The Bechtel, or Von Bechtel, family was one of high standing in
the Rhine Province of Chenhessen, Germany. One branch of the family migrated to
Switzerland, some members of which came to Pennsylvania before 1770 and left
Karl Bechtel, a Superior Court Justice of Hanau, married 1st, Fredericken
Ernestine Osterheld of Rebach, District of Erbach, about 1826. Of issue by this
marriage were two sons: Phillip and Karl Wilhelm. He was married three times. He
died Jan. 3, 1863.
(1) Karl Wilhelm Bechtel, son of Karl and Ernestine Bechtel,
b. Sept. 12, 1830, in Hanau; d. Oct. 11, 1871, in Iowa City, Iowa. While
living in Rintelm he fell in love with Marie Laufer, b. Sept. 30, 1827, in
Hersfeld, Chenhessen, Germany; d. Sept. 23, 1877, in Coralville, Iowa. Because
of her lower social station the family objected to a marriage. Preserved
letters in beautiful hand and expression prove the high education of Karl
Wilhelm and his ardent love for Marie. In order that he might marry her he
renounced all claim to any part of his father's estate, left his home and
emigrated to Lawrence, Mass., in the spring of 1852. She followed the next
year and the marriage took place in Lawrence, Dec. 3, 1853. Here they lived
until 1858, when they moved to Story Co., Iowa. They bought a quarter section
of land in Story Co. in 1863, but only retained it f or a year when they moved
to Dallas Co., Iowa, where they lived until 1869. Then they moved to
Coralville, near Iowa City, where they both d. They were German Lutheran in
religion. During the American Civil War and while living in Dallas Co., Iowa,
they lost nearly everything they had by their generosity toward families whose
husbands and sons had gone to war. They were then in the grocery business in
Xenia, Iowa, and administered the post office. Issue, six, as follows:
(1) Herman Bechtel, b. Sept. 17, 1854; killed in paper mill
explosion in Iowa City, Iowa.
(2) Frederica Bechtel, b. Apr. 29, 1857, in Lawrence, Mass. Still living in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
(3) Augusta Bechtel, b. Mar. 22, 1859; m. John Davis, deceased. Had one son,
Louis. She is still living in Denver, Colo.
(4) Karl Phillip Bechtel, b. at Nevada, Iowa, Nov. 12,
1863. Learned the baker's trade in Des Moines, Iowa. He moved to Fort Dodge,
Iowa, Jan. 10, 1883, where for thirty-five years he operated the leading
bakery and restaurant in that city. He was a member of the band in the 51st
Iowa National Guard and Commander of the City's Vol. Fire Dept. for many
years. It was in Fort Dodge that he met and m. Nov. 13, 1884,
Rose Belle Waldburger. (See
Waldburger Genealogy) Both
repudiated their traditional religions and sent their children to
Presbyterian Sunday School. Later the whole family joined the Episcopal
Church. At present the parents attend the Christian Science Church in Fort
Dodge, Iowa, where they live. Issue, two, as follows
(1) Hattie Rosamond Bechtel, b. Dec. 16, 1885. Educated in
schools of Fort Dodge, Iowa. Newspaper reporter, 1906. M. Sept. 17, 1907,
in St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Fort Dodge, James William Hook, b.
Jan. 9, 1884. She was active in various woman's committees during World
War and during her residence in Tarrytown, N. Y. was closely associated
with the work of the N. Y. League of Woman Voters. She is a member of
several clubs and of the Episcopal Church. (See
Hook Genealogy) Issue:
(1) James Phillip Hook, b. Jan. 22, 1911; d. Mar. 15,
(2) James William Hook, Jr., b. May 30, 1912.
(3) Rose Virginia Hook, b. May 23, 1914.
Family resides, New Haven, Conn. Attends Christian Science Church.
(2) Carl Phillip Bechtel, b. May 21, 1888; m. Nov. 1,
1911, Margaret Updegraff. Issue: Kenneth Phillip Bechtel, b. July 21,
1912. Family living in Gardnerville, Nev.
(5) Henrietta Bechtel, b. Oct. 3, 1865, in Dallas Co., Iowa;
m. Fred Stocker. Living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. One child, Charles.
(6) Oscar Bechtel, b. Oct. 29, 1868; d. in infancy.
(2) Phillip E. Bechtel, son of Karl and Ernestine Bechtel,
emigrated to America about 1855-1860 and settled near Des Moines, Iowa. He m.
Ada Blackman and had issue, two sons and two daughters, as follows:
(1) Ernest J. Bechtel, b. Oct., 1870; m. 1897, Antoinette
Vischer of Toledo, Ohio. Prominent electrical engineer, connected with the
firm of Hodenpyl, Hardy and Co. of New York City. Officer in several Public
Utilities Corporations and member of many technical societies. Resides, New
Rochelle, N. Y. Children: two daughters, Maurine and Eleanore. (For further
information see "Who's Who in New York," 1924.)
(2) Carl Bechtel, m. Jennie Russell; issue one son, Russell. Family resided,
Des Moines, Iowa.
(3) Ada Bechtel, m. Ralph Brewer in Des Moines, Iowa, where family resided.
(4) Clara Bechtel, m. Frank Fisher. Family resides in Des Moines, Iowa.
Information obtained from birth certificates and passports of
the immigrants to America, and from family Bibles and records.