According to written "histories" of another BRUNCKHORST family, the original name was "VAN BRONCK" -- said to be a titled family back in Holland. Because of their title, family members who moved to Germany were barred from establishing any commercial venture, and thus chose to alter their surname, selecting the name of a thoroughfare in their native Holland (or so states the "histories").
Upon arriving in the U.S.A. from Germany ca 1864, young Johann H BRUNCKHORST (1852-1932) dropped the "C" from his name, but that did not end the spelling alterations. As his sons grew to adulthood, and began seeking employment, they discovered some firms frowned on close relatives working in the same business or plant, so two altered their names further: one taking BRONKHORST, the other BRINKHORST. The remaining sons continued using BRUNKHORST, and descendants of each branch followed their particular ancestor's choice in surname spelling.
Johann H BRUN[C]KHORST (15 AUG 1852)-(30 DEC 1932) was reportedly one of at least three children of Johann & Anna (nee BOESCH) BRUNCKHORST. The father died in Europe, but the younger Johann, accompanied by an aunt, travelled to the U.S.A., and on settling in Southern Illinois, quickly established himself as a post-master, stockyard manager, mercantile trader, and other roles. His older sister, Maria (b.c.1847) had married Jochen HEITMANN and remained with him in Germany. A younger brother, Heinrich BRUN[C]KHORST, would later arrive in the U.S.A. with their mother, who, having remarried by that time, was known as Mrs. Anna RATHJEN.
Johann md#1 Maria BELLMAN (1861-1881), and by her fathered 3 children. After her death, he md Maria Margarethia LUEDEMAN[N] (1863-1884), who bore 2 more children for him. Johann's third wife, Maria VERSEMANN (1865-1939) has been identified as the mother of 13 children, plus the step-mother of the only survivor of Johann's first five children, as well as the foster mother of a teenage girl.
Johann and Maria (VERSEMANN) BRUNKHORST were buried at the New Bethlehem Cemetery, St Louis, MO. His first 2 wives and young children were buried at the Christ Lutheran Church Cemetery near Gorham, Jackson Co, IL, which land had been donated by him for that purpose. His brother and s-i-l, Heinrich and Catharina, were also buried at the Gorham location, as were many other relatives.
My two brothers-in-law descend from one of Johann's daughters, and I am assisting my sisters in compiling information on the family.