Henry Chrisfer Munsterman


Henry Chrisfer Munsterman

Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany
Death 9 Jan 1943 (aged 80)
Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, California, USA
Burial Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Plot Mausoleum
Memorial ID 90400099 View Source
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Henry's middle name is listed as Chrisfer in the CA Death Records.

Henry was born in Wittenwater, a village in the area of the town of Schwienau, Bevensen-Ebstorf, eastern Uelzen district, northeast Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), in central northern Germany. Wittenwater is a few miles northwest of the city of Uelzen.

As a youth in Germany, Henry was a bonded apprentice of a miller, and after he immigrated to the midwest in America, he then dug wells by hand.

At age 24 he married his first wife, a young German woman, 20-year old Elizabeth Katherine Reunitz, on November 28, 1886 at Herndon, Rawlins County, in northwestern Kansas on the Nebraska border.

The family settled in nearby Ludell, Rawlins Co., and soon had two sons, Carl and Ernst.

By 1891 the young Munsterman family moved far out west, to Sprague, Lincoln County, in central eastern Washington, where daughter Etta was then born.

Four years later in 1895 their final child, Elsie, was born at Pullman Whitman County, 40 miles to the southeast on the Idaho border.

The Munsterman family remained in that area for the next couple decades as the children grew up. On July 11, 1909, Henry's daughter Etta married Louis E. Osborn in neighboring Kendrick, Latah County, northern Idaho, across the state border. Bessie Heyne Osborn was their first child, born May 19, 1910. By 1912 they had their second child Jack Osborn in Kendrick.

By 1921, the Munsterman family had moved south to northern California, where they settled at 8611 E. 14th St. at 86th Ave. in the Elmhurst District of east Oakland, here in Alameda County.

By 1923 Henry had become the owner of the nearby Oakland Auto Camp at 8603 Hillside St., below Castlemont High School.

In 1933 Henry lost his first wife Elizabeth at age 67. Later that same year he married a widow, Ada Emma Humbert. Ada and some of her young adult children then settled with Henry in his home at 1524 80th Ave. above E. 14th St. near Alder St., in the Elmhurst District.

During the later days of the Great Depression, Henry, with Ada's son John Humbert, worked a gold claim near Yankee Jim's, between Forest Hill and the Auburn area. By 1937 Henry had sold the Auto Camp to John as well.

A few years later, Henry died at age 80, of tuberculosis, 20 miles to the south of Oakland in Los Gatos. Ada commented that they had gone "down to the Park," sometime after Christmas, when Henry fell ill and died.

In her March 30, 1943 unsent letter, his widow Ada wrote to Henry's daughter Elsie,


"We lived happily for almost ten years. From my standpoint I cannot remember that at any time I could done differently to make him more happiness, and I am sure he did all possible to make me happy.. .."

"The Board of Health have interviewed me requesting that I have bedding and clothing completely renovated oxygenized and cleaned, and also myself exrayed (sic). They state that Dad had contageous tuberculosis for five years, before he passed away, and should have been in a sanitorium. Of course I could have done that, and Dr. Thorpe suggested the same, but I would not do it. I feel sure he would never have lasted half as long in a hospital."

"I wanted to get a doctor for him Friday, the day before he died, but he would not consent. Said he did not think a doctor could do him any good. He was up and dressed himself about one o'clock and ate his meals."


Source: Oakland City Directories
Source: family notes and letters

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