On September 10, 1847, Ernst Theodore Buenger, son of Dr. Ernst Eduard and Amalia (Weber) Buenger, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Two days later, on a Sunday, little Ernst became a member of God’s family through baptism. It was the first surviving son of the Buengers. At the end of Ernst Theodore’s life, he was buried in Altenburg. Here is how that happened.
The widow, Christiane Buenger, brought eight of her children to America in 1839. They came on three separate ships. Ernst Eduard came on the Olbers, the same ship that carried Rev. Martin Stephan.
As you can see on this passenger list, Ernst is described as a 21 year old physician.
Christiane Buenger (I call her Mama Buenger) brought her family to Perry County and was granted eleven acres of land in the Dresden settlement. Since I now own that piece of property, I was able to attain the land records going all the way back to 1840. Here is where the land was officially granted to Mama Buenger.
This happens to be the same piece of land upon which the Log Cabin College was built in 1839.
In the early 1840’s Christiane moved to St. Louis, Missouri with several of her children, not including Ernst Eduard. It is likely that during this time, that Ernst continued to live on the family’s 11 acres. On November 7, 1842, Dr. Buenger married Amalia Weber. This was before Trinity had built their first church, so this wedding likely took place at Rev. Loeber’s parsonage, especially since the Loebers and the Buengers were good friends.
Exactly on this couple’s first anniversary, Amalia gave birth to a stillborn boy. It must have turned what would have been a day of celebration into a day of mourning. About a year later, Amalia gave birth to a girl, Christiane Maria Buenger, who was baptized in Altenburg.
Sometime between the birth of Christiane and the birth of their next child, the Buengers decided to move to St. Louis. This means that there were no longer any Buengers in Perry County. That leads us to the birth of Ernst Theodore in 1847. Ernst Theodore was baptized at Rev. C.F.W. Walther’s congregation, Trinity Lutheran in what is now called Soulard. One of his sponsors was Dr. Buenger’s brother, Theodore Ernst Buenger, which presents us with the situation where Ernst Theodore Buenger has a sponsor named Theodore Ernst Buenger. I wrote about this event in Chapter 122 of my book, “Mama Buenger: Mother of a Synod”.
Unfortunately, Ernst Theodore’s life on this earth was quite short. He died at the age of 21 in Altenburg. This means that the Buenger family had returned to Perry County. The Buengers had a child in St. Louis in 1851 and then had another child in Altenburg in 1853, so sometime in between those births, they must have moved. Mama Buenger had died in St. Louis in 1849 during the cholera epidemic. Another of the Buenger children, Clementine, who was married to Gottlob Neumueller, moved back to Perry County about this time also. The 11 acres of land was sold by Dr. Ernst to his brother-in-law in 1856.
The Nuemueller’s son, Johann, was the next doctor in Altenburg after Ernst was gone.
Ernst Theodore’s death occurred during the “Koestering Hole” in the Trinity church records, so we do not have a record to see what was the cause of his death, but he died on March 3, 1868. This no doubt was one of the first funerals to be held in the new church which was dedicated on October 31, 1867. Here is his tombstone, which lies on the ground in Trinity’s cemetery.
Thanks to my new friend in Germany, Lutz Backmann, I have the basic gist of what is said on this stone. It says that the person buried here died too soon, but is now in his heavenly home, and those still here are waiting for the Savior’s return…..and hope that it comes soon.
Dr. Buenger died in 1899, and in his will you can find this statement:
“The annual interest accruing upon the One Thousand dollars set apart as a Stipendium at my golden wedding shall be donated towards the education of poor Students first of all to such as are from the Buenger family and if no such students from Buenger family are on hand then to other poor students.”
I am thinking that Dr. Buenger was a well-respected member of this community.