The Behnken Family in Redd Hook Brooklyn

HOME - Red Hook Other liquor Dealers in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Behnken John, (1838-1890) Hanover, Germany, grocer/liquor, Margaret Behnken his wife and their son, John Behnken (c1872-1947), grocer/bartender/liquor, Van Brunt and Commerce


South east corner of Van Brunt and Commerce - German Grocery c 1869-1909 - Red Hook Brooklyn

219 Van Brunt - south east corner of Van Brunt at Commerce. This German run Grocery store/Liquor store was in the Behnken family from at least 1869 to at least 1920.

Brick building with a fairly large wooden structure in back in 1886. The lots behind it on commerce were vacant. No longer standing.

1870 Brooklyn Eagle liquor list VAN BRUNT corner Commerce. The name was given on the 1870 Brooklyn Eagle list as "Beleklue", J. and listed in the "B" section. There was NO other information on Beleklue. Nothing more in BE. Nothing on Ancestry. Not listed in 1870 Brooklyn directory - nothing starting "Bele". The name was actually BEHNKEN or BEHNKIN.

John Behnken

Birth: John Behnken circa 1838 Hanover, Germany


Marriage: Margaret ________ ????? Behnken, John, Aug 14, 1868, Kings, 1331 ?????


  1. Bertha c 1872, NY

    Marriage: _______ Dunning


    1. George c 1892
    2. Harriet

    In 1900 census with John Behnken jr. John "Behedken" 26 Margaret Behedken 23 Hanna Behedken 21 Betha Dunning 28 George Dunning 8 Harriet Denning 6

    1915: Frank Dunning 50, engineer, Bertha Dunning 45, George Dunning 23, electrician, Hattie Dunning 21, lithographer

    Death: Dunning On February 14, 1947 Bertha (nee Behnken) formally of 79 commerce Street, beloved mother of George and Mrs. John Kehoe, interred Greenwood.

  2. John 1874, NY

    No marriage - no children

    Died 1913


    Bertha Dunning 79 Commerce st, sister of John Behnken who died March 27, 1913 - 15 hundred in personal property and $900 or 1/4 interest in real property - Bertha Dunning 79 commerce, Hannah Treppicciione sister 517 17th street, and Martha Behnken

  3. Martha R. 1875 NY 1901 Real Estate sale, Peobe Van Buren to Martha R. Behnken Van Sicien ave April 6, 3 years at 5%.

    Martha R Behnken plaintiff against Michael K Neville and Mary e. Neville, in pursuance of a judgement of foreclosure, December 1914, property on sixth ave in Brooklyn.

    Marriage: After 1920 - Fred Stabenfeldt, from Norway

    Child: Mrs Anthony Del Mastro

    1940 Census: Babylon, Suffolk, New York, Fred Stabenfeldt 51, lighter captain, barge Martha Stabenfeldt 56, own house,

    Death: STABENFELDT - On February 24, 1942 Martha (nee Behnken) at her residence 81 Commerce Street, Beloved wife of Fred; Mother of Mrs. Anthony Del Mastro; sister of Mrs. Bertha Dunning and Mrs Arthur Treplecclone. Service at Spencer Memorial Church Clinton and Remsen interment at lutheran Cemetery. ( Brooklyn Eagle Feb 25, 1942)

  4. Joanna/Hanna 1878 NY

    Marriage: Trepiccion Arthur Oct 7 1901 Kings 6202

    Attilio Trepiccione (Arthur Trepiccion) was born 14 May 1875 in Italy. He was an artist who worked for the city of Brooklyn. Hannah listed her parents born in German in the 1920 census. They do not appear to have has any children. In 1920 they owned their home at 517 17th street. Hannah Trepiccione buried Greenwood 11 Jul 1942 27318 205 Same plot as John and Margaret Behnken. 1902 Real Estate transfer 17 st n s (hard to read) E 9th ave. 16x100.9x16.2x98.1 Hannah M Trepicion to Atillio Trepicion 1/2 part. There are a number of real estate transfers involving Hannah M Trepiccion.

Death of John Behnken sr.: 1890

Death of Margaret Behnken: 1896

Occupation: Grocer, Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1869, Van Brunt and Commerce

1870 Census: Ward 12 no address, Behnken, John 32 ret grocer, Hanover, $1,200, Margaret 25 Hanover, and clerk in store.

1873, 1874, 1876, 1877, 1878 directories, groceries, 219 Van Brunt.

1871 March 21, Van Brunt & Commerce s.e. corner 25x90 J. H, Schroder to John Behnken $7,800 Real Estate Record and Builder's Guide, Volumes 7-8

1875 Census: 219 Van Brunt, brick unknown value, Behnkin, John 36 Germany, grocery liquor, Margaret, 32, Bertha, 3, John 1 and a half, clerk in grocery store.

1879, 1880 directories, "290" Van Brunt, grocer.


A stovepipe at 7:20 AM. yesterday caused $100 loss by fire in the back room of John BEHNKEN'S grocery, corner of Commerce and Van Brunt st. insured for $5000 in the Germania Company. (Brooklyn Eagle February 1879)
1880 Census: 219 Van Brunt street, John Behnken 42, grocer, born Hanover, Margaret Behnken 35, born Hanover, Bertha Behnken 8, John Behnken 6, Martha Behnken 5, Joanna Behnken 2, children born New York.

1890 May, John "Benker", of 219 Van Brunt charged his room mate with the theft of 6 boxes of cigars.

John Behnken senior died in October 1891.

1890: October, Petition to the Surrogate Court: Margaret Behnken widow and four children to wit, Bertha Behnken about 19 year John Behnken about 18 years Martha Behnken about 15 and Hannah Behnken about 10 years.

December 28, 1891 - John Behnken, a bartender who lived at 219 Van Brunt, was accused in the stabbing of William Rickey in the back at a liquor store on the corner of Van Brunt and Commerce Street. A quarrel "arose over a broken window and Behnken and Rickey clenched". In January 1891 John Behnken was held on $1,000 bale for stabbing "John Reekie". (This must have been John, Junior).

1892: Ward 12 Brooklyn, Behnken, Margaret, age 47, born Germany, John Behnken, age 18, bartender, Martha, age 16, Hannah age 13, Mary Mitchell, 45, born England servant.

1881, 1882, 1884 back to 219 van Brunt.

1886, 1888, 219 Van Brunt liquor.

1899 and 1890, Behnken, John 219 Van Brunt, retail liquors

1891 Behnken John, liquors, 219 Van Brunt. 1891: Death of John Behnken, October 14

Probate: Children: Bertha about 19, John 18, Martha 15, Hannah 13, wife, Margaret, 219 Van Brunt. 1904, 1906, 1907 219 Van Brunt grocer John Behnken

1896: Death of Margaret Behnken

Probate: Martha R. Behnken died 17 September 1896, real property $15,500 personal property $6,850 - Bertha Dunning 219 Van Brunt, John, Martha R and Hannah M 219 Van Brunt, children of Margaret Behnken

In 1897 Martha R. Behnken was the executrix of the estate of Margaret Behnken.

1909: Occupant, John Behnken size of lot 25x90, 4 story, 219 Van Brunt, value unimproved $2,500 improved $10,000, Annual Record of Assessed Valuation of Real Estate in the City of New York ... By New York (N.Y.). City Record Office

1910 Census: 219 Van Brunt, John "Benkin" 36, proprietor grocery, Bertha Dunning 32, sister, Martha Benkin 30, sister, sales lady, department store, George Dunning 18, electrician, Henry Dunning 16

Greenwood Cemetery:
BEHNKEN JOHN 1891-10-16 27318 205 (not listed Italian Gen NYC Death Index)
BEHNKEN MARGARET 1896-09-19 27318 205 (Behnken, Margaret, 53 y, Sep 17 1896, 17180 Kings NYC Death Index)

1897 Surrogate Notice notice to all persons having claims against Margaret Behnken deceased: Martha R. Behnken

1900: own, 219 Van Brunt, Behnken, John, head, September 1873, grocery business, Margaret sister, Feb 1877 Hanna, sister, May 1879, Dunning, Bertha, sister, Mar 1872 wid, Dunning nephew December 1892, age 8, Dunning "Harried niece" June 1893, two families in building

1905 Census: 219 Van brunt, Behnken, Bertha head age 33, clerk, John head, age 32, grocery, Martha head age 28, saleslady, four families in the building.

1910: Ward 12, 219 Van Brunt, John "Benkin" 36, proprietor grocery, Bertha Dunning 32, sister, Martha Benkin 30, sister, saleslady dept store, George Dunning 18, nephew, electrician electric co. "Henry Dunning 16, nephew", three families

1910: Kings County Court, Bertha Dunning, against John Behnken, Hannah Treppicon and Martha Behnken in regard to the last will and testament of Margaret Behnken in reference to the sale of some real estate on Van Brunt street.

1919 List of Enrolled Voters ...: Borough of Brooklyn By New York (N.Y.). Board of Elections Martha Behnken 219 Van Brunt, Democrat.

1920: Behnken, Martha head age 40 "wid", none, Mable age 4 years and 3 months "daughter", Dunning, Harriett, niece 26, only family in the building.

1940 Census: Babylon, Suffolk, New York, East Kansas Street, 395, own, George Dunning 48, electircian, Margaret Dunning 42 William Corrigan 32, nephew, pressman button factory, Thomas Corrigan 10, grand nephew

Next listing at the same address Stabenfeldt, Fred, head age 51, lighter captain, barge, born Norway, Martha age 56, in Brooklyn in 1930

Note: Martha Behnken Stabenfeldt was closer to 66 that 56.

Death: ?????? 32 John, 75 y, Mar 20 1947, 6288, Kings (NYC Death Index)

What the Brooklyn Eagle Had to Say About the Behnkens in August 1888.

John Behnken, a worthy looking old German who keeps a lager beer saloon at the corner of Commerce and Van Brunt, has amassed a fortune of about $50,000 since he left the fatherland. He was married to his wife, Margaret, a plump, good looking woman, some twenty years ago and lived happily with her until the past few years. Mrs. Behnken is afflicted with an unfortunate tongue and a generally very "nice" [nasty?] disposition, while John is amiable and jolly and likes his glass of beer.
The Behnkens had been quarreling. Mr. Behnken accused his wife of: coming behind the bar, wanting his money, threatening to kill him, beating him with a poker, cutting his arm with a cleaver, driving customers away, ruining his business, wanting to marry again, taking his rent monies and putting it in the bank in her own name. He said she lifted the summer door off its hinges and hit him over the head with it. He said she was "Dutch" and a "regular Dame Rip Van Winkel". He said that before he had a saloon he had a grocery business. Now he can barely make expenses.

The Behnkens were very well known in the neighborhood.

Mrs. Behnken was reportedly very bitter about the police. She complained that they encouraged boys to throw stones at her windows. She claimed that the police were against her because she didn't "encourage their attentions". Mrs. Behnken was arrested on a charge of assaulting her husband. She sent a vulgar message to Justice Massey.

"She was fined $15 and was taken back to the pen, after being admonished to send no more vulgar messages to the Court."
1892: January 27, John Behnken cut John Reckie during a street fight on December 28 and was held on $1,000 bond. A "number of young bloods were arrested" during a street fight.

What the Evening World Had to Say About Mrs. Behnken in July 1893.

Mrs Behnken Insisted on Her sons' Instant Release

Yelled Like an Indian but Didn't Fight When Put Out of Court

Mrs. Mary Behnken "a well known character of the Twelfth War" was thrown out of the court room. She was described as "a strapping big woman" who weighed over 200 pounds. Her friends said there was "no woman or man" in the neighborhood one who could talk back to her with "impunity." Thomas Reekin had brought suit against Mrs. Behnken's son John for assault. Reekin was awarded $250 by the court. "The execution was returned unsatisfied." Reekin's lawyer got an order to "examine" Behnken as a judgement debtor. He refused to be examined. He was brought to court and ordered to be examine. He did so in a surly sort of a way, but when the examination was concluded Behnken refused to sign the paper" saying he would rather go to jail.

At this point Mrs. Behnken arrived like a whirlwind, demanded her son be released, and told the judge she could whip anyone in court.

Mrs. Behnken was "marched" our of the courtroom yelling like a "Plute Indian". John Behnken was committed to the Raymond Street Jail until he agreed to sign the judgment.

The Evening World., July 18, 1893,

The Brooklyn Eagle aslo reported on Mrs. Behnken and her son, John of Van Brunt street. She was described as a large person whos "two hundred odd pounds of woman are very well preserved." She had a "tongue that runs at both ends". She made some comments that "would not look well in print." The article is hard to read - the print is blurry and faded.

October 1893: VIOLENT MRS. BEHNKEN Margaret Behnken of 219 Van brunt street created a scene in court and was put under restraint. She had a $100 judgement against her in connection with services from a law firm in connection with her husband estate. She demanded papers in an angry voice and became so violent she was taken from the court room and held in "the pen". she was released on the solicitation of her daughter.

If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at

Liquor Stores Red Hood 1870 and later
Red Hood

Red Hook Liquor Dealers

A Survey of Liquor Dealers in Red Hook mid to Late 1800s

Red Hook Liquor Dealers - The Families

Balfe - Ball - Baumann - Bell - Black - Boysen - Bray - Brickwedel - Callaghan - Carberry - Cassin - Cavanagh - Collimore - Collins - Coogan - Cordes - Curran - Daly - Dawson - Dempsey - Depperman - Devan - Dixon - Dockery - Donovan - Doran - Ehrichs - Fay - Finkeldey - Fitzgerald - Garahan - Gillen - Graef - Haack - Henry - Higgins, Hugh - Higgins, George - Hoehn - Hoffman - Hughs - Hunold - Hussey - Judge - Kassenbrock - Keleher - Knoop - Krohler - Kuhn - Lamont - Lever - Little - Looney - Madigan - Mahnken - McAvanny - McGee - McGrath - McKenna - McQuade - Meyers - Molloy - Mooney - Moran - Mullady - Munsinger - Murray - Noble - O'Brien - O'Hara - Oberdieck - Powers - Ropke - Schmadeke - Schwanemann - Shea - Sheridan - Siebe - Simmons - Struve - Sullivan - Weinphal - Winkelman

© Maggie Land Blanck - Page created January 2013 - update June 2016