Living DALCH Margaret DALCH Margaret Barbara BISSWANGER Alfonso Leonard BISSWANGER Joseph J BISSWANGER Louise BISSWANGER Helen HACKLETON Mini tree diagram
Leonard Alfons BISSWANGER

Leonard Alfons BISSWANGER1,2,7,3,8,9,10,4,5,11,6

also known as Leonhardt Bisswanger

14th Feb 18731,2,3,4,5,6 - 21st Dec 19347,8,9,10,6

Life History

14th Feb 1873

Born in Germany (Bavaria).1,2,3,4,5,6

16th Sep 1900

Married Margaret DALCH in Oklahoma.11,21


Death of Margaret DALCH.21

22nd May 1904

Married Helen HACKLETON in Prairie County, Arkansas.1,4

20th Aug 1905

Birth of daughter Margaret Barbara BISSWANGER in Arkansas County, Arkansas.12,2,13,14,7,15,1

13th Jul 1907

Birth of son Alfonso Leonard BISSWANGER in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.2,3,7,1,16

about Apr 1909

Birth of son Joseph J BISSWANGER in Arkansas.17,4,18,19,2,1

about 1914

Birth of daughter Louise BISSWANGER in Arkansas County, Arkansas.2,4

3rd Aug 1922

Immigrated to Hamburg, Germany.5

25th Mar 1926

Death of Helen HACKLETON in Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee.20

21st Dec 1934

Died in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.7,8,9,10,6

Gusnshot wounds from a gun battle on his houseboat on the Arkansas River, when 3 men tried to rob him. He and one of the robbers were killed, his wife wounded; murder charges were filed against Clark Martindale.

24th Dec 1934

Buried in Mt Pleasant Cemetery, Ethel, Arkansas County, Arkansas.6

Other facts


Birth of daughter Living DALCH


  • In his Arkansas family, he was known as Leonard, with the full nameLeonard Alfons.  Other German sources give us the German form of hisname Leonhardt Bisswanger, sometimes with the middle initial B.  Aship passenger manifest indicates he left Hamburg, Germany, on his wayto New York on 3 August 1922.

    I have not been able to identify Leonard Alfons Bisswanger in the 1900US census.  The 1920 census reports that he was in the US from either1897 and 1930 has the year of immigration as 1898.  The censusesreport he was naturalized in 1902.  But there is a record indicatinghe traveled from Hamburg to NewYork.  Perhaps this was a return from areturn trip to Germany.

    This passenger manifest reports him as a resident and citizen ofGerman.  This would not have been the case if he had been naturalizedin 1902. I am wondering if this was a different Leonhardt Bisswanger.This record wa attached to our Leanoar Bisswanger on a genealogyprofile for him.

    Early US records of Leonard place him in Iowa, where his firstmarriage occurred.  In his genealogy of the Bisswangers, SteveAbernathy reports in his genealogy that they married in Iowa, andthere is an Iowa record matching their names.  But there is no dateincluded in the text index record.

    Margaret Dalch
    Birth 1878
    Marriage to Leonard Alfons Bisswanger 16 SEPT 1900 Oklahoma, USA
    "Apparently a brief marriage, resulting in one child"
    [It appears Margaret died in childbirth or soon after.  Leonardmarried Helena Kummel in Prairie County, Arkansas in May 1902.]
    Birth of Daughter Anna Augusta Dalch
    Born 5 SEP 1901  Oklahoma
    Death 1902
    --  Keith Bisswanger, Ancestry,

    Iowa, Select Marriages Index, 1809-1992
    Leonard Bisswanger
    Spouse  Margaret Dalch
    Child Anna Augusta Dalch
    [no marriage date in this index records]

    His first wife died in 1903 according to some genealogies.  He madehis way to Arkansas and in May 1904 his second marriage to widowHelena Kummel was recorded in Prairie County, Arkansas, just north ofwhere most of our story takes place.

    Arkansas, County Marriages Index, 1837-1957
    Leonhard Bisswanger
    Age 31
    Birth Year abt 1873
    Residence DeValls Bluff, Prairie, Arkansas
    Spouse's Name Helena Kammell
    Spouse's Gender Female
    Spouse's Age 26
    Spouse's Residence DeValls Bluff, Prairie, Arkansas
    Marriage 22 May 1904 Prairie County
    Marriage License Date 21 May 1904

    1910 census he has been married to his second wife Helen for about 6years.  Helen was born in Arkansas.  This is Helen's second marriagealso.

    1910 Federal Census, Craighead County, Arkansas, 9 May, NettletonTownship, District 27, page 7A, Hse/Fam #118
    Bisswanger, Lenord (Leonard) Head M W 37  2nd marriage, Married 6yrsGermany Germany Germany  immigrated 1898 Resident Alien  Farmer
    Bisswanger, Helen Wife  F W 32  2nd marriage, Married 6yrs  AR MS MS
    Bisswanger, Margret F W 4  AR Germany MS
    Bisswanger, Alfonso Son M W 2  AR Germany MS
    Bisswanger, Joseph Son M W 1  AR Germany MS
    Kummel, Gace (Grace?) Dau [step-daughter] F W 13 AR IL MS
    Kummel, Miltret Dau [step-daughter] F W 11 AR IL MS
    Kummel, Blanche Dau [step-daughter] F W 8 AR IL MS

    Helen's maiden name was Hackledon or Hackleton.  See more details onNotes for Helen Hackledon.  She was first married to Louis Kummell.We see here three children with the last name Kummel (also a Germanname) whose  father was born in Illinois.  We find these Kummelchildren were born in Arkansas.  So Louis Kummel came to Arkansas,married Helen, and we assume, died there after siring these threechildren.  But Helen married Kummel in September 1895.

    The census says Leonard and Helen have been married 6 years so theywould have married about 1904.  Margret was born in 1905 or 1906.Before 1920 they moved to Oklahoma City.

    1920 Federal Census, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, 14 January, OklahomaCity, District 144, page 18A, Hse #104, Fam #254
    Bisswanger, Leonard Head M W 56  Married  Bavaria Bavaria Bavariaimmigrated 1897 Naturalized 1902  Farmer
    Bisswanger, Helen Wife  F W 43  Married  AR AR AR
    Bisswanger, Margaret F W 14  AR Bavaria MS
    Bisswanger, Alfonso Son M W 12  AR Bavaria MS
    Bisswanger, Joie Son M W 10  AR Bavaria MS [ref Joseph in 1910]
    Bisswanger, Louisa Dau F W 6 AR Bavaria MS

    In this census the Kummel children are all off on their own.  From themarriage information in 1910, we may conclude that Louisa is thedaughter of Helen, born in about 1912.  Here we see that thebirthplace of Helen's parents has now changed to Arkansas.  NowLeonard's place of birth information is given under the name of hisactual country Bavaria, instead of the general term Germany.  Theywete back in Arkansas County, Arkansas, before the 1930 census.

    1930 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas, 29 April, PrairieTownship, District 7, page 9A, No Road, On White River, Hse #165, Fam#166
    Bisswanger, Leonard  Head M W 57  Married at age 26  AR Germany ARFisherman  Immigrated 1898, naturalized 1902
    Bisswanger, Loisa (Louisa) Dau  F W 17  Single  AR Germany AR

    This report shows Leonard as married, but there is no wife reported inthe household.

    In 1934, Leonard was killed in a houseboat gunfight on the ArkansasRiver near DeWitt, Arkansas.  The first reprot in the DeWittEra-Enterprise newspaper reports that the incident occurred on Fridayevening (21 December 1934) about 8 PM.  That article reprots detailsabout the incident.  Later articles in other papers on 24 December1934 reported no date or reproted the incident as occurring onSaturday, not Friday.

    Leonard was killed in a gun battle aboard his houseboat on theArkansas River, near Ethel, by a robber, Clark Martindale.  Threemasked men knowced on Leonard's houseboat door incident on Fridayevening (21 December 1934) about 8 PM and told him they were going tokill him.  They shot him three times in the chest.  He shot one ofthem, Van Livingston, who later died in the woods after his companionscarried him off in Leonard's motor boat.

    Thanks to Steve Abernathy for the DeWitt article and other documentson Leonard not previously found.  Abernathy gives his German name asLeonhardt B Bisswanger.  It is not clear what the B initial standsfor, since in other records and family references he was known asLeonard Alfonso.

    Two Killed on White River Friday Night

    "Last Friday night [21 December 1934] about 8 o'clock according to astatement by occupants of Leonard Bisswanger's houseboat, three menwith handkerchiefs tied over their faces knocked on the door of theboat.  They open[ed] fire and three bullets took effect in his chest.He fired one shot.  It toook effect in the leg of Van LIvingston ofLIttle Prairie. ... Both bodies were brought o the Essex UndertakingParlor in DeWitt and prepared for burial. ...

    "Bisswanger was buried at Mt Pleasant, Monday, and [Van] Livingston atTichnor, in the Malcomb Cemetery."
    --  DeWitt Era-Enterprise, 22 December 1934 [Saturday],

    Houseboat Gun Battle On White River Accounts for Two Deaths
    Little Rock, Ark, Dec 24

    A gun battle Saturday night [22 Dec 1934] aboard a houseboat on theWhite River below De Witt left Leonard Bisswanger, 55, a fisherman andVan Livingston, 20, dead.  Mrs Bisswanger, wounded in the throat, wastaken to the home of relatives in Ethel for treatment.  Sheriff C CMcAllister placed murder charges against Clark Martindale, 23, inconnection with the affair.
    --  Fayetteville Daily Democrat, 24 Dec 1958, p 1, accessed 12 March2016 on

    Two are slain in Gun Battle
    DeWitt, Ark - Dec 24

    First degree murder charge was placed today against a man docketed asClark Martindale, 23, in connection with a gun battle that claimed twolives in the recesses of White River country south of here.

    Sheriff C C McCallister charged the man with death of LeonardBisswanger, [?] fisherman, shot in a battle in which Van Livingston,20, was also killed.

    Mrs Bisswanger, shot in the throat by a stray bullet, was rushed toEthel and treated.  Her condition is considered not serious.

    The sheriff is said to be seeking another man in connection with theshooting, which he said resulted from an attempt to rob Bisswanger.
    --  The Camden News, Camden, Arkansas, Dec 24 1934, p 1, accessed 14March 2016 on

    "A gun battle Saturday night [22 Dec 1934] aboard a houseboat on theWhite River below De Witt left Leonard Bisswanger, 55, a fisherman andVan Livingston, 20, dead.  Mrs Bisswanger, wounded in the throat, wastaken to the home of relatives in Ethel for treatment.  Sheriff C CMcAllister placed murder charges against Clark Martindale, 23, inconnection with the affair."
    --  Fayetteville Daily Democrat, 24 Dec 1958, p 1, accessed 12 March2016 on

    DEWITT, Ark - Dec 24

    A first degree murder charge was placed against Clark Martindale, 23,in connection with the affair.

    A gun battle that claimed two lived in the recessess of the WhiteRiver country south of here.

    Sheriff C C McCallister charged the man with the death of LeonardBisswanger, 55-year-old fisherman, shot in a battle in which VanLivingston, 20, also was killed.  Mrs Bisswanger, shot in the throatby a stray bullet, was rushed down the the river by boat to Ethel,Ark, and treated.  Her condition was not regarded as serious.

    McCallister said he sought another man in connection with theshooting, which he said resulted from an atempt to rob Bisswanger, whowas reported to have kept a relatively large sum of money in hisshanty boat.

    "DEWITT - 24 Dec 1934 - Death for two men and a desperate race down adark winding river against death with a bullet in her throat, was thefierce swift code of the White River country.

    Officers today paddled into the stretches of the river in an effort todetermine the facts of a shanty boat battle which left  LeonardBisswanger, 55-year-old fisherman, and Van Livingston, 20, dead, andMrs Bisswanger wounded by a stray bullet as gunfire roared back andforth in the confines of the flimsy craft.

    The shooting occurred Saturday night [22 Dec 1934], but news filtersslowly out of the flats between the levees, and Sheriff C C McAllisterlearned of it Sunday.  The sheriff made a trip into the flatsyesterday [23 Dec 1934].  The sheriff made a trip into the flatsyesterday to investigate, and
    [Page 3]
    brought here with hm a man listed as Clark Martindale, 23.  No formalcharge had been placed against him but Sheriff McAllister [sic] saidthat from the man he had obtained details of the slayings.

    Bisswanger died were he stood in the narrow confines of his shantyboat home, the sheriff said, with six bullets in his body.  The bodyof Livingston was foun a quarter of a mile form where the boat hadbeen moored.  He had been shot once, and had evidently fled from thescene to save his life, McAllister said.  The body was found by thesheriff's party.

    Struck in the throat by a bullet, Mrs Bisswanger and a daughter roweda skiff down the river to her son's houseboat, and from there wastaken to Ethel, Ark, for treatment.

    --  Monroe News Star, Monroe, Louisiana, Dec 24 1934, pp 1, 3

    Keith Bisswanger was kind enough to share on his genealogy informationhe received from Essex Funeral Home on Leonard.

    Letter explaining about Leonard A Bisswanger
    To Keith Bisswanger form Essex Funeral Home
    14 December 2013
    courtesy of Keith Bisswanger,, accesses 14 March 2016

    From:  Essex Funeral Home <>
    Date:  December 14, 2013 at 1:02:30 PM CST
    To:  "" <>
    Subject:  Leonard Bisswanger info.

    Date entered into our records Dec. 22, 1934
    Leonard Bisswanger
    Age - 63
    Place of birth - Germany
    Date of birth - Feb. 14, 1871 [other sources indicate the year wascloser to 1873]
    Vocation - fisherman
    The service was charged to A.L. Bisswanger of Ethel.
    The order to do the funeral service was given by John Stephens.
    The coroner was the certifying physician.
    Place of death - on house boat
    He had lived in Arkansas about 20 years.

    All the information that was given about his parents was that hisfather's last name was Bisswanger and that he was born in Germany.There was no info. on his mother.

    Funeral services were at Mt. Pleasant Cem. at 1:00 p.m. on December24, 1934. Rev. Johnson of Ethel was the preacher.

    This is all the information that we have. It's not much. People didn'thave need in those days I guess to give the funeral home lots ofinformation. Our record books are kind of large and awkward to fit onour copier. Sometime they don't copy so well. So I didn't make a copyto send you, but if you are ever in DeWitt stop by the funeral homeand look at the record book if you want. We are in the office Monday -Friday from 8-4.

    Mr. Livingston's info. was even less than Mr. Bisswanger's. He was 20at the time of his death and was buried on Christmas Day at theMalcomb Cemetery in Tichnor.

    If we can help any more just let us know.

    Laura Essex


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