There were ten children born into the Edward Fischer family between 1893 and 1913. Nine of them were boys. Sadly, the mother of this family, Katie (Kuennel) Fischer, witnessed the funerals of seven of her children before her own death.
The reason this story hit my radar today is that one of those sons, Rudolph Fischer, was born on this day, June 25, in 1907. Not long after his birth, a family photo was taken of the Edward Fischer family, probably around 1908.
Rudolph is the baby in his mother’s lap. The only girl in the family, Caroline, is standing in the back. The other boys, standing left to right, are Theodore, George, Edward, and the younger one standing next to his father, Bernhard. Two more boys, Albert and Heinrich, would be born after this photo.
Before this photo was taken, two sons had already died when they were very young. Johann died in 1897 at the age of two from encephalitis. Richard died after living just six months in 1901.
In this photo, we see the Fischers early in their marriage. The are pictured with the Kuennels, standing on the left. Katie and Edward are on the right. Caroline Kuennel is holding Caroline Fischer. Katie Fischer is holding her son, Edward, Jr. John Kuennel would establish a store in Altenburg, which would later be taken over by Edward. For a while it was called the Fischer Cheap Store, and later just the Fischer Store. It is the same store that was shown in yesterday’s blog post when it was being operated by Edward’s son, George Fischer. Here is an early photo of the Fischer Cheap Store.
In 1910, just two years after the family photo was taken, Caroline would die of typhoid. The Fischers were members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, so all their graves are found in their cemetery. When Caroline died, Katie was pregnant with Albert. However, when Albert was just seven years old, he died of pneumonia.
An older son, Theodore, had to also witness the funerals of two of his brothers at a young age. When Albert died, Theodore was sixteen years old. I do not know if these deaths influenced him, but Theodore went on to study to become a doctor. He graduated from medical school and became the primary doctor in the city of Altenburg from 1933 to 1979. His story was told in the post, Fischercare.
This is where we go back to Rudolph Fischer who was born on this day. Rudolph decided to become a Lutheran teacher. After graduating, he became a teacher at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. On July 3, 1929, Rudolph married Roberta Ledford in Indiana. Here is their marriage license.
Tragically, this marriage lasted not even a month, because on July 29th, Rudolph died. The Trinity, Altenburg death record states that he died of a heart attack, but his Indiana death certificate states a different reason.
It states that he died of accidental drowning. Rudolph’s body was transported back to Altenburg where he is buried.
We move on to 1936 to find that another brother in this family died at a rather young age. Bernhard Fischer died of a heart attack on July 13, 1936 at the age of 31. This is the first time we see that Dr. Theodore Fischer has to attach his signature on a death certificate for a member of his own family.
1939 was an even rougher year for the Fischer family. On January 25, Edward Fischer, Sr. died of a heart attack at the age of 69. Here is his death certificate, one that his own son had to sign.
Not even two months later, another son, Edward Fischer, Jr. would die. Here is his death certificate.
Dr. Fischer is not the doctor who signed off on this certificate, but he is shown to be the informant. This certificate was signed by a coroner, and the cause of death is shown to be suicide. The Trinity church records say that Edward took his own life by jumping from the Apple Creek Bridge located in Old Appleton. Edward was just 42 years old.
There were three sons who lived a full life. George was the next owner of the Fischer Store. Theodore was the doctor. Heinrich (Hank) operated a tavern for a while in Altenburg. Katie Fischer died in 1951 at the age of 77. She died at St. Francis Hospital in Cape Girardeau of congestive heart failure following a fall in her home. At least her son, Theodore, did not have to sign her death certificate.
There was so much heartache in this Fischer family. Katie and Edward must have experienced much more grief than almost anyone else around Perry County. Dr. Fischer not only had to witness so many family members die, but also must have wished so often that he could have done more to help them.
Another person must have endured much sadness because he, too, had a connection to the Fischer family. That was Rev. Adolph Vogel. One of Adolph’s daughters, Adele, was the wife of George Fischer. Rev. Vogel served Trinity, Altenburg from 1914-1949, and he must have had to not only officiate several Fischer funerals, but also be in the position to offer comfort to grieving family members.