News Flashes!

Greetings from Southern California and Happy Holidays!

You will find Richard’s and Emiko’s holiday message and some choice photos of events at:

Happy Holidays – 2003

Happy Holidays -2002


National Historic Site Recognition and Maintenance

Since our Mausoleum has been essentially restored, it is appropriate that we now rename this site as the Ernst Showengerdt Family Mausoleum Preservation Society. A new challenge is now before us. How long can we preserve this historic and cultural treasure? Last year Richard made an appeal asking that someone take up the work originated by one of the cousins, Theresa Blattner, to obtain recognition of the Mausoleum as a National historic landmark. However, to this date no one has volunteered and because the number of our family members who are willing and able to help maintain the Mausoleum has been dwindling over the years and the burden is resting now upon only a few, it is necessary that the family take steps soon to ensure its survival. This could best be provided by donating the Mausoleum to the state of Missouri in exchange for historic recognition and maintenance. Since none of the family members objected to this proposal Richard plans to contact the State of Missouri this year and present a proposal to the State that would include donation of Mausoleum to the State in exchange for establishment of historic site recognition, maintenance of the building, continued visitation privileges by family members, and burial rights within the Mausoleum if desired by any family members, all of which would extend into perpetuity. If the State accepts the proposal, the family would go forward with the necessary legal documents that would need to be signed by all living members of the family who have a vital interest in the Mausoleum. Richard would appreciate any comments concerning this plan.

Please not the changes to this site such as the new name, new counter, new map and additional links.


2001 Events

New front door installed:

Photos by Ruth Schreiner



Trip To Missouri – 2001

A major event in 2001 was the marriage of Richard’s and Emiko’s daughter, Maria Tomiko Schowengerdt, to Dr. Otto-Georg Richter in December 2001; they now reside in Adendorf, Germany.  Another family marriage also occurred during 2001 in Arizona where Richard’s neice, Jennifer Schowengerdt, married Jose Jesu Rico. 

When this homepage was launched on the Internet over five years ago, Richard thought it best to summarize the history of the Schowngerdt Family Mausoleum and the prior ten years effort in maintaining this splendid edifice.




Ernst Schowengerdt – A Brief Biography

Ernst Jacob Schowengerd (“t” was added in the U.S.A.) was born in Lienen near Munster, Germany, in 1824.  His mother was Anna Maria Rahen and his father was Johann Adolph Brinkmann.  Johann’s previous wife was Anna Catharina Schowengerd and Johann had assumed the Schowengerd farm name as his surname.  Anna Catharina died in 1808 leaving only one son Friedrich Wilhelm Schowengerd as a result of that union.  After the death of her husband in 1830, Anna Maria decided to sell their farm in Lienen and planned to emigrate to the U.S.A. with her two sons and two daughters.  Friedrich Wilhelm, later referred to as simply “William,” left first for America with his wife, Catharina Sophia Elisabeth Hilgedieck, in 1834.  William and Elisabeth lived most of their lives near Marthasville, Missouri, where they died and were buried.  Another son of Anna Maria’s, Eberhard Friedrich Wilhelm Schowengerd, also preceded his mother to America in 1835; he was later referred to as simply “Friedrich” and initially settled in Marthasville, probably with William.  Friedrich later moved to Berger, Missouri, and finally to Independence where he died in 1899.  Ernst came to America in 1837 at the age of thirteen with his mother Anna Maria and two sisters, Anna Catharine and Friederike Elisabeth.  The youngest sister, Friederike Elisabeth, is believed to have died of cholera in the port of New Orleans shortly after their arrival.  The eldest sister, Anna Catharine, later married and moved to Illinois but her husband’s last name is unknown.  At age 20 Ernst married Elizabeth Huckriede, resided on his farm in Hopewell, and reared seven children.  Two sons, John W. and Franklin E., played a significant role in the development of Warren and Montgomery Counties.  In 1880 Ernst and two associates, Henry Kamp and John Middlekamp, bought one thousand acres of land at one dollar per acre.  In 1867 Ernst moved to Warrenton and purchased a mercantile store where he and his sons, John and Franklin, built an extensive trade.  Ernst was very public spirited and served two terms as treasurer of Warren County.  He also built a spacious home for himself and family in Warrenton which remains to this day a beautiful and historic monument to his achievements.  Elizabeth died in 1885 and in 1887 Ernst married Sarah Shellorz Wightman, widow of Thomas F. Wightman of St. Louis, at the same time that his son, Franklin, married Laura Lorena Wightman, Sarah’s daughter, in a most unique double wedding ceremony of Father-Son marrying Mother-Daughter!  Franklin continued to live in the Warrenton home until his death in 1960.  This property was later donated in trust to the Missouri Historical Society by Margaret and Neal, children of Franklin and Laura; Margaret continued to live in the home until her death in 2002 at age 101 after which it was turned over to the State of Missouri in accordance with the trust agreement.  Neal died at age 93 on 16 August 1992.

In 1873 John W. Schowengerdt married Caroline Marie H. Strack, daughter of Rev. Charles Strack of Pitts, and continued in the mercantile business with his brother, Franklin, for several more years in Warrenton.  However, in 1882 failing health compelled John to take up residence on a farm in Bellflower which Ernst had given to him.  In 1886 Ernst built this beautiful mausoleum for his family in Bellflower where he was buried upon his death in 1891.  John’s health improved on the farm and laid out the town of Bellflower in 1891.  He built a handsome residence in town and established a thriving merchandising business there.  The children of John W. and Caroline were: Maggie E., born in 1875; Ernest C., born in 1877; George H. V., born in 1881; Lizzie Mary, born in 1884; Carry L., born in 1886; Katie A., born in 1889; Henry B., born in 1891; and John H., born in 1894.  All of these children are now deceased and their descendants are residing throughout the United States but predominantly in: O’Fallon, Jefferson City, Mexico, Winfield, St. Peters, and St. Louis, Missouri; Long Beach, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Mission Viejo, San Luis Obispo, Foster City, and Costa Mesa, California; Alexandria, Virginia; and Tucson, Arizona.

     Note:  Major source was Rev. Charles Wesley Schowengerdt, Our Schowengerdt Heritage, 1973. Clarifications of emigration records were obtained courtesy of : (1) Don Ebbeler citing excerpts from Friedrich E. Hunsche, Auswanderer – Chronik der Gemeinde Lienen, 1990;and (2) Wilhelm Hilgedieck who provided copies of original emigration papers from Lienen.


Major Events in 2000

Visit by Dr. Otto-G Richter to Costa Mesa

In November 2000 Richard and Emiko were surprised and greatly pleased by a visit to California by their relative and Chief Genealogist for the Bernbeck Family, Dr. Otto Richter, who just happened to be attending a conference in their town of Costa Mesa, of all places in the world!  This was a great but short visit; see the link below for a few select photos.

Otto’s Visit – October 2000

Emiko and Richard S.  had a wonderful vacation in June 2000; they visited England for the first time and were met by a lovely Masonic couple, Douglas and Ann Black, who were their hosts for a visit to the Grand Lodge of England and showed them around London where Emiko and Ann enjoyed the play “Cats” while Douglas and Richard attended lodge.  Richard was initiated into the English “Table Lodge” procedure with an excellent dinner and a series of “toasts” following a Third Degree.  In spite of confusion with the “round-a-bouts” or “traffic circles” as we would call them, Richard and Emiko still managed to drive from the London area to Portchester, Winchester, and Windsor Castle where they traced the paths of some of their royal ancestors on the Strack-Bernbeck side of the family, mostly the early Anglo-Saxon kings.  Then they drove to Dover where they saw the the famous White Cliffs and took a high speed ferry boat to Ostende, Belgium.  They picked up another car there and drove to Utrecht, Holland, where they stayed while visiting Amsterdam and Den Haag.  Then they drove on to Kattenvenne, Germany, for a reunion with Anna and Gerhard Schowengerd, Wilhelm and Inge Hilgedieck, and others in the Kattenvene area.  Finally they left for Bad Neuenahr where they visited with Otto Richter and family and on to the Bernbeck Reunion near Giessen; Joseph & Gisela Lischka were their hosts for this reunion and provided a beautiful golf course and restaurant facility in Winnerod for this event.  Everyone Richard and Emiko met along the way provided them with the most gracious hospitality and they will always cherish the memory of this glorious trip.   It was a great vacation and they have a treasure trove of photos and documents to share with the family members.  However, because of limited space on this website and the fact that they no longer have access to storage on other websites, they are unable to provide a direct link from this site but if you send them an email they will be pleased to send you any of these documents and photos.  Richard and Emiko would also be very remiss if they failed to mention the hospitality of Alex & Ingrid Rabenau who invited them to their home in Frankfurt and gave them a tour of Frankfurt Am Main.  Dr. Otto Richter has provided his page with German text and some very nice photos of the reunion shown on the link below:

Bernbeck Strack Home Page

Familientage der Bernbeck-Familie

Bilder vom letzen Familientag am 17. und 18. Juni 2000 


1999 Reunions

There was a great SCHOWENGERDT REUNION on Friday, June 4th, which began at Christ United Methodist Church, 14506 39th Street, Independence, Missouri, with over 120 relatives in attendance.  The family members visited local Schowengerdt sites around Independence on Saturday and the Heritage Trip across Missouri started on Sunday morning, 6 June, and concluded on Monday, 7 June.  Sites of early German ancestors visited included Chamois, Herman, Berger, Marthasville, Warrenton, and Bellflower, among others.  Highlights on June 7th were:  (1) the Warren County Historical Museum, founded by Neal and Margaret Schowengerdt; (2) the former home of Ernst Schowengerdt in Warrenton and at the time of the reunion was occupied by Margarent Schowengerdt (now deceased), daughter of Franklin Schowengerdt; (3) the Ernst Schowengerdt Mausoleum in Bellflower; (4) the Schowengerdt Memorial Church in Bellflower; and (5) the private museum of Raymond and Vivian Layer in Bellflower.  The family has Dean Schowengerdt of the Frederick Schowengerdt clan to thank for this most successful reunion.  Further details on this reunion may be obtained from: Dean Schowengerdt and photos may be viewed at:  1999 Schowngerdt Reunion


Richard and Emiko had another great reunion on Richard’s Grandmother Strack’s side of the family in Washington, Missouri, on October 23rd!  There were over 80 present counting small children who are also the descendants of this notable line.  See the report and lots of nice photos at: Brenbeck-Hauptstamm Strack I Reunion


1998 Events

Emiko and Richard spent a wonderful vacation in Missouri and Europe in May-June 1998.  They spent the Memorial Day weekend in Bellflower, inspected and cleaned up the Mausoleum, and attended the Bellflower Cemetery Association Dinner and Annual Meeting.  Richard made a report on the Mausoleum work which was just completed.  The structure was in good condition at that time and Richard reported that the family need only replace the door and shutters and complete some inside refinements to restore it to first class condition.  Then Richard and Emiko continued on to Germany where they visited relatives and made interesting motor trips along the Rhine


Reunion In Germany



Karoline Marie Strack Schowengerdt

This portrait of Richard’s dear favorite Grandmother Karoline Marie Strack Schowengerdt is in the Mausoleum.

She often held Richard on her lap and fed him “Eine Brokfast” (hot milk and bread) when he was a child.  Richard has many fond memories of life with her when he lived in the big house in Bellflower during the depression years.  The family would shut off some of the rooms  in the Winter months to save heating costs and Richard had lots of fun playing hide-and-go seek in this big fourteen room house.


The family is deeply grateful for the following donations received during 1996/1997:

Mindy Schowengerdt Scott/Mark Scott, St. Peters, Mo.
Cindy Schowengerdt Bush/Mike Bush, Winfield, Mo.
Harold E. Schowengerdt/Sandy, Foster City, Ca.
John W. Schowengerdt (Bud)/Inez, Livingston, Ca.
Thelma Schowengerdt Loring/Philip Loring, Sacramento, Ca.
Dean Schowengerdt/Marjorie Schowengerdt, Wamego, Ks.
Margaret Schowengerdt (Daughter of Henry S.), Jefferson City, Mo.
Margaret Schowengerdt (Daughter of Franklin S.), Warrenton, Mo.
Mildred Kamp Dowling/Kerry Dowling, Montgomery City, Mo.
Helen Hoffman Schowengerdt Bassen/Ray Bassen, St. Louis, Mo.
Franklin D. Schowengerdt/Ellen J. Schowengerdt, Golden, Co.
Margaret & Henry B. Schowengerdt, Jefferson City, Mo.
Mary Berger Eisele, Mexico, Mo.

The family is very grateful for the major donations in 2001 by Franklin and Ellen Schowengerdt for the new shutters and for Richard and Emiko Schowengerdt for the new front door.  The family also appreciates other donations received on a regular basis from Mildred Dowling.