Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Darnstaedt 18850 census
18850 Census

It is difficult to find historical events that took place on February 29th.  So today, I am going to relate an event that took place on February 28 and go from there.

Wilhelm Boehme had brought his family, including a wife and four children, to America in the immigration of 1838-1839.  They traveled across the Atlantic Ocean on the Republik and then up the Mississippi on the Knickerbocker.  They arrived in St. Louis on January 30, 1839.  About one month later, on February 28, 1839, Wilhelm Boehme died, leaving the family fatherless.

One fact of life which became too often evident in those early days after these immigrants arrived was that death visited them often.  In researching these early arrivals, it is by no means uncommon that many of the married men and women became widowers and widows.  It also became common that many of these widows and widowers remarried.  Johanna Boehme, the widow of Wilhelm, remarried in April of 1840 to Johann Darnstaedt.

While researching another person this past week, we discovered that Johanne Christiane Theilig married and remarried three times between 1840 and 1850.  She married a Richter, then a Wunderlich, and then a Mueller.  This final marriage is one which is included in my family tree.

When looking at census records for those years so long ago, one can find many examples of children living in the same household having several last names.  The reason for that was almost always the result of the death of a father or mother.  In today’s day and age, we see many situations which may seem very similar, with many children in the household having different last names, but the reason for this is not death.  It is the breakdown of the family.  I’ll let you decide which situation is sadder.

Needless to say, when we look at Perry County family names throughout the years, we see many Boehmes, Darnstaedts, Richters, Wunderlichs, and Muellers.  Death may have had its day, but life went on despite it.

4 thoughts on “Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

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