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Harms Thiessen Sperling Ewy Penner Funk Goossen Gaede Jost Loewen

Funk Family Journey

Peter P Funk    Jan 31, 1815 - Feb 21, 1885

"Peter Funk was still small when he migrated with his parents from Prussia to Russia. There he later became a member together with his family of the Gnadenfeld Mennonite church. He married Julianna Florentina Fenske who had received child baptism in a Lutheran church, but after marriage she joined the Mennonite church. Julianna later became sickly and frequently had to miss church: but she enjoyed reading prayer books and Treasure Chest verses. They had two sons and four daughters."
Received from Elfreda Penner Fast 7/00 (through Aunt Esther written by John F Duerksen most likely)

"The parents of my mother were Peter Funk and Julianna born Fenske.  Both born in Prussia. My grandmother was about 19 years old when she left the Lutheran Church and joined the Gnadenfeld Mennonite Church  My grandmother's brother died in (during-- the war against Napoleon in 1815.  (The brother was named Johann according to another source.)
From the Duerksen Family History by John F Duerksen--copied from the German
by Adelaide Duerksen Middleton 1957.

"My father was H J Goossen married to Anna Funk who was daughter of Peter Funk [who was in the line according to B H Unruh of Mennonite people of Swiss background] My mother Anna Funk--her grandmother Julianna Florentine Fenske is of Polish descent. "In earlier years she used the Catholic rosary for prayer".
Memoirs from Henry H Goossen [written in old style German and read/translated by Helen Goossen over the phone.]

Johann Funk -First known Funk

Son Peter Funk born about 1854 with his 2nd wife Maria Pauls Funk  Back row- Helena, Marichen, Barbara and Anna. Front: Tina, Maria, Peter, Henry P Funk with guitar.

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Kathy Sperling


Julianna Florentine Fenske and  Peter P Funk Family

This is our background on Julianna Florentine Fenske who married Peter P Funk about 1836-1840.  Peter Funk was born January 31, 1815 in Markushof, Prussia and he was only 4 1/2 years old when in 1819 his parents and one brother and sister immigrated to Alexanderthal, Molotschna Colony, South Russia. We know this because of the note above and in the Church Record of the Mennonite Gemeinde at Marcushof, Prussia we read [translated by Timothy Janzen]  "In August 1819 Paul Funk and his family from Janckendorf were provided with a certificate of transfer when they left for Russia." There was Paul and Elizabeth Jantzen Funk and children Paul, Peter and Elizabeth. Another child Peter had died in 1802 at 8 days old.

   Here in Alexanderthal, Molotschna Colony another brother Heinrich was born March 15, 1822.  Their father, according to the 1835 Molotschna census, was Paul Johann Funk and their mother was Elizabeth Jantzen.  Peter was 20 years old when the Molotschna Census was taken and was not married.  He must have married soon after.  These records have not been found. It is unsure if Julianna was Catholic or Lutheran as a child but Julianna most likely was baptized and joined the Mennonite church before their marriage as baptism was usually a prerequisite for marriage. After Peter and Julianna were married they were members of the Gnadenfeld church.  Sometimes the people met elsewhere close to home and went to Gnadenfeld for joint services. Gnadenfeld was later the center for much revival activity  and this family must have been involved in the new desire for renewed spiritual faith as many joined the Mennonite Brethren church movement later.

   Julianna and Peter lived in Alexanderthal most of their married life and had  6 children.  Julianna died Jan 1,1871 according to family history.  Their daughter Wilhelmina was married on June 13, 1871 in Friedensruh, Molotschna This was 5 months after her mother died.  Peter Funk married again in 1872 to Maria Balzer Dalke, a widow with 6 children and then Peter and Maria had 3  daughters together. Peter and Maria must have also moved to Friedensruh as at least one of their daughters was born there.   

   Peter and Maria Funk joined the group of Mennonites leaving Russia and immigrated to Marion County, Kansas.  They boarded the Vaderland SS and arrived at Philadelphia on 29 Jun 1877. They most likely traveled on by train to Peabody or Newton, Kansas and eventually bought land just east of the Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church (Goessel, Kan.) They most likely joined the Gnadenau KMB Church in Marion County as Maria Funk (the second wife) was baptized in 1879 by J. A. Wiebe, who was elder of the Gnadenau Church at that time.  Peter Funk was born January 31, 1815 and died February 21, 1885 near Lehigh, Kansas having reaching the age of 70 years  and 25 days (Mennonitische Rundshau- 11 Mar 1885).

Peter Funk left behind 5 adult children and their spouses (from his first wife) when he left Russia at this time and immigrated with 2 younger daughters, Helena about age 2 and Agnes 3 along with his second wife-- Maria Baltzer Dalke Funk who would have been about 3 months pregnant.  They also brought 5 Dalke children from her first marriage.  One more daughter, Susanna was born to them in Goessel, Kansas 6 months later.  Maria is buried at Springfield (KMB) Cemetery, Lehigh, Kansas but Peter's burial place is unknown at this time.  A Dalke family book gives information that Peter is buried at Alexanderwohl by Goessel, Kansas  but that has not proved out and also that cemetery was started after Peter Funk had already died.   (We only found out about his second wife several years ago-- in 1999) 

The oldest daughter,
Katharina Funk Duerksen, was born June 14,1844 at Alexanderthal, Molotschna, South Russia. She and husband Jacob J Duerksen arrived  Sept 4, 1884 aboard the SS  Hungaria to New York and then traveled to Kansas with their children.  Katharina and her husband settled in the Mennonite Settlement near her father Peter Funk.  Katharina would have been able to see her father and perhaps went to the same church until Peter Funk died just 5 and 1/2 months later.  Katharina Funk Duerksen was just short of her 17th birthday when she and Jacob Duerksen were married in Russia and she died June 30, 1889 in the Goessel, Kansas area at the age of 45. 

Sarah Funk was born November 19, 1845 in Aleanderthal, Molotschna, South Russia.  She  and husband Abraham Duerksen came in July 28, 1876 on the SS Vaderland to Philadelphia and were pioneers in the newly developed Dakota Territory.  She was the first of the children to immigrate to the United States. They arrived just a day before Wild Bill Hickok was shot dead in a Black Hills Saloon about a hundred miles to the west. (information from Mike Dirksen) The Duerksens/Dirksens settled in the township of Brotherfield which later became the name of the Mennonite church they attended.  They lived there several years in a Mennonite settlement near Parker, Dakota. Abraham Duerksen's siblings all ended up immigrating to the Dakotas.  Abraham died in Sept 24.1886 near Parker, South Dakota. Abraham was a country doctor and was struck by lightening while on his way home from a house call.  Many of the Mennonites joined the Adventist church around this time and later moved to North Dakota mostly to Stutzman County. Sarah was among these; she later married her widowed brother-in-law Jacob Duerksen on Feb. 12,1896 in Napoleon, North Dakota. Sarah died in 8 May 1917 at Woodworth, N. D. and was buried in the New Home Adventist Cemetery.  Sarah and Abraham had 10 children, 4 of whom died very young.  (for more information on this branch of the family see Brotherfield Ancestry also at very informative sites on this family and all the Mennonite Turner County, South Dakota pioneers. Many of which joined the Seventh Day Adventist Church there. 

These two sisters and their father Peter Funk immigrated to the United States during the same time period as a large mass of Mennonites immigrated from Russia because the law that provided for freedom from military service was being rescinded.  Later this ruling was modified to include alternate service in the forestry service, and other work but many Mennonites had already decided to leave on continued on their trek to America.

  For some reason
Wilhelmina and Abraham A Penner and her remaining siblings must have decided to remain in Russia at this time.  In 1899 some more Mennonites were leaving for the United States.  At the last minute some persons had changed their mind and there was room for two more to travel to America.  Wilhelmina and Abraham A Penner decided to send two of their children--Abraham, age 12, most likely because he would soon become the age to be obligated to serve in the Russian forestry service.  He accompanied his sister Katie who was pregnant. They came on the SS Trave arriving May 24,1898 in New York. It took exactly 1 month from the time they left Russia until they arrived in Hillsboro, Kansas according to family notes.  They traveled together with a Mrs. Henry Martens and her children and helped each other along the way.  Abraham then worked for his cousin (Katharina Duerksen Heibert and her husband Heinrich Hiebert) near Goessel, Kansas to pay for their passage.  Katie worked as a maid in Marion County, Kansas.  Her baby was adopted by a Heinrich Unruh family in Goessel.  Kati married Abraham Gaede the next year Nov 8,1900 at Glenella, Oklahoma Territory.  (Her daughter Lydia later looked up Katie and they were reunited and kept in contact)

Abraham and Wilhelmina Penner came with 3 more children, Maria age 23, Anna 7, and Heinrich or Henry 3, one year later on the SS Pisa arriving in New York on  May 31,1899. They settled in the Hillsboro area and were sponsored by people from the Ebenfeld Church. They were poor and stayed with the Abraham Gaede family at first and then were provided a house to live in. This most likely was the sod house 2 miles north of Ebenfeld on a Hiebert farm where they lived.  The 1900 census shows Abraham as a day laborer living next door to the Abraham Eitzens who were mentioned on the ship manifest as contact/sponsor names.  Later Abraham and Wilhelmina moved to Lehigh, homesteaded at Syracuse and Meade, Kansas before moving on to their home in Ingalls, Kansas in August 1921.

A note about the Penners.  Abraham A Penner was an only child and most likely his father was also an only surviving child or their family had stayed in Prussia as we find Abraham A Penner was orphaned at age 7 and was raised by Elder Jacob Janzen of Schardau, Russia after his parents died. [Most likely if there had been family they would have taken in Abraham.]  The Abraham A Penners only had two sons-so that explains why the known Penner relatives is very small even though there are lots of Penner Mennonites. 

* New information has come to light and Abraham A Penner's mother and step-father have come to light.  Abraham A Penner had several step-siblings [3 that lived to be adults] but after his mother died his stepfather Gerhard Rempel was left with an 8 month old and Gerhard remarried 1 1/2 months later and this was probably when Abraham A went to live with Jacob Janzen. This Rempel family ended up emigrating to Nebraska and then Meade, Kansas where the Penners also lived perhaps it was because of this connection or just because lots of Mennonites lived in these places.  Anyway a very interesting fact is that we find this newly "discovered" family and the "remarried Gerhard Rempel" had more children including Gerhard G Rempel who was the ancestor of the Rempel Harms included on this website!

The rest of the family stayed in Russia until 1924 ...

Map of Alexanderthal where they were living. 

If you clic on this picture of Mennonite Brethren Church ruins in Alexanderthal you will see a Wickimapia of the area in Russia!

Peter Funk (Jr)
Heinrich Funk
Anna Funk Goossen

Now we start a new exciting chapter as more information has been revealed as to what happened to the rest of Peter Funk's family that stayed in Alexanderthal, Russia until at least after WW I.

The daughter
Anna Funk married Heinrich Goossen on 8 Jan 1866. They had 6 children between 1874 and 1884 in Russia.  They lived in Alexanderthal, Molotschna Colony and died there also--Anna on 25 Feb 1925( which was almost exactly 6 months before her sister Wilhelmina Penner died in Ingalls, Kansas, US.)  Two of Anna and Heinrich Goossen's children were able to come to Canada in 1824 and 1826.  The son Heinrich going to Mexico first.  A niece also came with Heinrich and Tiene Goossen Duerksen as her parents had died already.  Some of the children stayed in Russia and suffered much later during the severe time of starvation and persecution. Peter Funk and Anna Goossen received a clothing draft (translation)in Russia from my g grandparents [their sister] in 1923 sent through the American Mennonite Relief Organization. Elfreda remembers her grandparents sending packages to Russia for them.

Son P
eter Funk born about 1854 according to Molotschna school census. He was married and had two daughters from his first wife who died in childbirth. Then he married Maria Pauls and had one son and four more daughters. Peter Funk and his wife Maria both died in Russia.  Five of his children lived and died in Russia.  Two of the families were able to immigrate to Canada in 1925--one going to Mexico first. Some others later went to Germany and one one was able to come to Canada in 1948.

Here is a story from Russia told to me by Frieda Funk Ratzlaff Neufeld. 
Heinrich P Funk and wife Elizabeth Duerksen lived with Peter Funk and Maria Pauls Funk when first married. (As families often did in those days)  Elizabeth was a seamstress.  When they lived with the Funks--Heinrich's parents and sisters -- Elizabeth had a child already and sewed and cared for the son. But her sister-in-laws complained that she did not share in the work enough (cooking etc.)  So one day her husband came home, the son was dirty and where was the mother? (his wife) she was out cleaning a chicken!  So soon Elizabeth was back to sewing and taking care of her children.
Peter Funk could be a little extra fugal with money. At times his wife Maria Pauls Funk would become discontent and would want things a little better and then her husband would say to her "you need to bake something and take it to one of the poor families" Then Maria would do this and come home content and happy--they were so much better off than many others. "Peter Funk was a good psychologist way back then already." (also told by Frieda )

Heinrich Funk was married to Maria Heinrich.  They had one daughter and four sons.  One son Abram H Funk was married to an Aganetha Toews and later he married a widow Justina Epp Toews. They immigrated first to Mexico in 1925 to escape Russia and then came to Canada in 27 Feb 1927 to the Horndean, Manitoba area. Other children of Heinrich and Maria Funk were Henry, Peter, Jacob, Tina (Katharina) and also a Maria Funk who later was able to immigrate to Paraguay in 1830.  It appears that the one who immigrated to Paraguay may have been a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter of Heinrich Funk. Son Peter who disappeared in Russia in 1941 had a wife Susanna Funk and also a daughter Susanna Funk who later was later living in Gnadental, Neuland Colony, Paraguay. This may be her listed here.

Not much is known about the son Heinrich or why they all stayed in Russia when the other sisters left for the United States. Perhaps they did not have the finances. We know Anna's daughter
Sarah Goossen Reimer lived in the same yard in Alexanderthal as her cousin Abram H Funk.  In Heinrich Goossen's book about Adolf Reimer (son-in-law to Anna Funk Goossen) he quotes what Abram H Funk has to say about Sarah not emigrating to Canada when she had the opportunity. "Sarah stayed in Russia because her two oldest sons were involved in an evangelistic mission to the Russians."

According to Heinrich Goossen's book  "Das Lebensbild von Adolf Reimer."--The life of Adolf Reimer (loosely translated from the German) "Brother Adolf Reimer's death came with much pain because of leaving his family unprovided. The children were minors and the family was poor.  Although her brother-in-law G. Duerksen and many others emigrated to Canada; Sarah remained behind in Russia.  Her children were left behind and it was very difficult, especially because the one brother who had so long worked the land immigrated to Canada in 1924.  The brother then arranged for passage of the whole family of Adolf Reimer. In 1926 there came a time of immigration of Gnadenfeld allowed by the  government.  They all got ready and even the Reimer's family. Then Brother H Enns who was Adolf Reimer's replacement in Russian Ministry and also Brother John Toews persuaded Mrs. Reimer to stay back in Russia because her two oldest sons were also working in Russian Missions. 

Cousin Abram Funk did all that he could to persuade her but she stayed because of her family.  In 1828 the brothers and sisters got permission to leave and money came from a brother but Anna's daughter stayed there. Often the Reimers did not have anything to support themselves.  There was no school.  The churches closed--but Sister Reimer had Sunday  School with her children and other children.  She was fined 500 Rubles (for this) and paid it with a food draft she sold."

A story was told to me by Helen Braun Goossen about
Heinrich H Goossen-son of Anna Funk Goossen.   In Russia during this time there was a duty that was was required to be paid on harvested grain.  The Russian officials said that Heinrich Goossen had not paid enough and arrested him and said "if we do not get the money you will stay in jail"  It was a very difficult time but the friends and neighbors threshed the straw one more time and were able to get together enough money to pay the fine.  H. H. Goossen was released from prison but his hair had turned white during the 3 days time he was in jail.  Later on 1 July 1924 the family was able to immigrated to Mexico and on 8 May 1926 they arrived in Canada.  Heinrich Goossen was later a very active minister in Mennonite Brethern Church in Canada.  He wrote the book entitled: "Das Lebensbild von Adolf Reimer."--The life of Adolf Reimer--from which we found a lot of information on their families.

2005 written by Kathy M Sperling:  Grant, NE

More about Peter and Julianna Funk and Heinrich Goossens.

More from Memoirs from Henry H Goossen.
     My mother was Anna Funk--her grandmother Julianna Florentine Fenske is of Polish descent. In earlier years she used the Catholic rosary for prayer.   Bride Anna Funk, daughter of Peter Funk had 2 brothers-Peter and Henry and 3 sisters Anna and Katharine and Minna [Minnie]
When they were married the Funks were members of the Gnadenfeld Mennonite Church. "Then in 1860 the young couple came to accept the Lord and joined the M. B. Church. There was lots of life there and many were the first to have salvation in Christ."  Romans 6:14 was quoted. "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace"  Their son Heinrich J Goossen (about 17) also joined the M. B. Church. This was a church where they could grow in the Faith.
     Mother died and Father remarried to a Dalke. There were 2 [actually 3] daughter born to this marriage --one married John Warkentin  and one married Krause. Heinrich J Goossens had 9 children. Two daughters and one son Peter died at a young age. "All was dark and bleak but didn't remain dark. We lost 3 children young and then God blessed us with 5 more daughters and another son."

Peter P Funk Obituary
Mennonitische Rundschau, 11 March 1885 p2

 Peter Funk and Julianna Fenske family pictures

Copyright: This web page may be used for personal, nonprofit purposes.
However, it may not be republished in any form without permission of Kathy M Sperling. c2005, 2010 -2013

If you have any corrections, additions, or suggestions for the genealogy web pages, or are an interested relative  I'd love to hear from you!

Email:  pensper@gmaildotcom