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Henry Pfingsten was born in 1840 in Germany and
came to the America as a stowaway in 1855. He first settled in St.
Clair County, Illinois. In 1861 he joined the army, probably to
avoid deportation. He was in Company C, 16th Illinois Cavalry, serving
from 18 April 1861 to 16 July 1864. A pension claim notes that he
had a severe saber cut on his head. He married Sophia Bahe on 27
Nov 1866 in Chicago. The 1870 Nebraska Census, lists Henry and his
wife, often called Sophia, Sofia, or Sophie as ages 30 and 23 respectively.
From 1865 to 1870, Henry and Sophia lived in Illinois and Nebraska
while Henry worked on the courthouse in Omaha and for the Chicago
Sash & Door Company. By 1880 Henry and Sophia had moved to Del Norte,
Colorado. They arrived in New Mexico soon after and were listed
in the 1885 New Mexico Agricultural Census. Henry was injured in
the Old Soldier Mine near Bonito City, New Mexico in 1886. He had
set off a blast of dynamite then hurried into the mine while the
dust was still in the shaft and the air was bad. He signaled to
be brought back up on a windlass, but either he fell off a rope
or it broke, for he dropped 60 ft. to the bottom. Sophia's pension
claims indicate that he had contracted a disability while in the
service. He died 29 May 1887 at Bonito City and was buried at his
home site. After Bonito Dam was built and Bonito Lake was formed,
Bonito City was no more. Henry's remains lie 50 or more vertical
feet above the Bonito Lake overflow and out of sight of the lake,
next to a daughter, Minnie.
Henry's obituary in the 3 June 1887 edition of the New Mexico Interpreter
of White Oaks: "On last Sunday morning, at the residence of Pete
Lanham, Henry Pfingsten [sic] died very suddenly. Mr. Pfingsten
was at work on Saturday on one of his many claims, in the evening
he complained of a severe colic and thought that he would not live
long, at four o'clock next morning he breathed his last. He leaves
a wife and seven children, who live near Bonito City. They have
the sympathy of the entire community."
His seven children were: Edward Lee Pfingsten married Maggie Robinson;
Fredrick George Pfingsten married Mary Margaret May; Josephine Pfingsten
married Robert Bourne; Albert Henry Pfingsten married Eva May; Emma
Pfingsten married Ed Peters; Minnie Pfingsten married Mac McKinney;
Agnes Pfingsten married Willis Hightower.
Information from US Archives, Washington, DC, (Census, Civil War
Records, Pension files) Newspaper clippings, May Family Bible. First
Family contributed by Charley Terrell.