The Descendants of Charles D. Bohnstedt in Arkansas, Washington, and California

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)


Grave marker of Charles William Bohnstedt (one of Charles D. Bohnstedt's younger children) and wife Ressie. Charles and Ressie had no children, and there was no one to have Ressie's year of death put on the marker.


Carl Newton Bohnstedt and Charles William Bohnstedt

Charles Bohnstedt's youngest, Charles William "Bill" Bohnstedt, married in 1931 to Ressie Viola Choate. We don't know much about Bill, except that he made his living as a timber worker, maybe a logger. As far as we know Bill and Ressie never had any children.  Bill died in 1960.  Ressie died nearly 40 years later, in 1999.  Both are buried in Hazelwood Cemetery near Springfield Missouri.

1-2. Grave markers of Carl Newton Bohnstedt and his second wife, Cora, in Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery, Greene County Missouri

About 1920 Charles Bohnstedt's oldest, Carl Newton, married Nona J. Earll.  They had three children together; Goldie, Ruby, and Myrtle Fontella. Carl and Nona must have separated and divorced, because Nona's record of death says she died in 1996 in Stockton California.  Their three daughters were married in Missouri but moved to the San Joaquin Valley in California, possibly in Stockton.  But Carl remarried in Missouri, to "Cora Stafford", who had the maiden name of Hamlin.  Carl died in 1963 in Springfield Missouri, and is buried in Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery, Greene County Missouri.

1-2.  Grave markers of Goldie (Bohnstedt) Evans and husband Ralph Evans (top), and  Myrtle Fontella (Bohnstedt) Kubena and husband Jerry Kubena (bottom) in Stockton Rural Cemetery, Stockton California
3-4.  Grave markers of Ruby (Bohnstedt) Tankersley in Stockton Rural Cemetery, Stockton California (top), and husband James Tankerlsey in Cherokee Memorial Park, Lodi, California (bottom).



The Bohnstead Line from Ivan August Bohnstedt

Ivan August Bohnstedt, the second child of Charles D. and Lora Bohnstedt, married Bertie Cox, and together they had three children; Virgil Alvin, Else Virginia, and Edith Jean. Ivan's son, Virgil, was born about 1921 in Missouri.

When I first began researching this "Bohnstead" branch of the family I was told by members of this branch of the family that when their ancestor, Virgil Alvin Bohnstead, was a schoolboy, he was told by his teacher that he was spelling his name incorrectly, and insisted that Virgil spell it "Bohnstead" instead of "Bohnstedt". I took this as being true, and I still do. But I also wondered if there was more to the story.  After all, keeping the proper spelling of the family name was always very important to Bohnstedts. So how and why did this branch of the Bohnstedt family change the spelling of their family name from Bohnstedt to Bohnstead?

During a random internet search I had come across some information on the worldwide web that gave a date of death for Ivan August Bohnstedt in 1923, a few months before his third child, Edith, was born. This would mean that Ivan died when he was about 22 years old - very young.  I had also learned that in 1924 Ivan's wife, Bertie, remarried to a man named Rush Murragh.  A theory began forming in my mind, and I wanted to know two things: (1) did Ivan August Bohnstedt really die in 1923? (2) Did Alvin's sisters, Else and Edith, also spell their last name "Bohnstead"?

The answers to these questions came from Tammie Loescher, a granddaughter of Virgil's younger sister, Edith Jean Bohnstead. The answer to both questions was "Yes". Tammie also indicated some resentment towards Bertie's new husband, Rush Murragh by Edith.  Romona Hayes, one of Virgil Alvin Bohnstead's daughters, also told me that she had been told that Alvin's father, Ivan August Bohnstedt, was an outdoorsman, and made his living trapping and selling furs.  He met Bertie Cox, and married her shortly after, probably in 1919 or 1920.  Romona said that she had been told that Bertie Cox was Native American.

Here's what we think happened: After Bertie conceived their child in 1923 her husband, Ivan, developed appendicitis. He wasn't taken to a hospital or doctor, and he died in 1923, possibly in August, before Edith was born.  Bertie, having three children to somehow take care of, married Rush Murrah in 1924. Murragh was himself a single father with children of his own.  Virgil was about 3-4 years old when they married.

1. Bertie May Cox-Bohnstead-Murrah-Cartwright in Frozen Rock Cemetery, Muskogee, Oklahoma.  This appears to be a temporary marker.  After Bertie's husband, Ivan Bohnstedt died about 1923 Bertie married Rush Murrah. She later married a man named Cartwright, and died with that last name.
2. Virgil Alvin Bohnstead, Ivan's son, during WWII, in his U.S. Army Air Corps uniform.  The woman on Virgil's right is presumably Nellie (Roberts), Virgil's wife.

When Virgil started going to school, his teacher, as the story is handed down, told Virgil he was spelling his name wrong. Although Bertie may well have taught Virgil how to spell "Bohnstedt", Virgil's father, Ivan, wasn't around to reinforce this. So when Virgil came home after being told by his teacher to spell his last name "Bohnstead", his stepfather, Rush Murragh, a man who, by all accounts, had no interest at all in how the boy's last name was spelled, most likely told Virgil to just do what his teacher told him to do.  So Virgil began spelling his name "Bohnstead".  When Virgil's sisters, Elsie, and then Edith, began learning to spell and write their names, they might even have been told by Bertie, not wanting the extra hassle, to spell it "Bohnstead".

Consequently, all of Virgil Alvin Bohnstedt/Bohnstead's descendants now spell their name "Bohnstead" very likely due to the untimely death of his father, Ivan August Bohnstedt.  After Rush Murragh, Bertie married again, to a man named Orlin Cartwright.  When she died, she was buried under the name "Bertie May Cartwright.

1. Virgil Alvin Bohnstead
2. Grave of Virgil Alvin Bohnstead in Brushy Mountain Cemetery, Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Virgil enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served in the Second World War. In 1944 Virgil was married in Kansas to Nellie Katherine Roberts. After the war Virgil and Nellie relocated south to Arkansas in the area around Siloam Springs and in 1948 their first child, Al Veston Bohnstead, was born.

The family was, for a short time, in Dallas, Oregon, where Jerry Sanford Bohnstead was born, about 1949-1950. The family then moved back to Arkansas, where two more children were born to Vigil and Nellie: Deborah in 1952, and Dennis in 1958.

The family moved again, back to Dallas Oregon, where another son, Ivan Virgil Bohnstead, was born about 1963. We know that two more children were born to Virgil and Nellie, both daughters; Rhonda Kay and Ramona Lynn. However, we are uncertain with regard to exactly when or where they were born.

The oldest of Virgil and Nellie's children, Al Veston Bohnstead, joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1968 and was sent to Vietnam. In the middle of his tour of duty he received word that his little brother, Ivan, had died accidentally in Oregon, and he was sent home briefly on bereavement leave. After the funeral he returned to the fighting in Vietnam. He finished his service with the Marines in 1969, but two years later he joined the U.S. Navy where he served until 1974. Al later attended both college and trade school where he studied Criminal Science and Law Enforcement, Aeronautics, and as well as courses in emergency medical training.

1. Grave of Virgil Ivan Bohnstead, Dallas Cemetery, Polk County, Oregon
2. Grave of Candy Fontella Bohnstead, Darrington Cemetery, Snohomish County, Washington
3. Grave of Jeremy Scott Bohnstead, Loon Lake Cemetery, Stevens County, Washington

Many years ago when I was researching for the 1998 Bohnstedt family book I was fairly certain that this Bohnstead name would not continue with this family line. Al Veston Bohnstead had never married or had children and Ivan died when he was about five years old. Dennis had two daughters; Geri and Gracie, born twelve years apart. Jerry had eight children, but only two of them were boys: Thomas James Bohnstead and Jeremy Scott Bohnstead. According to Holly Bohnstead, when Jeremy was born his heart only had three valves.  She said doctors tried to surgically add a fourth valve, but the operation was not entirely successful and Jeremy died when he was three years old.

But Thomas died an infant death, and Jeremy died in 1995 at the age of three, the last of the Bohnstead males of this line. But Jerry had several daughters; Melodey, Tinnia, Pauline, Patty, Candy, and Elisabeth. Candy was stillborn, but Melodey and Tinnia both had several children under the family names Barker and Serna.  Pauline's two children, Hanna May and Jerry both carry the Bohnstead name. Patty had three daughters; Kayla, Kaytee and Jewel. The third, Jewel, was given the hyphenated name Bohnstead-Gage at birth. Elizabeth had three children; Holly, Heather May, and Jerry Daniel. The first two, Holly and Heather were given the Bohnstead name, while the third, Jerry Daniel, was given the hyphenated name Bohnstead-Ford.


The Bohnstedt Line from Herbert Daniel Bohnstedt: A Military Family

Obaed and Ivan Bohnstedt's younger brother, Herbert Daniel Bohnstedt, married Dovey Violet Geister and began his family in Aurora Missouri. Their first five children were born there; Jesse Daniel in 1934, Anna Mardell in 1937, Glen Alexander in 1938, Reuben Paul in 1940, and Carl Obaed in 1942. Reuben died the same year he was born and was buried in Maple Park Cemetery, where Herbert's older sister Susana was buried.

Herbert Daniel Bohnstedt
2. Family of Herbert Daniel Bohnstedt, circa 1951, California. Back L-R: Carl, Anna, Glen, Jesse. Front: Linda (baby), Dovie, Herbert, Freddie
3. Reuben Paul Bohnstedt's grave in Maple Park Cemetery, Aurora, Missouri.  Reuben was Herbert and Dovey's 4th child and was born between Glen and Carl.

In or about 1942-1943 Herbert moved with his family from Missouri to southern Oregon, and then to Oakland in the San Francisco Bay area of California. Because of the Second World War shipbuilding was big business and he found work in the naval shipyards in the bay area. Herbert and Dovey's sixth child, Freddie Allen Bohnstedt was born there in 1944.

San Francisco Naval Shipyard at Hunter's Point, 1940s.  Herbert Bohnstedt worked here during the second world war.

By 1951 the family had moved again, to Tipton in central California where Herbert and Dovey's seventh and last child, Linda, was born. In 1953 the oldest child, Jesse, enlisted in the Marine Corps and was sent to Korea. The family soon moved again, farther south to the inland areas near San Bernardino and Riverside, and Herbert found work in the aircraft industry as a civilian employee at March Air Force Base near Riverside California. While living in the area Herbert and Dovey's daughter, Anna Mardell, was married in Loma Linda to Albert Schermerhorn.

1. The high desert; Antelope Valley
2-3. "Plant 42" is an U.S. Air Force installation built in the 1950's near Palmdale California for the purpose of building prototype and production aircraft. Various sites were leased to companies, and provided lots of new job opportunities. Some flight testing of prototype aircraft was also conducted from Plant 42, as well as production flight testing.

In the 1950's, at Palmdale, California, the Air Force opened "Plant 42", a new facility for aircraft manufacturing and production flight testing to compliment nearby Edwards Air Force Base. With a number of aircraft companies leasing property at this facility there was plenty of opportunity for aircraft workers, and the family moved yet again, this time with just four children, to Palmdale and Lancaster in the High Desert.

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1. Family of Herbert Daniel Bohnstedt, circa 1955. L-R: Glen, Carl, Freddie, Linda, wife Dovie and Herbert. Absent are Jesse, age twentyone, and in the Marine Corps, and Anna, age 18 and married. This picture was probably taken somewhere in the Antelope Valley, possibly at Palmdale, or Littlerock.
2. Louella (Hall) Bohnstedt, first wife of Jesse Daniel Bohnstedt.

Throughout the next two decades elements of this family served in the military while slowly migrating back to central California. From 1956-1957 Glen served in the Marine Corps, and from 1958-1962 he served in the Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown as an Air Traffic Controller.

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Glen Alexander Bohnstedt, U.S. Marine Corps, about 1956-1957
2. Glen Bohnstedt, U.S. Navy, 1958-1962

3. Aircraft carrier U.S.S. Yorktown, late 1950s

In 1961 Herbert's wife, Dovey, died in Littlerock California, a tiny community in the desert east of Palmdale. As Glen was finishing his tour of duty with the Navy in 1962 Carl was starting his tour with the US Army and was sent to Vietnam. About this time Jesse had returned to Lancaster where he had two daughters with Ruby Powell; Mary and Deborah.

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1. Grave of Glen A. Bohnstedt in Tulare Public Cemetery, Tulare California
Carl Obaed Bohnstedt, U.S. Army, 1962 - 1966
3. Grave of Carl Obaed Bohnstedt, Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Boulder City, Nevada

By the 1960's Glen had returned to Central California, and in 1962 he married Mary Williamson. Glen and Mary adopted a girl named Stefanie, but the marriage ended. Glen later remarried in 1983 in Tulare (near Tipton) to Carol Swayne, and in 2003 he and Carol adopted a son, Rico.

1. Grave of Jesse Daniel Bohnstedt, Tulare Cemetery, Tulare California
2. Grave of Louella (Hall) Bohnstedt, Graceland Cemetery, New Castle, Pennsylvania

During the late 1960's Carl had returned home from Vietnam to Central California where he settled down with his wife Barbara. Their two daughters were born in central California; Tina in Tulare, and Terri in Hanford, a short distance from Tulare.

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Freddie Allen Bohnstedt, U.S. Army, 1st Infantry Division. The emblem at his throat is from the U.S. Army's "Black Lions" 28th Regiment.
2. Typical example of airborne infantry operations by U.S. forces in Vietnam, late 1960's. Freddie was awarded the U.S. Military's "Air Medal", for participating in (and surviving) 25 airborne assaults.

About this time, in 1968-1970, Freddie was in the Army in Vietnam, where the fighting was reaching it's peak. When Freddie returned home to Lancaster he and his first wife Susan had a son, Jeffrey John-Allen Bohnstedt. Two years later, Freddie's little sister, Linda, married David Pekrul in McMinnville Oregon. They eventually moved to British Columbia where they started a family.

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1. Freddie Bohnstedt, Vietnam, circa 1969-1970
2. Freddie Allen Bohnstedt, U.S. Marine Corps, 1973-1977

During the period 1973-1975 Jesse moved to Kingston New York. His sister Anna Mardell had married Albert Schermerhorn, a native New Yorker. We know that Albert and Anna had already moved back to New York because Albert died there in 1973. In 1968 Jesse had married Louella Hall in Ohio, but in the early 1970's they moved to Kingston New York near Anna. There Jesse and Louella had two daughters; Patricia (1973) and Carla (1975).

Meanwhile Freddie had gone back to military service, this time to the Marine Corps where he served from 1973-1977. As Freddie was finishing his service with the Marines, Jesse had moved with his family to Tulare, in Central California where his son Joseph was born in 1977. That same year the patriarch of the family, Herbert Daniel Bohnstedt, died in Tulare.

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1. Freddie Bohnstedt's son, Jeffrey John-Allen Bohnstedt, United States Marine Corps, c.1991-1992, a second generation military veteran from the family of Herbert Daniel Bohnstedt.
2. Glen Bohnstedt's son, Rico Anthony Bohnstedt, United States Navy, 2011-2015, also a second generation military veteran from this part of the Bohnstedt family.  Click on the image above for a short video about the opening of a new LCAC landing craft facility by the United States Navy.  Rico appears about 1:15 after the start, and again at about 1:21.

The next generation from this Bohnstedt line also produced some military veterans.  Freddie's son, Jeff Bohnstedt, grew up in Lancaster, and after graduating high school he enlisted in the Marine Corps.  After the Marine Corps Jeff did a tour in the California National Guard, and then the United States Army.  Another of this second generation family of veterans was Glen Bohnstedt's son, Rico Bohnstedt.  Like his father, Rico served in the United States Navy.  Rico met his future wife, Carina Cruz, in the navy, where both of them were LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushion) landing craft  engineers.  Upon leaving the service Rico was accepted to the California Highway Patrol.  Jeff's story is told next in Sergeant Jeff Bohnstedt.


See Also:
3-18 / Lewis Bohnstedt; Rebuilding a Family History
3-19 /
The Descendants of Charles D. Bohnstedt in Oklahoma and Iowa
3-21 /
Sergeant Jeff Bohnstedt
3-37 / Genealogy 3-3-9: America; Arkansas, California, Oklahoma and Iowa


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