Trinity’s Tischler told the story of Carl Groh, the Altenburg carpenter who was responsible for the construction of several items in Trinity Lutheran Church, such as their altar and baptismal font.  These items are still very special to this church as they are used for the most important aspects of our Lutheran worship….Word and Sacraments.  They were constructed at the time when Trinity’s new sanctuary was being built in 1867.  This year, Trinity will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the dedication of this building.

Carl Groh
Carl Groh (1828-1912)

Not long before that church was built, Carl and Sophie (Bodenschatz) Groh had their fifth child, Carl Ernst August Groh.  Carl was born on March 30, 1861.  Nine months earlier, Carl’s older brother, Christian Carl Gottfried, died before he even turned nine years old.  Another son, Carl Peter Gottfried, died in infancy in 1857.  There was another older brother, Ernst Friedrich Fuerchtegott, who was born in 1858.  Here is Carl’s baptism record at Trinity.

Carl Groh baptism record 1861
Carl Groh baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg

I can just imagine nine year old Ernst and six year old Carl hanging around with their father while he was working inside this new church.  One thing we do know.  The young Carl Groh followed in his father’s footsteps and also became a carpenter.  Here is a photo of Carl in his younger days.

Carl Groh 1861-1913
Carl Groh (1861-1913)

The 1880 census shows 18 year old Carl (Charles) Groh living in Appleton, Missouri, which is near Uniontown, and he was working as a carpenter.

Carl Groh 1880 census Appleton
1880 census, Appleton, MO

This census entry fascinates me.  He was living at the home of Casper Ludwig, who had a brewery in the Appleton area for many years.  In fact, Gabriel Lottes, who later ran a saloon in Altenburg, got his start by working with Casper at his brewery around 1870.  I have already written about several of Gabriel’s children on this blog.  It is likely that Carl was doing carpentry for Casper’s brewery business.  I am also fascinated to see one of Casper’s sons, William, who is shown to be 15 years old, but his listed occupation is “apprentice to brewer”.  Finally, you see an 18 year old Mary Whittler, who is shown to be a “visitor”.  I have never seen someone described as a visitor on a census record before.  However, she is also described as a niece, so that makes this entry a little more understandable.

On April 10, 1887, 26 year old Carl married 21 year old Louise Rauh at the Lutheran church in Friedenberg.  Rev. H. Guemmer performed the ceremony.  The next census we have (since there is no surviving 1890 census) is the 1900 census which shows them living in Frohna.

Carl Groh 1900 census
1900 census – Frohna, MO

This Groh couple had nine children, and five of them are shown in this census.  Two of the nine died early, including the William that is shown as a 7 year old in this census.  He died two years later in 1902.  The first two Groh children were baptized at Trinity, Altenburg.  The rest were baptized at Concordia in Frohna.

Here is a family photo of this family that must have been taken during their years in Frohna.

Carl and Louise Groh family

This must have been taken after 1904 because William is not included and the youngest one in the picture, Lillian, was born in 1904.

We know this family moved to Alva, Oklahoma sometime before 1909 because Louise died in that year and is buried in the Lutheran cemetery there.  There were several other Rauhs from Perry County that moved to this area of Oklahoma.  The 1910 census shows Carl living with his family in Alva, and he is still listed as a carpenter.

Carl Groh 1910 census Alva
1910 census – Alva, OK

Carl (Charles) was living with all 7 of his living children, the same ones shown in the above photo.  It wasn’t long after this census that Carl died.  He died on April 7, 1913, only one year after his father died in Altenburg.  Both Carl and Louise are buried in the Lutheran cemetery associated with Zion Lutheran Church in Alva.

Here is a later photo taken of the seven children of Carl and Louise Groh.

Carl and Louise Groh children

Another post was written about Perry County people who had moved to Alva.  It was titled A Perry County Suburb in Oklahoma.  The church in Alva was established in 1899 and still exists.  Here is a photo of their old church.

OldChurch Zion Alva OK
Zion Lutheran Church – Alva, OK

Our research team here at the museum has some hopes of getting access to Zion’s church records someday because there are so many Perry County connections there.

7 thoughts on “Groh-klahoma!

    1. Christian Carl Gottfried Groh is my great, great grandfather also. That makes us 3rd cousins once removed, according to a relationship calculator (I could never figure that out on my own). So, ‘hi cousin’.


  1. Thanks for the fascinating information. You must be proud to be part of an original Oklahoma family. Since I wrote this post, our museum now has access to the church records of Zion Lutheran in Alva. I’m looking forward to looking at those to find all the people from there that have Perry County connections like the Grohs and the Rauhs. If you haven’t done so already, there are a few other posts that have been written about the Groh family. You can find them by using the Search function in the right margin and typing in Groh.


  2. Ernest Groh was my grandfather. Family history says Charles and his family arrived in Alva on Thanksgiving Day 1907, twelve days after Oklahoma was declared a state on Nov. 16, 1907. Charles was married to Louisa Rauh and through the Rauhs, who arrived in Oklahoma in 1902, we are members of the First Families of the Twin Territories (of Oklahoma).


  3. Louisa Rauh that married was my grandfather Charles Rauh’s sister. When Charles Groh went to Ok he indeed did carpenter work for Zion. If you look in the book “Rauh: Our Great Heritage” by Charles Rauh (another one) you can see a picture of his work.


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