Lots of Motz Carts

Heinrich and Catharina (Roth) Motz came to America prior to 1839 and were living in New York.  When they heard about the Stephanite immigration to Missouri which was taking place in 1838-1839, they joined quite a few other New Yorkers to move to Missouri to join this group of German Lutherans.  As we have mentioned several times in posts on this blog, this gathering of Lutherans became known as the New York Group.

The New York Group arrived in Perry County on May 17, 1839.  There were about 100 people that were part of this group.  When they arrived, they entered the hornet’s nest of controversy surrounding the Gesellschaft’s leader, Rev. Martin Stephan, who was deposed from that community before the end of that month.  Many of the New York Group made the decision to not remain in Perry County, and most of those decided to move upriver to St. Louis where many became members of Old Trinity Lutheran Church.  The Motz couple did just that.

On November 12, 1839, a baby was born into this couple.  It was their first child.  That baby, named Catherina Motz, was baptized at Old Trinity.  In fact, one of Catherina’s sponsors was Agnes Walther, the wife of Trinity’s pastor, Otto Herman Walther.  If you consider the birthday of this child, an argument could be made that Heinrich’s wife, Catherina, may have realized that she was pregnant on the trip from New York to Perry County.  What we do have here is evidence that the Motz couple did not remain in Perry County for any great length of time.

Heinrich Motz NY Group Zion
New York Group list – Zion on the Mississippi

In this listing of the New York Group in the book, Zion on the Mississippi, you see that Heinrich is described as a cartwright, a maker of carts.  In a variety of other documents, we see Heinrich also shown as a carriage maker, sofa maker, and a chair maker.  I think we can safely say that his skills were in the area of woodworking.

Here is where we arrive at an event that took place on this date.  Johann Heinrich Motz was born on January 11, 1842 and baptized at Old Trinity Lutheran Church.  The first census in which I could find the Motz family was in the 1860 census.  Here is an image of that census including the Motz family.

Heinrich Motz 1860 census St. Louis
Henry Motz – 1860 census

Henry, the father, was a carriage maker, and Henry, his son, followed in his footsteps.  He is already a carriage maker at the age of 18.  Although I could not find any official documents to back this up, it appears that Henry’s wife, Catherine, died in 1867.  Findagrave.com lists her as being buried in the Western Lutheran Cemetery after dying on March 11, 1867.  There is no image of a gravestone there.  Western Cemetery was the cemetery for the old Immanuel Lutheran Church that was located in downtown St. Louis.  The first pastor of that church was Rev. J. F. Buenger.

In this 1867 image of the St. Louis city directory, we see that both the father and son in this Motz family are working in the carriage making business.

Henry Motz city directory St. Louis 1867
City directory St Louis – 1867

In 1871, Johann Heinrich Motz married Laura Stoewener at Immanuel.  This couple would go on to have seven children, one of which died very young.  J. Henry Motz continued his work as a carriage maker throughout his life.

In 1890, the patriarch, Henry Motz, died and was also buried in the Western Cemetery.  Here is a burial certificate that was filled out when he died.


The cause of death is listed as malaria.  He was 78 years old when he died.

Here is a photo taken in 1853 which shows the St. Louis levee.  You can see several carriages/wagons in the picture.


In 1853, young J. Henry Motz would have been just 11 years old, but he already may have been getting a taste for what his father’s occupation entailed.  Maybe he got the chance to venture toward the riverfront to see such a scene.

J. Henry would die in 1902.  Here is a death certificate which indicates he died of pneumonia.

Johann Heinrich Motz death certificate

By this time, this Motz family had become members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church.  He was buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery, along with his wife, Laura, who died in 1917.  Here is their gravestone.

J Henry Motz gravestone Concordia Cemetery St. Louis

During J. Henry Motz’s lifetime, he witnessed much in the way of changes to the means of transportation in the United States.  In the photo below taken in St. Louis at about the time of his death, we see a variety of modes of transportation.  We still see the horse and carriage, but you can also see an automobile as well as a streetcar.


I also find it somewhat interesting that in a city like St. Louis, you see an occupation such as J. Henry and his father had as being a carriage maker.  Down here in rural Perry County, anyone in that sort of business was called a wagon maker.  I am guessing that both these descriptions involve men who used the same kinds of skills to get their job done.

Nowadays you can still get a horse-drawn carriage ride in downtown St. Louis, but it is just a nostalgic thing to do.

St. Louis carriage ride

I find the story of this carriage making family an interesting one.  It also carries with it the fact that it discusses one of the original members of the 1838-1839 immigration.  However, today’s story is just the beginning of another story which I will tell tomorrow.  I think you are going to enjoy it.  But this is just a tease.  You will have to come back tomorrow to find out the rest of the story.


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