Today’s account begins with a wedding which took place on this day in 1857. The bride was Maria Anna Mueller, daughter of Gottfried Heinrich and Maria (Rothe) Mueller. Her brother, Zacharias Mueller has been a character in several posts on this blog in the past. The groom was Charles (Carl) Hoffmann. His parents are unknown to me. I find it interesting that this couple was not married by a pastor, but I think I have a possible explanation for that. Here is their Missouri marriage record.
The person witnessing the wedding is Ezekiel McNeely JP. JP is an abbreviation of Justice of the Peace. My best guess is that Ezekiel was a member of the Brazeau Presbyterian Church at the time of this ceremony. Here is a wedding photograph.
As far as why this couple did not get married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, one may have to look at what was going on in Altenburg at the time. 1857 was a tumultuous year at Trinity. There was much turmoil going on with their pastor, Rev. Georg Schieferdecker. By the end of 1857, Pastor Schieferdecker was removed from the Synod, and he took about a third of the congregation to the other side of Altenburg and started Immanuel Lutheran Church. It was not until early 1858 that Trinity had another pastor installed. Amidst all this upheaval, Carl and Maria may just have said that a Justice of the Peace may have been a more “peaceful” option.
There were several Hoffmanns that were part of the Gesellschaft in 1839, but Carl was not one of them. Carl did not arrive in America until 1852, and he came by himself at the age of 20. He became a farmer.
There is a question that arises when you look at Maria’s history. It is the question asked in the title of this post. Where was she born? We can find Maria (called Mary) in the passenger list of the Johann Georg which carried the members of the Gruber Group to America at the end of 1839. She is given no age.
For some reason, Zion on the Mississippi lists this Mueller family as including a husband, a wife, and only two children. I am thinking that Mary was an infant as she arrived in New Orleans. Whether she was born at sea or not is another question. However, we also have other conflicting evidence on Maria’s birth. In at least two census records, it indicates that Maria’s birthplace was Missouri. All I know is that I cannot come up with a definitive answer for this question.
The Hoffmans began having children in 1858. There were a bunch of kids, but several of them died in infancy. They were still having children almost to the time of Carl’s death in 1885. When their daughter, Wilhelmina, was born in 1871, the records of the Hoffmann family start showing up in the New Wells church books. Census records show that the Hoffmann family was living in Shawnee Township in Cape Girardeau County (where New Wells is located) at about this time also.
Another interesting fact about the Hoffmann family is that Carl and Maria had three different daughters-in-law who had the maiden name of Mirly. They were all sisters. One of the Hoffmann sons, Julius, married two Mirly sisters all by himself (not at the same time, in case you’re wondering).
After Carl died in 1885, Maria remarried. In 1890, at the age of 52, she married Alfred Gross. Interestingly, Alfred can be found in the above passenger list right below the Mueller family listed as Gottlieb Frd. Alfred Grosse who was three years old at the time. So these two very young passengers on the same ship eventually became husband and wife.
Maria is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells. The record shown on Findagrave.com says that she was born in Germany. Go figure.