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Johann Adam Benkelman

Johann Adam Benkelman

Male 1825 - 1897  (72 years)

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  • Name Johann Adam Benkelman  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Born 13 Feb 1825  Waldhausen Parish, Welzheim, Jagstkreis, Württemberg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Gender Male 
    Died 30 Dec 1897  Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 6, 7
    Buried 2 Jan 1898  Elkland Township Cemetery, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • BonnieMargaret, in the process of writing her manuscript, also read about Schwäbisch folkways.  She reported that when each of Leonhard's sons were born, they would have been wrapped by his mother and the midwives in attendance in a shirt belonging to their father and placed on the floor, where the father would then pick him up as an act of recognition and claiming. The infant would be christened as soon as possible before any witch could place a spell on him or her. The godparents would be summoned and the christening would take place, and only at that time would the child's name be revealed. They kept the area the baby slept in lit, so no changeling could be put in his or her place. The baby was not taken from his home for six weeks, after which time the family would begin to visit friends and neighbors. The child was then presented a "schwatzei" or chatter egg, from each of the neighbors, who would lightly tap the child on the mouth with the egg, to pass along the gift of speech. (pp. 70, 71) She also wrote that "according to parish record, he was actually born on the Schmitthof, nearby the Schneiderhof. Probably sometimes it was necessary to go to the midwife....The jurisdiction at the time was the Oberamt Welzheim, and that appears on the death certificate of both Adam and [sister] Louisa Benkelman...Waldhausen Parish is now in the jurisdication of Waldhausen-Lorch and that is where the records are to be found [post 1938]." (p. 127)

      On the German church registry, he is shown as a citizen of Waldhausen, a master barrel maker, and belonging to the Schneiderhof near Lorch, renting in Börtlingen. They also show he emigrated to America in June 1851. None of his children were listed because they are all born in the United States. Waldhausen Parish was nearby Lorch, within the Oberamt Welzheim.  BonnieMargaret writes (p. 73) that Adam was accepted to a trades training program in Waldhausen, despite his father not being citizen of that parish or a member of that guild. He completed his training and was considered a master cooper.

      BonnieMargaret later noted that Adam would have been about 14 when he began is training as a cooper. "..he would have gone into one of the training houses where the young apprentices lived together while they learned the rudiments of their craft. After several years of apprenticeship, Adam would have begin the 'wandering' that was a traditional part of the training of the journeymen artisans. During those years he woudl travel from village to village, living in the guild housing and working with other journeymen who were proving their skills and providing evidence of their reliability and good character. Adam's admittance into the trades is an example of the flexibility of the Württemberg laws governing these things. Strict compliance with the law would have meant that Adam could not have entered this training, since one of the requirements was legitimate ancestry. His father had proved himself a responsible person [however] ...and there is some evidence that Adam's mother came from a substantial and respected family, which would have helped." (p. 127).

      Johann Adam Benkelmann and Catherine Benkelmann were referenced as applying to emigrate to North America in 1851 by Schenk, Trudy and Froelke, Ruth THE Württemberg EMIGRATION INDEX Salt Lake City: Ancestry, Vol. 5. 1988. 240 p. Source Code 8057.8, p 14. Also listed with them were Johann Georg Benkelmann (1850) and Johannes Benkelman (1851).

      The following was excerpted from the "Memoirs of John A. Benkelman" (published posthumously) by Hilda Jane Stickley Benkelman in 1966. John A. Benkelman was the third child of Johann Adam and Catherine (Schiefle) Benkelman.  Hilda Stickley Benkelman was John Benkelman's daughter in law, and compiled the book based on the stories he told over and over again to his children.

      Adam Benkelman and his wife, Catherine Scheifle Benkelman left Hamburg, Germany, shortly after their marriage in 1850 (sic). Upon arrival in America, they traveled by train to Lancaster, Erie County, New York, to the home of John Scheifle, brother of Catherine. They spent one year with the Scheifles, and it was there that their first son, George, was born.

      Their next move was to Bowmansville, Erie County, New York, where the remaining children were born.

      Adam Benkelman was a cooper and learned his trade in Germany, where he was kept busy every winter making sap buckets, barrels, kegs and churns which were bought and used by many of his neighbors.

      Adam's sisters, Mary and Louise were married to John and Jacob Striffler. They lived in New York State, near Adam and his family. The Striffler brothers bought land in Tuscola County, Michigan, without seeing it first, for $2.00 an acre. In 1860, they moved their families to Watrousville. From there, they walked back and forth to their land and build two log homes. Adam came to visit in 1864, and bought himself 80 acres of land. It was $3.00 an acre, and covered with virgin pine. The land was one mile east and one mile north of the town of Cass City, Michigan. In 1964, a centennial marker was placed at the farm, since it had been owned by the same family for 100 years.

      Adam and his family stayed in New York State through the end of the Civil War. Adam worked at a barrel factory as a cooper for Mr. Looney, for whom the town was named. It was a thriving town, near the New York Central railroad, and a passenger and freight depot was not far from the Benkelman home.

      When Lincoln was assasinated on April 14, 1865, there was a great deal of argument over his death among the townspeople. Some thought that he should not have been at the theatre, others worried about the future of the country. The train carrying his body to Springfield, Ilinois went through the town. The train and engine were clothed in black. It stopped in Looneville to take on water and supplies at the depot.  In a short time, a large crowd gathered to pay respects to this great man. They stood silently, with hats in hand. They stood spellbound until the train was well out of sight, taking President Lincoln to his last resting place.

      Adam moved his family to Michigan shortly thereafter, sometime in May or June of 1865. They sent the furniture ahead by freight. When the family reached Pine Run (Vassar), Michigan, they hired a driver to take them the rest of the way. At Centerville (Caro), they were all tired and hungry, so the driver stopped at an old inn run by the a Mr. Velmer, who came to help them off the wagon. George, the oldest child, jumped off, then Louisa, John, Sam, Will, Mary and finally the baby, Ben. The innkeeper laughed and said "For God's sake, how many more are up there?"

      By the time the Civil War was over, most of the aggressive, war-like Indians that had resided in around Tuscola County had migrated westward beyond the Mississippi River. There were however scattered camps of peaceful Indians still living in Tuscola County. The early settlers had no reason to fear these Indians. The Indian children often came out to the road to play with the white children, especially those of the Seeger family whose Father had been mistakenly shot for a bear at Elk Lake. An old Indian called Riley often stopped at the Benkelman house at noon time, sometimes eating, and sometimes stretching out on the bare floor for the night. In the morning, he would be gone and often did not return for many months.

      Adam and his family lived in an old building on the land of Louisa and Jacob Striffler until Adam was able to build a log home on his land, which he completed around 1871. Sam and John later built the house that is still standing on the farm today.  Adam used oxen both to haul the lumber and to help him with farming. He bought his first team of horses in 1873.

      The first garden that the family had was grown around the stumps and logs, but they did have a lot of vegetables that fall. The first fruit trees were planted from seeds of apples bought from a man who peddled the apples in the fall with a horse and wagon. The first wheat was planted in a small patch of ground, cradled by hand the next year and threshed on the floor by hand. Later, Adam had six acres of wheat to cut and he hired a good cradler to cut it.  The other members of the family followed with twine and tied the wheat in bundles. This wheat was threshed by a machine that was operated with horses. The twine had to be cut and handled seperately by men at the side of the machine. The grain was winnowed and ground to flour by hand. Eventually, they could take the wheat to a water-powered mill at Wahjamega on the Cass River. This took two days to accomplish.

      The first spring after they moved to Michigan, George, the eldest son, brought home an orphaned fawn. His mother was not pleased about having a a wild deer in the house, which he was as the weather was still quite chilly, however she consented after much teasing on the part of her children. They named the fawn Dickie, and he stayed in the yard all that next summer, making no attempt to leave. When winter came, Adam made his children a sled and harness. They taught Dickie to take directions like a trained reindeer, and neighborhood children gathered for miles around to have a sled ride.

      The fawn was a wild animal however. Once it crashed through a window of their home, when startled by Catherine. Dickies fate was sealed after Adam had bought a bushel of apples from a man in Watrousville, and then saved the seeds for an orchard. (He planted them and they had grown to) nice little seedling trees which he kept close track of, his heart set on an apple orchard.... but in the fall, Dickie ate all the seedlings down to the roots. Adam was so provoked by the deer that he shot him, and used him for meat as it was hunting time.  All the children cried bitterly and refused to eat.  John related that "then poor Father was sorry that he had destroyed our pet deer."

      The first Evangelical Church meeting held in Cass City was in Adam's log house, where the Benkelman farm is now located. A few of the early families of German descent wanted a Church to worship in, similar to their accustomed form. Rev. Henny, the Evangelical minister in Sebewaing at the time was invited to meet with the group to preach and help organize a Church in Cass City. He rode from Sebewaing on horseback.

      Bonnie Petee abstracted the following regarding the Evangelical Association from  "The History of Tuscola County, Biographical Sketches and Illustrations," H. R. Page Co., Chicago, 1883.  "A class of this church which is commonly known as the German Methodist, was organized in the town of Elkland about the year 1866, by the Rev. Stephen Henne in connection with the Sebewaing mission. The class numbered about fifteen members. It has had regular services from that time to the present, and a regular succession of pastors. Services being held in the school-house, one mile north and one-half mile east of Cass City. In the latter part of 1882, a formal organization was effected at Cass City, and steps taken for the construction of a house of worship, which is now in course of construction. The earnest zeal of the members and their individual labors and contributions of material have reduced the estimated cost of the building to about $1,500. The pastor of the church at the present time is the Rev. B. F. Wade, who resides on his farm in the town of Elkland. The membership is about fifty. There is a preaching every second Sunday; prayer-meeting and Sunday-school every Sabbath. The trustees of the church are, John Benkelman, Fred Krapf, Oscar Sencner (Lenzner?), Levi Muntz and Adam Benkelman."

      The Benkelman family continued to stay heavily involved in the affairs of the church, as this January 24, 1896 news article notes:

      At the Evangelical church, the following Sunday School officers have been elected for the ensuing year: Supt., Mrs. Lena SCHWEGLER; ass't supt., Mrs. Mary BENKELMAN; sec., J. MAIER; treas., Adam BENKELMAN; librarian, Miss Lillie Striffler; ass't librarian, Miss Maud MAIER; organist, Miss Martha STRIFFLER; ass't organist, Oscar LENZNER.

      The following death notices appeared in the local Cass City Paper after Adam's death:

      From the Cass City Enterprise
      Published in Cass City, Mich., Dec. 30, 1897

      Adam Benkelman, one of our oldest residents and most highly respected,  passed away this morning (Thursday), at the age of seventy-two years. The immediate cause of his decease is said to have been diabetes. The funeral services will be held Sunday, at his late residence on Houghton Street at ten o'clock and at the Evangelical Church at 10:30. Obituary next week.

      From the Cass City Enterprise
      Published in Cass City, Mich., Jan. 6, 1898

      Another Pioneer Gone

      Adam Benkelman was born in Oberamt Welzheim, Wurtemberg, Germany on the thirteenth of February 1825. In the year 1851 he was married to Catherine Scheufele, who accompanied him to America shortly after. His first home in America was in the State of New York, where he resided fourteen years. In 1865 he came to this place where he lived on the farm one mile east and three-quarters of a mile north of Cass City until 1881, then moved to the village where he has since lived.

      As a citizen, Mr. Benkelman was respected by all. His pioneer days here were filled with the hardships of pioneer life, but not disheartened by his surroundings, he toiled on until his timbered land was cleared. All his dealing and business transactions were strictly honest. He practiced honesty and inculcated the same principle in the minds of his children.

      Mr. Benkelman was a member of the Lutheran Church until 1867, when he was converted and joined the Evangelical Association, under the pastorate of Rev. S. Heune, the first Evangelical minister that preached in this neighborhood. There being no church or school house in which to hold meetings Mr. Benkelman opened his house as a place of public worship. After his conversion he lived a devoted christian life. He was a regular attendant at all meetings of the church, his seat never being vacant unless sickness would not allow him to be present. Not only could he be found at the meeting, but his children were early taught to go to church and would accompany him to the place of worship. His love for the Lord's house was great. He supported the church not only by his prayers, but he also gave very liberally. He was a pillar in the church and remained a true and faithful member to the end. For thirty-one years he had been a subscriber to the "Christliche Botschafter.**"

      His health has been poorly for several months, but not until recently was he confined to his bed. The last few weeks was a time of great suffering, but he endured it all with a childlike spirit. All that human skill and wisdom could do was done, but of no avail. He patiently resigned to the will of God and did not murmur at his lot until it pleased Him who is all wise and the great Author of Life and Death to put an end to his pain by removing his spirit to realms above where suffering cannot come.

      His deeply sorrowing widow, one daughter, five sons and twenty grandchildren, besides three brothers and three sisters and a large circle of relatives and friends are left to mourn his departure. On the 29th of Dec., 1897, he fell asleep in the arms of Jesus at the ripe age of 72 years, 10 months and sixteen days.

      The funeral occurred on Sunday, Jan. 2nd, from the Evangelical Church. Rev. W Bergey, of Elkton, preached in the German language from Phil. 1. 21, and the writer made a few remarks in the English based on 1 Sam. Xx. 18. His remains were laid in their last resting place there to await the resurrection morn.

      In the same paper, the following notice was also published:

      Leonard Benkelman, from Wisconsin, brother of the late Adam Benkelman, is in town and will remain for some time.

      Detail of Death Certificate: County Tuscola, Township Elkland, Village Cass City ADAM BENKELMAN DOD 30 Dec 1897 Place of Death Cass City, Male, White, Married 26 years, Age 72 yrs, 10 mos, 17 days, Parent of 7 children, 6 living, Born Germany, Occupation Farmer, Father Leonard Benkelman, Mother Dora Stahley, (Both born in Germany),  proposed date of burial Jan 2, 1897 (sic), Elkland cemetery, Undertaker A.A. McKenzie, Cass City MI Attending Physician H.P. Edwards, Attended the deceased from June 10, 1895 to Dec 30, 1897, last seen alive on Dec 30, 1897

      **Der Christliche Botschafter was the first religious paper in the German language in America. Founded in 1836 it became a stimulus to the rapid growth of the Evangelical Association and a valuable means of recording the progressive movements of the denomination. It was a significant agency in building Christian and denominational bonds.
    • (Research):Census Information:

      The family was listed as follows on the 1860 Federal Censu
      s for Erie County, New York:
      Bowmansville Post Office Town of Lancaster Enumeration date 13 June 1860
      #36-36 Adam Benkerman 35 Cooper $500/$150 Germany
      Catherine 37 Germany
      George 9 New York
      Louisa 7 New York
      John 4 New York
      Samuel 3 New York
      Mary 2 New York

      The family was listed as follows on the 1870 Federal Census for Michigan, Tuscola County, Elkland Township,
      #54-54 Benkelmann, Adam 45 Farmer 2010 360 Ger/Wirtenberg
         ",   Catherine 47 Keeping House Ger/Wirtenberg
         ",   George 19 At home NY
         ",   Louisa 17 At home NY
         ",   John 14 At school NY
         ",   Samuel 13 At school NY
         ",   Mary 11 At school NY
         ",   William   9              NY
         ",   Benjamin 7             NY

      1880 Federal Census
      Census Place:Elkland, Tuscola, Michigan Source:FHL Film 1254607
      National Archives Film T9-0607     Page 95B
      RelationSexMarrRaceAgeBirthplace
      Adam BENKELMANSelfMMW55WERTENBURG Occ:CooperFa: WERTENBURGMo: WERTENBURG
      Cathrine BENKELMANWifeFMW59WERTENBURG Occ:Keeping HouseFa: WERTENBURGMo: WERTENBURG
    Person ID I39  Strong Family Tree
    Last Modified 17 Aug 2014 

    Father Johann Leonhard Benkelmann,   b. 6 Feb 1796, Schneiderhof, Waldhausen Parish, Welzheim, Jagstkreis, Württemberg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Feb 1848, Schneiderhof, Waldhausen Parish, Welzheim, Jagstkreis, Württemberg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years) 
    Mother Maria Dorothea Stähle,   b. 5 Jan 1800, Börtlingen, Göppingen, Donaukreis, Württemberg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Oct 1853, Transit to America, Lost At Sea Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years) 
    Married 20 Nov 1822  Schneiderhof, Waldhausen Parish, Welzheim, Jagstkreis, Württemberg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [8, 9
    • BonnieMargaret and her husband Bruce visited Germany in September, 1980. In a letter to Ben and Avis dated October 13, 1980, she shared the following information "Then we were on to Börtlingen, where Adam and Catherine were married. The church there was built in 1484 and is one of the most beautiful we saw anywhere. I decided to see the village of Breech--for no particular reason except I that I'd heard Elsie Anthes speak of it and it had turned up in various records. WE had no real family association there--but it was nearby. What a stroke of dumb luck! Without that decision we might never have found the Schneiderhof, where Adam and his siblings were born and lived until they emigrated. The Schneiderhof is not a town and is not on any map. It's just a cluster of about 4 houses and supporting buildings, just down and across the road from Breech, and if you were looking away for just a second, you'd miss the sign to it.

      I cannot tell you my excitement! ...There is nothing new there. Adam would recognize it as if he had never left.  The tools and equipment are there as they have been for who knows how long. It is surrounded by orchards (apples) and small plots of vegetables. Börtlingen is on a hill and is lovely with good views. The Schneiderhof is on top of the world, looking out on miles of hills and valleys and villages. It is incrediably beautiful. Again I found myself out in some cabbage patch, trying to explain to some farmer that this was my family heimat (home)...Clearly Americans are accepted as eccentric and harmless!...Vocabulary doesn't reach the beauty of that hilltop and its vistas out over hazy valleys, looking at other hills where red tiled houses form little villages. I can just imagine it at night--looking out over perhaps two dozen sparkling little villages on other hills around. One climbs from Börtlingen to the Schneiderhof. But going down the back side of the mountain, through dense forest, the trail winds back and forth across the mountain into Waldhausen--which the Schneiderhof also looks down upon. This is the trip the family took to get to church, and probably to work."

      In her 1981 unpublished manuscript, BonnieMargaret noted that only the top floor of the Benkelmann home shows from the road leading in. The house is three stories high on the back side, two stories high in the front. It was built in 1733, by the state, to provide housing for state licensed artisans who were not allowed in the town as guild craftsmen. Apparently it gained its name from its first inhabitants, since the name literally means "the place of tailors." The official state description of the Schneiderhof in 1845 states that it was a place with 22 Evangelical residents, lying on the mountain top about one-half an hours walk from Waldhausen. The rents were paid to the city of  Göppingen, in 1845 twelve of those residents would have been Leonhard and Dorothea and their 10 living children, others would have included Leonhard's widowed mother and some of her children by Herr Heller, and likely their families. The land was described as rocky and and lying on a mountainside, "even today it is impossible to use machinery to work the land" and that the "people who lived there would have to have outside work." The house itself lies on the very crest of the mountain, with the house built on the downside of the mountain, overlooking Waldhausen. A very small patch of is on the level crest at the top of the mountain. When BonnieMargaret visited the home in 1981, she said it had four or five dwellings in all, and barns and sheds nearby the house and in the orchards. Just west of the house stands the old Bauernhaus, perhaps the homestead of Leonhard's maternal grandparents. The fields to the south were planted in potatoes and turnips, the high production crops that all of southern Germany turned to in the early 1800's. Beyond the westernmost buildings were apple orchards, beautiful and well tended. (pp. 68, 69 and accompanying photos).

      BonnieMargaret also noted that German life centered in the family. Even today we're told that day to day life included few close relationships with people outside the family. Certainly they were cordial and friendly with neighbors and cooperating artisans, but the joy of living was carefully protected within the walls of the home. Country people had no protection but each other, and the trusted "other" were kinsmen. Unlike the towns that were structured to protect the citizens from difficult times, the country folk were on their own, in good and bad times. Parents carefully nutured the bonds of affection and caring, and though they may have experienced the sibling rivalry that modern children do, it was not expressed  in the German home, where only mutual caring and consideration were approved and encouraged.

      Names and birthdates for this family were from the Waldhausen Parish Kirchlichen Familienregister Band I, Blatt 244, Dekanat Welzheim, Schwäbisch Gmünd.  BonnieMargaret noted that all the family information shown on pages 95 and 96 of her book were certified by Pastor Rau of the Ev. Pfarramt Waldhausen to be the complete record of the family of Johann Leonhard Benkelmann, with the exceptions of the dates of death, which were included by BonnieMargaret from other sources. They had one stillborn child, neither name or sex listed, on 4 July 1838. She also noted that they were married on November 20, but the year was illegible.

      The family register for the family of Georg Friedrich Stähle and wife, Anna Maria Leins shows that Maria Dorothea was the fifth of their 15 children. She was married at the Schneiderhof on 20 Nov 1822, approximately 10 months after the birth of eldest son Friedrich.
    Documents
    Benkelmann, Johann Leonhard and Dorothea (Stähle), Church Family Registry (German), page two
    Benkelmann, Johann Leonhard and Dorothea (Stähle), Church Family Registry (German), page two
    German Church Family registry, second page, which lists the fifteen children born to Leonhard and Dorothea. Four of these children died young, the twelfth child was stillborn ("todgeborenes"), and the remaining 10 children all emigrated to the United States between 1849 and 1873.
    Striffler-Benkelman Annual Labor Day Family Reunion, 1936 Newspaper article
    Striffler-Benkelman Annual Labor Day Family Reunion, 1936 Newspaper article
    In the mid 1850's, in Erie County, New York, two sons of Jacob & Otilla Striffler married two Benkelman sisters. Shortly after their marriages, the couples moved to the Michigan frontier, many of their brothers and sisters following them. The two families remained intertwined for subsequent generations. At a reunion of the Henry Striffler family in 1930 it was decided to enlarge the scope of the reunion to include descendants of Henry, Jacob, Joseph, Christian, John and Susan Striffler. Members and "in laws" of these families first gathered at the Assembly grounds in Sebewaing for a reunion in 1932. As the Benkelman-Striffler family had remained very close over the years, all branches of the Benkelman family were invited to their Sixth Reunion, and since that time it remained a joint event. This articles from the 1936 "Cass City Chronicle" details one of the earliest joint reunions. Attended by over 170 family members, the reunion was held on the John Striffler homestead northeast of Cass City, with attendees travelling from Ontario, Ohio and many places in Michigan. President W.D. STRIFFLER presided at a business meeting in 1936, and Harry HUNT, Mrs. S.G BENKELMAN (the former Mary Striffler), and Mrs. Ben SCHWEGLER (the former Joanna Mark) were elected officers for the ensuing year. The first volume of the STRIFFLER-BENKELMAN BROADCAST was published for the September 1936 reunion.
    Striffler-Benkelman Reunion 1954 Handbill
    Striffler-Benkelman Reunion 1954 Handbill
    Handbill advertising the annual Striffler-Benkelman Reunion, 1954, featuring Cass City's Main Street. At the fiftieth Striffler-Benkelman Reunion in 1981, Ruth Schenck Esau recalled a time when on Main Street, the owners of the newspaper, a farm implement store, both meat markets, the grocery store, paint store, insurance agency, funeral home, and photography studio were all members of the Striffler-Benkelman clan; not to mention a bank teller, many clerks, the music teacher, and many of the town's farmers.
    Striffler-Benkelman Reunion Photo, 1961
    Striffler-Benkelman Reunion Photo, 1961
    Group Photo fromthe 30th Striffler-Benkelman Reunion, held September 4, 1961 at the Cass City Evangelical Church, founded by members of the Striffler and Benkelman families
    Börtlingen, Germany
    Börtlingen, Germany
    Börtlingen 1683/1685 im Kieserschen Forstlagerbuch
    Family ID F35  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Anna Catharina Schaufele,   b. 23 Aug 1823, Börtlingen, Göppingen, Donaukreis, Württemberg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Dec 1906, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years) 
    Married 24 Feb 1851  Börtlingen, Göppingen, Donaukreis, Württemberg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  [10
    • Catharina and Adam were married in Börtlingen.

      On May 16, 2002, Ingolf Vogel noted that "The Kingdom of Württemberg was made up of four Kreises - the Neckarkreis, the Schwarzwaldkreis, the Jagstkreis and the Donaukreis. These Kreises were much larger than today's Kreises.  Each of them was divided into so-called Oberämter which are more similar in size to today's Kreises. The Oberamt for Börtlingen was Kirchheim.. Incidently the Oberamt Kirchheim was the only Oberamt of the Donaukreis west of the Schwäbische Alb (a mountain range). Börtlingen (today Kreis Göppingen) has only 745 people listed in it's telephone directory, so it probably doesn't have more than 2000-3000 inhabitants.

      Adam and Catharina were married in February, 1851, and in June, 1851 they were formally released from the Kingdom of Württemberg and would be free to emigrate.
    Children 
     1. George Adam "Little George" Benkelman,   b. 7 Sep 1851, Lancaster, Erie County, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Feb 1929, Alhambra, Los Angeles County, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years)
     2. Louisa Benkelman,   b. 9 Apr 1853, Bowmansville, Town of Lancaster, Erie County, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Sep 1924, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years)
     3. John Adam Benkelman,   b. 26 Apr 1856, Bowmansville, Town of Lancaster, Erie County, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Aug 1952, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 96 years)
     4. Samuel G. Benkelman,   b. 26 Aug 1857, Bowmansville, Town of Lancaster, Erie County, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Dec 1940, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years)
     5. Mary M. Benkelman,   b. 2 Oct 1858, Bowmansville, Town of Lancaster, Erie County, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Jun 1874, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 15 years)
     6. William Frederick Benkelman,   b. 10 Feb 1862, Bowmansville, Town of Lancaster, Erie County, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Oct 1932, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
     7. Benjamin Franklin Benkelman, Sr.,   b. 24 Sep 1863, Bowmansville, Town of Lancaster, Erie County, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Sep 1952, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years)
    Documents
    Börtlingen, Württemberg Founded 1202
    Börtlingen, Württemberg Founded 1202
    Börtlingen is a small German village founded in 1202. It is in southwest of Germany in the Schwabish Alps, a few miles outside of Göppingen. The church on the bottom left of the card is the Evangelische Johanneskirche, the same church in which Catherine and Adam Benkelmann were married before departing for America.
    Börtlingen, Württemberg, Evangelische Johanneskirche, Summer 2006
    Börtlingen, Württemberg, Evangelische Johanneskirche, Summer 2006
    Evangelische Johanneskirche in 2006. This is the same church in which Adam Benkelman and Catherine Schaufele were married in in 1851.
    Last Modified 2 Jul 2013 
    Family ID F28  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 13 Feb 1825 - Waldhausen Parish, Welzheim, Jagstkreis, Württemberg, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 24 Feb 1851 - Börtlingen, Göppingen, Donaukreis, Württemberg, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 30 Dec 1897 - Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 2 Jan 1898 - Elkland Township Cemetery, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Benkelman, Adam and Anna Catharina (Schaufele) ca 1860's
    Benkelman, Adam and Anna Catharina (Schaufele) ca 1860's
    Adam and Catherine Benkelman were married in Börtlingen, Württemberg around 1851; and then left almost immediately for New York, where their seven children were born. This photo of Adam and Catherine appears to have been taken when they both were in their mid 30's, probably while they were still living in Lancaster, Erie County, New York, and before their westward journey to Michigan.
    Benkelman, Adam and Anna Catharina (Schaufele) ca 1878, Family Portrait
    Benkelman, Adam and Anna Catharina (Schaufele) ca 1878, Family Portrait
    TOP ROW: Identified by Marjory Schwegler Battel, granddaughter of Lousia, to be l to r, standing, Sam (age 19), Ben Sr. (age 15), John (age 22), and George (age 27) BOTTOM ROW: from left to right, seated, Will (age 17), Louisa (age 25), Catharine (55) and Adam (53).
    This is likely correct, however several descendants of Ben Sr instead believe he is seated next to his sister, Louisa, and elder brother Will is standing, second on the left.
    It was probably taken near the families farm in Tuscola County, Michigan.
    _Benkelman, Adam
    _Benkelman, Adam
    Husband of Catharine Scheifle
    B. 1825 Württemberg D. 1897 Michigan
    Benkelman, Adam and Anna Catharina (Schaufele) ca 1890
    Benkelman, Adam and Anna Catharina (Schaufele) ca 1890
    Adam and Catherine Benkelman were the parents of seven children, six of whom survived into adulthood. This photo was probably taken in the 1890's, when they were both in their seventies.
    Benkelman Immigrants, ca 1890's: Six of the Ten Benkelmann Children who emigrated from  Württemberg, Germany to the United States
    Benkelman Immigrants, ca 1890's: Six of the Ten Benkelmann Children who emigrated from Württemberg, Germany to the United States
    Top Row, l to r, Lena Benkelman Schwegler, Maria Benkelman Striffler , Georg Benkelman, Louisa Benkelman Striffler

    Bottom Row, l to r, Frederick Benkelman, Adam Benkelman

    Children of Johann Leonhard Benkelmann and Maria Dorothea Stähle

    Must have been taken while George was visiting Cass City from Denver, and sometime prior to 1897, when Frederick died

    Benkelman, Johann Adam Cooper's Chest
    Benkelman, Johann Adam Cooper's Chest
    This chest, located in the Benkelman Centennial Farmhouse in Cass City, was the one used by Johann Adam Benkelmann in 1851 to transport his tools, which he used in his occupation as a Cooper, from Germany to the United States. It was likely constructed by Adam himself.

    Documents
    Benkelman, Adam and Catharina (Schaufele) 1851 Marriage, Börtlingen, Württemberg, Germany
    Benkelman, Adam and Catharina (Schaufele) 1851 Marriage, Börtlingen, Württemberg, Germany
    German Church Family Registery. This shows Adam's birthdates and marriage dates, as well as his parents. However, the name on the right hand side of the card, under "hausmutter" is difficult to read. His wife was Anna Catharina Schaufele. The date above her name is certainly incorrect.

    PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU CAN HELP INTERPRET THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE CARD.
    Benkelman, Adam, Death Certificate
    Benkelman, Adam, Death Certificate
    State of Michigan Death Certificate
    Benkelman, Adam 1898 Obituary
    Benkelman, Adam 1898 Obituary
    Published in the "Cass City Enterprise", January 6, 1898, courtesy of the online newspaper archives of the Rawson Memorial Library, Cass City, Michigan
    Cass City (Michigan) Evangelical United Brethren Church, late 1950's
    Cass City (Michigan) Evangelical United Brethren Church, late 1950's
    The original frame EUB church was built on the corner of Ale and Pine Street in 1883, and completed in 1884, with membership numbering around fifty. There was a Sunday school and preaching, initially in German, each Sunday. Trustees were John Benkelman, Fred Krapf, Oscar Lenzner and Adam Benkelman. In 1910 the church was remodeled and brick veneered. In 1958 the west wing was remodeled to add classrooms and an annex was added on the south side to provide a nursery.

    Headstones
    Benkelman, Adam
    Benkelman, Adam
    Adam's name is engraved on one side of this four sided marker, which he shares with his wife and two daughters-in-law that both died shortly after marriage
    Benkelman, Adam and Catherine Family Plot
    Benkelman, Adam and Catherine Family Plot
    This marker was engraved on all four sides, with trees planted eight to ten feet out on either side of the marker. The engraving on the granite is very difficult to read, however, the four names engraved upon it are still legible, and are for Adam Benkelman, his wife, Catherine, and two of their daughters-in-law who died shortly after marriage, Lydia Striffler, the wife of Samuel Benkelman and Rosina Wahl, the wife of John Adam Benkelman. This marker was likely erected in 1886, when Rosina died.

    Histories
    Ancestral Region in Germany
    Ancestral Region in Germany
    Göppingen, in the midst of the Swabian-Franconian mountains, is the current day German District from which Adam and Catharina Benkelman emigrated shortly after their marriage in 1851. When Adam and Catherine left for America, their hometown was still considered part of the Welzheim Administrative District (though rents were paid to Göppingen). The border between the two districts ran along the crest of the mountain shared by Breech and the Schneiderhof.

  • Sources 
    1. [S152] Jacobs, BonnieMargaret McDonald--Family Researcher, Letter to Ben Benkelman, Jr., April-80. (Reliability: 3).

    2. [S29] State of Michigan, Department of State, Division of Vital Records, Death Certificate.

    3. [S1610] Jacobs, BonnieMargaret McDonald "The Family Benkelman" Unpublished Manuscript, 276 pages, October 1981 Version, (Copy owned by Barney Benkelman, Helena, Montana; which he xeroxed and sent to Melinda McLemore Strong in San Antonio, Texas), p. 71, 95 (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S311] Bonnell, Kathy Brandt (kbonnell@byu.edu) "Göppingen, Württemberg, Germany and surrounding villages" http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=kbonnell, (RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Göppingen, Württemberg, Germany and surrounding villages. This database is one large family tree; everyone is connected by birth or marriage. Many of the families were inputted from the family books which were compiled by the pastors of each village beginning in 1808. Villages include Heiningen, Bartenbach, Gruibingen, Faurdau, Schlat, Hattenhofen, Eislingen, Holzheim, Auendorf , Dürnau, Bezgenriet, Ebersbach , Maitis, Gammelshausen, Börtlingen, Boll, and others. Kathy Brandt Bonnell work directly from German records to the computer.).

    5. [S337] Benkelman, Hilda Jane Stickley THE MEMOIRS OF JOHN A. BENKELMAN (Privately Published, 1966), Shows DOB as 12 Feb 1824 (Reliability: 3).

    6. [S337] Benkelman, Hilda Jane Stickley THE MEMOIRS OF JOHN A. BENKELMAN (Privately Published, 1966).

    7. [S654] Cass City Enterprise, no longer in publication. Issues from 1881, 1882, and 1888-1906 are archived online at: http://newspapers.rawson.lib.mi.us/enterprise/.

    8. [S469] Williams, Dorothy Ball--Family Researcher (dotwfl@comcast.net) 3331 Southwest Villa Place, Palm City, FL 34990 ; based in part on BonnieMargaret Benkelman Jacob's unpublished typescript, THE FAMILY BENKELMAN.

    9. [S1610] Jacobs, BonnieMargaret McDonald "The Family Benkelman" Unpublished Manuscript, 276 pages, October 1981 Version, (Copy owned by Barney Benkelman, Helena, Montana; which he xeroxed and sent to Melinda McLemore Strong in San Antonio, Texas), p. 95 (Reliability: 3).

    10. [S1610] Jacobs, BonnieMargaret McDonald "The Family Benkelman" Unpublished Manuscript, 276 pages, October 1981 Version, (Copy owned by Barney Benkelman, Helena, Montana; which he xeroxed and sent to Melinda McLemore Strong in San Antonio, Texas), p. 95, 128 (Reliability: 3).