Death Begins in Perry County

First two deaths in Perry County
Trinity, Altenburg Church Records

The above record in the Trinity Lutheran Church books in Altenburg documents the first two deaths that occurred in the immigration after they arrived in Perry County, Missouri.  Both of them occurred within about two weeks after Rev. Martin Stephan was removed from the community and rowed across the Mississippi River to Illinois.

The first is the death of Martin Stephan Roemer on June 9, 1839.  This young child was born sometime between the time when they left Germany and they arrived in America.  Please note that the child probably was named after the immigration society’s leader and the Roemer family was traveling aboard the same ship as Rev. Stephan.  The passenger list of the Olbers as it was documented in New Orleans does not include this child.  I suppose it is possible that little Martin Stephan could have been born on the riverboat as it traveled up the Mississippi.  At that time, the name of Martin Stephan was still greatly revered.  The child’s father, Ernst August Roemer was a merchant from Dresden, the same place where Rev. Stephan was a pastor.  The passenger list of the Olbers shown below indicates two Roemer children, but not Martin Stephan (and the name is spelled with an umlaut).

Roemer Passenger List Olbers
Passenger List – Olbers

We published a post about another child who was named after Martin Stephan…..Martin Stephan Never Made It to Perry County.

The second death in Perry County was that of Sophie Johanne Estel.  She was the daughter of Johann Andreas Estel, a joiner also from Dresden.  The Estel family also made the voyage on the Olbers.  Here we see that family recorded on the passenger list.

Estel Passenger List Olbers
Passenger List – Olbers

Sophie Johanne was the youngest of the Estel children, and she died on this day, June 14th, in 1839.  It is indeed sad to think that the first few deaths in Perry County were children of such young age, but it is an indication of the struggles faced by the members of the immigration in 1839.

The record for the Roemer child says that he is buried in the Altenburg cemetery.  In 1839, there was no official church cemetery in Altenburg, so we do not know where that burial took place.  The present cemetery did not begin being used until after the death of Christiane Loeber which occurred in the spring of 1840.  It was her property that became the cemetery.


One thought on “Death Begins in Perry County

  1. Johann Andreas and Johanne Caroline ( Anders ) Estel’s daughter Martha Rebecca ( born in 1841 ) was my great great grandmother. She married Edward F. Gerhardt in 1865. I hope to learn more about the Gerhardt lineage.


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