Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Looking for Kunshiers at the County Courthouse and an overnight in Forest Lake

In the summer of  2013 we drove from Mt. Horeb to Anoka, Minnesota.  I have already reported on other parts of the trip in blogs dated July and August 2013.  Our actual first stop on that trip was in Anoka for lunch at Casa Rio Tex Mex Restaurant, a two thumbs up.  Next we settled in at the Anoka County Court House.  Shan worked on the  micro-film machine trying to find land ownership and land transfer records involving the Kunshiers.  We were especially looking for the original Joseph Kunshier Sr. land purchase and info on how the farmstead changed hands in later years.  

We found that Joseph Sr. had purchased 80 acres from Willis H. Sanborn on September 7, 1887.  In 1892 it was given by Joseph Sr. to Joseph Jr. "in consideration of natural love and affection".  Because of previous contracts there were some encumbrances on the property but eventually Joseph Jr. took full title. 

In later years the Kunshiers added another 40 acres to the South which was farmed by Edward (Ted) Kunshier, Joseph Junior's son, and 80 acres to the North farmed by Andrew Kunshier.  Alex Kunshier owned another 80 acres a few farms to the west in section #2.  The farm East of Alex was owned by Anton Strecker, the father of George Strecker.  George married Emma Kunshier, the youngest sister of Grandma Rose.  The dark lines running on diagonals  through the farms were drainage ditches.  These ditches were necessary in this marshy area.


The next morning we met with Ken Dufresne.  I wrote about this in the last blog on wire grass farms. [See that link here] He told us that what is now called Notre Dame Road had previously been referred to as the old Kunshier Road.  We followed his directions to the area only to find that little was recognizable of old Kunshier farms. 

On our trip in 2012 we were looking for Kunshiers buried in the Catholic cemeteries including Calvary Cemetery in Forest Lake. I included  those photos and information in an earlier blog. [see that blog here]

After that trip, using the web site Find-A-Grave, we found there were also Kunshiers buried in the private cemetery of Oak Park in Columbus Township, Anoka County.  Oak Park Cemetery is located on the south side of Broadway Avenue, about 1 mile west of the Kunshier farms. It is open year around and well maintained.

We drove past the Kunshier farms to Oak Park where I spoke to the young man, Nick Jensen, tending the grounds.  He said his father Mike was the administrator.  We plan on making  contact to get the cemetery history and a cemetery map.  Shan did some gravestone cleaning and I took gravestone photographs of the Kunshier markers we found.  The burials include three of Grandma Rose Kunshier Schotl's siblings:

  • Joseph J. Kunshier b. 1869 d. 1942
  • Charles Kunshier   b. 1878 d. 1940
  • Alex A. Kunshier,  b. 1892 d. 1973

Joseph J. Kunschier Jr. married Theresa Groess in 1893. She is buried next to him. 

    Charles married Mary Dahm in 1901.  He worked at various trades including as a harness maker.  He also did some farming and worked as a game-keeper at what became the  Carlos Avery Game Farm.  She is also buried in Oak Park.


    Lorraine (?) and Esther Kunshier,
    daughter and wife of Alex ca. 1969
    Alex Kunshier 1969

    Alex married Esther Evjen and they farmed in Columbus Township until ca. 1935 when we find them on a farm in Ham Lake Township, Anoka County. 

    They are both buried in Oak Park Cemetery, Columbus Township 

    It would appear that time is running out for talking to any of the surviving Kunshiers. We had asked Ken Dufresne about Kunshiers still living in the area.  He said he had gone to school with Kunshiers and thought at least two of the Kunshiers, Warren and Richard, were still living in the area.  I identified both of them as sons of Alex and Esther.  We are hoping that we will be able to track them down on our next trip.

    The last part of this day was a check-in at the motel in Forest Lake.

    After our dinner at Za Italian Minnesotan we took a walk down by the lake where there is a Veteran's Memorial Park. 

    While checking out the bricks that had been purchased by family and friends, we discovered there were also Kunshiers there.  Included were Daniel Dean Kunshier who served both on the USS Hornet and the USS Wasp in the Korean War   

     and Robert J. Kunshier who enlisted February 1941 at age 19. He was a Corporal in the U.S. Army, 34th Infantry Division, WWII Europe and Africa.  We had trouble taking a picture of Robert's brick and hope to include it at a later date.  Both are Andrew and Leonora's sons.

    Lakeside Memorial Park, Forest Lake

    United Methodist Cemetery, Wyoming, Chisago County

    Searching for other Kunshier veterans from the area, on the Find-A Grave site I found Gary Lee Kunshier.   His parents were Harold and Manola Kunshier.  Harold was a son of Charles Kunshier.   I also found Gary on the National Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington D.C..  He is honored on Panel 41W, Row 5.  He was a Private First Class for the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.  He died on October 04, 1968 at the age of 20 "due to a mortar, rocket, or artillery incident" in Quang Tri Province.
    The next morning we met and had lunch with Aunt Patricia Schanno Schotl.  We came home to Mt. Horeb with alot to think and write about.

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