Old Town and Low Town

I am going to share a story today with plenty of plot twists.  I hope I can keep it all straight.  It all starts with the birthday of Pauline Holt on November 28, 1873.  She was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri.  She was the daughter of Joseph and Wilhelmina (Mueller) Holt.  On December 27, 1894, Pauline married Albert Niederstadt in New Wells.  Here is their wedding photo.

Niederstadt Holt wedding
Niederstadt/Holt wedding

It’s another black and white wedding dress for the bride, and a suitcoat only buttoned at the top for the groom.

Albert Niederstadt was born April 23, 1873 and baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  His parents were Carl and Catherine (Giessler) Niederstadt.  Carl and Catherine were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in 1856, but when they started having children in 1858, they were baptized at Immanuel.  My first thought was that the Niederstadts may have been charter members at Immanuel when it started in 1857, but they are not on the official list.  Then sometime around 1880, the Niederstadts must have moved to New Wells because around that time their children began being confirmed at Immanuel, New Wells.   That brought Pauline and Albert near one another, and before you know it, they are married.

According to our German Family Tree, Albert became a member at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg in 1904.  Here’s where I play my little games with names.  Albert got his start in Altenburg, which in German means “old town” and Albert’s last name, Niederstadt, means “low town”.  The way I have it figured, Wittenberg could easily be called “Low Town” because of its location on the banks of the Mississippi River.  So now in 1904, we have Mr. “Low Town” living in “Low Town”.

Between 1896 and 1906, Albert and Pauline had 7 children.  Then in 1910, Pauline died.  She is buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg.  Here is her gravestone.

Pauline Holt Niederstadt gravestone Wittenberg
Paulina Niederstadt gravestone – St.  Paul’s, Wittenberg

One year later, Albert married again.  He married another girl with Wittenberg roots by the name of Sarah Mueller, but they were married across the river in Jackson County, Illinois in 1910.

Before we move along, we must discuss Sarah’s background.  She was the daughter of Wilhelm and Louise (Hartung) Mueller.  Here are photos of Sarah’s parents.

Sarah was born on August 28, 1884.  She was the oldest child in that family.  We have a photo of Sarah that was taken of her relatively early in her life.

Sarah Catherine Elisabeth Mueller
Sarah Mueller

We run across a somewhat disturbing record concerning Sarah Mueller in the Trinity Lutheran, Altenburg church books.  In 1907, a child by the name of Eldor Mueller was baptized at Trinity.  Sarah’s name is given as the mother, but no father is listed.  I did run across this photo which must have been taken after Sarah had married Albert Niederstadt.  The front four children are Niederstadts born to Albert and his first wife.  The last child in the line is said to be Eldor Petzoldt.

Albert Niederstadt children
Niederstadt children

It seems that a man by the name of Petzoldt was the father of the child born to Sarah in 1907.  I have a suspicion who that Petzoldt may have been, but I do not want to state who that is in this post.

We also have a photo of Albert and Sarah’s 1910 wedding.

Niederstadt Mueller wedding
Niederstadt/Mueller wedding

Albert and Sarah were not married long.  Albert died in 1912.  He is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Murphysboro, Illinois.  Here is his gravestone.

Albert Niederstadt gravestone Immanuel Murphysboro IL
Albert Niederstadt gravestone – Immanuel, Murphysboro, IL

I know I am wandering pretty far away from the birthday of Paulina Holt, but I want to follow this story just a little farther.  Sarah also married a second time.  Her second marriage was to Bernard Borgers.  I do not know exactly when this marriage took place, but it must have been before 1920.  Here is the Borgers household shown in the 1920 census from Murphysboro, Illinois.

Bernard Borgers 1920 census Murphysboro IL
1920 census – Murphysboro, IL

You can see two Niederstadt children listed.  One is Eldor, who was the child born to Sarah before she was married.  He apparently took the name of Niederstadt.  Another is Lucille, who was a child born to Albert and Sarah before Albert’s death.  Bernard Borgers was a coal miner.   Here is a photo of Bernard and Sarah.

Bernard Borgers and Sarah
Bernard and Sarah Borgers

The Borgers would later live in St. Louis for a while, but when they both died in 1959, the were buried together in the Valley View Cemetery in Edwardsville, Illinois.  Here is their gravestone.

Sarah Borgers gravestone Edwardsville IL

This story took me through several churches…..three of them with the name, Immanuel, a couple states, a couple of Muellers, and several marriages.  It was a challenge to keep it all straight.  That is, IF I did keep it all straight.




2 thoughts on “Old Town and Low Town

  1. Hello, My husband’s grandfather was Eldor Petzoldt who was born in Perry County (I think Altenburg) in 1898. His father was Frederick Florian Petzoldt and Ernestine Katherine Linda Bodenschatz. Eldor married Olga Schmidt who had Ralph Petzoldt (my father-in-law). Olga died and he married Frieda Lorenz Schmidt who already had a child named Vercile, by her first husband. Eldor and Olga had a child together named Melba. I wonder if the Eldor in your picture is actually Eldor Petzoldt who just happened to hang around with the Niederstadt kids. But who knows? I’d like to know if you find out anything else about that picture and Eldor Mueller. By the way my husband and I live in Minnesota and I saw that you have a grandchild there.


  2. very interesting. I believe that pauline and albert lived most of their married life in the shaneetown, mo area and only lived in wittenberg a little over a year. What prompted the move i dont know. sadly,i am told, pauline died while in labor with 8th child and is buried @ wittenberg. Pauline is my grandfather’s (joseph holt) oldest sister. I believe there is a neiderstadt living near friedheim. clarence schimer may be able to supply more info and photos abt the neiderstadts’.


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