Tales from a Tombstone…in a Barn

I’m going to start today’s story with a photograph.

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The above tombstone can be found in my barn.  Today I will tell you why several such stones are located in my barn.  I will also tell you why this stone would show up in a post written on March 30th.

First, let me explain the gravestones in the barn.  The Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg, Missouri began being used in 1840 when it was the property of Christiane Loeber, the sister of the pastor at Trinity.  Christiane died of disease in 1840 and the family decided to bury her on her property.  Later, the Loeber family donated this land to the church and it became the cemetery for Trinity’s congregation.  So the cemetery is now over 175 years old.  As those many years went by, some of the tombstones, for one reason or another, fell over and became misplaced.  No one knew exactly where the stones were supposed to be.  Somewhere along the line, it was decided to place these stones behind a storage building located at the cemetery.  Several years ago, a fairly severe storm went through and toppled that shed.  Another decision was made to move the tombstones and store them in our museum’s basement.  After a while, some at the museum no longer wanted them stored there, so I volunteered to store them in my barn.  The one shown above just so happens to be the one that is on top of some others and is the most visible.  I see it all the time when I go into my barn.  And it also happens to have a connection to my family.  Someday, the powers that be may decide to move them to a better place, but for the time being, they are in my barn.

The gravestone in the above photo belongs to Elizabeth (Theiss) Seibel, and the stone also records that she was married to Johann Seibel.  Today’s date is not one of the dates shown on this stone, so the connection to March 30th must be found somewhere else.  To find the connection, we must look into either the Seibel or the Theiss name.  We will start with the Seibel surname.

Two men by the name of Seibel came to Perry County as part of the New York Group.  Here is the record of them in that group as shown in the book, Zion on the Mississippi.

Seibels NY Group Zion

Jacob Seibel was a tailor, and Johann Seibel was a cooper.  There is a good chance these two Seibels were related, but I could not find any documentation to show that.  As you can see, Johann Seibel came to Perry County with a wife and one child.  The wife listed here would have been the Elizabeth Seibel on the tombstone.

Johann Seibel’s death record is found in the church records of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.

Johann Seibel death record Immanuel Altenburg
Johann Seibel death record – Immanuel, Altenburg

Here we can find his birthday.  There it is.  It was March 30, 1809.

Now, if we look at the Theiss surname, we find that Elizabeth was the sister of Johann Theiss.  Don’t get Johann Theiss confused with Johann Seibel.  There ended up being a whole bunch of folks around here with the name Theiss, and they were from this Johann Theiss.  Johann died in 1872 and is buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery.

Johann Theiss gravestone Trinity Altenburg
Johann Theiss gravestone – Trinity, Altenburg

It is a little hard to read, but the date of his birth shown on this stone is March 30, 1811.  There it is again.  Today’s date.  In other words, Elizabeth’s husband and Elizabeth’s brother had the same birthday, only two years apart.

The Theiss surname is not found in any list of original immigrants, but Johann Theiss and his mother, Catharine, a widow, must have moved here very early after the originals.  Records as early as September of 1839 show up in the Trinity books with these Theisses being sponsors for baptisms.

As for connections to my family, Johann Theiss was my 2nd great grandfather who shows up  on the Mueller side of my family.  That makes Elizabeth the sister of my great, great grandfather.  On the Schmidt side of my family, my great grandfather, Gottwerth Schmidt, married Wilhelmina Seibel.  However, she does not come from the Johann Seibel family.  She comes from the other Seibel in the New York Group, Jacob Seibel.  Therefore, there seems to be several possible connections between me and Elizabeth (Theiss) Seibel, the woman on that misplaced gravestone.  I suppose there is a good reason her tombstone ended up in my barn.

We have visitors at our place for Easter.  Our grandchildren love to play in our barn.  Not all of them like to have their picture taken with tombstones, but here is such a photo including Elizabeth’s stone.

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In closing, I’m going to post a photo of another gravestone found in our barn.  I may have to do a story on it someday, but for today, I will just ask the question, “Can anyone tell me anything about Gertrude Mueller?”

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