Larchwood Centennial Biographies:

The B's

Jacob Bahr was born October 20, 1862, at Luderbach Hessen, Germany. He came to the United States in 1880, working first as a carpenter in Illinois and then moving to Benton county, Iowa., where he was a well driller. On March 7, 1888, at Garrison, Iowa., Jacob married Gesina Brandt, who was born in July of 1861. They had two daughters-Anna (Mrs. Albert Hecht), deceased, and Carrie (Mrs. William Hecht), Larchwood. The Bahrs came to Larchwood in 1892 and settled on a farm northeast of Larchwood. Jacob passed away June 15, 1926, and Gesina on January 7, 1933.

Thomas Giles Bennett was born at Hull, Iowa, on October 4, 1877. His wife, Amelia Moeller, was born at Davenport, Iowa, on November 15, 1876. They were married March 10, 1901, on the family farm near Larchwood. They became the parents of seven children - Inez (Mrs. Clyde Hansen), Yucaipa, CA.; Virgil - married to Alice Jacobson, Valley Springs, SD; Dale-married to Miriam DeGrott, Riverside CA; Earl- married to Jeanne Price, McAlester, OK; Bernice, Sylvia, and Morton - who married June Hawks, all of Sioux Falls, SD. The Bennetts were farmers and were in the cattle-raising business. Their farm was located near Granite, IA. They were members of the Grandview Covenant church. Thomas passed away on February 14, 1943, in Sioux Falls, SD. Amelia is 95 years old and lived with her daughters in Sioux Falls.
Photo of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett

Emil Bjork, son of Herbert and Ella Bjork, was born August 3, 1924. On October 13, 1946, he married Lorraine Edmundson, who was born July 30, 1919. They have two sons-Arnie and Roger, both of Larchwood. Emil has been with the Security Savings Bank for 25 years and is currently serving as vice-president.

Herbert Bjork was born September 1, 1888, and his wife, Ella Munson, on March 21, 1883, both in Sweden. They were married October 5, 1912, and became the parents of four children - Ruth (Mrs. Ed Hansen), Emil - married to Lorraine Edmundson, and Virgil - who married Burnice Hendrickson, all of Larchwood; and Raymond - married to Eunice Scott, Valley Springs, SD. Herbert came to the United States in 1910 and Ella in 1911. They started farming in 1913 and farmed in the Larchwood area until 1946, when they retired. They moved to Valley Springs, SD where they still reside.

Virgil Bjork was born June 30, 1915; and was married on November 27, 1941, to Burnice Hendrickson, who was born February 6, 1920. They are the parents of four children Carol (Mrs. Warren Johnson), Hermitage, TN, Cheryl and Barbara, both of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Keith at home. The Bjorks have lived on the home place since their marriage. They have one grandchild.

William Blaine was born on November 8, 1871, in Wisconsin, and moved to Lyon County, Iowa., in 1888. He batched for a while with Jake Riegel and Ed McKelvey. Bill then married Ethel Johnson in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on February 16, 1898. Ethel was born September 18 1876. Bill and Ethel were parents of Laura Forslund, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, (her daughter, Kay Parks, now Mrs. Elwyn Kriger, and son Scott Fredrick, live at Minneapolis) and Jean (Mrs. Herman Schreurs) of Larchwood. They farmed for a time and then moved to an acreage near Larchwood. The Blaines were active in the Methodist church, and Bill was a charter member of the Masonic Lodge. Bill passed away April 16, 1923, and Ethel on November 27, 1969.

Axel Bonander was born in Sweden on September 20, 1882. He came to the United States in 1900 and lived in Illinois until 1905, when he moved to Rowena, SD. On May 12, 1906, at Sioux Falls, SD. Axel married Olga Hildring, who was born on May 15, 1886, in Norway. She came to the United States with her mother in 1889 to join her father, Edward Hildring, who had arrived earlier. Axel and Olga became the parents of seven children- Oscar, Edgar, Harold - married to Vernice Wightman, Russell - married to Doris Young, and Axel Jr. - who married Donna Mae Hocke, all of Larchwood; Evelyn (Mrs. E.J. Poirier), Orofino, Idaho; and Mildred (Mrs. W. L. Hammitt), Sioux Falls, SD. Axel and Olga farmed in the Rowena, SD area until 1907 when they moved to Sioux Township . In 1913 they moved to their present farm six miles northwest of Larchwood. They have been residents of Sioux township for 64 years. Axel has served for 45 consecutive years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Granite Savings Bank, which is now the Security Savings bank of Larchwood. The Bonanders are charter members of the Grandview Covenant church. They have seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Axel and Olga still live on their farm, together with their sons Oscar and Edgar.

Harold Bonander, son of Olga and Axel Bonander, was born April 9, 1914; and Vernice Wightman, daughter of Ida and Irving Wightman, was born October 9, 1918. They were both born and raised in the Larchwood area. Harold and Vernice were married March 11, 1941, at the Community Church in Larchwood. To this marriage two children were born, Jessie, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Rodney, Vermillion, S.D. Harold served in the army air corps during World War II. He has been associated with the Security Savings Bank for 38 years and was elected president in January, 1960.

Edward Bontje was born in Holland on June 8, 1901, and came to the United States in 1921. On February 9, 1926, at Tyler, Minn., Edward married Johanna Bakker, who was born May 1, 1899. The couple has seven children-Elizabeth (Mrs. Robert Gacke) and John (Jack)-married to Shirley Galles, both of Larchwood; Louis, married to Ellen Cook, Lester, Iowa; Donald-who married Jean Mundt, Janesville, Wisconsin; Janet (Mrs. Gary Mlujeak), Traverse City, Michigan.; Mary Anne (Mrs. Kermit Bjerke), Bemidji, Minnesota; and Shirley (Mrs. Vern Voorman), Park Rapids, Minnesota The Bontjes farmed in the Larchwood and Lester, Iowa., vicinity until 1961, when they moved into Larchwood and later to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Edward was a custodian at St. Lambert's church and school until his retirement.

Gerrit Bontje, born November 23, 1893, was married in Holland on September 30, 1921, to Franceine Goosens, who was born July 16, 1894. This marriage was blessed with six children-Wilma (Mrs. Louis Zacher), Bowman, North Dakota; Anthony, married to Charlotte Murphy, Edward, married to Theresa Vlaming, Antoinette and Gary, all of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.; and Franceine (Mrs. Bob Hemauer), White Hall, Wisconsin. The Gerrit Bontjes came to Larchwood in November of 1952. They farmed east of Larchwood with his brother, Bill, for 11 years and then retired to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1963.

Jacob Bontje was born June 16, 1889. Having been sponsored by the Henry Bruggemans, Jacob came from Holland to the Henry Bruggeman farm in March of 1911. He then farmed with his brother, Bill, for many years. Jacob passed away on March 5, 1950.

John A. Bontje and Wilhelmina Grooteman were married on September 6, 1887, in Holland. John was born January 27, 1856, and Wilhelmina on January 25, 1866. They became the parents of 10 children; Jacob, Margaret, Simon, Adrian, and John (all deceased); Gerrit, married to Franceine Goosens, Edward, married to Johanna Bakker, and William, all of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Anthony (Tony), who married Wilma Blokker, Artesia, California; and Antoinette (Mrs. Bert VanRuiten), Lodi, California. John passed away on June 8, 1914. In October of 1921, Wilhelmina and four of her children came to live with Jacob on the farm east of Larchwood. Wilhelmina passed away on May 1, 1935.

William Bontje, son of John and Wilhelmina Bontje, was born on June 27, 1905, in Holland, and came to Larchwood in 1921. Bill farmed east of Larchwood with his brother, Jacob. He moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1963.

Roy Bratcher was born in Peoria, Illinois, on January 3, 1881. He married Mary Verschoor, who was born in the Netherlands in 1882. Their family consisted of three girls and one boy, Lillian (Neil), Nora Springs, Iowa; Eleanor (Gottlob), Larchwood; Margaret (Pease), Seattle, Washington; and Robert of Petersberg, Virginia. They moved to Larchwood in 1925 and then to Seattle, Washington, in 1943. Both Mary and Roy passed away in Seattle, he in October of 1948 and she on December 11, 1956.

Lambert Breuer was born June 5, 1886, at Cassville, Wisconsin, and came to Larchwood in 1892. He married Magdalena Kircher at Cherokee, Iowa. She was born in 1864 at LaCrosse, Wisconsin. To this union five children were born; Tillie (Mrs. Frank Schreurs), deceased; William-married to Carrie McCarty, Marie (Mrs. Ed Richarz), and Agnes (Mrs. Joe Nicolai), all of Larchwood; and Everett-who married Hilda Carlson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Breuers settled on a farm near Larchwood, where they lived for 22 years. Lambert helped build Larchwood's first Catholic Church, of which he and his wife were life-long members. Lambert was a charter member of the Men's Catholic Order of Foresters. Magdalena's brothers, John and Jake Kircher, were early settlers and had the first lumber yard and carpenter trade here. A great tragedy happened on the Breuer farm in May of 1912. Two Lester men, Charlie Bull and Charlie Finck, lost their lives in a gas-filled well. The Breuers retired in 1937 and moved to Larchwood. Magdalena passed away May 5, 1947, and Lambert on March 13, 1950.

William Breuer was born in Cherokee County May 20, 1891, and came with his parents to Lyon County in 1892. He was married to Carrie McCarty on May 5, 1914 at St. Mary's Church in Larchwood. She was born October 20, 1892. Six children blessed their home, Sister Mildred (deceased); Ella Marie (Mrs. Wayne Doss), Salem, South Dakota.; Robert, married to Gloria Lynch and Eileen (Mrs. William Kerkvliet), both of Larchwood; Donald, who married Joan Doyle, Aberdeen, South Dakota; and Betty Lou (Mrs. Irvin Schreurs), Baltic, South Dakota. Bill was a charter member of the Men's Catholid Order of Foresters. The Breuers' farming career ended when they retired and moved into Larchwood in 1958.

Anthony Bruggeman was born November 16, 1868, in Germany, and Winifred Nichols was born July 22, 1870, in Porter, Wisconsin. The couple was married November 28, 1893. There were 12 children born to this union, Josephine, Frances, and Joseph (all deceased); Minnie (Mrs. Edward Conway), Bettendorf, Iowa., William, who married Aleta Strong, Richland, Washington.; Elizabeth, Gertrude, Genevieve, and Charles-married to Fern Stafford, all of Seattle, Washington; Henrietta (Mrs. Nathaniel Hanson), Redmond, Oregon; Mary (Mrs. Austin O'Leary), San Diego, California; and George-who married Fern McQuade, Torrance, California. Anthony came to America and settled in Chicago shortly after the big Chicago fire of 1871. After a few years he decided to go west to Remsen, Iowa., where he broke prairie for $8 a month, and later came to Larchwood and farmed southwest of town. In 1917 the Bruggemans moved to Marshall, Minn., and later homesteaded in Lyman County on the Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota. Winifred passed away April 29, 1920, and Anthony on September 21, 1949.

August Bruggeman was born April 4, 18__, in Larchwood. His wife, Catherine Snyder, was born April 30, 1903, at Breda, Ia. They were married January 15, 1924, at Larchwood, and became the parents of seven children; Patricia (Mrs. Russell Wright), Rowena, South Dakota; Cleona (Mrs. James Kellar), Rapid City, South Dakota; Leonard-married to Orphadel Schubert, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Norbert, who married Theresa Snyders, Garretson, South Dakota; Jerry, married to Sharon McCarty, Valley Springs, South Dakota; Maureen (Mrs. John McCarthy), Mt. Clemens, Michigan; and Donald, who married Rosemary Ripperda, Larchwood. The August Bruggemans still live nine miles west of Larchwood, where they have farmed for 48 years. August and Catherine have 34 grandchildren.

Henry Bruggeman was born May 5, 1862, at Balve, Germany. The family came to the United States in 1872 and settled in Chicago. Ill.; where Henry attended school until the age of 17. He continued his father's occupation of scientific gardening in the Chicago area. In 1891 he came to Centennial Township, where he was a farmer and stock raiser. Henry and Nellie Clercx were married in St. Mary's Church, at Larchwood, on January 22, 1895. The couple was blessed with 12 children-John, Ellie, Henry, Jr., (Hap), and Paul (all deceased); Agnes (Sister M. Esther R.S.M.) and Leona (Sister M. Leonard), both of Long Island, N.Y.; Helen (Mrs. Neil Kelly), Mary (Mrs. Roy Viereck), Ray-a World War II veteran, August-who married Catherine Snyder, and Esther (Mrs. Robert Tracy), all of Larchwood; and Loreine (Mrs. Lester Phelan), Flandreau, S.D. The Bruggeman now lives on the 560-acre home place. The large maple and ash grove planted in the early years has more than doubled in size by self-planting volunteers. Photo of Henry Bruggeman Family

John Bruggeman born December 12, 1898, and Irene McGuire, born May 4, 1900, were married on January 24, 1922. They had two sons: Clement, married to Delores Reznich, Omaha, Nebraska, and Cletus, married to Rose Tobin, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Irene passed away in November of 1927. John married Vera Quinlivan on June 22, 1936. She was born January 29, 1903. In their family are Mary (Mrs. Ronald Plucker) and Dennis, married to Sharon Lemke, both of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Thomas, who married Pamela Reistroffer, Glendora, California. John passed away December 2, 1964. Vera resides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and is currently teaching at St. Mary's school in Larchwood.

Paul Bruggeman, born October 1, 1918, at Sioux Falls, S.D., was married June 1, 1944, at Larchwood, to Eileen Krier, who was born October 30, 1923, at Emery, S.D. They became the parents of six children-Linda (Mrs. Chuck Andersen), Sioux Falls, S.D.; Bonnie (Mrs. Emory Rodgers), Rosemary (Mrs. Jerry Reinke), Larry, Jim, and Julie, all of Larchwood; and Kenneth of Sheldon, Ia. The Bruggemans make their home southwest of Larchwood. Paul passed away October 8, 1967.

Robert Bruggeman was born November 14, 1920, at Larchwood, to William and Catherine Bruggeman. On June 27, 1950, he married Beatrice Gacke, of Alvord, at the Sacred Heart Church. Beatrice was born February 25, 1927. Robert and Beatrice have four children-Gwendolyn, Minneapolis, Minn.; Mark, Craig and Colleen, all at home. The Bruggemans are the third generation on the farm on which they reside.

William Bruggeman was born on February 28, 1892, to Herman and Amelia Bruggeman. He spent his early childhood near Des Moines, Ia., and later moved to Templeton, Ia., before coming to Larchwood. He served in World War I William married Catherine Roemen on February 10, 1920. Catherine is the daughter of Hubert and Helena Roemen, of Larchwood, and was born October 4, 1900. Seven children were born to this union: Robert-married to Beatrice Gacke, Maurice, and William J., all of Larchwood; Vincent-married to Betty Krier, and Audrey (Mrs. Earl Schwenck), both of Sioux Falls, S.D.; Roger-who married Jannette Gau, Denver, Colo.; and Helen (Mrs. Daryl Miller) of LeMars, Ia. Robert, Vincent, and Maurice all were in the service of their country. Catherine and William settled on a farm in Centennial Township southwest of Larchwood. In 1962 they built a new home and retired in Larchwood.

Ray Burkard was born at Trent, S.D., on June 16,1927, and Anna Scholten on May 31, 1930, at Alvord, Ia. They were married at St. Mary's Church, in Larchwood, on February 10, 1953. Ray and Ann are the parents of five children-Virginia, Richard, Helen, Mark and William, all at home. They farmed in the Dell Rapids area until moving to a farm southeast of Larchwood in 1962. Ray is a navy veteran of World War II and was in the army in the Korean conflict.


Aaron Calvin Burns was born on August 11, 1854, in Pondelas county, Wisc., and married Emma Engold of Graetinger, IA. One daughter, Pearle (deceased) was born to this marriage. Emma passed away in 1889. On June 20, 1892, at Orange City, IA., Aaron married Clara Ollye Brown of LeMars, IA. She was born Oct. 14, 1868.

They were the parents of - Ollye (Harvey), Roy (circuit judge) - married to Lorene Byrnes, and Clarence - who married Dorothy Skillman, all of Sioux Falls, SD.; Melvin - married to Arlie Pruitt, Rock Rapids, IA; and Florence (Mrs. Harold Engelmann), Carlsbad, CA. In 1882 the Burns homesteaded on a tree claim near Howard, SD, and then moved to Sioux Center, IA, before coming to Larchwood in 1897. Aaron established a livery and dray line business until 1915 and then farmed near Larchwood. For 25 years he served on the town council and was constable of Larchwood. Clara passed away on Jan 14, 1927, and Aaron on May 27, 1942.