John Frederick Klenk was born on June 4, 1837, in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of German natives Gottlieb Klink (1811-1882) and Katherine Hummel (1814-1901).
John’s father was born in Wurttemberg and immigrated to the United States sometime before 1837, eventually settling in Maryland. His family moved from Maryland to Ohio sometime between 1837 and 1839 when his sister Sophia was born. By 1850 the family was living in Bern, Fairfield, Ohio where John was attending school with his siblings. Gottlieb and the family were still living in Fairfield County Ohio by 1860 (but John was not with them); sometime that year, however, Gottlieb moved westward, and settled in Alpine, Kent County. That same year John was a farm laborer working for and/or living with the family of Conrad Kritzer, a farmer in Chester, Ottawa County.
John stood 5’5” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 24 years old and still living in Chester, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. He was employed as a teamster from at least July of 1862 until September 24 when he became ill at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. He was subsequently hospitalized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania until March 25, 1863, when he was discharged for chronic nephritis at Germantown hospital in Philadelphia.
After his discharge John returned to Alpine, Michigan.
John was living in Alpine he married Michigan native Margaret Fahling (1846-1923) on February 23, 1865 in Ottawa County, and they probably had at least six children: Elizabeth (b. 1866), Amelia S. (1867-1882), George Philip (1870-1952), and Fred Henry (1871-1940), Rosa C. (b. 1874) and Matilda C. (1875-1946, Mrs. Ritz).
John’s parents were living in Sparta in 1870. By 1874 John was living in Grand Rapids. By 1880 John was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Alpine, Kent County. They were still living in Alpine in 1894 and 1900.
John was a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association. In 1888 he applied for and received a pension (no. 474731).
He died on November 15,1902, possibly in Alpine or in Chester, Ottawa County and was buried in Lutheran cemetery, Chester.
His widow applied for and received a pension (no. 587384).