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 "William" Flachsbarth is the ancestor of his generation about whom the least information is known. Based on his age that was recorded in church records at the time of his death, William was born 4 Nov 1840.note1 The U.S. census of 1900 shows that he emigrated to the United States in 1868 and that he had become a naturalized citizen.note2 He apparently did not come directly to Kansas. The Kansas state census of 1875 shows that he had come to Kansas from Connecticut. On the other hand, the state census of 1885 shows that he had previously lived in Canada.note3 Suffice it to say that he had lived elsewhere in North America prior to settling in Kansas. Wherever he had lived, it probably wasn't for very long.


Although unconfirmed, the U.S. census of 1870 is probably the earliest known record of William. At this time, a young German farmhand by the name of Wm. Floxburg was living with the George Schafer family in Shannon Township, Atchison County, Kansas. He was listed as 25 years of age and born in Prussia, but William should have been 29 years old at this time.note4 By the spring of 1875, William was farming for himself in the same vicinity in Shannon Township. On 2 Feb 1879, he married a widow named Elise Henriette Kleinwort in Atchison County. She brought three children from her previous marriage into their new family. William died 3 Jul 1903 and was buried in Mt. Vernon Cemetery in Atchison, Kansas. According to church records which were written partly in English and partly in German, his 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. Together, the couple had the following six children of their own:

  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 within 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 A. 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 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

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 toos, 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


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.

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.

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. [The 1900 census also shows William's birth date as Nov 1840, and his tombstone shows the year of birth as 1840.]
  2. [No immigration or naturalization records for William have been found.]
  3. [The Kansas state census of 1895 was bungled in William's neighborhood, so no previous residence was recorded to clarify the answer.]
  4. [George Schafer and his wife, Catharine, were both born in Germany, so they should have been able to communicate well enough with their new farmhand. However, if this is in fact William Flachsbarth, his surname was obviously only a guess. Then perhaps his age was as well.]