Heart-felt Support for Juli

Today’s post was written by Sally Thies Gustin.  A few weeks ago, we published a post IMG_2742about Ernst and Ella Arbeiter titled A Serious Worker at His Hardware Store.  In that post, I more or less challenged Sally to contribute an article for our blog about her Arbeiter/Estel family.  It did not take Sally long to respond.  We are hoping she will have more stories to share on our blog in the future.  Sally has had an interest in genealogy since her childhood.  She has contributed some very valuable family histories to our research library.  She now lives in Franklin, Massachusetts where they are digging themselves out of a snowstorm today.  Many thanks go out to Sally for today’s contribution to our blog.


“Would you like this old book?” my Grandma Ella Estel Arbeiter asks.  “Sure”, my young self says, “But I can’t read it”. “Maybe someday you will be able to”, she replies.  But I never mastered the German language enough to have read it. The book sat on many bookshelves for decades until one day, out of curiosity, I opened it up. Treasures were found.

1881 Lutheran Prayer Book
Some of the stuff found in the book.  The writing at top says, “Ella Estel from your Grandmother 1896

I am not exactly sure which Grandmother my Grandma received this book from, but in 1896 she was 4 years old.  It is possible that someone else wrote this message meaning her Grandmother Schneier, who had passed away the year before, maybe this was an inheritance of some sort.

Anna Katarina (Drumtra) Schneier and Mathilda Schneier (future mother of Ella Estel Arbeiter)

In the 1880 census, the Schneier family was living in Altenburg.  Nicolas Schneier was a tailor from Bavaria, his wife Anna Katarina was from Saxe-Weimar.  They had 5 children (1 died in infancy). In 1880, Louisa (who was married to Julius Dietrich by then) and John were living in Appleton, Missouri.

Their 5 children were:

  • Louisa, born 1855
  • Juliana, born 1861, but died that same year
  • John, born 1862
  • Mathilda, born 1865
  • Anna Juliana, born 1867

Nicolas Schneier died 18 March 1882, after a fall from a wagon, and was survived by his wife and 4 children. The family recorded their early history, which was handed down to me:

Schneier family

The youngest child, Juli, would have been 14 at the time of her father’s death.  Also within the pages of the book Grandma Arbeiter gave me were some things Juli received from her supportive friends. They look as new today as when they were written.


“To Juli Schneier

Dear friend, please take this little heart as a gift. This is all I have, all I can give. I always want to love you affectionately. I wrote this little verse/rhyme myself. You should rejoice. I want to remain your friend. In memoriam/ remembrance. From your friend Emma Wachter. Altenburg March 29th. Donʼt forget me. 1882″

Another heart

“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” The initials at the bottom of the heart are S.L.

Little letter copy

Little letter 2

“To Juli Schneier

Distance does not separate friendship.  Live well forever, don’t forget me.  In memory/remembrance from your friend Lina Burkhardt.  March 29th, 1882″


Juli Schneier probably lived well, but not forever.  She died 15 July 1890, at the age of 22, from malaria.

Juli Schneier death record Trinity Altenburg
Juliane Schneier death record – Trinity, Altenburg

Many of us probably have old books like this that we’ve never opened up.  If you haven’t yet, take the time now to look through them.  Maybe you will find treasures too.





















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