During recent months, I have been noticing that there seemed to be quite a few young ladies from the East Perry County area, especially around Wittenberg, who married young men who came to town to work on the railroad. The Frisco railroad came through Wittenberg beginning in 1904, with work beginning on it several years prior to its start.
Today, you will hear such a story. December 22nd became the anniversary date for a couple that was married in 1909 in the little community of Seventy-Six, Missouri, not far from Wittenberg.
This new couple was made up of a 22 year old hometown girl by the name of Concordia Bodenschatz and a thirty-five year old newcomer to the area from Carmine, Texas by the name of Werner Schatz. And yes, Werner had come to town to work on a job associated with the relatively new railroad. In the 1910 census, he is described as a telegraph lineman. According to his obituary, Werner began working for Western Union Telegraph Company in 1899.
Interestingly, the pastor who performed this wedding ceremony was Rev. Henry Adam Klein. Pastor Klein was also from Texas originally. A previous post was written about him…..Klein from Klein. Carmine, Texas and Klein, Texas are really not that far from each other.
Next, we must discuss a little about the German language. In German, the word Boden means “ground” or “floor”. Also, the word Schatz means “honey”. You probably already noticed that when Concordia married Werner, she lost the Boden in her name and was just left with the Schatz. So her husband may have told her, “There’s no more boden, honey.” And she may have responded with a little wink, “That may be grounds for a divorce, Mr. Schatz.”
This couple would not remain in Perry County. They did have one daughter who was born in 1910 and was baptized at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg, but the 1920 census has them living in Wagoner, Oklahoma. This would be their home for the rest of their lives. We know they were living in Oklahoma when their second child was born there in 1914. Also, the World War I draft registration has them living in Wagoner when the form was filled out in 1918.
Although by the end of his career, Werner was probably telling people to do this kind of work, in his earlier days he probably did plenty of the kind of work shown in the photo below which shows a telegraph lineman in 1816.
Wagoner was a town that grew up where two railroads intersected not far from Tulsa. Eventually, a town was incorporated there, and it grew rapidly around the turn of the century. Werner was described in his obituary as one of the pioneers of this Oklahoma town.
For thirty-one years, Werner was the supervisor of maintenance for the Western Union on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Werner died in 1953, and Concordia died in 1974. Both are buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in Wagoner, Oklahoma.
Every time I research a story, I learn something new. Today, among other things, I learned that the German word for honey is “schatz”. I cannot wait to call my wife “Schatz” to see what her response will be.