One of the character traits of the German Lutherans who came to Perry County is their ability to take on new professions. For example, many of the original immigrants came to America with other skill sets, but ended up being farmers here because that was what was needed. However, there are other examples as well, and today’s story will illustrate this. It takes place in a family that started with one of the 1839 immigrants. His name was Johann Gottlob Gaebler. Here we see him shown in the list of members of the immigration as recorded in Zion on the Mississippi.
As you can see, Gottlob is shown as a locksmith. In 1845, he married Caroline Dietrich, and his marriage record in found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. This marriage took place a matter of months before Trinity dedicated its first church building that year. After their marriage, this couple began having children. In the Trinity baptism records for the first three children in this family, Gottlob is referred to as a “lockmaker from Wittenberg”. The last of those records was made in 1850. However, in an 1851 baptism where Gottlob was a sponsor, he was called a “butcher in Wittenberg”. I cannot help but ask the question, “How does a locksmith become a butcher?”
We will focus on just one of Gottlob’s children in this post. He was the fourth child born into this family. His name was Samuel Gaebler, who was born in 1852. Here is his baptism record from the Trinity books.
When Samuel was 3 years old, his father died. His mother then married Henry Naeser. Apparently, the Naesers were members of Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells for a while because that is where Samuel was confirmed in 1867.
On June 1, 1879, Samuel married Magdalena Schilling at Trinity, Altenburg. Here is their marriage certificate.
Magdalena is today’s birthday girl. She was born on October 21, 1859 and baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. Her parents were Friedrich and Theresa (Schuessler) Schilling. The first record I could find of a Schilling in East Perry County was the record of Friedrich and Theresa getting married in 1858. Here is Magdalena’s baptism record. She was the firstborn child of Friedrich and Theresa.
After Magdalena married Samuel, they lived in the village of Wittenberg for a while. So Samuel returned to his place of birth. Here is the 1880 census showing Samuel and Magdalena living there with a very young child.
Samuel was working as a cooper. There was a brewery in Wittenberg at that time, and I suppose it is possible that Samuel was in the business of making barrels for the beer that they were brewing.
Samuel and Magdalena’s first five children were baptized at Trinity in Altenburg, with the fifth one being baptized in 1887. Their next three children, starting with one in 1889, were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, the same church where Samuel had been confirmed. Then their last child, born in 1896, was baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.
Since the records of Zion Lutheran begin in 1894, I wondered if Samuel was involved in the formation of that congregation. I found him listed in one of their anniversary booklets showing him as a charter member of that congregation.
The 1900 census shows the Gaebler family, by this time with seven children, living in St. Louis. He was listed as a day laborer. Then in the 1910 census, we find this information.
Samuel is shown as operating his own grocery store in St. Louis. In this city directory, we find that Samuel must have been in the grocery business with his son, Edward.
If you look at a street-view of today’s St. Louis, you will find this building at the corner of Winnebago and Nebraska Streets. The above address would be found at this intersection. You can see there is still a corner grocery store located there. I think this is the likely location of the Gaebler Grocery. It is now called Brandi’s Food Market.
I also suspect that the Gaebler’s lived on the second floor of that building.
Altogether, there were 10 children in this family. The last one was born in St. Louis and baptized at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Samuel died in 1921; Magdalena died in 1941. They are buried next to each other in Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis. Here are their gravestones.
Gottlob Gaebler was a locksmith who became a butcher. His son, Samuel was a cooper who became a grocer. I am amazed at the resiliency of these German Lutheran folks.