 29.
- The second son, Friedrich Heinrich Wilhelm Bohnstedt: so far we've found no evidence that he emigrated to America.  But his son, Friedrich Gottlieb Jacob "Frederick" Bohnstedt, did in 1848.
- The third son, Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt came to America in 1848 with his wife Dorothea and their eight children.
- The fourth son, August Georg Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt, came to America in 1867 with his daughter Emilie.  Three others of his children followed in 1868, 1869 and 1878.
- The fifth son, Johann Wilhelm Christian Bohnstedt, died in Germany in 1848.  None of his family line emigrated to America.

These Bohnstedts all settled first in Muskingum County Ohio, although some moved on.


1825; Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt

As far as we know, the first Bohnstedt from this family to settle in America settled in Ohio was Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt. Research indicates that In Germany he served in the Braunschweig Militia from about age 17 to 21. It was during his service in the militia that he married to Anna Maria Elizabeth Danhauer in 1815. Records indicate that Gottlieb emigrated to America in 1825, and entered through the port at Baltimore, Maryland. Records also seem to indicate that Elizabeth emigrated the following year and joined her husband. According to records she made the voyage on the 'Minerva", a brig.

Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
1. A 19th Century brig in a North Sea Gale, by Mays
2. A romanticized view of the Baltimore port in the 1840's

Gottlieb and Anna settled in Ohio, and over time, purchased two pieces of property on the Muskingum River, just south of Zanesville. It seems clear that Gottlieb and Anna never had any children.  Anna Died in 1870 and was buried in Duncan Falls Cemetery, in Duncan Falls, near Zanesville.  Gottlieb died five years later and was buried near his wife in Duncan Falls Cemetery.

1. Map of the Zanesville area of Muskingum County. The map was from the research papers of Duane Lloyd "Sparky" Bohnstedt.
2. Satellite view of the Zanesville area, with Zanesville, Brush Creek and Duncan Falls marked.
3. View of the Muskingum River looking south.  The area on the opposite shore is where Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt, the first of this Bohnstedt family, to settle in America, established a farm.

Gottlieb and Anna settled in Muskingum County, Ohio, where Gottlieb took up farming. Over time, Gottlieb acquired a substantial amount of property, about 150 acres near Zanesville and the Muskingum river. However, Gottlieb and Anna had no children, and his land holdings were sold off after they died.

Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
1. Grave marker of Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt at Duncan Falls Cemetery, near Duncan Falls Ohio.
2. Grave marker of Anna Maria Elizabeth (Danhauer) Bohnstedt at Duncan Falls Cemetery, near Duncan Falls Ohio.


1848; Friedrich Gottlieb Jacob "Frederick" Bohnstedt

In 1848 Friedrich Gottlieb Jacob "Frederick" Bohnstedt, came to America, twenty three years after his uncle, Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt, arrived in America.  Frederick was the son of Friedrich Heinrich Wilhelm Bohnstedt, who was a younger brother of Gottlieb.  According to research by Dr. Marvin Bohnstedt and Duane Lloyd "Sparky" Bohnstedt, Frederick was a cabinet maker by trade.  In 1856, at the age of 33, Frederick married to Marie Katherine Nieman at Niagara Falls, New York.  We don't know if this was after or before he settled in Ohio, but we know that at some point he must have settled in Muskingum County Ohio, probably near his uncle.

No Enlargment AvailableClick to Enlarge
1. Friedrich Gottlieb Jacob "Frederick" Bohnstedt, U.S. Army, Civil War
2. Grave marker of Friedrich Gottlieb Jacob "Frederick" Bohnstedt in Duncan Falls Cemetery, Duncan Falls, Ohio

Frederick fought in the Civil War, serving in the U.S. Army in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 122nd Regiment, Company "A".  Frederick was shot in the leg at the Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, in 1864.  Frederick was sent home to Ohio, but he died in 1867, from an infection in the wound.  He was buried in Duncan Falls Cemetery.  His wife Marie died in 1875 at the age of fifty eight, but we're not sure where she is buried. It's possible that she is buried in Duncan Falls Cemetery, but it's just as possible that she is buried elsewhere, and under a different name if she remarried.

According to the research by Dr. Marvin Bohnstedt and Duane "Sparky" Bohnstedt, Frederick's brother, Eduard Friedrich Karl Bohnstedt also came to America in 1848, but none of this has been verified yet by documentation.


1848; Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt

In October 1848 Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt, his wife Dorothea, and their eight children boarded the "Pioneer", a sailing ship, and they crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Carl was the third son of Johann Gottlieb Bohnstedt, a brother of Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt, and uncle to Friedrich Gottlieb Jacob "Frederick" Bohnstedt.  They landed at the Port of Philadelphia in October of that year, and moved on to Ohio, most likely because they already had family living there.  It appears they settled in a very small community called "Brush Creek", which is south of Zanesville and east of Duncan Falls.

Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
1-2. Two views of the Port of Philadelphia; Left: aerial view of Philadelphia port circa 1840. Right: view of Philadelphia port circa 1850. Notice in both pictures the interesting mix of sailing vessels and steamships.

While living in Brush Creek Carl and Dorothea had four more children. They still had their copy of their Permission to Emigrate from the Prussian government, and since it listed out in detail the names and dates of birth Carl, Dora and their eight children, so it was apparently a convenient place to record the names and birth dates of their children born in America.  The first of these four children was Wilhelm "William" Bohnstedt, born in January 1849.  The next was Ludwig "Lewis" Bohnstedt, born in 1851 in Brush Creek.  We think "Lewis" also had a twin.  But although referenced on the document, the child is not actually named, suggesting that the child was stillborn.  The fourth and last child born in Ohio was "Emilie", or at least that is what the name appears to be.

Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
1. Prussian government document giving permission to Carl and Dorothea to emigrate to America with their eight children
2. Ships passenger list from the Brig "Pioneer" in 1848, showing Carl "Charles" and Dorothea Bohnstedt and their eight children born in Germany (Prussia)
3. Satellite view of Brush Creek, Ohio, where Carl and Dorothea settled with their eight children.  It was a very small settlement when Carl and Dora settled there, and is still a small village even today, only a handful of houses and buildings. This image appears to have been taken in the late Autumn when the leaves were off the trees.

Carl and Dora moved on to Illinois with the family Before 1860.  That date is calibrated to an 1860 federal census which shows the family living in Clark County Illinois.  However, it's possible that the family moved on to Illinois well before that.


1867-78; August Bohnstedt Sr. and August Bohnstedt Jr.

August Georg Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt (August Sr.) was a younger brother of Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt, but whereas Carl brought his wife and children with him when he emigrated, August was older, being 66 years old when he made the journey, and his children were all adults.  This makes the job of identifying August's children more difficult.  But through a process of connecting different pieces of evidence, we were able to identify at least four; the four who came to America. The first of this family to migrate to America did so in 1867, after Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt had moved on to Illinois with his wife and children.


As far as we know the first was August Sr's daughter, Auguste Emilie Sophie.  Emilie was nineteen years old when she made the journey with her father, and as far as we know, single.  They sailed from Bremen aboard the Orpheus and landed in New York in 1867.  We know that August's wife's name was Louise Marie (Marcodes).  What's interesting is that records do not indicate that she made the voyage with August and Emilie.  This suggests that she may have died before 1867.  Conversely, this may also suggest a motive for August to cross the Atlantic with his daughter Emilie; perhaps he knew that his other children were already planning to go to America, and not wanting to be alone in the old country, he made the trip to be near family in Ohio.

1-2. New York Harbor in the days before Immigrants came to America through Ellis Island past the Statue of Liberty. Left; NY Harbor, 1850's, and Right; NY Harbor 1884.

In fact we know they settled in Muskingum County, Ohio very soon after arriving because in 1868 Emilie married to Ernest Conrad Danhauer in Muskingum County.  In fact, I would not be surprised to find out that they had been communicating by mail, and had already planned to marry once Emilie arrived in Ohio.  Emilie's fiancé'- soon-to-be-husband, Ernest Conrad Danhauer, was, according to research by Lois Branch, a son of Julius Danhauer, who was a brother of Anna Maria Elizabeth Danhauer, who married Emilie's uncle, Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt, while they were still in Germany.  This indicates that the two families - the Bohnstedts and the Danhauers - already knew each other before they began emigrating to America.  When August Sr. died in 1880 he was buried in Duncan Falls Cemetery near his brother and nephew.

Grave marker of August Georg Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt in Duncan Falls Cemetery, near Duncan Falls Ohio.

Emilie died in 1935 and we believe she was buried in Duncan Falls Cemetery.  If true, her husband, who died in 1881, was most likely also buried in Duncan Falls Cemetery, but this remains to be verified.


The next member of this family to emigrate to America was August Bohnstedt Jr.  It has been my never ending frustration that I have never been able to find any other given names for August Jr., the son of August Georg Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt.  But it stands to reason that he must have had other given names besides just "August" because his father had multiple given names, and his siblings did, as was the custom in Germany in the late 1700s and the 1800's.

Another puzzle presented itself when documents were discovered that seem likely to point to August Jr's emigration and voyage; two ship's documents from an 1867-1868 voyage from Germany to America.

Two ship's records list someone named "August Bohnstedt" traveling to America in 1868 with his wife, Alexandrine, and his daughter Emily. The first document shows, near the bottom of the page, "Aug [August] Bohnstedt, 31 years old, wife Alexandrine, 25 years old, and a daughter, Emilie, 2 years old. Both documents list August's occupation as "baker".  What the first document shows seems to be a cabin reassignment for the couple and their daughter.  Why?  The next document also shows August Bohnstedt, 31, Alexandrine, 25, and Emilie, 2.  It also lists "Baby" as a new addition to the family with no age, indicating it was newborn.  The captain reassigned August, Alexandrine and Emily to a different cabin, perhaps larger or with more privacy, because she was about to give birth.  But a note to the right of the name listings for the family says:

"born during the voyage the 31st December 1967.  Died the 4th Jan 1868". 

So August and Alexandrine's 2nd child was born during their sea voyage , but died four days later.

Just glancing at the names; August Bohnstedt and Emilie, August's daughter, it is tempting to jump to August Bohnstedt Sr. who came to America with his daughter Emilie in 1867.  The fact that both were bakers adds to the confusion because earlier researched revealed that August Sr's occupation was a "Master Baker". .  But if we examine it item by item it's not so confusing.  We can see that the ages of the August Bohnstedt Jr and August Bohnstedt Sr. were very different as were the ages of the two Emilies.  Also, we know that August Sr's wife was named Louise, whereas August Jr. traveled with his wife Alexandrine.

1. Prussian government document giving permission to Carl and Dorothea to emigrate to America with their eight children
2. Ships passenger list from the Brig "Pioneer" in 1848, showing Carl "Charles" and Dorothea Bohnstedt and their eight children born in Germany (Prussia)

But here is another puzzler.  August Jr. was traveling with his wife Alexandrine, but it appears that in April 1868, the same year that August and Alexandrine's baby died, and the same year that they must have arrived in America, this very same August Jr. married Mary Sophia Nieman-Muncie in Ohio.  If these two August Bohnstedt's are the same person, what happened to Alexandrine?  Sophia Nieman-Muncie must have been married before, and was probably a widow.  If Alexandrine had died from complications during childbirth during the voyage, or shortly after, August Jr. would have been without a housewife.  The common thing was to find a woman who was also recently widowed and who needed a husband-provider.  Thus we have a plausible scenario for what happened to Alexandrine, and why August Jr. married a widow so soon after arriving in America.

August's occupation is listed as "Baker". This is interesting because August Georg Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt's occupation in another ship's record was listed as "Master Baker", suggesting another father-son link between the two men. The records also mention a baby boy who was born at sea on 31 December, 1867 to August and Alexandrine, and died four days later on 4 January. In these records August's age is 31 years, which puts his year of birth at about 1837-1838. This is very likely the same "August Bohnstedt" as the one we believe to be the son of August Georg Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt. If so, what happened to Alexandrine, Emily, and the baby? Clearly, the baby boy died at sea. If the death was the result of difficulties during childbirth, then Alexandrine may have died shortly after as well. This would explain why August remarried when he landed in Ohio, this time to Mary Sophia Nieman-Muncie, herself a widow. The final question is; what happened to daughter Emily? She does not appear in in census records, and so far her fate remains a mystery. It's possible that she may have died at an early age as well, but no record of her death has been found.


The next member of this family to cross over to America was August Sr's son, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Andreas "Fred" Bohnstedt.  There isn't a lot of information available regarding this man's emigration and voyage, and can be summed up as "Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Andreas Bohnstedt emigrated from Germany to America in 1869 at the age of 25".    That's all there is so far.  He probably wasn't even married yet.  A census record says he emigrated to America in 1870, but census takers were often sloppy and inaccurate in their recording, so it is likely that the source which states that he emigrated in 1869 is probably the correct one:

GRUHNE, FRITZ. Auswandererlisten des ehemaligen Herzogtums Braunschweig; ohne Stadt Braunschweig und Landkreis Holzminden, 1846-1871. Translated: ""Lists of Emigrants From the Former Duchy of Braunschweig [or Brunswick]; Not Including the City of Braunschweig and the County of Holzminden, 1846-1871."

Although "Fred" may have settled in Ohio for a time, he was one of those who kept moving westward.  Fred married, and although it isn't clear whether he married in Ohio or elsewhere, we know that their son, Fred Edward, was born in Colorado.  Fred and his wife both died in Wyoming


The last known child of  August Georg Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt to leave Germany for America was Wilhelmine Louise Eleonora "Sonia" Bohnstedt, August Sr.'s eldest known daughter.  Sonia was married to Johann Heinrich Christian Erdmann "Edward" Konrad/Conrade/Conratt in 1861 in Saxony, Germany. As with her brother, Fred, we have no detailed information about which port she entered the U.S. through.  As for her husband, Edward, so far we find no other records for Edward anywhere in America.  This suggests that he may have died before Sonia left Germany for America.  But leave she did, and based on birth records, she must have left with five children; Louise (1859), Emma (1862), Frederick William (1870), Hammond (c.1872), and Otto (1875).  A sixth child, Herman, was born in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1879.

Grave marker of Sonia Conrade in Greenwood Cemetery, Zanesville, Ohio.

When Sonia died in 1919 she was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in nearby Zanesville, Ohio.  But we haven't found any record of Edward's burial there.


Duncan Falls Cemetery

If you look at the satellite image above which shows the small communities of Duncan Falls and Brush Creek, in Muskingum County Ohio, you can see the fairly large cemetery at the east end of town. Here are the Bohnstedts we know of who are buried in Duncan Falls Cemetery:

- Friedrich Gottlieb Jacob "Frederick" Bohnstedt (1823-1867) / Immigrated to America in 1848
- Anna Maria Elizabeth Bohnstedt (wife) (1788-1870) / Immigrated to America in 1826
- Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt (c.1765-1875) / Immigrated to America in 1825
- August Georg Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt (1801-1880) / Immigrated to America in 1867
- Ernest and Emilie Danhauer / Immigrated to America in 1867 (Emilie, 1848-1935)

1-3. Duncan Falls Cemetery.

But here is another puzzler:

Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt and family arrived in Ohio, America, in 1848. It's clear from census records that Carl and Dora's first two children born in America (William and Lewis) were born in Ohio, and, if we are interpreting the Permission to Emigrate document correctly, Lewis' twin. What is not clear is where Lewis's twin was buried. He/she must have been stillborn because the child is not named. So where is the child buried? So far we find no record of an unnamed Bohnstedt in nearby Duncan Falls Cemetery.

We think there was also a fourth child born in Ohio, possibly named Emilie.  Of this child we've found no record.  She might have lived to adulthood, gotten married, moved on to another community, and is buried elsewhere.  But she does not appear on the 1860 census.  If there was an Emilie, she must have died young.  And if she died as an infant, again the question is, where is she buried?


A Family Myth

A popular myth among one segment of the American Bohnstedt family is that the Bohnstedts came to America to avoid military service in Germany.

The following are excerpts from an oral family history recorded 14 November, 1980 by Clinton Milford Bohnstedt, a son of Alfred J. Bohnstedt, and grandson of Gottlieb "James" Bohnstedt.  This particular family legend concerns the emigration and settlement of Johann Carl Christian "Carl/Charles", his wife Dorothea, and their eight children.

Gottlieb (sr.) and five boys came over from Germany about 1842, to avoid mandatory armed service of all males aged 16, and established a home in America. The two oldest boys took off as soon as they got on shore and were never heard from afterwards, my grandfather, Gottlieb (Jr.) told his children.

To begin with, there are several problems with the background of the story. Clinton identifies his grandfather as Gottlieb (Jr.) Bohnstedt. Clinton's grandfather was named Gottlieb; Georg August Heinrich Gottlieb "James" Bohnstedt. However, there was no Gottlieb Sr. The father of this man was Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt. There is ample documentation, including census records, to show that Clinton's grandfather was the Gottlieb described above.

The man who "came over from Germany" did have five boys, but it wasn't Clinton's grandfather, it was Clinton's great-grandfather Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt, who came with five boys (and three girls). One of these five sons was Gottlieb "James" Bohnstedt. Also, Carl came from Germany with his five sons and three girls in 1848, not 1842. During the re-telling of verbal family history it appears that Clinton's grandfather had become confused in family memory with Clinton's great-grandfather.

Having firmly established the name and identity of the man who came over from Germany with five boys, we can next turn to the issue of the military service.

The verbal history above recorded by Clinton Bohnstedt leaves the impression that the Bohnstedts who came to America were fugitives from the German (Prussian) government, almost like "draft-dodgers" in the 1960's, people in America who fled to Canada to avoid conscription and military service during the Vietnam War.


There are a number of problems with this scenario.

First, the Prussian government had no legal authority or power in America. Even if this family had gone to America without government permission to avoid military service in Prussia, there is no reason to hide once in America.

Second, this family of Bohnstedts who emigrated to America did in fact have official permission from the Prussian government to emigrate to the United States. If the Bohnstedts were fleeing the authorities of Prussia or of some other German state, they certainly would not have gone through the process of gaining government permission to go to America.

Third, this Bohnstedt family was not unfamiliar with military service. Some were career soldiers, as in the case of Johann Gottlieb Bohnstedt, the ancestor of the American Bohnstedts. He was a militia soldier. Before the development of professional police services in urban cities in the western world, law enforcement was often provided by militias, a type of paramilitary force. Later, Gottlieb was a prison guard. In fact, his first three sons were born at the Braunschweig garrison where he was stationed. It has been positively confirmed that at least one of his sons, Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt, was a Sergeant in the Braunschweig militia in Germany before he ever came to America.

When the Bohnstedts arrived in America they continued a tradition of military service. Since migrating to America Bohnstedts have served in the American military beginning with the Civil War, and continuing through WW II, Korea, Vietnam, the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and most recently, the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.

Fourth, when Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt "got on shore" with his wife and eight children, most of the children were not old enough to scatter anywhere. The oldest of the boys, Johann Carl Christian II (Charles Jr.) was nineteen years old and was indeed old enough to begin making his way in the world. However, the other boys were younger; fourteen (Johann Christian Friedrich), eleven (Johann August Heinrich), and nine years old (Georg August Heinrich Gottlieb; Clinton's grandfather). The youngest boy, Johann Heinrich "Henry" Christoph, was only three years old when the family arrived in America. (By the way, Heinrich later served as a soldier in the U.S. Army during the American Civil War). So with the possible exception of the oldest boy, Johann Carl Christian Jr., the other boys weren't old enough to scatter anywhere on their own.

Fifth, this Bohnstedt family and it's members appear on numerous census records. Their names appear on government census records in both Ohio and Illinois. If they were trying to hide from the government, either in Prussia or America, they weren't doing a very good job of it.

As it turns out, nobody really scattered at all. The Bohnstedts all settled near each other in Ohio, mostly in the towns of Zanesville, Duncan Falls, Wayne and Taylorsville (Philo), and a tiny township called Duncan Falls, in Muskingum County, for several years. Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt did move on to Illinois with his family, but only after living in Ohio for several years. And it was only after Carl and Dorothea's children had grown up, married and had several children of their own, that any of them migrated away from the small town of Olney, Illinois. And even then it didn't happen right away. In the case of Gottlieb "James" Bohnstedt, he did not even move to Indiana until he was a grandfather, and his children had already moved to Indiana with their families.

The situation for "James" Gottlieb's brothers, Johann Christian Friedrich "Frederick" Bohnstedt and Ludwig "Lewis" Bohnstedt was similar. Frederick moved on to Wyoming after one or more of his children had already migrated that direction. Lewis moved his family from Illinois to Missouri, but only after he had time to sire at least five children and had lived in Illinois for several years.

So we can see that, yes, the Bohnstedts did migrate and spread over the American continent, but over a long period of time; they did not "scatter" upon arriving in Philadelphia. They certainly did not seem to be in a hurry to find a hiding place!

There is one more very important point to consider here; The Bohnstedt name itself. If the Bohnstedts were truly trying to hide from somebody they would have likely changed the spelling of their family name to hide their identity. Yet we see from the records that even though government agencies, including the U.S. Army, occasionally changed the spelling of our family name, the family always went to the trouble of changing it back or maintaining the correct spelling.

Is there any foundation at all to the notion that the Bohnstedts left Germany to avoid military service? One possible explanation is this: in 1848 Marxist revolutions were breaking out in Europe, including Germany, and the continent was in turmoil. Being in a country during a revolution or civil war can be very difficult, as we know from the American Civil War. Some people become paranoid and can easily turn against each other. Young boys are often conscripted into an army to fight for one side or another, and which side you end up fighting for is not always your choice.

It may have been the desire to avoid such circumstances which caused the Bohnstedts to emigrate to America, only to find themselves involved in another Civil War twelve years later. What probably happened is that over time the story was told and retold, each time with a bit more color or embellishment. This makes family stories entertaining, but the truth at the core of these stories will often look very different.


See Also:
3-5 /
The Bohnstedt Family and the American Civil War
3-27 /
Genealogy 3-1: Gevensleben and Calvörde
3-28 /
Genealogy 3-2: America; Ohio and Wyoming
3-29 /
Genealogy 3-3-1: America; Illinois and Nebraska
4-9 /
More Bohnstedts in America


Back to Part 3 ...