Berend Klukkert

By Christine Klukkert

Altendorf area on LeCoq’s 1805 map of Grafschaft Bentheim, Germany

A portion of General Major von Le Coq‘s Grafschaft Bentheim map (1805) depicting the community of Altendorf. Berend Klukkert was born here in 1847.

Berend Klukkert (Klukkers) was born February 4, 1847 in Altendorf, the youngest of four children. His father Geerd Klukkers was born in Bimolten and was by occupation a weaver. Berend’s mother was Fenne Harmsen, who was born in Bakelde.

Berend had two older sisters who were also born in Altendorf: Aale on January 9, 1838, and Fenne on September 22, 1840. He had an older brother who was also named Berend, born on January 12, 1844. He died just over a year later, on May 22, 1845. Geerd and Fenne Klukkers used the name Berend again for their second son  (the subject of this biography). In September of 1854, when Berend was seven years old, his father Geerd died in Frensdorf of tuberculosis at the young age of 42.

Berend Klukkert Emigrates to Missouri

In 1867 Berend emigrated to America aboard the ship S.S. Manhattan; he was 21 years old. The New York Passenger Lists record states that he departed Liverpool, England, with a stop in Queenstown, Ireland before arriving at the port of New York on October 4.

It is not known how Berend went west upon his arrival, although one of his son’s obituaries states that he got a job with the railroad. Perhaps that is why there are no records of Berend on any censuses until 1880.

  • The first American record of Berend is February 4, 1872, when on his 25th birthday he married Amanda Jane Johnson in her native Madison County, Missouri.
  • In 1874, Berend bought a plot of land for $300 across from Amanda’s father in Fredericktown, St. Michael Township, Madison County, Missouri.
  • In March 1877, Berend and Amanda sold the original farm and moved to a bigger property about a mile east of Fredericktown.
  • The next record is found in the June 1880 Federal Census. He is still in Missouri and listed as a farmer with Amanda and their five children.

From Missouri to California

Berend Klukkert sold their Missouri property in November 1881, and he, Amanda, and their now six children took the train to California. In 1882 Berend purchased 170 acres in Shasta County, in what is now known as Anderson, California. When he filed a declaration of Homestead on this property in 1885, the 170 acres contained 8,000 grapevines, 500 fruit trees, 20 acres of grain, and ¼ acre of blackberries.

On October 7, 1886, Berend appeared in the Shasta County court and became a U.S. citizen. He was 38 years old.

For years, Berend and his sons ran a produce and truck garden—with his oldest son loading up a wagon with fresh produce and driving it all over Shasta and Trinity Counties, where he would sell to miners and others. He then would sell the wagon and team of horses and return to the farm by train to start all over again. Berend was well known in the region for his excellent grapevines and, in particular, his fine peach crop.

Berend’s Family and Final Years

Berend and Amanda had ten children. The first six were born in Fredericktown, Missouri, and the last four in Anderson, California:

  1. Fritz—born on December 11, 1872
  2. Mary—known as “Minnie,” born on January 23, 1873
  3. Lillian—born on December 12, 1875
  4. Fannie—born on February 6, 1878
  5. Garrett Henry—born on December 6, 1879
  6. John—born on October 24, 1881
  7. Jennie—born on June 4, 1884 (twin)
  8. Jesse—born on June 4, 1884 (twin)
  9. Benjamin—born on August 20, 1885
  10. Harry—born on January 31, 1888

By 1900, Berend had started a bakery in Anderson with his sons Ben and Harry. He sold the farm, and he and Amanda bought a small house in Anderson near the bakery.

In June, 1908, Berend made a trip back to Germany to visit his family there. Amanda did not accompany him.

Amanda died on March 21, 1913. Berend moved to San Francisco to live with his unmarried daughter Lillian. That is where he died in 1920 at the age of 73. He was buried back in Anderson next to his wife Amanda and several of their children.

Four adults and two children on board a ship with a life ring reading Pennsylvania

Berend (back row, left) aboard the S.S. Pennsylvania during his visit to Germany in 1908. His fellow passengers have not yet been identified.

Berend Klukkert portrait in 1867 after arriving in New York

Berend Klukkert, age 21, after arriving in New York City.

Berend Klukkert and wife Amanda Johnson around the year 1874

Berend and Amanda (Johnson) Klukkert.

Berend Klukkert and wife Amanda outside their home in Anderson

Berend and Amanda outside their home in Anderson, California.

Berend Klukkert and wife Amanda in 1910

Amanda and Berend in 1910.

For sale or rent in growing Sacramento valley town, old established bakery and grocery; money maker for man and wife. Inquire of B. Klukkert, 997 Golden Gate av., S. F.

In December 1919, Berend Klukkert advertised the sale of his bakery in the San Francisco Examiner.

Large family posing on front porch
Back row: Mary (Minnie) Klukkert and her husband, James S. Coughlin (holding their son Leland); John Klukkert; Garrett Klukkert and wife, Edith Quigley Klukkert; Harry Klukkert. Children in the middle row:  Stephen Coughlin; to the right of post, Arthur Klukkert, Wesley Klukkert, Everett Klukkert, and Barney Klukkert. Front row: Ben Klukkert, Berend and Amanda, Fritz Klukkert with son Arthur on lap, and his wife Rene Belle next to him.

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