Same Birthday–Same Anniversary

This will be another story of some Perry County characters who made the decision to move away from here.  This became a fairly common occurrence in a time when families were rather large, and the prospect of getting land in this area was getting harder.

The story starts with the birth of Friedrich Wilhelm Gerler on June 27, 1884 in Friedland.  Friedland is the area just north of Altenburg which is now commonly referred to as “The Ridge”.  His parents were Louis Ludwig Ernst and Emma Fredericka (Thurm) Gerler.  He was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.

Friedrich Wilhelm Gerler baptism
Friedrich Wilhelm Gerler baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg

Here is a family photo of the Gerler crew.  Friedrich Wilhelm is the boy in the middle sitting between his parents.

Gerler-Petzoldt family
Gerler family photo

Exactly two years after Friedrich Wilhelm was born,  Marie Magdelina Petzoldt was born.  Her family must have been living south of the Apple Creek because her baptism record said she was born in Cape Girardeau County.  Her baptism is also recorded in the Immanuel Lutheran, Altenburg books.

Maria Magdelina Petzoldt baptism
Marie Magdelina Petzoldt baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg

On February 21, 1909, Friedrich Wilhelm and Marie Magdelina were married at Immanuel.  I guess you could say that these two who shared the same birthday chose to share the same anniversary date.  Two changes in their lives took place rather rapidly after their marriage.  First of all, Viola Alta Gerler was born on November 27th of that same year, nine months after the wedding.  Also, this first-born child was born in the state of Kansas.  The young couple had apparently made the decision to move to Cheney, Kansas, and they are listed as living there in the 1910 census.  They are still listed as living there in a 1915 Kansas census.

The 1920 census shows this family living in Lenapah, Oklahoma.  This census also indicates that their son, Gilbert, was four years old and was born in Oklahoma.  The family must have moved to Oklahoma between 1915 and 1916.  Friedrich Wilhelm died in 1922 at the age of 37 and is buried in the Mount Washington Cemetery in Lenapah.

Marie Magdelina later remarried, but she is listed as being divorced in the 1940 census.  She died in Coffeyville, Kansas, but is born in the same cemetery as her first husband.


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