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Bohlken, Gerd Siefken "Siefke" 1846-1931


Posted By: Glenna Rice, volunteer
Date: 1/20/2012 at 13:12:13

Several newspaper articles about the death of Gerd Siefken (Siefke) Bohlken were published LeMars, Akron, and Monticello, Iowa newpapers. These articles were found in the collection of his daughter, Annie Gabel. Only one has source identification. All of them contain errors as is common with old obituaries.

Gerd Siefken Bohlken was born January 14, 1846 at Hoheesche, Germany to Wilhelm and Gebke Sophia (Kleihauer) Bohlken. He was the oldest of seven children.

He immigrated in 1868 from the port of Bremen, Germany aboard the S.S. Hermann landing in New York on Nov, 16, 1868. Their first stop was in Jones county, Iowa where they joined relatives in residence there.

Siefke married Margaretha Willms on March 2, 1872 in Jones county, Iowa at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church. There were 13 children born to them, all in Preston township, Plymouth county, Iowa. The first, Wilhelm (William) died as a infant. The other 12 grew to adulthood.

This qoute is from one of the newspaper clippings, source unknown:

"Mr. Bohlken engaged in general farming and in stock raising and dealt in land and other property and was recognized as a good farmer and business man. He was prominent in the community and took and active interest in political affairs and while a resident of the township was elected to various offices at different times.

He was among the pioneers who experienced the rigors and hardships in the early days of settlement and lived through the grasshopper scourges and the prairie fires in the summer and the numbing chill of furious blizzards in the winter.

In the later seventies when the James brothers and Younger brothers came up to Iowa and Minnesota to prey on decent people, Mr. Bohlken inadvertently played host to members of the James gang. He mistook them for officers in pursuit and entertained them at dinner.

Mr. Bohlken was brought up in the Lutheran faith and was one of the thirteen men who helped build the first Lutheran church in Grant township and it is stated that he is the last surviving member of that small band."

Siefke and Margaretha later joined the Methodist church at Rosbach in the west part of the county. When they moved to LeMars they joined St. Paul's Methodist church.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaretha and five children, Wilhelm, Mary, Martha, Margaret, and Henry. He was survived by his children, Sophia, Lydia, John, George, Albert, Anna, William and Dick, 26 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. One brother and one sister are still living in Germany.

The funeral was held at the home in LeMars with services at St. Paul's Methodist Church, Rev. George Ruff officiating and interment was made in the Crathrone cemetery beside the remains of his wife.

NOTE: The James gang story is totally unproven but remained a family story for the next 2 generations!


Plymouth Obituaries maintained by Linda Ziemann.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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