South Plank Township


Sunny Ridge Cemetery (sometimes called Lutheran, Evangelical, German Creek or Brick Church Cemetery) is located three and one-half miles east of Sigourney, Iowa, on Highway 92. It is on the south side of the highway with an entrance on the northeast corner of the cemetery grounds.

Physical Features

This cemetery is completely fenced with no gate at the driveway entrance into it. There is a small white frame chapel standing approximately in the spot where the Brick Church stood. This chapel was used in years past for funeral services. The cemetery is kept well mowed, except the portions of the grounds where there are no graves.

[Picture not Available]

(This picture was taken from Highway 92, northwest of the cemetery, looking southeast.)

Land Description

Charles Seger and wife,                                                                                    Warranty Deed
Caroline Seger                                                                                                   Consideration: $2.50
                                                                                                                             Dated June 22, 1857
to                                                                                                                          Recorded January 3, 1874
                                                                                                                             Deed Record X, page 628
Lutherian Denomination

Description: Two acres square out of the North Fractional Half of the North Quarter of Section 4, Township 75 North, Range 11 West of the 5th P.M. ?? the conditions of this deed is that so long as it remains in possession of the above said denomination or among other Protestant Denominations, is not valid and should be conveyed to a denomination not authorized by this instrument, then the above said premises to fall back to the original owners or their heirs or assigns.


In 1857, the Evangelical Church, which had out grown its log church located south of Stony Point school on the Henry Mohme farm, bought a two-acre plot of ground from Charles Seger and his wife, Caroline. The deed was made to the "Lutherian" Denomination, but the religious group which purchased the property belonged to the Evangelical Synod of North America, with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. (The cemetery has often been erroneously referred to as the Lutheran Cemetery.)

[Picture not available]

A brick church building was erected on this two-acre plot and a home for the pastor was built near the church. It was decided to use some of the ground for a burial plot and the burials were made in rows in the order of death dates. The rows of graves began northeast of the church, the rows running from north to south from the public road toward the church. Because the burials were in date sequence in rows, families are scattered in the "row" section of the cemetery.

In 1887, the Evangelical Church constructed a church building in the town of Sigourney, to provide a more central location for the church members many of whom lived in Sigourney or in the rural areas south and west of Sigourney. Services were also conducted in the Brick Church (Evangelical Church) east of Sigourney for those members who lived in the immediate vicinity. The two Evangelical Churches continued for a time.

In January, 1904, at a meeting of the church members of the German Creek congregation (Brick Church), it was decided to enlarge and beautify the cemetery where over 200 persons were buried. They decided to get away from the use of "row burials" and lay out lots to meet the wishes of families. They also decided to sell the parsonage and old barn so the lots could be measured and laid out and a new fence put around the cemetery.

From minutes of meetings of the Evangelical Church at German Creek, there is evidence that the members took great pride in improving and beautifying their church grounds. They decided in June, 1904, that their members be allowed to join the church, yet retain their full right of expression in the affairs of the Evangelical Congregation of German Creek.

In November, 1904, the plans were discussed for laying out the additional lots, the size of which were to be 12 x 20 feet. After reading the church books, the following persons were to have a right of ownership of the possessions of the congregation: John Beinke, Wilhelm Beinke, H. Duensing, Sr., C. H. Wolfe, D. D. Buehneman, F. F. Wickenkamp, D. Bakehouse, W. Wickenkamp, Sr., H. Wickenkamp, Jr., F. Bakehouse, Albert Polke, Fred Meyer, Fred Schwenke, Ludwig Koch, W. Wickenkamp, Herman Luers, Andrew Kadel.

On November 27, 1904, the laying of lots having been completed, the group met to give opportunity for the members to draw for lots. The former officers of the old parish were relieved of their offices since the congregation was not organized as such any longer. In place of the officers of the congregation, the owners of the cemetery directed three men to handle the cemetery business. Wilhelm Beinke, F. F. Wickenkamp, and D. D. Buehneman were elected to take care of these duties. A constitution was formulated, the owners of the cemetery to meet every two years to elect three men from their midst to take care of the cemetery business. Office was to be held for two years.

From the minutes of the cemetery owners (members of the Evangelical Church of German Creek), it appears that meetings were held every two years; however, the time of meeting was changed from January to the fall of the year. The main interest was always in the care of the buildings and the cemetery grounds.

In the year 1914, a storm came through the area severely damaging the Brick Church. In the September 20, 1914, meeting, Fred Bakehouse, Charles Seger, and Dick Schimmelpfennig were asked to tear down the remainder of the building. Wilhelm Beinke, Fred Bakehouse, Henry Duensing, and Chris Pfannebecker also helped dismantle the building. The committee – Bakehouse, Seger, and Schimmelpfennig were to solicit funds for a new building to be erected in which to have funeral services and to serve as a chapel on the grounds. John Schwenke and Henry Schwenke built the new structure.

On October 12, 1917, the officers of German Creek Cemetery were: F. C. Bakehouse, President; Dick Schimmelpfennig, Vice President; Oscar Pfannebecker, Secretary, and William Meyer, Treasurer. In 1917 the name of the cemetery was changed to Sunny Ridge, previously called German Creek Cemetery.

On June 10, 1926, a permanent trust fund was created and earners were to be used for the maintenance of the cemetery.

In recent years there have been no regular business meetings of the cemetery group and no election of officers. Oscar Pfannebecker, who is now deceased, looked after the cemetery for ten or fifteen years. After his death, Denver Pfannebecker, brother of Oscar, has been taking care of the cemetery business. Denver Pfannebecker is an uncle of Mrs. Kenneth (Helen) Linder and Mrs. LeRoy (Nettie) Olin.

There have been gifts of money and bequests to the cemetery. The proceeds(?) from the permanent funds and the money received through the township trustees are used at the present time to keep the cemetery mowed and the fences in repair. At the present time the Chapel is not in use. The cemetery records at the present time are with Denver Pfannebecker. He has worked faithfully in caring for the cemetery and looking after the business connected with it.


At first, few of the persons had headstones or the headstones since the cemetery's beginning have been broken or removed. Apparently a list of the burials was kept with the names, birth dates, and death dates, but that list has been lost so it is impossible to know who has been buried in the church plot in the earlier years.

Because the spaces between the stones standing in the cemetery rows do not seem uniform, the space allowances may have varied for infant and adult burials. There is no certainty as to how many may have been buried in one row. The rows appear to be approximately 100-110 feet in length with about 22 to 24 bodies per row.

There is no plot of the row section, but the lots later laid out are recorded in the record book. The diagram that follows is a sketch of relative proportion.


Row 1
Anna, dau. of J. and B. Smith, d. Sept. 1, 1858, age 1 yr. 6 mos.
Samuel Haack, 1 mo. 5 das.


Row 2
Paul Seeber, 1804-1861
Charlotte, wife of G. Neubauer, d. in her 64 year.
Louise Schwenke, 1858-1862
Sophia D. Schwenke, 1859-18?0
Caroline Schwenke, 1828-1862
John Baumert, d. Feb. 27, 1864, age 55 yrs. 3 das.
Diedrich Backhaus, d. July 4, 1866, age 49 yrs. 7 mos. 9 das.
Barbara Schirmer, b. Mar. 28, 1842; d. (can't read mo. and day), 1866
(stone here not readable)
Friedrich A. Nanke, d. Feb. 11, 1868, age. 28 yrs. 1 mo. 18 das.
Sophie M., wife of F. Hanke, d. Mar. 4, 1868, age 19 yrs. 6 mos. 3 das.
Hinrich Luers, d. Oct. 26, 1868, age 72 yrs.
Hermann Luers, 1801-1881, age 80 yrs.
Gusche, wife of George Hahn, d. Jan. 25, 1882, age 37 yrs. 8 mos. 10 das.
Anna, wife of Claus H. Ehlen, d. Mar. 18, 1882, age 71 yrs. 1 mo. 5 das.
Claus H. Ehlen, d. Feb. 20, 1894, age 79 yrs. 6 mos.
John C. Witten, d. July 2, 1885, age 71 yrs. 10 mos. 7 das.
Irene, wife of J. C. Witten, d. Mar. 5, 1891, age 76 yrs. 3 mos. 27 das.


Row 3
Note: Here is a stone for the children of D. F. and D. Strohman. On the four sides of the stone appears the      following information about the children:
     Caroline, b. July 9, 1859; d. Sept. 11, 1862, age 4 yrs. 1 mo. 14 das.
     Heinrich, b. July 24, 1856; d. Sept. 5, 1862, age 6 yrs. 1 mo. 11 das.
     Wilhelmina, b. Oct. 18, 1853; d. Aug. 23, 1862, age 8 yrs. 10 mos. 6 das.
     Karl, b. May 1, 1863; (no death date; stillborn)
Johannis Schulz, b. Aug. 30, 1863; d. Sept. 13, 1868
Anna K., dau. of J. H. and M. Seaba, d. Apr. 27, 1871, age 3 yrs. 2 months
Clause H., son of J. H. and M. Seaba, d. Mar. 27, 1871, age 5 yrs. 1 month
Edward F., son of August and Wilhelmina Witt, d. July 4, 1880, age 1 yr. 4 mos. 21 das.


Row 4
Samuel H., son of Rev. G. and M. Haack, d. Aug. 15, 1863, 1 yr. 5 mos. 14 das.
Adelheit Schuman, b. June 14, 1866; d. Sept. 19, 1867
Henry W., son of C. and A. Killmer, d. July 4, 1871, age 4 yrs. 7 months
Mary A., dau. of H. D. and M. A. Luers, d. Aug. 6, 1871, age 5 mos. 11 das.
     (Mary's stone was lying on the ground.)
Friedrich Schulz, d. July 19, 1866, b. Feb. 12, 1872.

   M     (no name readable; no other information)
Gustav A. Schuman, b. Apr. 18, 1864; d. Apr. 28, 1872
Addil, son of G. H. and O. Hahn, d. July 5, 1875, age 9 yrs. 7 mos. 7 das.
Adelheit C., dau. of A. and B. Pimme, d. Oct. 25, 1875; age (can't read)


Row 5
John P. Schrader, b. Apr. 6, 1824; d. Mar. 8, 1869
Lui Buhnemann, son of W. and S. Burnehmann, d. Dec. 11, 1870; age 13 yrs.
Friederick Buehneman, d. Apr. 1, 1878, age 19 yrs. 5 mos. 17 das.
Heinrich Bruns, b. May 24, 1864; d. Feb. 26, 1872
Diedrich Bruns, b. Mar. 4, 1858; d. Mar. 1, 1872
Herman D. Luers, d. Apr. 3, 1872, age 41 yrs.
Sofea, wife of W. Buehneman d. Aug. 20, 1876, age 50 yrs. 4 mos. 23 das.
Gotlib Beets, d. Nov. 12, 1875, age 58 yrs. 11 mos. 20 das.
John H, husband of Adelheit Pimme, d. June 2, 1876, age 74 yrs. 1 mo. 4 das.
Anna Margarethe Schersell, wife of Hinrich Luers, d. Dec. 26, 1876, age 76
Charles Killmer, d. Mar. 8, 1877, age 85 yrs. 11 mos. 19 das.
Ernst H. Fouth, d. Mar. 16, 1877, age 10 yrs. 2 mos. 27 das.
Adelheit, wife of J. H. Pimme, d. May 3, 1878, age 78 yrs. 4 mos. 21 das.
Johan Heinrich Cassens, b. Oct. 16, 1817, d. May 29, 1881, age 68 yrs. 7 mos. 13 das.
Johann Schirmer, d. June 28, 1861, age 87 yrs.
Louise S. Cassens, dau. of Johan Heinrich and Marie Cassens, b. Oct. 14, 1899, d. Dec. 6, 1853, age 19 yrs. 11      mos. 24 das.


Row 6
Jacob, son of J. J. and B. Long, d. Feb. 28, 1874, age 1 mo. 29 das.
Anna A., dau. of H. and M. Bartz, b. Aug. 25, 1873; d. May 10, 1874
Minne, dau. of G. and Anna Oldenburg, d. Sept. 25, 1874, age 7 mos. 23 das.
Henrietta Klett, b. June 21, 1873; d. Oct. 5, 1874
Karl, son of W. and E. Nass, d. Mar. 23, 1877, age 12 yrs. 4 mos. 17 das.
Willhelm, son of W. and E. Nass, d. Mar. 21, 1877, age 10 yrs. 2 mos. 16 das.
J. Mahler, d. Dec. 14, 1878 Dora A., dau. of G. E. and H. Starr, d. Dec. 13, 1878, age 1 mo. 23 das.
Little Emma, dau., of H. and M. Kilmer, d. Jan. 17, 1879, age 1 yr. 9 mos. ? das.
Eddie, son of C. F. and H. Starr, d. Feb. 28, 1885, age 3 yrs. 5 mos. ? das.
Carl W. Fauth, b. May 13, 1872; d. Nov. 4, 1835


Row 7
Wilhelm D. L., son of Wm. W. and S. W. Buhnemann, d. Oct. 9, 1878, age ?? mos. 18 das.
Mother Speckmeyer, b. Apr. 15, 1812; d. Oct. 15, 1878
Christian Duensing, 1811-1879
H. F. Mahler, b. Mar. 31, 1830; d. Sept. 29, 1880
Robert Walrich, b. in 1802; d. Nov. 6, 1861
John, Husb. of S. Smith, d. May 4, 1883, age 63 yrs.
D. F. H. Strohmann, d. July 9, 1883, age 64 yrs. 6 mos. 2 das.
Mary Wickenkamp, b. Aug. 5, 1837; d. July 8, 1884
Matt. Hank, d. Nov. 2, 1884, age 68 yrs. 8 mos. 13 das.
Catherine Walerch, d. Sept. 23, 1885, age 78 yrs.
Dorothea Voltmer Duensing, 1810-1886
Kunigunda Hofmann, b. June ?, 1837, d. April 17, 1886
John G. Goeldner, b. Feb. 10, 1870, d. April 26, 1876
Mary E., wife of A. Polke, d. July 27, 1887, age 69 yrs. 3 mos.
Albert Polke, d. Mar. 12, 1909, age 82 yrs. 3 mos. 19 das.


Row 8
(Base remains, name stone missing)
Edward L., son of L. D. and M. A. Schimmelpfennig, b. June 9, 18??, d. Aug. 21, 1894
Infant dau. of W. D. and M. A. Schimmelpfennig, d. Feb. 25, 1904
Schimmelpfennig son (baby), b. Sept. 23, 1901, d. Sept. 23, 1901
(Remainder of this row has no stones)


Row 9
Barbara, wife of John Smith, d. June 16, 1867, age 65 yrs. 2 mos. 3 das.
Katharine, wife of Albert Albers, d. Aug. 14, 1888, age 48 yrs. 3 mos. 1 d.
Catarina Seeber, 1808-1888
Herman Beinke, d. Mar. 17, 1889, age 77 yrs. 1 mo. 3 das.
Marie El, wife of Karl Wolf, b. May 6, 1806; May 8, 1889, age 83 yrs. 2 das.
Magdalene, wife of John Baumert, d. Mar. 6, 1891, age 78 Yrs. 3 mos. 22 das.
F. Wickenkamp, 1816-1893
Johann Meyer, b. Nov. 13, 1823, in Bettendorf, Hanover, Germany, d. Dec. 28, 1893, age 69 yrs. 11 mos. 16      das.
Margrethe Beinke, b. Dec. 24, 1813; d. Oct. 3, 1894, age 80 yrs. 9 mos. 9 das.
Eva Katherine Pfannebecker, d. Feb. 18, 1896, age 74 yrs. 7 mos. 23 das.
Margaret Bakehouse, 1862-1896
Anna M. Fauth, d. Aug. 3, 1896, age 21 yrs. 10 mos. 16 das.
George F. Mahler, b. Nov. 8, 1861; d. Mar. 16, 1897
Anna Mary Wickenkamp, b. Apr. 3, 1827; d. Jan. 1, 1898
G. H. Wickenkamp, b. Apr. 10, 1820; d. Oct. 30, 1911
Friedericka Schuman, b. May 7, 1830; d. Jan. 18, 1900
Henry Pfannebecker, Jr., b. Apr. 13, 1853; d. Nov. 3, 1900
Frederick Schimmelpfennig, b. June 7, 1829; d. Oct. 22, 1901
Gertrude, wife of Frederick Schimmelpfennig, b. Oct. 17, 1827; d. March 8, 1904


Row 10
John Hofmann, b. June 24, 1834, d. Jan. 4, 1902
Alvina, wife of Chris Pfannebecker, b. Jan. 15, 1855, d. Dec. 29, 1902
Wm. Buehnemann, b. Sept. 21, 1819; d. Mar. 21, 1903
Albertina, wife of Charles Killmer, b. Dec. 8, 1841; d. Mar. 13, 1903

   V      Henry Pfannebecker, Sr., b. Jan. 26, 1824; d. Dec. 28, 1905
Solomon Schuman, b. July 3, 1827; d. Dec. 31, 1905
Margarethe, wife of Johann Meyer, b. Feb. 6, 1829; d. Nov. 17, 1908
Heinrich W. Mueller, b. Apr. 28, 1838; d. July 14, 1909
Louise Mahler, b. Aug. 29, 1838; d. Jan. 23, 1917
Elmer W. Pfannebecker, 1886-1920
Louise Bakehouse, 1829-1920
Mary Schroeder, 1848-1925 (Louise and Mary are sisters)
John Herman Meyer, b. Mar. 29, 1861; d. Jan. 21, 1930
George F. Mayer, 1867-1933 Sophie Meyer, 1871-1932
Christian Pfannebecker, b. Feb. 22, 1855; d. Dec. 15, 1936


* M designates Funeral Home metal marker

* V designates Veteran


Burials next to ?? ???? end (Row 11)
Louis H. Meyer, 1863-1937
Amelia Schumann, 1877-1943


Burials By LotsLot 1
Alvina Bakehouse, 1892-1914
Deiderick C. Bakehouse, b. Feb. 23, 1867, d. Jan. 31, 1941


Lot 2
No burials


Lot 3
Dick D. Behnemann, b. Feb. 4, 1862; d. Sept. 24, 1925
Mary L. S. Behnemann, b. June 24, 1864; d. July 23, 1916


Lot 4
John A. Wickenkamp, 1877-1925
Katherine Wickenkamp, 1898-1973


(Lots 5 to 11, inclusive, are not for sale)


Lot 12
Frederica Koch, wife of Louis Koch, b. Nov. 21, 1832; d. Jan. 23, 1908


Lot 13
Meta D. L. Schwenke, b. Dec. 23, 1872; d. March 3, 1946
Heinrich Friedrich Schwenke (Father), b. Apr. 1, 1827; d. Nov. 9, 1910
Anna Marie (Mother) Schwenke, b. March 28, 1840; d. June 22, 1909
David C. Schwenke, b. Mar. 26, 1864; d. Mar. 18, 1934
Henry F. Schwenke, b. Jan. 22, 1861; d. Apr. 20, 1942


Lot 14
Fred Schwenke (No dates, no marker)

   M     Mary Schwenke, 1880-1965


Lot 15
Christina, wife of Henry Strohman, 1830-1913
Henry Strohman, 1828-1893


Lot 16
Frederick L. Strohman, b. June 27, 1870; d. Aug. 16, 1914
Mary C. Strohman, b. May 11, 1869; d. Feb. 24, 1943


(Lots 17 to 22, inclusive, not for sale)


Lot 23
No apparent burials


Lot 24
No apparent burials


Lot 25
(A stone base is there; no name stone)


Lot 26
Kate Riesenberger, 1859-1937
Sadie R. Lobsinger, Apr. 7, 1868; d. Sept. 12, 1960(?)
Mary A. Wickenkamp, 1876-1961
William J. Wickenkamp, 1866-1940


Lot 27
James M. Vittetoe, b. Dec. 4, 1860; d. Feb. 17, 1920
Emma C. Vittetoe, b. Feb. 14, 1882; July 9, 1933


(Lots 28 to 33, inclusive, not sold)


Lot 34 – No apparent burials


Lot 35
Emma K. Schumann, Jan. 2, 1945 (date does not designate birth or death)
Otto Schumann, b. Nov. 16, 1859; d. Nov. 9, 1922
Augusta Schumann, b. Feb. 11, 1871; d. Sept. 13, 1962


Lot 36
(No apparent burials)


Lot 37
Fredrick Meyer, b. Jan. 3, 1853; d. May 19, 1917
Mary Meyer, wife of Frederick, b. Nov. 13, 1847; d. Sept. 2, 1923


Lot 38
Margaret A. Schimmelpfennig, b. Mar. 24, 1870; d. June 20, 1912
Wm. Deidrick Schimmelpfennig, b. Oct. 3, 1862; d. Apr. 14, 1930
Marilyn J. Schimmelpfennig, b. July 23, 1936; d. Apr. 4, 1939


Lot 39
John Smith, b. Aug. 26, 1860; d. Aug. 1, 1908; age 47 yrs. 11 mos. 6 das.
Anna M. Smith, b. Apr. 9, 1866; d. Aug. 9, 1945


Burials in row of lots between Chapel and Row Burials, from east to west.
Lot S – William L. Beinke, 1860-1933
             Emma L. Beinke, 1866-1935
Lot S – Henrietta C. Schwenke, b. July 2, 1870; d. Mar. 25, 1944
             Herman F. Schwenke, b. Mar. 6, 1866; d. Feb. 8, 1848
Lot S – Evelyn N. Schwenke, b. Feb. 24, 1912; (living)
             Ray K. Schwenke, b. Oct. 27, 1905; d. May 3, 1966
Lot P – Lucy Pfannebecker, b. Sept. 25, 1879; d. Feb. 22, 1961
             Oscar H. Pfannebecker, b. Aug. 20, 1884; d. Aug. 25, 1965
Lot P – Josephine Pfannebecker, b. Jan. 12, 1888; d. Jan. 24, 1963
             Nettie Pfannebecker, b. July 8, 1895; d. Aug. 18, 1970
             Denver Pfannebecker, b. Oct. 6, 1893; (living)


Additional Information

For all of the burials mentioned here, no stones identify the burial spaces.

Albert Bakehouse (age 86) reports that as a child he remembers that there was a small plot the size of a few graves with a picket fence around it to the south of the brick church building and he had understood that there were graves in the enclosure. He does not remember whether there were stones there or who else was buried there.

Emma Fairchild (age 88) reports that two small children who were brothers of her father, Henry Cassens, died and were buried in the plot in the southeast corner of the cemetery grounds (above mentioned plot). The area must have contained a spring, as the ground seemed rather soggy and wet, so some of the bodies of the adults and small children were removed and reburied in the row section. A number of the adults and children were not taken up as their next of kin felt that they did not want to disturb the burials. That area was kept mowed and relatives cared for the graves of their family members. In recent years there has been no mention of that plot as a burial grounds and few people know that one ever existed in that corner of the cemetery grounds.

Mrs. Augusta Hauschild reports that Amanda Hauschild, the mother of her husband, Peter Hauschild, was buried in the row section of Sunny Ridge Cemetery. He died about 1916; the exact date is not known. Her husband had a sister, also named Amanda Hauschild, buried in the row section. She died sometime in the early 1900's.

Mrs. Elmer (Lottie) Hauschild reports that her husband, Elmer, had a half-brother, John Hauschild, buried in this cemetery. No dates are known. Henry Hauschild, a brother of Elmer, is buried in what is designated as Row 11, but there is no stone. He was born September 24, 1878, and died July 21, 1950.

Mrs. Louise Buehnemann Strohman, wife of Louis Strohman, says that her grandmother, Louise Buehnemann, was buried in Sunny Ridge. She does not know the birth or the death dates.

Freda Bruns reports that according to the old death records of the church and cemetery, Caroline Schimmelpfennig, her great grandmother is buried in Sunny Ridge Cemetery. Her death date is July 30, 1878. It is believed that her stone was in Row 8, where there is only the base standing now in the beginning of that row.

Albert Bakehouse says that in the row section northeast of the Chapel there are three of his aunts (sisters of Fred and Dick Bakehouse) buried there. Two died when they were very young, about two or three years old, and one when about twelve years old. There never was a tombstone there and he does not know the approximate dates.

Mrs. Malina Ahrens Herrick reports that her great grandfather, John Schroyer is buried in Sunny Ridge Cemetery. He died June 2, 1878. His birth date is not known at this time.

Transcribed by Diane Muir. Thanks so much, Diane!

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