1850 MO CENSUS - Catherine Behringer [Boehringer], age 55, b. Germany, is enumerated with Conrad, age 55, occupation laborer, b. Germany, along with Henry, age 26, occupation wagon maker, b. Germany, Gottlieb, age 22, occupation blacksmith, b. Germany, and William, age 18, occupation brick mason, b. Pennsylvania, and Mary, age 16, b. Pennsylvania.
1870 IL CENSUS - Kate Beringer, age 74, widowed, b. Wurtemberg [Wurttemberg], is enumerated in the home of Christian Bengert, age 31, b. Waldeck, and Maria (Mary?), age 33, b. Pennyslvania, along with Mary, age 4, b. Illinois, and William, age 6, b. Illinois. Also enumerated with the family is William Keller. age 23, occuaption grocer, b. Illinois.
The following is handed us by a German friend: "Wednesday evening, the members of the Ladies Society of the German Reformed Church of this city celebrated in a spirited, familiar way the 89th birthday of the oldest member, Mrs. [C] B[o]ehringer.
The residence of Mrs. M. Steiner was the rendezvous of the festival, and the old grandmother enjoyed the occasion very pleasantly among children, grandchildren and grandchildren’s children and friends. The table of the kind hostess deserves especial mention. With many kind wishes for the continued health of Grandmother B[o]ehringer, the friends of the aged lady departed for their several houses, well pleased with the evening’s entertainment."
Source - unidentified Salem newspaper [handwritten date of the occasion: Oct. 22, 1884]
FAMILY REUNION - Quite a number of the members of the Bangert and Boehringer families met at the residence of Judge J. J. Walton, 395 Center street, yesterday, to celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of the birth of Mrs. Boehringer, who is Mrs. Walton’s grandmother.
Oregon Statesman 23 Oct 1885 3:2
Mrs. Conrad Boehringer (Catharine Sabina) was the second wife of Conrad Boehringer of Bethel, MO. Conrad immigrated to America in 1830 where a child by the first wife died at Baltimore in that year just shortly after arrival. The first child by Catherine was born in 1832 in Pennsylvania. Further biographical information available.
Conrad, Christiana and their 7 children emigrated from Germany to America in 1830. Their youngest son died soon after arriving in Baltimore and then Christiana died.
By 1832 Conrad and Catharine (second wife) were married and living in PA where their two children were born - William in 1832 and Mary in 1835. By 1840 two more of his boys had died.
In 1845 the family consisted of Conrad, Catharine, Christian, Sabine Elisabethe, Henry, Gottlieb, William and Mary. Conrad became interested in the teachings of William Keil. He sold his property in PA and went with Keil and about 500 of his followers to Bethel, MO, where a self-sustaining communal society was formed. (Aurora was eventually an extension of this.)
1850 MO census shows family of Conrad, Catharine, Henry, Gottlieb, William and Mary. Christian is married to Catharine Schwaderer and has a daughter Elizabeth. They were enumerated separately. Daughter, Elisabeth, was working in another household and enumerated there.
Summary Biography(Source - Elisabeth Walton Potter, 15 Mar 2001, Revised 30 Nov 2010)
Catharine Boehringer was born Catharina Sabina (or Sabrina) Bezin in Württemberg, a principality in southwestern Germany, October 22, 1795. She was raised in Kirchberg, a village in the Jagst River valley outlying the town of Crailsheim. The Jagst is tributary to the Neckar, which in turn feeds into the Rhine at Germany’s western border with France. Württemberg historically has been a predominantly agricultural state, with Stuttgart its principal city.
In the time of Catharine’s childhood, Duke Frederick of Württemberg had raised the old Duchy of Swabia and adjacent territory to a powerful state. Enlarged from time to time by the duke’s varied conquests and alliances, Württemberg was nonetheless strained by the Napoleonic wars. Frederick had been obliged to furnish 16,000 troops for Napoleon’s disastrous Russian campaign before joining other German princes in final opposition to the French emperor in 1813. Frederick’s son, William I, forged a constitutional monarchy.
Catharine’s future husband, Conrad Boehringer, a farmer, was first married about 1817 to Christiana, who bore him seven children before the family emigrated to America in 1830. Entries in the Walton family Bible show that a child born in 1829 died at Baltimore on July 6, 1830. His mother, Christiana, died soon thereafter. Pennsylvania had long been a favored settlement area for the German speaking people emigrating to America in great numbers in the nineteenth century. There, about 1831, the widower married Catharine Bezin, whose first child, William, was born in 1832, and a daughter, Mary, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1835.
In the western part of the state, certain Protestant fundamentalist sects flourished under charismatic leaders such as George Rapp, founder of the Harmony Society at Economy, northwest of Pittsburgh, and the German emigré William (Wilhelm) Keil. Keil arrived in America in 1831, briefly finding a home in the Methodist Church, where he absorbed the evangelistic style of preaching before breaking from the organized church to go his own way. Preaching in and around Pittsburgh, he attracted others of Germanic background.
For a time, Keil and his followers lived in Philipsburg, a town at the northern reach of the Allegheny Mountains in Centre County. They adhered to plain living and practiced self sufficiency, producing for their own needs and for the outside world to the extent necessary to sustain the community. Unlike Shaker and Rappite doctrines, Keil’s credo did not include celibacy.
In 1844, Keil and his group moved west of the Mississippi River to set up their communistic society at Bethel, Shelby County, Missouri. In the 1850s, Keil’s followers established additional colonies at Nineveh, Missouri and at Willapa, in Washington Territory. The Willapa Bay colony was relocated to Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 1856 upon Keil’s arrival in the Pacific Northwest. Keil and his western colonizers developed the farming settlement of Aurora, in Marion County. The Aurora Cooperative Society continued even after William Keil’s death in 1877, but was disbanded in 1881 with due division of all remaining property held in common. The Society was officially dissolved in 1883.
The Boehringers had come from a farming culture in the Old World. Some of the older sons were blacksmiths and wagon makers. The family followed Keil to Bethel. The oldest son, Christian Philip, arrived at Bethel in 1845, married a daughter of Louis Schwader, and in 1855 left for the Pacific Northwest, eventually settling on the outskirts of Aurora. While Christian Boehringer and his wife, the former Catherine Schwader, never formally joined the Oregon colony, they maintained a close connection to it through cultural and family ties, and, in time they drew others of their family to Marion County. Their farmhouse still stands, through in greatly altered state, westerly of the town, at the northwest corner of the intersection of Aurora-Donald Road and Boone’s Ferry Road.
Conrad Boehringer died in March 1869, presumably at Bethel. Wheras his first-born son and his family had gone west to join the Aurora Colony, Mary, the youngest child, moved to Quincy, Illinois, where she was married to a German-speaking widower, Christian Bangert. Mary became the stepmother of two small children, Frederick William and Mary Elizabeth Bangert. Mary Boehringer Bangert bore her husband two children of her own who died in early childhood. After Mary’s husband succumbed to yellow fever in 1876, Mary and her mother came west on the transcontinental railroad with Mary’s stepchildren to be reunited with the Christian Boehringers in Aurora. Obituary information based on family tradition gives the date of arrival in Oregon as July, 1879. Mary and her stepchildren appear to have worked in various households in the environs of Aurora long enough to get established. Later in 1879, it appears, Catharine relocated to Salem with her daughter Mary and the stepchildren.
In Salem, in 1882, Mary’s stepdaughter, Mary Elizabeth Bangert, a girl of 16, was married to the widower James Walton, a U. S. Commissioner. The following year, Mary Boehringer Bangert and Judge Walton’s bachelor brother, John Spencer Walton, were joined in marriage. The two couples maintained a joint household at Center and 12th Streets that included Catharine Boehringer as well as the four children raised by James and Mary Elizabeth. Mary and John had no children.
Catharine lived to a notably old age for her day, and on her 89th birthday was complimented by an entertainment arranged by the Ladies Society of Salem’s German Reformed Church, of which she was the oldest member. In her ninetieth year, Catharine sat for a studio portrait by Salem photographer W. P. Johnson. The studio photograph was used as the model for an enlarged cloth-backed oil-on-paper painting by James Walton that was signed and dated 1885 and titled in German, “The Grandmother.” The painted portrait is among Boehringer family artifacts given to the Aurora Colony Historical Society in 1983 and 1984. Catharine Boehringer died April 16, 1893 at the age of 97. She is buried in Salem’s Odd Fellows Cemetery in the plot of John S. and Mary Boehringer Walton.