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John Bornhofen

March 1849 to 1931



  unknown of Coblenz


John listed that he came to the US c. 1865.

A grandchild posted to the internet that his family came from

Kamp Bornhofen,

 "a little town on the east side of the Rhine River about 50 miles northwest of Frankfurt."

married 4-13-1879


Catherine Merten

(source for marriage date is

Mary Utschig Read)




 Gert Bornhofen (Pfleger)


 plus 2 more deceased

John Jr. appears in the 1880 census, but in the 1900 census his mother lists herself as mother of 5, two surviving (Joe & Gert)


spouse's parents:

Joseph Merten


Gertrude Schmitz

(after his death, she remarried

to August Utschig)

maternal grandparents:


paternal grandparents:


Catherine's obituary places her in Chicago in 1876.

John reported his immigration date as 1865.

By his voter registration he was in Cook County almost immediately.

I have not yet been able to locate him in the 1870 census

Click on image to enlarge. Once enlarged, to zoom, move cursor to right of image, back onto image, and click again. If printing, several of these photos require you to select landscape orientation or the edges will be cut off. Photos with * loaned by one of Marie's daughters.

* clockwise from left: Joe B., Marie Pfleger, John & Catherine, Catherine P., Lou P., Gert holding Leona c. 1917

* John Bornhofen on right, son Joe on left, son-in-law Lou seated in front

label of previous

*clockwise starting far right: Mary Utschig Jann, Margaret Merten Bornhofen, ?, Katherine & Margaret Bitner

son Joseph

daughter Gertrude

Bornhofen's 50th 4/1929, see link below photo gallery to go to labeled copy

reverse of this marker at St. Mary's Cemetery, Evergreen Park, says "Bornhofen, father John 1849-1931, mother Catherine 1859-1930

photo labeled "Catherine Pfleger" (though it looks like Leona) included here because I wonder who is the nun?

To go to the labeled version of the Bornhofen anniversary photo, click here: Bornhofen's 50th

1880 census, Chicago:

John Bornhofen, occupation: carpenter, age 30, born in Germany

Wife Kate, 21, born in Wisconsin of parents born in Germany

Son John Jr. 11 months (the 1890 census did not survive, and by the 1900 census, there is no John Jr. in the Bornhofen house either. No idea what caused his death, but by 1900 his mother lists that she has given birth to 5, two surviving, and those two are Joseph and Gertrude).


1888 Chicago voter registration: John "Barnhoffer", born in Germany, of 579 27th St (same address become "Jno Bornhofen" in 1892 registration), resident of precinct for 8 yrs, of county and state for 24 (roughly matches 1865 immigration date)


1892 Chicago voter registration: Jno Bornhofen, 579 27th St, 14 years in precinct, 27 in county and state (matches 1865 immigration date), naturalized Oct. 1872 in Superior Court of Cook County. Listed near him are men of the name Bornhoeft, Bornhoft, Bornhofer, Bornholer, but he is the only Bornhofen.


1900 census, Chicago, Ward 5, Southtown, 27th St.:

John Bornhofen, born March 1849 in Germany, immigrated 1865, married 21 years, carpenter

Wife Kate, 41, born Dec. 1858 in Wisconsin of parents born in Germany, mother of 5, two surviving

Daughter Gertrude, 14, born August 1885 in Illinois

Son Joseph, 6, born May 1894 in Illinois.

1910 census, Chicago, 7429 Harvard: same essential information, but Gert is now listed as married for five years, and her husband, Lou Pfleger, 27-year-old cashier born in Michigan, and her daughter, two-year-old Marie, born in Illinois, are in the house as well.

1920 census, still 7429 Harvard: essentially the same information, but John lists his birthplace not as the generic Germany, but specifically as Coblenz. Son Joe now lists a profession, which appears to be "hooker" for the steel works. Gert and family are still in the house, with two more daughters added--Catherine and Leona.

1930 census, still 7429 Harvard: John finally does not list himself as a carpenter, having apparently retired at some point between 70 and 81 years old. He repeats the immigration date of 1865. His middle initial is added (John J.) as is wife, Kate's (Catherine A.) plus their ages at marriage are given as 30 and 21. Joe has married Katherine Bitner and moved out, but Gert and Lou are still there. Lou has become an accountant for a woolen goods manufacturer. Their oldest daughter, Marie C., 21, lists her occupation as teacher--dramatic arts.

Obituary from Southtown Economist Friday, July 25, 1930 (with misspellings left in place): Requiem high mass from Mrs. Katherine Bornhofen, 7429 Harvard ave., who died suddenly Sunday morning, was sung at the St. Carthage church, 7316 Yale ave. Wednesday morning. Mrs. Bornhofen was born in Maytown, Wis, in 1860. She moved to Chicago 54 years ago, and the last 24 years has lived at the same address on Harvard ave. She married John Bornhofen and they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in April, 1929. She was well known in church circles, having been a member of the Altar and Rosary society of St. Carthage church, the Catholic Order of Foresters, and the Luxenberger Sisters' society. Surviving her are her husband, one daughter, Mrs. L.J. Ffleger, and one son, Joseph J., both living at the address above. She also leaves to mourn her five sisters, Mrs. C.J. Eck, 7335 Vernon ave., Mrs. Anna Jann, 7419 Perry ave., Mrs. Mary Jann 5709 Wood st., Mrs. Benedict Bitner, Mt. Calvary, Wis., and Mrs. Paul Voell, Spokane, Wash., and one brother, Anthony Utschig, also of Mount Calvary, Wis. The burial was at St. Maria's cemetery.

According to their tombstone in St. Mary's Cemetery, Evergreen Park, John followed Catherine a year later.

One of Marie's children posted on Rootsweb that the Bornhofens came from Kamp Bornhofen, Germany, "a little town on the east side of the Rhine River about 50 miles northwest of Frankfurt...across the river from the Katz (cats) castle..."

Joe Bornhofen

Born 5-5-1894 (according to his draft card), Joe's census info is tracked above for 1900 to 1920. Additional paper trail: in 1918 he filled out his draft registration, listing his address as his parents' house on 7429 Harvard, his birth date at 5-5-1894, and his employment as identification clerk for Inland Steel Co. of Indiana Harbor, Indiana.

One of Marie Traut's daughters (Joe was Marie's uncle) said that she thought Joe worked as a bridge tender in later life. She also provided the photos above with Katherine Bitner, Joe's wife, and her sister, Margaret Bitner. Additionally one of Marie's sons posted on Rootsweb that Joseph was "married to my aunt Catherine Bitner Bornhofen." I can not find Joe in the 1930 census.

The Bitner/Bittner name comes up again on the Jann page (Joe's mother, Katherine Merten Bornhofen, was half sister to Mary and Anna Utschig, both of whom married sons of Johan Hubert Jann, whose daughter was Veronica Juliana Jann Bittner.


Connection: John's daughter & Joe's sister, Gert Bornhofen Pfleger, was sister-in-law to Irene Pfleger Wachdorf