Saturday, April 2, 2016

B is For Benert

B is For Benert

John Benert to be exact. 

Margaretha Bender Benert, John Louis Benert, & John Benert (#2)

Now, there were three John Benerts. I know a lot about John Louis Benert, # 3. He was my grandfather-in-law. A dear sweet man who told me I was his granddaughter the moment we met. John Louis was an elevator repairman in New York City. He married Marie Pribyl, raised two children and lived to the age of 94.

Marie Pribyl & John Louis Benert

I know a little about his father, John Benert, # 2. I have photos, information about his business, even a copy of his baptism at the age of 10. I know he was born in Virginia and lived most of his life in New York City. He married Margaretha Bender and worked as a milkman most of his life. He was also partners in the White House Cafe in Queens in 1916 and 1917. John Louis was their only child.

John Benert and Margaretha Bender

I know that the original John Benert, # 1, operated a tavern in New York City until at least 1859. 

What I don't know and will probably never figure out is why this first John Benert, a German immigrant with an apparently successful business, took himself and his family to Richmond, Virginia in time for John # 2 to be born in Virginia in June of 1866. 

And decided to disappear from the census. And every directory I've been able to put my hands on except one, the one published in 1869 in Richmond, VA. He died the next year in New York City and is buried in Lutheran Cemetery in Queens, NY. I suspect we could call him a carpetbagger but there must be a bigger paper trail somewhere wouldn't you think? 

Any suggestions?