1856 - 1952 (96 years)
||John Adam Benkelman [1, 2, 3] |
||26 Apr 1856
||Bowmansville, Town of Lancaster, Erie County, New York [1, 2, 3]
||8 Aug 1952
||Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan [1, 2, 3, 4]
||Elkland Township Cemetery, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan 
- The following biographical information about John was excerpted from the MEMOIRS OF JOHN A. BENKELMAN (By Hilda Jane Stickley, 1966)
John said "I went to school in New York State and learned my A B C 's. When we moved to Michigan I was nine years old, the nearest school was too far to walk back and forth each day. I went to the Bird school when I was 12 years old and stayed with a Mrs. Myers who lived near the school and whose husband worked in the lumber woods. Mr Myers did not want his wife (they had no children) to stay alone and so Father said that I could go and stay with her while going to school. I did the chores--brought in the water, cut the wood for cooking and heating. I attended school along with a few other children. During the winter the teacher planned a spelldown with another school near Gagetown. I remember that I was a good speller and got ready for the spelldown by learning to spell all the words in the two books that the teacher let me take home to study after my chores were done." He was spelled down with the name Zachariah, however, taken from a book he had not studied.
Wild game was abundant near John's home. John remembered one time when a swarm of wild passenger pigeons nesting in trees all through the nearby swamps. Nor was it unusual for bears to prowl around their log home at night. John related that his father "had bought an old Civil War army musket from a returned soldier and had loaded it ready for use if a bear appeared. He had warned us boys that the gun was loaded and for us not to dare to touch it. One day soon afterwards, I looked across a small field of wheat on John Striffler's farm and saw two deer grazing in the wheat. Mother and Father were away, so I though 'This is my chance!' I sneaked the musket out and went back through the woods on the windward side. When I was in sight of the deer still feeding, I laid down behind a big log and took good aim, pulled down on the trigger. The gun went off with a loud bang, knocking me backwards behind the log, knocking the wind out of me and giving me a few bruises. When I got up I looked over where the deer had been. There was a big buck kicking his last. His horns were so big I was afraid to go near him, so turned and ran for home fast as I could. Mother had just returned, and I told her what I had done. She said 'Your Father will give you punishment for this!' When Father came home we had our supper, but I did not eat much as I was afraid of what he would say or do to me. After a while, Mother said 'John, you tell your Father what you did.' He looked mighty cross after I told him, but did not say a word, but went and got a latern, lighted it and said, 'Come on John, show me where the deer is.' We dragged it home, dressed it out and cut it up. Father made me carry a quarter to Jake Striffler and one to John Striffler the next day. The other half, father cut up in pieces and mother preserved some in a salt brine and the rest was hung in the cold shed to keep for later use. Father never scolded me, but he never loaded the gun again, unless he was taking it to the woods to hunt himself. And I did not have a desire to shoot that old kicking musket off again."
John helped his father on the farm, and at the age of 15 he was "a chore boy in a typical Michigan lumber camp of those early days. The camp was about 15 miles North and East of Cass City. The forest extended for miles around us containing all sorts of trees, but the lumbermen were just interested in the pines...I took care of the horses, kept the woodboxes full and helped Kitty Kelley, the cook." The work of the lumbermen apparently impressed John greatly. He related that often he would "steal away from my chores, walk along the pine-fragrant trail and join the men and the excitement of cutting down the big pines. By the time spring came and the ice had thawed in the river, the logs were piled sky high along the bank to be floated down with the swift current to the saw mills in Saginaw. The job of floating the logs down the river was a dangerous one and called for experience and team work. A special crew of men handled this job. They had a river raft which floated along behind the workmen and could be tied to trees along the bank at any time they wanted to stop for the night...(it) was about 100 feet long. Several men followed along the river bank on each side and dislodged the logs that got stuck along the bank and jammed up the current. Then the men walked out on the logs with long poles and pryed them loose. This was dangerous work and some men lost their lives. One day I was supposed to help the men and was trying to loosen some logs with a pole. I lost my footing and fell in the river. The men helped me out. While waiting for my clothes to dry, I decided that was too big a job for a 15 year old boy to do. By this time I had enough of that winter work and told the cook that I was going home. The crew was very sorry to see me leave and I walked back to the farm. Father and Mother were glad to have me home again as well as I was to be there."
John met his first wife, Rosina, while on a visit to New York. They were married in 1879. They can be found in the 1880 census. Living with them is 18 year old Christoph Seeger.
After the death of Rosina, John moved from Cass City to Kansas, and worked on the ranch of his Uncle George, alongside his brothers George and Ben. He lived there almost 4 years, working for $30 a month. He also was homesteading 200 acres of land adjoining his uncles. He returned to Cass City in 1889. He married for a second time to Augusta Krehl in the spring of 1890. They went on honeymoon to Traverse City, and by boat to Milwakee to see Augusta's father (Frederick Krehl), who was in the Old Soldier's home there. Mr. Krehl gave John power of attorney so he could sell some property he owned in Davenport, Iowa. John took Augusta back home, and later traveled to Iowa to sell the property. He gave her the $1200 proceeds.
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, Levi Muntz and Adam Benkelman."
Cass City Chronicle
December 4, 1908
Notice to Taxpayers
I will be at B. F. Benkelman's store Cass City, to collect the taxes of Elkland township on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
J. A. BENKELMAN, Treas.
Cass City Chronicle
November 20, 1908
The quartet of hunters returned from Hubbard Lake Wednesday evening. They report plenty of game and a good time. Wm. Ball brought home two deer and John Ball one, while they and the other two hunters, J. A. Benkelman and J. C. Lauderbach, exhibited a nice bunch of whiskers which greatly improved (?) their appearance. All of them had great luck in shooting birds-the men, not the whiskers.
Cass City Chronicle
February 20, 1931
John A. Benkelman published a notice on the first page of the paper to the Elkland Township voters, seeking their support in his candidacy for supervisor of the Republican caucus.
His obituary follows:
Cass City Chronicle
Friday, August 15, 1952
Vol 47, No 16
John Benkelman, 96, Dies in Hospital Friday Afternoon
John Adam Benkelman, 96, well-known Cass City businessman and civic leader, died late Friday afternoon, August 8, after spending six days in the Cass City Hospital.
The pioneer resident of Cass City had been in failing health for nearly a year.
Mr. Benkelman spent eight years as a partner in the Young and Benkelman meat market in Cass City and served over 10 years as a supervisor for Elkland Township. His varied business career also included farming an work in the implement business.
He was regarded as an authority on early Cass City area history and was noted for his memory of incidents that occurred during pioneer days in this community.
Mr. Benkelman was one of the few men in the entire nation who could remember the hour of Abraham Lincoln's death and the funeral that followed.
He was born in Bowmansville, New York, April 26, 1856, the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Adam Benkelman. Together with his parents, he moved to a farm in this community when nine years old.
Mr. Benkelman married Miss Augusta Krehl in Cass City in the fall of 1890. The couple made their home int he area until Mrs. Benkelman died in 1935.
Survivors are: one daughter, Mrs. Marie BROWN of Pigeon; four sons, Glenn of Lakewood, Ohio, Dorus of Cass City, Alvin of Alexandria, Virginia, and John of Detroit; six granchildren; one great-granchild; and one brother, Ben Benkelman of Cass City. One daughter, three brothers, and one sister died before him.
Burial was in the family lot in Elkland cemetery.
- (Research):Census Information:
Census Place:Elkland, Tuscola, Michigan Source:FHL Film 125
National Archives Film T9-0607 Page 95B RelationSexMarrRaceAgeBirthplace
John BENKELMAN Self M M W 24 NY Occ: Farmer Fa: WERTENBURG Mo: WERTENBURG
Rosa BENKELMAN Wife F M W 22 WERTENBURG Occ:Keeping House Fa: WERTENBURG Mo: WERTENBURG
Christoph SEEGER Other M S W 18 NY Occ: Farmer Fa: WERTENBURG Mo: WERTENBURG
Michigan, Tuscola County, Elkland
Enumerated 21 January 1920
SD 7 ED 178 Sheet 6A
Striffler, William D
Jaus, John and Maud
John A. Benkelman Hd M W 63 New York Wurtemberg Germany Wurtemberg Germany Farmer
Benkelman, Augusta Wf F W 49 M Iowa Wurtemberg Germany/German Germany/German
Benkelman, Dorus Son M W 27 S Mich New York Iowa Clerk in Bank
Benkelman, John Son M W 12 S Mich New York Iowa
||Strong Family Tree
||30 May 2016 |
||Johann Adam Benkelman, b. 13 Feb 1825, Waldhausen Parish, Welzheim, Jagstkreis, Württemberg, Germany , d. 30 Dec 1897, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan (Age 72 years) |
||Anna Catharina Schaufele, b. 23 Aug 1823, Börtlingen, Göppingen, Donaukreis, Württemberg, Germany , d. 23 Dec 1906, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan (Age 83 years) |
||24 Feb 1851
||Börtlingen, Göppingen, Donaukreis, Württemberg, Germany 
- 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.
||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|
Evangelische Johanneskirche in 2006. This is the same church in which Adam Benkelman and Catherine Schaufele were married in in 1851.
||Group Sheet, Family chart
||Rosina Wahl, b. 5 Nov 1857, Börtlingen, Göppingen, Donaukreis, Württemberg, Germany , d. 3 May 1886, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan (Age 28 years) |
||Lancaster, Erie County, New York [1, 3]
||3 Jul 2013 |
||Group Sheet, Family chart
||Augusta Catherine Freidrika Krehl, b. 6 Mar 1870, Franklin Center, Lee County, Iowa , d. 8 Feb 1934, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan (Age 63 years) |
||19 Jun 1890
||Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan [1, 3]
| ||1. Glen Frederick Benkelman, b. 20 Jan 1891, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan , d. 26 Dec 1970, Lakewood, Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Age 79 years)|
| ||2. Dorus William Benkelman, b. 6 Dec 1892, Elkland Township, Tuscola County, Michigan , d. 14 Feb 1973, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan (Age 80 years)|
| ||3. Alvin Carlton Benkelman, Sr., b. 8 May 1895, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan , d. 9 Sep 1987, Elk Creek, Grayson County, Virginia (Age 92 years)|
| ||4. Marie Lelia Benkelman, b. 18 May 1899, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan , d. 25 Oct 1987, Saginaw County, Michigan (Age 88 years)|
| ||5. Ida Catherine Benkelman, b. 15 Nov 1902, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan , d. 11 Jul 1915, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan (Age 12 years)|
| ||6. John Donald Benkelman, b. 5 May 1907, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan , d. 3 Apr 1965, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan (Age 57 years)|
||3 Jul 2013 |
||Group Sheet, Family chart
|Born - 26 Apr 1856 - Bowmansville, Town of Lancaster, Erie County, New York
|Married - Abt 1879 - Lancaster, Erie County, New York
|Married - 19 Jun 1890 - Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan
|Died - 8 Aug 1952 - Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan
|Buried - - Elkland Township Cemetery, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan
|| : Address
: Not Set
||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 Ranch Cowboys ca 1879|
Photo taken at the Benkelman Ranch in Kansas ca 1879
||Benkelman, John Adam ca 1880's|
Unlabeled Benkelman photo from the Rawson Memorial Library, Cass City, Michigan. Alvin Benkelman and Marjory Schwegler Battel both identified him as John Adam Benkelman.
||Benkelman, John Adam ca 1889, Cass City, Michigan|
Husband of (1) Rosina Wahl and (2) Augusta Krehl
B. 1856 New York D. 1952 Michigan
After the death of his first wife, John moved from Cass City to Kansas. For almost four years he worked on his Uncle's ranch while he was also homesteading 200 acres of adjoining land. John returned to Cass City in 1889, where he was married for a second time to Augusta Krehl. The newleywed's went on honeymoon to Traverse City, and then by boat to Milwaukee to see Augusta's father, who was in the Old Soldier's home there.
||Benkelman, John Adam ca 1890 with Bertha Maier, Cass City, Michigan|
Probably taken in the 1890's in Cass City, Michigan. Bertha was the daughter of Jacob Maier and Fannie Striffler.
||Benkelman, Adam and Anna Catharina (Schaufele) Children, after 1910|
Top Row, L to R: Louisa Schwegler, John Benkelman, George Benkelman of Denver
Bottom Row, L to R: Will Benkelman, Ben Benkelman Sr., Sam Benkelman
Marjory Schwegler Battel indicated that she thought we had the order correct, with the possible exception of Ben Sr and John. However, descendants of both men are sure they are labeled correctly as is.
||Benkelman, Adam and Anna Catherine (Schaufele) Descendants ca 1912 Family Reunion|
Back, Standing, l to r: Mae Benkelman, Kate Schwegler, John Benkelman Sr., Ester Ackerman Benkelman, Minnie Jesse Benkelman, Joe Benkelman, Augusta Krehl Benkelman, Dorus Benkelman, Will Schwegler, Ward Benkelman, Ben Schwegler, Sam Benkelman
Middle Row, kneeling, l to r: Alvin Benkelman, Harold Benkelman, Ruth Benkelman, Marie Benkelman (standing), Lena Benkelman Schwegler, Barbara Rommel Benkelman, Louisa Benkelman Schwegler
Bottom Row, seated, l to r: Bertha Benkelman, Glen Benkelman, Ida Benkelman, Lottie Benkelman, Ben Benkelman Sr. behind his nephew John Donald Benkelman, Lois Benkelman, Ben Benkelman Jr., Alice Ross Schwegler with her baby Edward William Schwegler, and ,facing left, Mary Striffler Benkelman (Mrs. Sam)
(Legend Courtesy of Bonnie-Margaret Benkelman Jacobs)
||Benkelman Brothers ca mid 1920's (Sons of Adam and Catherine Benkelman)|
Alvin Benkelman, through both memory and photo comparison, believes the brothers are standing in the following order, L to R: George, Ben Sr., John, Samuel and William. All five were sons of Adam and Catherine Benkelman of Cass City.
PLEASE HELP US VERIFY THESE ASSUMPTIONS.
||Benkelman Brothers with their wives, mid 1920's (Sons of Adam and Catherine Benkelman)|
Front Row, L to R: Possibly Alice McDougall Benkelman, Mary Striffler Benkelman, Augusta Krehl Benkelman, Possibly Barbara Rommel Benkelman, Minnie Jesse Benkelman and Samuel Benkelman
Back Row, L To R: Thought to be George, William, John, and Ben Sr.
PLEASE HELP US VERIFY THESE ASSUMPTIONS.
||Benkelman, Samuel ca 1937, with his wife, Mary (Striffler), and other friends and family|
Sam and Mary at the annual Striffler-Benkelman Reunion, September 1937
L to R: John A. Benkelman, UNKNOWN, Mary (Striffler) Benkelman, Samuel G. Benkelman, Ben Benkelman, Sr.
PLEASE HELP US IDENTIFY THE UNKNOWN YOUNGER MAN.
||Benkelman, John Adam ca 1937|
John A. Benkelman (left), at the 1937 Striffler-Benkelman Reunion, with an unknown relative or friend.
PLEASE HELP US IDENTIFY THE YOUNG MAN STANDING TO THE RIGHT OF JOHN.
||Benkelman, Dorus William ca 1940's with his wife Jane (Stickley), hosting family at Jane's cottage in Prescott, Michigan|
John Adam Benkelman, with his sons Alvin and Dorus, and Dorus's wife, Jane (right) and two unknown individuals
PLEASE HELP US IDENTIFY EVERYONE IN THE PHOTO
||Benkelman, John Adam ca 1945|
John had been a widower for over ten years when this photo was taken
||Benkelman, John Adam ca 1946|
John Adam Benkleman with his children and their spouses. Granddaughter Scottie Pritchard identifies those in the photo as follows: "My grandfather John Adam Benkelman front and center with is children and their spouses and I think 2 grandchildren. My parents, Benk and Olive, are on the left. Back row Alvin, Glen, maybe Bill, John's wife, John, maybe Marie's husband and Dorus. Front row Olive, Maude, John Adam, Marie and maybe Ruth her daughter?"
PLEASE HELP US POSTIVELY IDENTIFY EVERYONE IN THIS PHOTO.
||Benkelman, John Adam ca 1951 with Mary Striffler Benkelman, his sister-in-law |
This photo was likely taken at the 1951 Striffler-Benkelman reunion, where "awards were made to John A. Benkelman, 95, the oldest man present; to Mrs. S. G. Benkelman, 90, the oldest woman in attendance." (Cass City Chronicle, September 7, 1951, page one).
||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.
- [S337] Benkelman, Hilda Jane Stickley THE MEMOIRS OF JOHN A. BENKELMAN (Privately Published, 1966).
- [S653] Cass City Chronicle, P.O. Box 115, Cass City, Michigan 48726, Published continously since 1899, archived from 1899 through 2005 at http://newspapers.rawson.lib.mi.us/chronicle/, Friday, August 15, 1952 (Reliability: 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. 133 (Reliability: 3).
- [S595] Striffler-Benkelman Broadcast, (Family Publication, published sporadically to record family milestones in connection with the annual Striffler-Benkelman Family Reunions, with Vol. 1, Number 1, published Sept. 7, 1936. Issues on file at the Rawson Memorial Library in Cass City, Michigan include Vol. 5 (1941), Vol. 7 (1944) and Volumes 8 (1945) through Vol. 28 (1968). Issues published from 1961 through 1964 were not assigned volume numbers, and 1963 appears to be missing. Xeroxes of the existing issues were also made by Melinda McLemore Strong in 2007. According to a article published by the Cass City Chronicle on August 6, 1981, commemorating the Fiftieth and Final Striffler-Benkelman Reunion, the final issue of the STRIFFLER-BENKELMAN BROADCAST appears to have been Volume 28, published in 1968.), Volume 15, Sept. 1, 1952. (Reliability: 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. 95, 128 (Reliability: 3).