Joining the Saints on All Saints Day

One of the changes that came about as a result of the Reformation was that Lutherans ended up with a different definition for saints than that of the Roman Catholic Church.  In Lutheran theology, a person becomes a saint when one comes to the faith, usually through baptism, and then spends their lives as both sinner and saint.  When a Christian dies, then they become an eternal saint and join the other heavenly host to live eternally there.

November 1st is All Saints Day.  As I was looking through the records today, I began noticing people who died on All Saints Day and began thinking about telling one of those stories today.  What I found was a married couple who both died on All Saints Day.  They did not die in the same year, but they both died on that date.  Here is their story, and it leads to another story that I find very interesting.

We will start with the husband.  His name was Ernst Doering, who was born on May 27, 1892 in Wittenberg, Missouri.  His parents were Adolph and Anna (Richter) Doering.  Ernst’s father died when he was 9 years old, and his mother died when he was 19 years old, so neither one of them was alive when he got married.  Here is a photo of a young Ernst Doering, pictured with William Doering, who, as near as I can tell, was Ernst’s cousin.  Ernst is on the right.

William and Ernst Doering
William (L) and Ernst (R) Doering

The Doering land can be seen on this 1915 map, just north of the Seelitz area.  It is labeled as Anna Doering.

Anna Doering land map

The wife in the couple we focus on today was Esther Mueller, who was born on February 5, 1899 in Uniontown.  Her parents were Gottfried and Ida (Landgraf) Mueller.  Esther’s mother died when she was 4 years old.  Her father then married Martha Telle.  That story is told in the post, The 3M Company.  Her father also died before Esther got married, but her stepmother was still alive.

As marriages go, the one between Ernst and Esther was a little unusual.  Esther was 28 years old and Ernst was 34 years old when they were married.  Those are pretty old ages for people in those days to be getting married for the first time.  Their wedding day was February 27, 1927.  The wedding was held at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown.  Here is their marriage license.

Doering Mueller marriage license
Doering/Mueller marriage license

The Rev. Mueller who married them was no relation to Esther.

This marriage brings up the question about how a young man from Wittenberg would become acquainted with a young lady from Uniontown.  According to the map program on my phone, these two communities are 13 miles away from each other.  That distance is probably as the crow flies.  It would be a larger distance if you factor in the curvy roads between those two locations.  In the days of horse and buggies, that was a considerable trip to make.  There is a small chance that an automobile might have been available to make this trip, but I am guessing that a poor farmer like Ernst Doering from Perry County would not have access to one.

What is even more interesting is that Esther is not the only Mueller girl from this family to marry a man from Wittenberg.  Of the five girls in that family, four of them married men from that riverside village.  Two of them married Roth boys, and another one married my uncle, George Loebs.

Here is what I think happened.  The oldest Mueller girl, Dorothea (Dora), married Theodore Kassel, who was a resident in the Uniontown area.  After that marriage, he started a machine shop in Frohna.  Theodore’s story was told in the post, Frohna Machine Shop.  That got one of the Muellers closer to Wittenberg.  There was a Roth family that was living in the Frohna area for a while.  Dorothea may have gotten to know a couple of unmarried Roth boys who by then had moved to the hills north and west of Wittenberg.  In 1919, Lina Mueller married one of those boys, Leo Roth.  In 1925, another Mueller girl, Bertha, married Leo’s brother, Gottfried.  In 1926, Frieda Mueller, a half-sister to the others, married George Loebs from Wittenberg.  Finally, we have Esther marrying Ernst Doering two months later in early 1927.  Some serious matchmaking must have been happening during those days.

Here is a photo of the Doering/Mueller wedding.

Ernst and Esther Doering wedding
Doering/Mueller wedding

At this point in Ernst’s life, both his parents were dead and his only older sibling, a sister, had gotten married.  That made him the head of the family that was left and the one who ran the farm.  In the 1930 census, we see this interesting scenerio.

Ernst Doering 1930 census Wittenberg
1930 census – Wittenberg, MO

Ernst and his relatively new spouse, Esther, were living in the same household with three of Ernst’s younger brothers.  They had brought in a 15 year old servant to help run this household of four full-grown hungry men, three of which were still single.

Ernst and Esther had two children that lived, Herb and Edna.  Here is a delightful photo of this family.

Ernst Doering family
Ernst and Esther Doering family

We also have this more formal photograph of this family.

Ernst and Esther Doering family photo
Ernst and Esther Doering family

Esther is also shown in this photograph taken of the Mueller siblings later in their lives.

Gottfried Heinrich Mueller family
Mueller family

Left to right:  Dora, Lina, Esther, Bertha, Frieda, Walter, and Herbert.  Lina, Esther, Bertha, and Frieda all married Wittenberg men.

Ernst died on November 1, 1986 at the age of 94; Esther died on November 1, 2002.  She outdid her husband in longevity.  She was 103 years old when she died.  Here are their gravestones.

On this All Saints Day, as we think of the angels and archangels and all the “company of heaven”, we remember all the faithful saints who have gone before us, especially this Perry County couple.  They both entered that heavenly kingdom on this special date.



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