To and Fro Across the River

Paul and Mary Lungwitz were married on this day back in 1888.  Over the years, these two Perry Countians moved back and forth across the Mississippi.  We’ll take a little time telling the story of these two, with a little more added about one of their children.

First of all, let’s talk about Paul’s family.  Paul was the son of Christian Gottfried (who apparently went by the name of John) and Emilie (Hergert) Lungwitz of Altenburg.  John was a hufschmidt (horse shoer) when he came to America in 1850.  Paul was born on March 19, 1863 and baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church.  Here is an image of his baptism record.

Paul Lungwitz baptism record Trinity
Paul Lungwitz baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg

Mary (Maria) Boehme was the daughter of Ludwig and Sarah (Hartung) Boehme.  In fact, she was the firstborn child in this family in which 13 children were born.  Several of those children died early.  We have this photo of Ludwig and Sarah.


Mary was born on May 27, 1867 and baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  Here is an image of her baptism record.

Maria Boehme baptism record Trinity
Maria Boehme baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg

That leads us up to October 25, 1888 when Paul and Mary were married at Trinity.  Here is a marriage license form for this wedding.

Lungwitz Boehme marriage license
Lungwitz/Boehme marriage license

The 1900 census shows Paul and Mary living in the Brazeau Township of Perry County, and Paul was a farmer.  By then, four of their five children had been born.  We have this photo of Paul taken sometime around 1904 where he is talking with a Mr. Cunningham about a railroad right of way for Wittenberg.

Paul & Cunningham X

Then the 1910 census shows them as having crossed the Mississippi and farming in Fountain Bluff Township, Illinois.  Their last child was born in 1909 and was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois.

Sometime after 1910 and before 1920, the Lungwitz family moved back to Wittenberg.  The 1920 census places them back on the Missouri side of the Mississippi.  Their son, Otto, filled out a World War I draft registration form in either 1917 or 1918 which stated that he was living in Wittenberg at that time.

Otto Lungwitz – WWI draft registration

This form also says that Otto was the owner of a ferry.  Actually, both Otto and his father, Paul, were owners of the ferry in Wittenberg at that time.  This bulletin about the ferry business shows these two as proprietors.

ferry bulletin X

In 1923, Mary died; Paul died in 1925.  They are both buried in the St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg.  After Paul’s death, Otto took over the ferry by himself and ran it for many years.  This photo shows Otto, who had also gotten the nickname, Nick, standing on a boat next to the ferry which was about to carry several passengers across the river.

Nick's 1st ferry X

On this ticket that was printed after Paul’s death, we see just Otto listed as the owner.

ferry ticket X

Eventually, Otto would buy a bigger boat which he named Bertha.  It was named after his wife, Bertha (Winter) Lungwitz.  Here is a photo of that paddlewheel boat.

Bertha paddle wheel X

We have this photo of Nick pictured in the cabin of the Bertha.

Nick on Bertha X

This is a interesting photo of an ice-filled Mississippi River with the Bertha.

Bertha ice X

Nick’s wife, Bertha, ran a tavern in Wittenberg also, but that is a story for another day.  We do have this matchbook cover in our museum which shows this business.  Nick ran the Bertha back and forth across the river until 1942.

Nick's place matchbook cover

I guess you could say that this Lungwitz family spent a good portion of their lives going to and fro across the river.  They lived on both sides, and they ran a ferry across from one side to the other.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s