Lewis Bohnstedt; Rebuilding a Family History
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)
A neighborhood in Webb City Missouri as it looks today. There are two street addresses flagged in the photo. At 806 N. Oak lived the families of Verner "Vern" Bohnstedt and his brother, Vaden "Vade" Bohnstedt. Their half-brothers, Charles Daniel "Charley" Bohnstedt and George Clinton "Clint" Bohnstedt lived three blocks over, at 820 N. Madison Avenue. It is not an exaggeration to say that nearly HALF of all those Bohnstedts in the U.S. still carrying the Bohnstedt name today descended from these four men (along with their younger brother, Guy Irven Bohnstedt). They are in Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, and all up and down the Pacific Coast in Washington, Oregon, California, and now a growing branch in Georgia. (It is unknown whether these were the original houses that the Bohnstedts lived in at the time, or whether they were rebuilt or replaced).
Nearly half of the Bohnstedts in America descend from Ludwig "Lewis" Bohnstedt. This is somewhat remarkable because he appears in the family records almost as an afterthought. After coming to America his parents settled for a time in Ohio and Lewis was one of the four children born there. But we know about the lives of only two of these children; Wilhelm "William" Bohnstedt (1849) and Ludwig "Lewis" Bohnstedt (1851). Based on a document which is difficult to read - permission from the Prussian document to emigrate - there appear to be two other children born in Ohio. One of them may have been a twin of Ludwig, and the other name looks like it could be "Emilie". As for Ludwig's possible twin, there is no name, which implies that the twin child may have been stillborn.
The strange thing is that, considering that nearly half of the Bohnstedts in America came from this man, it's odd that for decades we had his proper given name wrong. We thought it was "Ludewier".
It's not "Ludewier", it's "Ludwig"!
Decades ago, when research was starting on the American Bohnstedt family, one of the documents that was used to establish a framework for the Bohnstedt family structure in the U.S. was the document from the Prussian government giving permission to Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt Sr., his wife Dorothea, and their eight children, permission to emigrate to America. This was dated 14 July, 1848. When Carl and "Dorothy" settled in Ohio they had four more children. One of these, born in 1851, was the ancestor of about HALF of all the Bohnstedts descending from Carl and Dorothy. This person was the ancestor of nearly all the Bohnstedts (and Bohnsteads) in Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arkansas, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and a new branch of Bohnstedts growing in Georgia. The names of these four children born in Ohio were difficult to make out. In the case of the child born in 1851, it was believed for a very long time that his name was "Ludewier". But for some years now I have had doubts. I've looked into this, and for a number of reasons I've come to believe that this person's name was actually "Ludwig", NOT "Ludewier".
1. Prussian government document giving permission to Carl and Dorothea to emigrate to America with their eight children. It appears that Carl or Dorothea used their copy of this document to continue record the births of more children born in America.
2. An example of "Kurrent" script.
1. The Case Against "Ludewier"
- I cannot find, anywhere, "Ludewier" as a given name.
- I've communicated with native Germans who have told me they also do not recognize this as a German given name, not even an old one.
- The script/font that was used in the 1848 Prussian emigration document appears to be something called "Kurrent". I've installed a Kurrent font on my computer, typed in "Ludewier" and applied it to the name. I'm having difficulty reconciling the appearance of the name "Ludewier" in "Kurrent" font/script on computer, with the name that is written on the document.
A comparison of the names "Ludewier", "Ludeweir" and "Ludwig" typed in Kurrent script with the 1848 emigration document.
2. The Case For "Ludwig"
- I've typed in "Ludwig" using the "Kurrent" font/script. The result appears much closer to the name as it is written on the Prussian document.
- I have also asked several people who know nothing of our project (and therefore are unbiased) to look at the names typed in Kurrent font and compare them with the close-up of the name on the document (outlined in blue) and tell me whether the original handwritten name looks more like Ludewier/Ludeweir, or Ludwig. Without any prompting at all, every single person said the handwritten name looks much more like "Ludwig".
- Ludwig was a commonly used name in 19th century Germany. When the child was born in 1851, his parents had only been away from Germany for 2-3 years, and would have given their children commonly used German names.
- The Anglicized (and Americanized) version of Ludwig is, in fact, Lewis, which is the name he always used growing up in America.
This section is for people who like working puzzles. When I first put together the narratives pertaining to the descendants of Charles Bohnstedt for the 1998 Printed Edition we knew far less about Charles Bohnstedt's descendants than we do now. For example, we now understand that Charles' middle initial was "D", not "O". Once it was clear that his middle initial was "D" I quickly became convicted of the idea that his middle name was Daniel; after all, two of his sons carried the middle name of "Daniel" - Obaed Daniel Bohnstedt and Herbert Daniel Bohnstedt - as well as a grandson from each of these two men. Also, Charles's maternal Grandfather was named Daniel Poff. A social security record eventually surfaced which confirmed that his middle name was Daniel. We now know much more about circumstances surrounding the family of Charles Daniel Bohnstedt; not just his middle name.
In the 1998 edition I simply said that
Charles' descendants came to common knowledge as a result of an investigation which occurred over several years time, and involved several people from various parts of the Bohnstedt family. The genealogy of Charles O. Bohnstedt was reconstructed with some difficulty, and required the collection, sorting and analyzing of many fragments of information from many different sources.
At that time the difficulty in researching this part of the family history was that while some family members could recite at least some family history back to one of the sons of Charles Bohnstedt, nobody knew any more of their family history beyond that. On occasion one individual with a good memory might recall that he had heard that his grandfather was named "Charles" or "Charley". Back then we had pieced together much of this family history from fragments of memory and anecdotal information from various individuals.
Since that time we have recovered numerous documents pertaining to this family, much of them with the help of Lois Branch, a great-great granddaughter of Anna Catherine Sophie "Mary" Bohnstedt. By the time I released the 2008 CD-ROM edition I had obtained more documents and pieces of information to fill in enough gaps to edit this chapter in detail. As of now (February 2017) I have acquired still more documents which fill in even more gaps. I have tried to re-edit this chapter again, but it has become too complex. Therefore I decided the only solution was to rewrite it entirely.
The goal in this particular exercise is to show that the Bohnstedt family lines in Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas and a smaller branch in California, are all related to each other, and to the rest of the Bohnstedt family lines in America. The central point of this entire matter has always been Charles Bohnstedt.
The First-Born Son of Lewis Bohnstedt
To start at the beginning we need to be sure of which Lewis Bohnstedt we are talking about. In this case I am referring to Ludwig "Lewis" Bohnstedt (sometimes his name was also spelled "Louis"), the youngest son of Johann Carl Christian and Dorothea Bohnstedt. There are several different documents which can be used to establish this relationship, including a letter granting Carl and Dorothea permission to emigrate from Prussia to the United States, and a couple of different census records. One of these was a census taken in 1860 in Clark County, Illinois, listing Carl and Dorothea Bohnstedt with children August, Gottlieb, Henry, William and Lewis. The next was an 1870 census taken in Richland County, Illinois, listing Carl and Dorothea Bohnstedt with children William and Lewis.
On the permission letter one of the parents, either Carl or Dorothea, had written in the names of the children born in America, including Ludwig (who went by the name "Lewis"), born in 1851. The 1860 census from Clark County Illinois lists Lewis's age as 8 years old, placing his year of birth at about 1851-1852. The 1870 census lists his year of birth as 18 years old, again placing Lewis's year of birth at about 1851-1852.
The next thing we should do is to connect this Lewis Bohnstedt to several children which we believe he fathered from two different marriages. There are in existence two different marriage licenses for Lewis Bohnstedt, the first to Anna Poff, and the second to Clara Hyers-Jenkins. Unfortunately I do not have images of these two records, but using other records (more census records), we can establish Lewis Bohnstedt's relationship to both women, and his children from both marriages.
The first of these is an 1880 census from Richland County Illinois, listing Lewis Bohnstedt with wife Clara, children Cenia, Charles, and George, and an elderly woman named Miriam Poff. This Miriam Poff was Anna Poff's mother, and although it appears that Anna was deceased by this time (and therefore why Lewis married Clara) Anna's mother was still living in his household. The ages are very difficult to make out in this record, but it does establish that Lewis Bohnstedt had three children named Cenia, Charles, and George, and also establishes his connection with Anna Poff.
The next census record, taken in 1900 in the town of Burdine, Missouri, lists Lewis Bohnstedt with wife Clara, and children Marilla, Vaden, Verner, and Guy. Lewis and Clara also had a daughter named Myrtle, who went by "Myrtie" or "Myrta", but she doesn't appear in the 1900 census with the family because she had married in1899 at the age of nineteen. The ages are much easier to read in this census; Lewis is 48 years old, again placing his year of birth at about 1851-1852. This establishes that the father of Marilla, Vaden, Verner and Guy Bohnstedt was also the son of Carl and Dorothea Bohnstedt, and was also the father of Cenia, Charles, and George Clinton Bohnstedt.
Whenever we have come across the names Lewis or Charles Bohnstedt in Missouri during the late 1800's they always seem to match the approximate years of birth we have for Lewis and Charles Bohnstedt mentioned above. Therefore our belief is that there were no other Lewis Bohnstedts or Charles Bohnstedts in Missouri at that time. In fact, all evidence seems to point to the idea that this Lewis Bohnstedt was the first Bohnstedt to start a family line in Missouri at all.
Periodically we also find in documents here and there, Lewis/Louis Bohnstedt and Charles Bohnstedt mentioned in the same geographic area. In one interesting example we find a homestead certificate for a Louis, or Lewis Bohnstedt from Ironton Missouri, in 1892. The certificate is signed by U.S. President Benjamin Harrison, whose term of office was 1889-1893. If this is the Lewis Bohnstedt who we are investigating he would have been about 41 years old.
1. Homestead certificate issued by President Benjamin Harrison in 1892 to Ludwig "Lewis" Bohnstedt.
2. Homestead certificate issued by President William McKinley in 1900 to Charles D. Bohnstedt.
Another homestead certificate for Charles D. Bohnstedt, also in Ironton Missouri, was signed by President William McKinley in 1900. If this Charles D. Bohnstedt was the son of Lewis Bohnstedt named above, Charles D. Bohnstedt of Ironton would have been about 25 - 29 years old at the time of issuance. This doesn't prove much, except that Lewis Bohnstedt's son Charles, would have been a legal adult and old enough to have been granted a homestead. However, this could apply to just about anyone over the age of 18.
I think what is more significant is that we do know that Lewis Bohnstedt had a son named Charles, and here in these homestead certificates we find both a Lewis and Charles Bohnstedt homesteading farmland in this small town of Ironton, Missouri, which is a small town, even today.
However, the most important pieces of documentary evidence linking Lewis Bohnstedt with the Bohnstedt family lines in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Iowa, are still the various census records which give the age of Lewis Bohnstedt's son, Charles and the age of Charles Bohnstedt, the father of some of these Bohnstedts lines in Oklahoma and elsewhere, as being the same, or very close.
The Wives and Children of Charles Bohnstedt
When I was researching for the 1998 Bohnstedt Book I interviewed Ron Bohnstedt, a son of Obaed Daniel Bohnstedt. He told me that he thought that the name of his grandfather (Obaed's father) was Charley, or maybe Charles, and he believed that his grandmother's maiden name was Lora Obanion. He also remembered hearing that his father (Obaed) had several brothers; Carl, Ivan, Herbert, Bill, and Clifford. These little scraps of memory from Ron Bohnstedt were vital in piecing all this together, especially when these names later began to be supported by documentation such as census records.
Originally I wasn't able to locate very many census records which mention Charles Bohnstedt. That has changed more recently. We now have an 1880 U.S. census from Richland County Illinois (mentioned above), a 1910 U.S. census record from Rogers County Missouri and a 1930 U.S. Census of Webster County, Missouri, town of West Dallas. All three of these census records, list the Charles Bohnstedt we are discussing. In the 1880 census Charles is a child about eight years old, the son of Lewis and Anna (Poff) Bohnstedt. Charles is listed with two other children, a sister named Cenia A. and a brother named George C., living with Miriam Poff, Lewis's mother-in-law from his first marriage to Anna Poff. Clara, Lewis's second wife, is erroneously listed as "daughter, when in fact she was of no relation to Miriam Poff. This is simply the consequence of the census taker not being careful. He assumed that because Lewis was Miriam's son-in-law, Clara must then be Miriam's daughter.
In the 1910 census Charles Bohnstedt is a family man, married to a young wife - 18 years old - named Abbey, with children; Carl N., Ivan A., Nellie, Annie S., and Herbert. In the 1930 census Charles (or Charley) Bohnstedt is 58 years old, placing his year of birth at about 1872-1873. He is listed with no wife, and only two children; Clifford, twenty years old, and Herbert, 18 years old.
One problem is reconciling these records with Ron Bohnstedt's mention of "Charley's" wife, Lora Obanion. There is no census record which lists her with Charles, and we still haven't found a birth, marriage or record of death for Lora. But a quick look at the 1910 census reveals that there is no way the first three children; Carl N., Ivan A., and Nellie, could have been the children of Charles's wife Abbey. In the 1910 census she is only 18 years old. Carl is thirteen years old, Ivan is eleven years, and Nellie is eight. These children had to be Charles's children from a previous relationship. That previous relationship must have been with the Lora Obanion mentioned by Ron Bohnstedt.
Another problem is the whereabouts of Obaed Daniel Bohnstedt, or for that matter, his relationship to the family. The answer was in a 1910 census of Cass County Nebraska. In it are listed Obaed Bohnstedt (misspelled "Obaid Bonstead") aged six years, with his grandfather, John O'Banyan (probably also misspelled) in Nebraska. There are three important things to be derived from this:
(1) The connection between the Bohnstedt and Obanion name.
(2) Because it appears that Obaed was sent to live with his grandfather we can surmise that rather than being divorced or separated, Lora (Obanion) Bohnstedt may have died. If she had simply moved on it seems odd that she would abandon her youngest child.
(3) We now know how and why Obaed began his family line in Nebraska (which later shifted to Oklahoma) instead of Missouri.
There is one other thing worth mentioning with regard to the 1910 census: The child, "Annie S." is listed as being two years old. If the census is accurate, Charles' 2nd wife, Abbey, was 18 years old in 1910. The marriage record for Charles and Abbey dates from 1907. In the record someone has written a small "16" superscript after Abbey Hensen's name. I take from this that Charles and Abbey married when she was 16 years old, and Charles was about 34, more than twice her age. At first I had wondered if Abbey had married Charles - he being so much older - because she was an unwed mother with a daughter. But given that they married in 1907, just about the time, or a little before, that the daughter "Annie S." was born, this suggests that Annie was actually fathered by Charles. In fact, a death certificate for Susana Bohnstedt, born in 1908, very clearly lists Charles Bohnstedt and Abbey Jane Hensen as the parents. It's interesting that the death certificate lists Abbey by her maiden name of Hensen. This doesn't seem to be extraordinary though, since there is also a marriage record for Charles and Abbey.
There was one other brother that Ron Bohnstedt had mentioned; "Bill". I was never able to find a census record that listed Bill - AKA Charles William Bohnstedt - with father Charles D. Bohnstedt. The answer came from a 1960 death certificate for Charles W. Bohnstedt (Charles William), In other words, "Bill", the final brother. The parents listed on this death certificate are Charles Bohnstedt and Annie Clark. But can we be sure this was the same Charles Bohnstedt who was married to Lora Obanion and then Abbey Hensen?
And who was Annie Clark?
The Family of George Clinton Bohnstedt
In 1905 Charles D. Bohnstedt's brother, George Clinton Bohnstedt, married Annie Clark in Aurora Missouri. The record is dated 1905, and Clint's age is handwritten "27". This would put his year of birth at about 1878. This seems to conflict somewhat with other records that suggests Clint's year of birth was closer to 1876-1877. Despite the inconsistency, there was no other George Clinton Bohnstedt, not only in Missouri, but anywhere else in the United States. This was definitely Lewis Bohnstedt and Anna (Poff) Bohnstedt's second son, and Charles's younger brother.
George Clinton (who went by "Clint") and Annie had three children that we've been able to identify; David E. Bohnstedt in 1906 (the year after they married), Estella "Stella" Bohnstedt in 1908, and Clifford Lee Bohnstedt in 1910.
A city directory of Webb City Missouri, dated probably 1911, shows four families; those of Verner Bohnstedt, Vaden Bohnstedt, and their half-brothers Charles Bohnstedt and Clint Bohnstedt. These four families were not financially well-off (an understatement), and, as is not uncommon for struggling working class families, they were sharing living quarters. Verner and Vaden were both living with their wives and children at 806 Oak. Clint was living at 820 N. Madison, which was one block over. Clint is listed with his wife May, who was no doubt Anna May "Annie" Clark, and children Jesse, David, Stella and Clifford.
George Clinton Bohnstedt and family, circa 1913-1914 (approximate guess). The hard lives of these Bohnstedts can be seen on their faces. The boy on the left may be David, about 8 years old. On the right is daughter Stella about 4 years of age. Absent is Clint's wife, Ann, and their youngest child, Clifford. By this time Clint's wife, Annie, had gone to Clint's brother Charles. She probably took Clifford with her.
The identity of "Jesse" is somewhat of a mystery. Jesse is listed in the directory with the age of 8 years old. If true, he was born about 1903. The information we have regarding Clint and Annie is that they were married in 1905, so if Jesse was their child he would have been born as much as two years before Clint and Annie were married. While this is not unusual in this day and age, it would have been unusual a hundred years ago. The other options are: Jesse might have been (1) a nephew of Clint Bohnstedt, on the Bohnstedt side of the family, (2) a nephew of Clint Bohnstedt on his mother's side; the Poff family, or (3) a nephew or some relative of Annie's in the Clark family or some other family line, or (4) a child of Annie's from a previous relationship.
1. Although the names are badly misspelled, the 1911 Webb City Directory gives a "snapshot" of the Bohnstedt family as it began to grow in Webb City Missouri. Listed at 806 Oak: Vaden T. Bohnstedt, wife Lona, and child Denzil Irven, sharing the house with brother Verner Bohnstedt, wife Mollie and son Virgil. Listed at 820 N. Madison: Charles Bohnstedt, sons Carl and Ivan, and daughter, Nellie. Also listed in 820 N. Madison: George Clinton Bohnstedt, wife Anna May (Clark), and children David, Stella and Clifford. The identity of Jesse is unknown.
2. Aerial view of the neighborhood in Webb City Missouri where four Bohnstedt men - all sons of Lewis Bohnstedt - and their families lived. At the time the younger brother of Vern and Vade Bohnstedt - Guy Irven Bohnstedt - was only 15 years old and had not yet started his own family.
In that same directory Charles was also listed at 820 N. Madison with his children; Carl, Ivan and Nellie. Just one year previous, in the 1910 federal census, Charles was listed with wife, Abbey, and five children; Carl, Ivan and Nellie from, presumably, his first marriage to Lora Obanion, and two children from his second marriage to Abbey Hensen; Annie S. and Herbert. But in the 1911 Webb City directory wife Abbey is missing, as are his two children from her; Annie S. and Herbert. I strongly believe that this pinpoints one of two major sources of confusion regarding the family structure for Charles Bohnstedt.
Here we have Clint living with his wife and children in the same house with Charles, with children but no wife. We had previously wondered why and when Clint's wife, Annie (Clark) had gone to Clint's brother Charles. This must have been it. We don't know whether the two ever married, but it's almost irrelevant. Here we have a man with children, but no wife, sharing a house with a brother and his wife. At some point Charles became involved with Annie, and we know this, because the very next year Charles William Bohnstedt was born to Charles and Annie. We can safely assume that, at the very least, this created an enormous amount of resentment, friction and hostility between the two, and its also assumed that at least one of them moved elsewhere. In fact it appears that it was Charles who moved out with Annie and the children; their first child together, Charles William "Bill" Bohnstedt, was born in Rogersville Missouri, a small town several miles away to the east.
The Question of Ann Clark
So why did Annie Clark leave Clint for Charles? Obviously she didn't have far to go; just the next room over. But why? Was she unhappy in her marriage to Clint and she wanted out? Was it just a tryst that Clint found out about, perhaps when Annie became pregnant? Or did Annie Clark have some other deeper emotional issue that caused more than the usual level of dissatisfaction with marriage? The last piece to this puzzle is a 1917 death certificate for Annie Totten, born 1886, family name; Clark. To be sure that this was the same Annie I had to follow a trail backwards to find a linkage with the Bohnstedts. The trail is as follows:
(1) The father of the deceased Annie Totten was Cyrus Clark. A 1900 census record for Fulton County Arkansas lists Cyrus Clark as head of household, with several children, including Annie M., 13 years old (born about 1886-1887)
(2) The census also listed a male child; Homer Clark (and several other children), eleven years old, born about 1888-1889.
(3) Another link is a photograph which shows Homer Clark, seated, holding rabbits, with Vaden Bohnstedt, standing. Family lore has it that Homer Clark and Vaden Bohnstedt were friends. This establishes the connection between Annie Clark and the Clark family with the Bohnstedts
(4) The final link is a record from Carterville Cemetery in Jasper County Missouri for Annie May Clark Totten, born 1886, died 1917, which lists her father as Cyrus Clark.
1. This picture was provided by Hazel Ballard. Hazel Ballard was Hazeldean Pearl Clark, a daughter of Homer Clark and Katherine Herring. In this case there is little doubt that the woman in the picture was indeed Ann Clark; the family resemblance is unmistakable.
2. Vaden "Vade" Bohnstedt (standing) with Homer Clark, Ann Clark's brother. It was said by descendants of Vade Bohnstedt that Vade and Homer Clark were friends.
3. This photo was provided by Hazel Ballard. In a letter, sent with the picture, Hazel stated that this "might" be Ann Clark, wife of George Clinton Bohnstedt, but she wasn't sure. The identity of the boy standing is undetermined. On the right is Mollie Bohnstedt, wife of Verner Bohnstedt, with son Virgil on her lap. Photo circa 1910-1911. "IF" the dark haired woman is/was Ann (Clark) Bohnstedt, and the picture was taken about 1910-1911, then the boy on her lap would be Clifford Lee Bohnstedt, her youngest at the time. That being the case the older boy, standing, could have been David E. Bohnstedt, who would have been about 4-5 years old at the time. So far this remains speculation.
The death certificate listed "Lee Totten" as the informant, who was also, apparently, her husband. When did Annie marry Lee Totten? It had to be sometime after 1914, because a 1914 death certificate in Webster County Missouri for an unnamed female infant lists Charles D. Bohnstedt as the father, and Annie Clark as the mother, so Annie must have left Charles and married Lee Totten sometime between 1914 and 1917.
Annie's death was ruled a suicide by the Missouri State Board of Health. The reason for Annie's suicide is uncertain. But we do know that she jumped from partner to partner. There is no doubt that life was hard for these people; laborers and miners, and it wouldn't be surprising to find out that Charles and Clint Bohnstedt, both, were not the most romantic and charming. But whether this caused depression within Annie, or whether her own emotional state added to the difficulties in all of her relationships and gave her a sense of restlessness and dissatisfaction with everything, again, we don't really know. But we know that her baby girl died five hours after she was born. And we also know that Annie didn't commit suicide when she was with Clint Bohnstedt or his brother Charley. It was after she married Lee Totten that she committed suicide, suggesting that whatever was troubling her was a deeper psychological issue. To some extent at least, it appears that she took her troubles with her.
Anna May Clark married George Clinton Bohnstedt in 1905, when she was about nineteen years old, and they had three children. About 1911-1912 she left Clint for his brother, Charles Daniel Bohnstedt. We don't know if they were ever married. They had two children; the second one, a little girl, died after five hours. Sometime after 1914 Annie left Charles and married Lee Totten. In 1917 her marriage to Lee Totten ended with her death, at 31 years of age.
And the cause of death for Annie Totten? Poisoning, by carbolic acid. So ended the short, unhappy and tragic life of Anna May Clark-Bohnstedt-Totten.
Death Certificate for Annie May Totten, June 25, 1917
A Family Fragmented
The inevitable rift between Charles and Clint over Annie Clark was not the only thing to fragment this family. I was never able to find a 1920 census record with Charles Bohnstedt as head of household. But I did find other census records from 1920 and 1930 in which Charles Bohnstedts younger children were dispersed in different households. By 1910 Obaed Daniel had already been sent to his maternal grandfather, John Obanion. Susana (Annie S.) died in 1915, and was buried in Maple Park Cemetery in Aurora, Missouri. Herbert Daniel was found in a 1920 census record from the town of Aurora, Missouri, with Sarah Hensen, his maternal grandmother, and Ed Hensen, his uncle. Charles William (who went by "Willie" at that age, rather than "Bill") was found in a 1920 census record from the town of Pleasant Valley in Wright County Missouri, living with his older brother, Carl. While it's true that, with the departure of Charles's third wife, Annie, raising young children would become more difficult. In 1920 Herbert was about 9-10 years old, and Willie was 7-8. But was that the only reason? Why were the two younger boys sent to live elsewhere?
I believe one more 1920 census provides the answer; a 1920 census from Cole County Missouri, taken at the Missouri state penitentiary. Near the bottom of the page is the name "Charley Bohnstedt". I wasn't 100% certain if this was the same Charles Bohnstedt, but the census gives his age as 47 years old. This would put his year of birth at about 1872-1873, which matches the age of Charles D. Bohnstedt. And since I know of no other Charles Bohnstedt in Missouri at that time, it's highly unlikely that this could be anyone else. Charles being sent to prison also explains why Charles youngest children were sent to live in other households. Missouri State Penitentiary records posted by the Missouri Secretary of State gives the dates, dates of internment and other data on Missouri state inmates lists Charles Bohnistadt. Despite the incorrect spelling of the last name, this is without doubt, the same person which we are discussing here; Charles D. Bohnstedt. His approximate year of birth is given as 1871, and his term of imprisonment, as the sentence was given in Wright County Missouri, was as follows: 5 years from December 1, 1919. The sentence was due to expire on November 30, 1924, but he was released on October 31, 1922, nearly two years before his full term was served.
Charles fathered a child in 1914 (the unnamed baby girl who lived for 5 hours). He also appears in a 1930 census with his nephew, Clifford (most likely George Clinton Bohnstedt's son) and his own son Herbert. The reason for Charles's nephew, Clifford, living with him is most likely due to the fact that Clifford's father, Clint, died in 1925. Clint's oldest, David, was 19 years old when Clint died, and he may have already moved on to make his own way in life. We haven't yet found him in the 1930 census, and so far we simply don't know where he was in 1925. Clint's daughter, Stella was married in 1924, at the age of 16, to Elbert Teague. But Clint's youngest, Clifford, was only 15 years old.
Here I should point out that Herbert Bohnstedt actually appears in two different 1930 census records. Herbert appears in the household of his maternal grandmother Sarah Hensen, in a 1930 census taken in the town of Aurora, Missouri, taken on April 11. But in a 1930 census in the town of West Dallas, Missouri, taken on April 23, Herbert Bohnstedt appears living with his father, Charles Bohnstedt. This caused a little bit of confusion at first, finding Herbert Bohnstedt at two different households at the same time. But in each census he is the same age, with the same name. Is it possible that they were the same person? Certainly. We also found two different census records from 1920 featuring Vade Bohnstedt, one in Quapaw, Oklahoma, and another in Joplin, Missouri. It all depends on where you happen to be when the census taker comes around to the house. It is entirely possible that Herbert, then 18-19 years old, was living in one household and visiting another, and shuttling back and forth between the two in 1930 when the two census's were taken. It's also possible that he was moving between both households, and one of the households simply included Herbert as a member of the household because he was expected there.
There is one more confusing piece of anecdotal history that was cleared up during this investigation. You will recall that Ron Bohnstedt had mentioned his father's brothers; Carl, Ivan, Herbert, Bill, and Clifford. We know that Clifford was Clint's son, not Charles's. But...Annie Clark was the mother of both Clifford and Charles William "Willie". That made Clifford Lee Bohnstedt and Willie Bohnstedt 1st cousins through their fathers, but also half-brothers through their mother. Given that these boys lived together in some households, and given that Annie Clark was the stepmother of Charles' sons, it became an easy thing over time, for these boys to begin thinking of themselves as all being brothers.
3-19 / The Descendants of Charles D. Bohnstedt in Oklahoma and Iowa
3-20 / The Descendants of Charles D. Bohnstedt in Arkansas and California
3-36 / Genealogy 3-3-8: America; Missouri
3-37 / Genealogy 3-3-9: America; Arkansas, California, Oklahoma and Iowa
Back to Part 3 ...