May 5, 1858 was the birthday of Martha Mathilda Buenger in Altenburg, Missouri. Her parents were Dr. Ernst Eduard Buenger and Amalie (Weber) Buenger. Because Rev. C.F.W. Walther’s wife was Ernst’s sister, this makes Mathilda his niece.
In 1879, Mathilda married Joseph Samuel Mueller, also from Altenburg. However, their marriage took place in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. The 1880 census places them back in Perry County, living in Wittenberg and him working as a dry goods merchant. The Mueller family had a store in Wittenberg for several generations.
Joseph and Mathilda are buried together in the Wittenberg cemetery. Joseph died the same year that St. Paul’s Lutheran Church dedicated their new church sanctuary (1920). Mathilda lived until 1931.
The Research Crew at this point cannot answer this question: Why was this couple married in Ft. Wayne? Our first thought is that Joseph at age 21 was attending the seminary there. After all, the family of his bride-to-be was full of people who were involved in church work. However, if he was in Ft. Wayne for this purpose, why would he be back to Wittenberg working in a dry goods store just one year later?
- He was not well-suited to studying for the ministry.
- He or his new wife were homesick for their hometown and family.
- The Mueller family may have needed Joseph’s services in their store.
We would love to hear from someone who may have the answer to this question.