The Clink Clan

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Clink Surname § Caleb Clink § Mary Brunthaver § Caleb Clinks Children § Reuben Eastman Clink

In 1836, Mary Brunthaver wed a young German immigrant, Caleb Clink, thus marking the end of the Brunthaver name in the lineage to Bonita Jackson…, and the beginning of the Clink heritage.

The Clink Surname – Possible Antecedents

There are a handful of predictable variations on the surname: Clink, Klink, Klenk, Klenck. And it is, of course, a terribly common name, with tens of thousands of records in the data set, so tracing family precursors reliably in Europe or America is difficult. The most likely European ancestors are the 17th– and 18th-century Klinks (or Klenk, or Klinckh) of Baden-Württemberg, Germany: traceable back to Hans Jacob Klink (1656-1729) and Sabrina Reinwald (1657-1694), Bonnie Jackson’s 8th great-grandparents. In the New World, there are any number of Clink or Klink individuals found in the early 18th-century records of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana who might have been relatives of the Clinks described below but it is impossible to be certain that they were related.

Caleb Clink (1811-1894)

Caleb Clink’s parents, Christian Jacob Klink (sic) (1772-1839) and Katherina Granmueller (1775-ca. 1840), were both natives of the historic town of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Nestled in the south-west corner of modern Germany, Baden-Württemberg was immersed in the seemingly endless wars of the late 18th- and early 19th-centuries and these circumstances may have influenced Christian Jacob to emigrate to America sometime around 1817. No more biographical information could be uncovered about the couple, so we don’t know what factors brought them to America. There is a record of Christian Clink having purchased 80 acres of federal homestead land near Bucyrus Ohio in September of 1834. Christian and Katherina had ten children, but it was the eighth one, son Caleb, who connects the Brunthaver line to the Krotzers.

Caleb Clink was born in Baden-Württemberg on May 17, 1811. He arrived in America around 1817. The same Commemorative Biographical Record… that provided details about Adam Brunthaver offers a colorful summary of the peripatetic early years of Caleb in North America.

Caleb Klink came to America at the tender age of six years. His parents were very poor, and he was bound out until his eighteenth year to pay for their passage across the ocean. After this he went to his parents, at that time living at Mansfield, Ohio, remained there but a short time, then walked to New Orleans, and worked on a boat one season. He was there during the yellow fever epidemic in 1832 (when six thousand died in seventeen days), contracted the fever, and was sick for two months. After his recovery he went to Philadelphia, and attended a Centennial celebration in that city, and later worked on the Erie canal and helped to build the first railroad in the United States. The year of that Centennial he walked 3,300 miles, and was in every State in the Union. Mr. Klink cut the lumber to build a flouring-mill at Green Spring, Sandusky Co., Ohio, which they were six weeks in raising. Afterward he worked in a sawmill for seven years, and lost only two days during that time. (CBR, p. 279)

Following these travels across America, Caleb married Mary Brunthaver (1813-1898) on October 26, 1836, probably taking up residence on the farmlands between Green Springs and Woodville.


The little available information suggests the Clinks led a typical but successful, agricultural existence, farming and raising livestock. In 1838, Caleb…

… moved to Woodville township, Sandusky county, where at that time he had eighty acres, on which there was no clearing. He put up a house, moved in and began clearing the land. There was a great deal of fever and ague[1] in those days, and all of his family were sick with it. Mr. Clink at one time owned over twelve hundred acres of valuable land, and when he died left six hundred acres in Woodville township, and forty acres in Michigan. He raised many valuable horses and cattle, giving considerable attention to stock-raising. Mr. Clink was a Democrat in politics. (CBR, p. 280)

The Clink marriage was a long succession of pregnancies and births. Between the age of 24 and 39, Mary was pregnant just about half the time, bearing eight children; thus, by the beginning of 1852, the Clink home was a veritable flock of “young uns” aged 15 years to one month old.

  • Louisa (1837-1883)
  • Jacob (1839-1921)
  • Charles (1841-1919)
  • Leah (1844-1874)
  • Ellen Maria (1846-1865)
  • Adam (1848- )
  • Catherine “Katie” (1851-1884)
  • Reuben Eastman (1852-1936)

There were, of course, the inevitable passings. Caleb’s father, Christian, died in 1839 followed by his mother, Katharina, in 1840.

Caleb passed away “after a long busy and useful life, beloved by a large circle of friends and neighbors” (CBR, p. 280), on November 26, 1894, at the age of 83. He is buried at the Woodville Cemetery.

Mary Brunthaver

Mary Brunthaver (1813-1898) was born January 12, 1813, the fourth child and third daughter of Adam and Maria Brunthaver in Sandusky County, Ohio; the first of the Brunthaver line to be born in the Buckeye State. Based on Census records, she undoubtedly spent her entire childhood and early adult years on the family farm in Fairfield County. Her mother passed away in August of 1835. A little over a year later, she married Caleb Clink on October 26, 1836, a German immigrant who at the time was working in a sawmill in Green Springs, a recently settled hamlet not far from the Brunthaver farm. At age 22, Mary might have been anxious to be out on her own, after sharing the home with five younger siblings, the youngest, Leah, just six years old at the time.

As noted above, Mary quickly bore three children of her own in a little more than four years between summer of 1837 and winter of 1841 (thus she was pregnant a bit more than half the time during that period). By New Year’s Day of 1842, she was the mother of a newborn infant, and two little ones four-and-a-half and two years old. As seen above, Mary and Caleb had five more children before her husband passed away in the winter of 1894.

A Clink Cluster

The 1870 Census shows all the Clink clan —Caleb, his four sons and their families— living on farms in Woodville County, nearly adjacent to each other. Perusing the neighbors’ surnames and places of birth it was a heavily German enclave with numerous families from Hanover, Baden and Wittenberg.

An 1898 land ownership map shows five farm properties owned by the Clinks, all from two to five miles south west of the intersection of U.S. 20 and Findley Road. Eighty-eight acres are registered in Caleb’s name, 160 in Jacob’s; Reuben, Adam and Charles each held 80-acre parcels.

Wood County was the center of a brief oil boom in the 1880s and for a short period at the end of the century Ohio was the nation’s leading producer of crude oil. The Clinks reportedly had some fourteen oil wells on their property (QBR, p. 279).

Caleb Clink’s Children

Louisa Clink

Mary and Caleb’s first child, Louisa Clink (1837-1883) was born in Green Spring, OH on August 11, 1837. She married Henry Peters, a Sandusky County farmer of German/Swiss extraction, in December of 1863. They had five children. Louisa died in July of 1883 at age 45, just four years after the birth of her daughter Lillie.

Jacob Clink

Jacob Clink (1839-1921) was born on December 9, 1839, in Ohio. He married Sandusky County native, Jane McCreary (1846-1925), on October 8, 1866. They had three children, all of whom lived into the late 1940’s. He died on February 28, 1921, in Pemberville, Ohio, at the age of 81, and was buried in Woodville, Ohio.

Charles Clink

Charles Clink (1841-1919) attended public school and worked on father’s farm until about age 25. Then he worked in dry goods shops in Woodville, Elmore and Pemberville as a clerk and salesman. He appears on the Sandusky County Civil War draft registration rolls in July of 1863 but it’s not clear that he was ever on active duty. He returned to Woodville assuming ownership of an 80-acre parcel that he cleared for crops and an orchard and built a house on the property. In 1869, Charles married Caroline Pember (1850-1904), daughter of Hiram Pember (1811-1878), a Clinton, New York native for whom the city of Pemberville is named. He was active in the community: a school director for four years; member of the Foresters Association, and of the Masonic Lodge of Pemberville, while the family attended the Peoples Church of Woodville. For a time, he also served as postmaster of the Pemberville post office. An interesting footnote to the many references to veterans in this document is one of Charles’ sons, Claud Clink (1876-1949), who served in the Spanish American War in 1898.[2]

Leah Clink

When Leah Klink (1844-1874) was born on March 1, 1844, in Ohio, her father, Caleb, was 32, and her mother, Mary, was 31. She married Alexius Joseph Nolan (1830-1889) on July 13, 1866, in Sandusky, Ohio. They had four children during their marriage. In May of 1870, she converted to Catholicism and began using the name “Mary Agnes,” the form that appears in her burial record at the Woodville Catholic Cemetery. She died as a young mother at age 30 on September 27, 1874, leaving behind three children, ages seven, four and two.

Ellen Maria Clink

Little is known of the short life of Ellen Maria Clink (1846-1865). She was born on June 15, 1846, in Ohio and died as a teenager on March 6, 1865, in Indiana.

Adam Clink

Adam Clink (1848- ?) was born on September 15, 1848, in Fremont, Ohio. He married Sarah Ann Caris (1860- ?) on May 28, 1878. He farmed an 80-acre parcel literally across street (county road 24) from his father. They had two children during their marriage. This Adam last appears in Census rolls in 1880 where he and his wife were living with mom and dad Clink on their Woodville farm. His place and date of death are unknown. He seems to have died before 1900 or so and wife Sarah appears to have remarried and lived out her years living with her son, Lester, in California.

Catherine Clink

Catherine “Katie” Clink (1851-1884) was born on February 12, 1851, in Woodville, Ohio. She married John DeWitt Foster (1842-1922) on April 16, 1874, a blacksmith from Findlay. They had two children. She died as a young mother on April 10, 1884, in Elmore, Ohio, at the age of 33, and was buried in the Harris-Elmore Union Cemetery

Reuben Eastman Clink

Reuben Eastman Clink (1852-1936), the eighth and final child of Caleb and Mary, provides the next direct connection in the bloodline from the Clinks through the Krotzers to Bonita Jackson; he is Bonita’s great-grandfather. Reuben was born on January 11, 1852, in Woodville, Ohio; his father was 40 and his mother 38 years old. The CBR (pp. 843-844) reports that he attended the local district schools and worked on the family farm before he married Adelaide (“Addie”) Tucker on November 21, 1875 at age 23. He eventually built a large farm of over 130 acres and was an administrator in the Woodville Township schools.

His wife, Addie, died in July of 1922. By 1930, Reuben was living with his son Wallace. Reuben passed away on November 27, 1936 at the age of 84, at the home of his daughter Matilda (“Tillie”) on Patterson Street in Gibsonburg. At the time of his death he had twenty-two grand children and eighteen great-grandchildren.

Why “Eastman”? There is no indication of this name among Reuben’s paternal or maternal ancestors. So the origin of this name remains a mystery. The name must have some meaning in the family; one Dorotha (“Dolly”) Krotzer’s younger brothers was named Robert Eastman Krotzer.


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[1] “ague” is an any illness defined by fever and shivering. Probably the yellow fever of which there were several outbreaks during the mid- to late 1800s, especially in port towns on the Mississippi River, like New Orleans and Memphis.
[2] Mentioned just for the sake of “completeness.” This is perhaps the only conflict where a direct blood relative did not participate.
{last update: 2-Mar-2020}