Art and Tillie

July 9th was not only the birthday of Mathilde Gerler, it was her anniversary.  She was born on July 9, 1882.  Her birth record in the Immanuel Lutheran, Altenburg church records say that she was born in Friedland, which is another term for The Ridge.  She was the daughter of Louis and Emma (Thurm) Gerler.  In this photo of the Louis Gerler family, we see Mathilde standing in the front on the right.

Louis Gerler, Sr. family
Louis Gerler family

The only photo I found of Mathilde was this one where she is quite young.  One puzzling thing we find in the Immanuel church record of her baptism is the fact that she is described as being a twin.  However, if she was a twin, the other twin is not recorded in the church records.  Even when a twin baby is stillborn, it is usually recorded, but in this case, there is no other twin documented.  Here is an image of a portion of Mathilde’s birth record in the Immanuel books.


“Ein zwillinge kind” means a twin child.  I looked in the death records and could find no twin child who died at that time.  In fact, the Immanuel books only record two deaths in 1882, which I also find astounding.

I did find a reference in a family history that Mathilde went by the name of Tillie.  On July 9, 1903, she married Albert Lorenz at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  Here is their marriage license.

Lorenz Gerler marriage license
Lorenz/Gerler marriage license

If they had a birthday cake at Tillie’s wedding, it would have had 21 candles on it.

This Lorenz/Gerler wedding is actually documented in three different church records.  The obvious one is the one at Immanuel, Altenburg.  However, there is also a 1904 record in the St. John Lutheran, Pocahontas books, and a 1918 record in the St. Paul’s Lutheran, Wittenberg books, that document this wedding as taking place on July 9, 1903.

Arthur Lorenz was the firstborn son of John and Caroline (Mueller) Lorenz.  Arthur and all his siblings were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  Art and Tillie’s first six children were baptized at St. John Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.  Also, the 1910 census shows this couple living in Shawnee Township with Arthur being a farmer.  The last child to be baptized in Pocahontas was born in 1916.  However, the last two Lorenz children were baptized at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg.  Art’s World War I draft registration shows him living in Wittenberg in 1918.

Arthur Lorenz WWI draft registration

When Arthur moved his family to Wittenberg, it was probably because he got a job working as a teamster for the swing factory which was located in Wittenberg.  This occupation is shown on this draft registration form and on the 1920 census.  By 1918, what was once the Miesner Lumber & Manufacturing Company had gone broke, and under new ownership had become Perfection Furniture Manufacturing Company, as it is shown on Art’s registration form.  This company would last only until the mid-1920’s.  Here is a photo taken of that factory located in what was called the Frogtown area north of Wittenberg.

Miesner Manufacturing X

The wares from this factory would have been transported to their markets either by railroad or river boats.  The railroad went very near this factory, so Art would have had a very short trip to deliver the furniture to be loaded on the trains.  If the furniture was going by boat, Art would have had to take his wagon loads to the boat docks in Wittenberg.  I like to imagine Art driving his team of horses past the new church that was being constructed very near this factory.  That church would be dedicated in 1920 and was the church where the Lorenz family attended.  I also like to think that my dad would have seen Art delivering the factory’s wares to Wittenberg when he was a young boy.  Also, one of the Lorenz children, Reinhardt, was born the same year as my dad, so they may have been in the same class at St. Paul’s Lutheran School.  That would also mean that Reinhardt was a student of Teacher Stohs, whose story was told in the post, Teacher Stohs – Dad’s Teacher.

The only photo of Arthur Lorenz that I found is one where he is quite old.

Arthur Lorenz

The child in the photo is likely to be one of his grandchildren.

A photo was made for the purpose of promoting the chairs and swings produced by the factory in Wittenberg.

Miesner children furniture X

I have every reason to believe that Art is sitting on one of the chairs that was produced by the factory at which he worked.

Mathilde died in 1945; Arthur died in 1967.  They are both buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg.

And no, Mathilde did not die on the same day as her birthday and anniversary.

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