A Shipping Trunk with a Story

We have this shipping trunk on display at the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum.

Schieferdecker Trunk


The caption that goes with this trunk says the following:


Here we see the passenger list that includes these two brothers aboard the George Washington in 1849.

Passenger list for Carl Schieferdecker
Passenger list for Theodor Schieferdecker

Carl and Theodore were both merchants and likely did much of their work in Wittenberg.  The trunk notes that it was used at Wittenberg Landing.  It also notes that the Schieferdecker Bros. may have done some of their business out of Grand Tower, Illinois which is just across the river from Wittenberg.  One can imagine these brothers using trunks like this to haul their wares on steamboats up and down the Mississippi River.  These two lived before paved roads and the railroad took over as the main means of transportation.

Here we have some census records for these two.  First, we see Theodor living with a Schuessler family in 1860.


Secondly, we see Carl and his family in the 1860 census.


Both of these brothers and their families can be found in the church records of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg at the time when Rev. George Schieferdecker was the pastor.  We have not been able to find conclusive evidence that they were related.  The closest we can come is the fact that one of Pastor Schieferdecker’s daughters was a sponsor for one of Theodor’s daughters.

Today would have been Theodor’s wedding anniversary.  He married Elise Baltmann at Old Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis on September 27 in 1864.  Theodor died in 1868, and Carl died in 1871, so they did not spend too much time in Perry County.

Actually, there are two stories in this trunk.  The other one is about W. Unruhe.  But that is a story for another day.

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