Smith and Fleckenstein Families - Pioneers of the Matanuska Valley, Alaska

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This research is (no doubt) incomplete and has potential errors. If you have first hand knowledge of these families and would like me to correct something, please contact me.

Joseph Bernard Fleckenstein (born 1/18/1870 In Iowa City, Iowa) and his wife Marie Antionette "Nettie" (nee Doane) Fleckenstein, raised 8 children. They filed for a Matanuska homestead on 5/20/1914 (E½ of Section 16, Township 17 North, Range 2 West, Seward Meridian). By todays road system, it would be just outside of Wasilla on the Knik Goose Bay Road.

Joseph was the son of Adam C. Fleckenstein (b.1842) of Bayern, Germany. Marie was the daughter of Sharon Pratt Doane and Ellen (nee Threlfall) Doane of California.

Children of Joseph B. and Marie A. "Nettie" Fleckenstein:

William Joseph Fleckenstein 1891-1961
John Paul "Jack" Fleckenstein 1893-1986
Christopher Fleckenstein 1896-1981 (wife Anna)
Frank Joseph Fleckenstein 1896-1925  (murdered in Kanakanak, Alaska)
Sharon Daniel Fleckenstein 1899-1959(married Maxine Crocker 1924)(married Florence Edlund 1938)
Lawrence Edward Fleckenstein 1900-1978
Ellen Catherine Fleckenstein 1902-1973 (married Floyd Dewey Smith 1926)
Eva Marie Fleckenstein 1904-1958  (married George Stanley Herning 1926)

Below is a compilation of Fleckenstein information that I've extracted from the U. S. Census records as well as the Herning diaries and other online sources:

1900 U. S. Census  Hydesville, Humboldt Co., California

Joseph (Bernard) Fleckenstein 30  b. Iowa    father b. Germany    mother b. Germany
Marie (Antionette) Fleckenstein 32  b. California  father b. Illinois   mother b. Georgia
William Fleckenstein  age 9  b. California   son
John P. Fleckenstein age 7 b. California  son
Christopher Fleckenstein age 9 b. California
Frank J. Fleckenstein  age 3  b. California
Sharon D. Fleckenstein age 2  b. California
Lawrence E. Fleckenstein    1 month  b. California
1910 U. S. Census  Eureka, Humboldt Co., California
Joseph Bernard Fleckenstein age 40  b. Iowa  married 17 years
Nettie  Fleckenstein age 42  b. California married 17 years  (2nd marriage for Nettie)
William Joseph Fleckenstein age 19
John Fleckenstein age 17
Christopher Fleckenstein 15
Frank Fleckenstein 12
Sharon Fleckenstein 11
Lawrence Fleckenstein 10
Ellen Catherine Fleckenstein 8
Eva Marie Fleckenstein 6  
1920 U. S. Census taken between Knik and Wasilla
Joseph Bernard Fleckenstein age 53       Farmer
Marie Fleckenstein age 52
Ellen Cathrine Fleckenstein age 17
Eva Marie Fleckenstein age 15

Anchorage Daily Newspapers dated 1925 reported that Frank Joseph Fleckenstein, son of Joseph and Nettie Fleckenstein, was murdered on 5/19/1925 by an Eskimo prisoner named Mike N. Eqwana. Joseph was working as a jail guard at Kanakanak (Dillingham) where his father, J.B. Fleckenstein was the U.S. Marshal. Newspaper stories said Fleckenstein was shot, but local family stories say he was clubbed over the head.

The prisoner that killed Fleckenstein was a reindeer herder at Port Heiden and was in jail waiting trial for killing another man (Carl Nolkhbak) following a "sourdough beer" party at Port Heiden just a few weeks earlier. After killing Frank Fleckenstein, the prisoner escaped and later killed himself. Fleckenstein's body was shipped to Anchorage where he was buried at the Anchorage Memorial Cemetery.

1930 U. S. Census taken in Kanakanak (Old Dillingham)
Joseph Bernard Fleckenstein   age 60   Head  U. S. Deputy Marshal
Maria Fleckenstein age 63  wife
Notes from Herning diaries:
Fleckenstein proved up on his homestead 11/18/1919 (working for railroad)
Fleckenstein boys bought sawmill from Forty Mile Miller (O. C. Miller)
Chris Fleckenstein running Road Commission Cat at Moose Creek 1922
Chris Fleckenstein Cat hauling at Baxter Coal Mine 1923
Chris Fleckenstein overhauling Alaska Engineering Commission Cats and trucks 1923
Chris Fleckenstein sold his homestead to Jim Kennedy in 1946
Joseph B. Fleckenstein in Wasilla for visit, heading to Bristol Bay  1924
Sharon Fleckenstein and Maxine Crocker married after 11 day courtship Wasilla’s 1st wedding 1924
Sharon Fleckenstein's 2nd marriage was to Florence Edlund Strigga 1938
Eva Fleckenstein married Stanley Herning 1926
Ellen Fleckenstein married Floyd Smith 1926 in Fairbanks then they left for Chatanika

1920 U. S. Census  taken on railroad route from mile 236 north to Dead Horse
Sharon Fleckenstein age 21 Head of household
Christopher Fleckenstein age 25   brother

1920 U. S. Census taken on railroad route from Willow Creek to Montana Creek
Frank J. Fleckenstein age 22 b. California

Notes from Herning Diaries first mention Frank Fleckenstein as being elected to the school board of Wasilla’s 1st school in 1917.  He also did the concrete work under the original Herning (later Teeland) store in Wasilla as well as a lot of the carpentry work on the building.  In 1918, he left to go to the Army.  

WWI Draft Registration for Sharon Fleckenstein age 19:
Gave Wasilla as Sharon's permanent address, nearest relative listed as Nettie Fleckenstein,
occupation as miner at Willow Creek Mining District.  Birthdate given January 2, 1899.

1930 U. S. Census  Knik Road  near Wasilla, Alaska
Sharon D. Fleckenstein age 30   b. California      occupation Fur Farmer
Maxine** (Crocker) Fleckenstein age 22  wife  b.  Minnesota
Frederick Crocker age 75   Father-in-law   b. New York      Owns own ranch

Sharon David and Maxine (Crocker) Fleckenstein
(Photo from private collection of Louise Loberg Bidondo)

Maxine died at the early age of 26 and is buried in the Anchorage Memorial Cemetery in the Pioneer section. Her headstone reads born 7/17/1906 died 7/4/1932. I was told that she drowned (in the Little Susitna River) when a car she was riding in (with her husband and two other people) crashed into Pinnacle Rock on the Hatcher Pass Road and rolled into the river, on the 4th of July 1932.

Sharon Fleckenstein's second wife was Florence Evelina (Edlund) Strigga (m. 9/17/1938). They are buried in the Wasilla Cemetery.  Their headstones give the following dates:  Sharon 1895-1959    Florence 1905-1985    Florence was the daughter of John Fredolph and Lillie Edlund. Her first husband was August J. "George" Strigga, a Russian born soldier at Matanska Junction in 1920. George and Florence had 2 daughters: Lorraine and Shirley. Sharon David and Florence had two sons: Sharon Daniel and Joseph.

1930 U. S. Census for Anchorage
Lawrence Fleckenstein age 29 b. California     (died 1978 Soldotna)
Helen Fleckenstein age 30 b. Finland  (came to USA 1915)    (died 1980  Soldotna)
Myrtle Fleckenstein age 14 b. Pennsylvania

Joseph Bernard Fleckenstein buried at Anchorage Memorial Cemetery in the Pioneer section. His headstone reads born 1/18/1870 died 3/23/1948.  His wife Marie is also buried there, her headstone reads born 3/24/1897 died 10/20/1946. Joseph is listed among the original homesteaders of the Matanuska Valley.


Joseph Bernard Fleckenstein had five sisters: Mary, Elizabeth K., Catherine, Anna and Emma.
His father, Adam C. Fleckenstein's siblings were: Elizabeth 1838, Ignatz 1844, Mria Johanna 1846 and Joseph L. 1850.

His wife, Marie Antoinette (Doane) Fleckenstein, was the daughter of Sharon Pratt Doane and Ellen Threlfell. Her siblings were: Joseph W. Doane 1857, Ada Doane 1859, John F. Doane 1860, Isabel Doane 1863, Tessa Doane 1864, Hattie Doane 1867 and Lizzie Doane 1870.

Joseph Bernard Fleckenstein's 2nd youngest daughter, Ellen Catherine married Floyd Dewey Smith at Chena, Alaska in 1926. Here is the information I have for the Smith family:


Floyd D. Smith

                                  Floyd Dewey Smith  1898-1979      

FLOYD DEWEY SMITH (born 2/22/1898 in Absarokee, Montana) came to Alaska before 1926 (I'm not sure when). He worked at a variety of jobs including gold mining, trapping, operating a store at Kanakanak (Old Dillingham) and he owned a gas station in Wasilla, post 1942. 

Floyd married Ellen Catherine Fleckenstein, (daughter of Joseph Bernard Fleckenstein and Marie Antionette Dionne) in 1926 (I believe they married in Chena, just outside of Fairbanks).

NOTE: I'm not sure exactly when they moved to Kanakanak in Bristol Bay, but their daughter Laura Marie (born 3/24/1929) was born in Kanakanak; I'm not sure if their oldest son Frank was born there or not.

On the 1930 US Census, Floyd and Ellen were living at Kanakanak (Old Dillingham) and they had 2 children: Frank Marvin age 2 and Marie 10 months old. Next door to them, lived Ellen's parents, Joseph and Maria Fleckenstein.

Ellen's father Joseph, was the U.S. Deputy Marshal at Kanakanak in 1930. Five years earlier (1925) his son (and Ellen's older brother) Frank was murdered there.
I am very curious to know if Joseph was the U.S. Deputy Marshal (when his son was murdered in 1925) or if he became the Marshal after his son was murdered. If you know, please contact me.

Floyd and Ellen lived at Kanakanak for the next several years, coming back to Wasilla to visit Fleckenstein family and to order merchandise for their general store. On the 1940 US Census, the family is listed as living in Dillingham with the following children:

Frank M. Smith age 12
Laura Marie Smith age 10    
Joe T. Smith age 8
David F. Smith age 6
Ethel L.Smith age 1

By 1942, Floyd and Ellen had moved their family back to Wasilla, but Floyd still spent time in Kanakanak running his store during fishing season.

Ellen (Fleckenstein) Smith's younger sister Eva was married to Stanley Herning.

Stanley's father(Orville Herning) kept a daily journal about the comings and goings of Wasilla. Mr. Herning wrote the following:

12/15/1942 Floyd Smith's Colony house passed through Wasilla to the Fleckenstein ranch.

11/6/1943 Floyd Smith buying materials to build a garage on ranch.

11/25/1943 Floyd Smith bought our 1921 Olds touring car to run his wood saw.

2/15/1944 Floyd Smith back from fur buying trip Inside.

3/17/1944 Floyd Smith back from Seattle on buying trip for his store at Dillingham.

11/5/1944 Floyd Smith sold his store in Dillingham

6/22/1945 Floyd Smith headed to Willow Creek to prospect.

Floyd Dewey Smith died 6/16/1979 in Wasilla, Alaska.
Ellen (Fleckenstein) Smith died 5/15/1973 Wasilla, Alaska

Their children:

Frank Marion Smith:
1st wife was Catherine Lucille "Gerry" (Sullivan)Redington, (1st wife of dog musher Joe Redington). Frank built a house on the east side of Knik Road and another house at the "Y" intersection of Fishhook Road and Bogard Road. Frank's 2nd wife was Dorothy ____________. They had 3 sons: Brett and Grant (twins) and Todd. Grant died when he was about 18 as the result of a drunk driver hitting his motorcycle.

Laura Marie Smith:
Born in 1929 Kanakanak, Alaska to Floyd and Ellen (Fleckenstein) Smith. Married Eldor Theodore Hulke, children: Frieda, Floyd Ernest "Butch", Virginia, Faith, Jody and Hope. (Laura Marie 1929-1998) (Eldor Theodore 1921-2005)

Joe Smith:
Married Patricia Plack, one son named Floyd. After they divorced, his wife married Dick Wilson and Joe's son Floyd changed his name to Peter Wilson.

David Floyd Smith: Born 6/4/1933 at Kanakanak, Alaska. First wife was Peggy Overstreet (children Mike, Steve and Teddy Ray who died at age 2 weeks); 2nd wife was Mary Ann Larson (Mary Ann's children from previous marriage: Darrell, Lori, Tim). David died 4/14/2013 in Wasilla.

Lavina Ethel "Lee" Smith: Married Dan V. Carney in 1955, no children. Married Charles Gerald Skinner in 1958; their children were: Laura and Patti. Married Dale Kieth Cooper in 1965; their children were Renee Lee and Bernard "Bernie" Kieth (twins). Dale Cooper had 2 children from a previous marriage: Angela Marie and Dale Ray. Lavina was born 1937 in Kanakanak, Alaska and died 1998 in Littleton, Colorado.


Theodore Monroe Smith born about 1850 Michigan and died about 1931 in Oregon.
He had 3 wives that I know of: Julia Knoth, Laura Bell Lynd and Sarah Elizabeth Holt.

His  children were (not sure which children go with which mother):

Charles Augustus Smith b. 1877 Palouse, Whitman Co., Washington  died 1958 Sand Point, Idaho
Elbert Hazen Smith b. 1885     "             "                     "
Walter Monroe Smith b. 1886 "             "                      died 1950 Eugene, Oregon
Ethel L. Smith b. 1888            Spokane, Washington
Lenn James Smith b. 1890      Palouse, Whitman Co., Washington   died 1944 Monmouth, Oregon
Vernon J. Smith  b. 1892        "             "                  died 1896
Mabel Lorenda Smith b. 1894 "             "                      died 1958 Redmond, Oregon
Floyd Dewey Smith  b. 1898 Absarokee, Montana                    died 1979 Wasilla, Alaska
Lyle Theodore Smith  b. 1902       Lamonte, Oregon               died 1985 Redmond, Oregon
Marvin Loren Smith b.                   "             "          died 1979 Eugene, Oregon


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Fleckenstein - Smith Information, please contact me

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