Guenther/Denny Family History

From the Guenther Side

Old Johannes Guenther had fought in Napoleon's army and 
had been taken prisoner at the defeat of Waterloo in 1815. Angry and 
hurt by what he considered his family's half-hearted attempts to find him, 
he resolved to cut loose from them and begin a new life in America. 
He landed on the fertile plains between "the three rivers" and 
settled first in Illinois and then in Missouri, where his son, who 
called himself John Gunther, was born.

A few years after the close of the Civil War John Gunther married 
Catherine Chouteau and located in the Ware-Fletcher area in Jefferson 

Catherine's life was an interesting one, as she had been born 
during the cholera epidemic in St. Louis in 1849. It happened that 
Henri Chouteau owned an apple orchard on the exact spot where Union 
station now stands. A charming widow, a Mrs. Auschpourdt, had gone 
to fetch her children, who had climbed the fence and were eating 
green apples in the Chouteau orchard. Not only were they trespassing,
but endangering their health for it was a risky thing to do, 
eating green apples while the cholera was raging.

Henri graciously accepted the lady's apologies and married her 
immediately. Their daughter was Catherine Chouteau who was wed to 
John, the son of old Johannes Guenther, and their descendants are 
still living in the county, most of them having restored the original
spelling of the name.

During WWI the Guenther's changed the pronounciation of their name to 

From: "Our Jefferson County Heritage" by Zoe Booth Rutledge.

This is a story about some of my grandmother Denny's people. The 
Chouteaus mentioned here are also from the famous St. Louis Chouteaus 
who have one of the main avenues in the city named after them. They were 
also famous in the settling of the west as traders, very early in the 
history of the "west".

From Goodspeed's book: "Goodspeed's History of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford, and Gasconade Counties"
There is some history about Samuel Denny, and an R. B. Denny who was 
State Representative for Franklin County. Also a Robert P. Denny who was 
a first lieutenant commissioned 7-5-1862 and promoted to captain 6-2-1863. 
I don't know much about this or whether he was Confederate or Yankee 
although I suspect Yankee since Missouri stayed in the Union during the 
Civil War although that part of the state did have slaves. 

If you have family history you'd like to contribute, please send it to:


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  • Copyright, Graphicraft, December 23, 2004.