The Kansans and Whence They Came – Flachsbarth Family History
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Source Citation:
Richard Wilson, "", The Kansans and Whence They Came, Internet: (accessed ), < >.

W ilhelm Flachsbarth is the ancestor of his generation about whom the least information is known. After emigrating from Germany, he first lived elsewhere in North America before he settled in Kansas.

Wilhelm Flachsbarth

Wilhelm "William" Flachsbarth was born 4 Nov 1840.note1 He was born in one of the many sovereign territories that merged in the later 19th century to become the German Empire in 1871. One source for a more specific birthplace is also the earliest known record, the U.S. census of 1870. Wilhelm was living with George Schafer who was born in Baden and his wife who was born in Württemberg. Therefore, George should have been aware of the proper options when he stated that Wilhelm was born in Prussia. A census record of one of his daughters stated that he was born in Hanover. Both could be correct, because the Kingdom of Hanover was annexed by the much more powerful Kingdom of Prussia in 1866, four years before this census.note2 Another census record of another daughter states that he was born in Bavaria. Similarly, the date of Wilhelm's emigration to the United States is not certain. The U.S. census of 1900 shows that he arrived in 1868, however, this source has often been disproven by better sources in other cases.note3

Once in America, or North America, Wilhelm apparently did not come directly to Kansas. The Kansas state census of 1875 shows that he had come to Kansas from Connecticut. Alternatively, the subsequent state census of 1885 shows that he had come to Kansas from Canada. It is conceivable that both, either, or neither may be correct.note4 Nevertheless, whenever or from wherever he came, Wilhelm most likely lived for a time elsewhere in North America prior to settling in Kansas.

As previously mentioned, Wilhelm was in Kansas by the time the census was taken on 13 Jul 1870. On this date, he was a farmhand living in Shannon Township, Atchison County, Kansas. He was listed under the name of Wm. Floxburg.note5 On 10 Jul 1874, he purchased 42 acres of land in the same township under the name Wm. Flacksburg, and he began farming for himself. Wilhelm married Elise Henriette Kleinwort 2 Feb 1879, in Atchison County. Elise was a widow and brought three children from her previous marriage into their new family. Wilhelm then added another 25 acres of land to his farm on 9 Dec 1881. Little else is known of him. An 1896 newspaper article says that he was temporarily elected as road overseer for the township. However, after finding that many votes had been overlooked, they certified the proper candidate. An 1899 article says that he had a "blooded" bull which means it had a pedigree. It appears to have been somewhat unusual. It tried to gore someone, so Wilhelm and two others tied it to a tree and dehorned it. Wilhelm died 3 Jul 1903 and was buried in Mt. Vernon Cemetery in Atchison, Atchison County, Kansas. According to church records which were written in a mix of English and German, Wilhelm's death was due to asthma and "Wassersucht", which translates to dropsy. It is now referred to as edema. Elise died 20 Feb 1932 and was buried with him. Elise's life before marrying Wilhelm will be discussed in the "Kleinwort Family History". Wilhelm and Elise had the following six children together:

  1. Elizabeth Katharine "Lizzie" Flachsbarth (1879-1946) who was born 26 Nov 1879 in Shannon Township, Atchison County, Kansas. In 1900, Lizzie was a servant for the George Schmitt family, a German household in the same neighborhood as her family. She married Lawrence Henry "Lon" Boyle 06 May 1901 in Jackson County, Missouri. She may have been living with her half-sister, Mayme (Henninger) Burns, at this time, since their marriage certificate shows both as residents of the county. Lon became a steam locomotive engineer for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, and they remained in Kansas City. Lon died 24 Jun 1943, and Lizzie died 22 Aug 1946, both in Kansas City. They were buried here in Mt. Moriah Cemetery.
  2. Bertha Katharine Flachsbarth (1881-1974) previously discussed in the "Maternal Branch in Kansas".
  3. Salome Emma "Emma S." Flachsbarth (1883-1955) who was born 14 Oct 1883 in Atchison County. She married Ernst Alvin Conrad "Cooney" Handke 24 Oct 1906 in Atchison County. In 1910, they bought a farm in the Deer Creek community 3 ½ miles north of Atchison. On 12 Oct 1947, their home here was struck by lightning and burned to the ground within an hour. They rebuilt in the same location and remained here. Emma died 19 Dec 1955 in Atchison County, and Cooney died 08 Mar 1976. They were buried in Mt. Vernon Cemetery.
  4. Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm "Will F." Flachsbarth (1885-1972) who was born 18 Aug 1885 in Shannon Township, Atchison County. He married Elizabeth Amelia "Lizzie" Biddle 06 Oct 1909 in Atchison County, and they remained in Shannon Township through at least 1915. By 1918, they had begun farming near Bendena in Independence Township, Doniphan County, Kansas. They remained in the area until at least 1935. They then farmed near Troy in Center Township, Doniphan County. In 1942, they moved to the town of Atchison. Will worked here for the LFM for the following thirteen years until retiring. Elizabeth died here 04 Feb 1963. Will then lived with their son, Joseph, until his death here on 14 Jan 1972. They were buried in Mt. Vernon Cemetery.
  5. Henry Paul Christian Flachsbarth (1887-1972) who was born 17 Jul 1887 in the Deer Creek community in Shannon Township. He married Ruby Jeanette Ennis 06 Nov 1912 in Falls City, Richardson County, Nebraska. They lived in Shannon Township through at least 1915. By 1919, they were living in Wolf River Township, Doniphan County, Kansas. In March 1924, they relocated near Effingham in Benton Township, Atchison County. By 1930, they were living near Schubert in Nemaha County, Nebraska. They remained in the area through at least 1942. By 1947, they had relocated to Sacramento, California, where they remained. Henry died here 23 Mar 1972, and Ruby died here 05 Aug 1981. They were buried in Sacramento Memorial Lawn Cemetery.
  6. Wilhelmina Theodore "Minnie" Flachsbarth (1891-1985) who was born 14 May 1891 in Atchison County. She first married John Henry "Harry" Berlin who was a baker on 11 May 1910 in Atchison County. He baked the wedding cake for his niece, Marie Brox, and Ralph Weik. Harry was raised in Atchison, but he was already living with his parents in St. Joseph, Missouri, by 1908. After marriage, Minnie and Harry first moved to Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri, however, by 1915 they were living in St. Joseph with Harry's parents. By 1920, they had relocated to McAlester, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, leaving Harry's widowed mother in St. Joseph. By 1927, they returned to Kansas City, and by 1930, Harry's mother, Julia, was again living with them. Harry died 24 Jan 1934 from blood poisoning after a conveyor at the bakery had crushed his foot. On 25 Jul 1934, Minnie second married John C. Schwab who owned a barber shop in Independence, a suburb of Kansas City. He died 13 May 1939. Afterward, Minnie again lived with her first mother-in-law. Then During World War II, Minnie ran a service station in Kansas City for the Hudson Oil Company. Julia died in 1961, and soon after 1963, Minnie returned to the town of Atchison to make a home with her widowed sister, Bertha. Minnie died 2 Mar 1985 in Atchison. She was buried with Harry in Mt. Vernon Cemetery.

Further Research

See the "Flachsbarth Research" chapter for ongoing research pertaining to this family.

Flachsbarth Selected Documents

Local Interest

The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

10 Dec 1896, p.4.

When the county commissioners made the official count, they overlooked a lot of tallies in figuring the vote for road overseer of Shannon township, and through error issued the certificate of election to Wm. Flocksbarth [Flachsbarth]. The mistake has been corrected, the certificate issued to Flocksbarth revoked, and another certificate issued to Andrew Colgan, jr., who received the largest vote for the position.

The Atchison Champion, Atchison, Kansas.

22 Feb 1899, p.4, daily edition.

William Flaxbarth's [Flachsbarth] blooded bull attempted to gore Matt Jittner a few days ago, and would have made a punctured corpse of his victim had not John Dooley happened by just in the niche of time. Messrs. Flaxbarth, Dooley and Jittner succeeded in fastening his bullship to a tree and dehorning him.

Last Will and Testament

'Atchison County Probate Records', Atchison County, Kansas.

22 May 1903 [42 days before his death].

In the name of God, I, William Flachbarth of Atchison County, in the State of Kansas as, of sound mind and memory and mindful of the uncertainty of life and of the certainty of death do make and publish this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking, annulling and canceling any and all wills and codicils by me at any time heretofor made; and I do hereby dispose of all my property of whatever kind and nature in the following manner namely:

First. I will and direct that all my just and lawful debts including the expenses of my last sickness and funeral expenses be first paid by my Executrix, [?] that same be paid as soon as convenient.

Second. Subject to the payment of my debts, I here will and bequeath unto each of my beloved six (6) children as herein named, the sum of One ($1.00) dollar and no more; said children being my daughters, Lizzie, Bertha, Emma and Minnie Flachbarth, and my sons, William and Henry Flachbarth.

Third. Subject to the two foregoing paragraphs, I here will devise and bequeath unto my beloved wife Lizzie Flachbarth all the remainder and residue of my property of what kind or nature soever and wheresoever being or situate; especially including my home, a farm in Atchison County State of Kansas described as follows: Forty-two (42) acres in the north-west (N-W 1/4) quarter of Section 14 in Township of Range 19, and a tract of Forty-five (45) acres also in said North-west quarter of Section 14, Town. 5 of Range 19; also all other real property that I may have any claim to or rights as title in; Also all my personal property of whatever kind or nature including all my live stock teams horses colts, cattle, swine, poultry, and the like; all house hold goods and effects, wearing apparel, farm implements machinery and tools, harness tackle, saddles, wagons, wheels and other rigs - all such and said property rights, goods and chattels as well as real property to be the sole and exclusive property of my beloved wife Lizzie Flachbarth forever.

Fifth. I here appoint my said wife Lizzie Flachbarth the sole Executrix of this my last will and testament and ask that she be not required to [g?] bind as such or file inventory as appraisement herein.

In witness whereof I here sign this writing as my last will at my home in said county and state on this Twenty-Second (22nd) day of May A.D. 1903, before William Keimig and Conrad Voelker as subscribing witnesses.

Wm Flashbarth

The above and foregoing writing was signed by the testator, William Flachbarth in our presence on this 22nd day of May 1903 as his last Will and Testament and as here same in his presence and in the presence of each other and at his request as subscribing witnesses.

William F. Keimig
Conrad Voelker

Death Notice

The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

3 Jul 1903, p.1.


William Flachbarth, a well known farmer, living three miles northwest of town, died at 1 o'clock this afternoon. He had been sick fourteen weeks, and his death was due to a complication of diseases.

Church Record

Trinity Lutheran Church Records, Atchison, Kansas, 1867-1976.

Deaths, Book I, p.347.

No.: 158, Deceased: Wilhelm Flachsbarth, Date of Death: 3 July 1903, Date of Burial: 5 July 1903, Cause of Death: Wassersucht [dropsy/edema] + asthma, Age: 62 Jahre 7 Monat 29 Tage, Survivors: Elise Flachsbarth + 9 Kinder.


'Harouff-Arensburg Mortuary Records', Atchison, Kansas.

Wm Flachsbarth
No.: 127; death: 3 Jul 1903; deceased: Wm Flachsbarth; age: 62; disease: dropsy; buried: Mt Vernon (Cem); residence: 4 1/2 Nthwest; casket size: 6'0"; casket style: #10; physician: Loper Boudrie.


The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

11 May 1910, p.4.


Miss Minnie Flachsbarth and J.H. Berlin were married at 2 o'clock this afternoon at the parsonage of Trinity Lutheran church, Rev. Theodore Bundenthall officiating. The cerermony was witnessed by immediate relatives of the bridal couple. The bride was attended by Miss Bertha Winkler and Henry Flachsbarth was best man. The bride is a handsome young woman and wore a dress of champagne-colored messaline, and a tulle bridal veil. The bridesmaid wore a pink silk dress. The marriage ceremony was followed by a wedding reception at the home of the bride's sister, Mrs. Frank Brox, at Good Intent. There were one hundred guests at the reception, which began at 4 o'clock this afternoon, and lasted through the evening. Mr. and Mrs. Berlin will board in Atchison for the present. The bride is a daughter of Mrs. William Flachsbarth, who formerly lived near Doniphan, and of late years has made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Frank Brox. The groom has lately gone into business for himself on North Seventh street. He is a baker.

The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

27 Aug 1946, p.8.

Funeral services for Mrs. Elizabeth Boyle, who died Wednesday at her home in Kansas City, were held Saturday afternoon at Children's Memorial Lutheran church in Kansas City. Pallbearers were six nephews, Joe Burnes, Kansas City, Gilbert Handke, Joe Flachsbarth, Charles and Albert Brox and Earl Boyle, all of Atchison. Mrs. Boyle, the daughter of the late Elizabeth and William Flachsbarth, was born November 25, 1880, five miles north of Atchison. She resided there until her marriage to Lawrence Boyle, June 20, 1901. They went to housekeeping in Kansas City where Mr. Boyle was an engineer on the Milwaukee. Mr. Boyle's death occurred three years ago. Mrs. Boyle was a devout member of the Lutheran church, the Golden Rule Sunshine club, and the Eastern Star. Surviving are two sons, William and Clarence Boyle, Kansas City; a daughter, Mrs. Edward Goldt, Houston, Tex.; three sisters, Mrs. Frank Brox and Mrs. Conrad Handke, Atchison, and Mrs. Minnie Schwab, Kansas City; two brothers, William Flachsbarth, Atchison, and Henry Flachsbarth, Sacramento, Calif.; two half-brothers, Mike Henninger, Denver, Colo., and Fred Henninger, Atchison, and four grandchildren.


The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

13 Oct 1947, p.1.

Fire Destroys A Farm Home

Fire completely destroyed the farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Handke, about 3 1/2 miles north of town on highway No. 7 yesterday after the house was struck by lightning at 11:45 a.m.
Mr. and Mrs. Handke were preparing to drive to the Frank Brox home to attend a dinner when a bolt of lightning hit the front part of the six-room modern dwelling. The building burned to the ground in about an hour.
Mr. Handke was nearly overcome by smoke while fighting the blaze, and carrying furniture and other articles from the burning structure. He was taken to the Atchison hospital where he was treated and released. He is some improved today.
Neighbors and relatives gathered at the scene as soon as they heard about the fire and carried much of the furniture from the home. A large quantity of fruit in the basement, five rugs, dishes and some furniture were destroyed.
Wind blowing from the west prevented the blaze from spreading to other buildings west and north of the Handke house, which was one of the most comfortable and convenient farm homes in the county.
A large oil barrel containing 300 gallons of fuel oil for the furnace was among the items lost in the blaze. Mr. Handke made an effort to empty this barrel before he was overcome with smoke.
Mr. Handke said today he will rebuild at the same location, but does not know just how soon work can be started. He and Mrs. Handke are remaining temporarily with their son, Leonard Handke, and family, who live just south of the house which was burned.


The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

5 Jun 1952.

Two formerly of Atchison women, Mrs. Minnie Schwab, 61, and Mrs. Julia Berlin, 83, were principals in an exciting robbery by an armed negro in Kansas City before daylight Monday. The thief awakened Mrs. Schwab, the former Miss Minnie Flachsbarth of Atchison, who was asleep in her apartment of her home at 2817 East Twelfth street converted into 11 apartments. Threatening her with a pistol, the thief demanded money. Mrs. Schwab at first protested, then went to a closet and obtained her purse containing $30 and gave it to him. The conversation awakened Mrs. Berlin in the adjoining apartment, and she went to Mrs. Schwab's rescue. "How did you get in here?" she demanded of the Negro, "Land sakes, you don't have any business in here." She threw her arms around the intruder and began to tussle with him. For a moment the bandit was too startled to resist, but soon fought back and tossed the pocketbook out of a window to the lawn. He pushed Mrs. Berlin against a wall and climbed out a window, picking up the pocketbook and escaping. Mrs. Berlin suffered arm bruises in the encounter. Mrs. Schwab said she was so shocked and upset by the incident that she was unable to assist Mrs. Berlin in the altercation. Mrs. Schwab is a sister of Mrs. Conrad Handke and Mrs. Bertha Brox and Will Flachsbarth of Atchison. Her first husband was Harry Berlin. Mrs. Berlin is one of the early settlers of Atchison. She is the widow of S.E. Berlin, for many years an Atchison tailor.


The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

19 Dec 1955, p.2.

Mrs. Conrad Handke Dies At Farm Home

Mrs. Emma Handke, 72, wife of Conrad Handke, life-long resident of Atchison county, died at 6 a.m. today at her home three miles north of Atchison after an illness of ten years.
She was born Oct. 14, 1883, on a farm four miles northwest of Atchison, a daughter of William and Elizabeth Flachsbarth, Atchison county pioneers. She attended Deer Creek school, and on Oct. 24, 1906, was married to Conrad Handke.
They went to housekeeping on the old Handke homestead north of their present home on K-7, which they purchased in 1910. She was a member all her life of Trinity Lutheran church and was active while her health permitted in the church Corinthian society. She was also a member of the Deer Creek home demonstration unit and the Deer Creek Community club.
She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Carl Peterson, Albuquerque N.M.; two sons, Leonard Handke, route 2, and Gilbert Handke, 1506 North Third; eight grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren; two sisters, Mrs. Frank Brox, route 4, and Mrs. Minnie Schwab, Kansas City; two brothers, William Flachsbarth, Atchison and Henry Flachsbarth, Sacramento, Calif., and a half-brother, Mike Henninger, Denver.
Two half-sisters, Mrs. Lon Boyle and Mrs. Mamie Burns, both of Kansas City, and a half-brother, Fred Henninger of Atchison, preceded her in death.
Mrs. Handke was loved and admired by a great many friends. She took great pride in her home and was devoted to her husband, children and grandchildren. Throughout her long illness she was a patient sufferer, most considerate of those around her and appreciative of everything done for her.
Funeral arrangements are pending. The body is at the Stanton Mortuary.


The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

27 Sep 1959, p.12.

Mr. and Mrs. William Flachsbarth, 915 Division, will observe their 50th wedding anniversary on Oct. 6. The marriage took place at Trinity Lutheran church, the ceremony being read by the late Rev. Theodore Bundenthul. Mrs. Flachsbarth was the former Elizabeth Biddle, daughter of the late Joseph and Dora Voelker Biddle. They are parents of one son, Joseph Flachsbarth, 931 Mound. Their three grandchildren are Mrs. Richard (Alnoma) Dinger; Leland Flachsbarth, a student at KU, and Kathleen, who attends Trinity Lutheran school. Open house will be held Oct. 4 from 2 to 5 p.m., at Trinity Lutheran hall. Relatives and friends are invited.


The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

14 Jan 1972, p.10.

Flachsbarth Rites To Be Held Sunday

William. F. Flachsbarth, 86, 931 Mound street, died this morning at the Atchison hospital. He had been in failing health since September.
Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Lutheran church with the Rev. Robert Ziegler officiating. Burial will be in Mt. Vernon cemetery.
The body will lie in state at the church an hour before the services. Members of the family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 Saturday at the Stanton mortuary.
The family suggests memorials may be contributions to Trinity Lutheran school endowment fund or to the Lutheran Hour.
Mr. Flachsbarth was born Aug. 18, 1885, northwest of Atchison, a son of William and Elizabeth Flachsbarth. He attended Deer Creek and Trinity Lutheran schools.
He and the former Elizabeth Biddle were married Oct. 6, 1909, at Trinity Lutheran church, and farmed in the Bendena area before moving to Atchison in 1942.
After moving to Atchison Mr. Flachsbarth worked for Rockwell Manufacturing Co. LFM-Atchison Division 13 years before he retired.
Mr. and Mrs. Flachsbarth celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1959. She died Feb. 4, 1963, and since then he has made his home with his son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Flachsbarth.
Mr. Flachsbarth was a member of Trinity Lutheran church.
Surviving are his son, Joe Flachsbarth, 931 Mound street; two sisters, Mrs. Bertha Brox and Mrs. Minnie Schwab, both of Atchison; a brother, Henry Flachsbarth, Sacramento, Calif.; two granddaughters, Mrs. Richard (Alnoma) Dinger, Tulsa, and Mrs. Ron (Kathleen) Shafer, Chesterville, Mo.; a grandson, Leland Flachsbarth, Las Cruces, N.M., and three great grandchildren.

The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

31 Mar 1972, p.4.

Henry P. Flachsbarth, 84, formerly of Atchison, died March 23, in Sacramento Calif. He became ill March 15, and became hospitalized. Funeral services were held Saturday in Sacramento. Mr. Flachsbarth was born July 17, 1887, northwest of Atchison, a son of William and Elizabeth Flachsbarth, and was married to the former Ruby Ennis of Atchison who survives. He also leaves three sons, Raymond and William of Sacramento and Albert of the state of Idaho; two sisters, Mrs. Bertha Brox and Mrs. Minnie Schwab, both of Atchison; eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren. His brother, William Flachsbarth of Atchison died Jan. 14, this year.

The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

4 Mar 1985, p.2.

Wilhelmina Schwab

Wilhelmina (Minnie) Schwab, 93, died Saturday afternoon at Medicalodge.
Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Stanton Mortuary, the Rev. Robert Ziegler officiating. Burial will be at Mount Vernon Cemetery, Atchison. The family will receive friends from 7 to 8 this evening at the funeral home. Memorial contributions are suggested to the Trinity Lutheran Church. Pallbearers will be William Zabel, Leslie Eylar, Leonard Handke, Joseph Flachsbarth, Albert Brox and Darrel Wilson.
Mrs. Schwab was born in Atchison County on May 14, 1891, the daughter of William and Elizabeth Kleinwerth [Kleinwort] Flachsbarth. She attended grade school at Trinity Lutheran school, Atchison.
She was a manager for the Hudson Oil Company, Kansas City, during World War I [World War II].
She was married to Harry Berlin. He preceded her in death on Jan. 24, 1934. She later married John Schwab, who also preceded her in death.
Mrs. Schwab was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church, Atchison.
She was a seamstress, enjoyed gardening and was always wanting to do something for someone.
Survivors include three nieces, including Marie Weik, Atchison; and seven nephews, including Joe Flachsbarth, Gilbert Handke, Leonard Handke and Albert Brox, Atchison.


  1. [Wilhelm's church burial record calculates the exact date of 4 Nov 1840. The 1900 census shows William's birth date as Nov 1840. His tombstone shows the year of birth as 1840.]
  2. [Hanover/Prussia and Bavaria are only the current best guesses for Wilhelm's birthplace. No definitive evidence has yet been found to substantiate or refute either.]
  3. [No immigration or naturalization records for Wilhelm have been found to substantiate or refute the immigration date of 1868.]
  4. [The Kansas state census of 1895 was bungled in William's neighborhood, so no previous residence was recorded that year to clarify the answer.]
  5. [The name Flachsbarth was spelled in records and newspapers a variety of ways in the early days, including Floxburg, Flacksburg, Flachsborg, Flachsbourg, Floxbarth, Flaxbarth. Even his own will spelled it both Flachbarth and Flashbarth. An 1881 property record gives his name as Flacksburg, but states that his true name is Flacksbarth. It is in fact impossible to be sure what his original name was. His descendants pronounce the name as if it is spelled Flashbarth. Flachsbart is a common legitimate alternate spelling in Germany. Other unrelated American Flachsbarths have spelled it Flaxbeard. "Bart" means "Beard" in German.]