As I write this story today, a group that calls themselves the Wittenberg Cousins is in town visiting. This group of fun-loving folks comes to town twice a year and stays at The Inn here in Altenburg, since they would have a hard time finding a place to stay in Wittenberg. They put up their banner at The Inn when they show up in order to warn the local residents that they are here.
These Wittenberg Cousins are mainly from the Kieninger family that once inhabited the river town of Wittenberg before it became a ghost town. They are grandchildren of William Kieninger. Here is a photo of these cousins.
I managed to find a birthday girl in the Kieninger family. Her name was Hilda Kieninger, and she would have been a second cousin to the fathers of these Wittenberg Cousins, making these ladies second cousins-once removed with Hilda. They all can trace their ancestry back to Joseph and Eva (Putz) Kieninger. Joseph came to America from Gosau, Austria and his family lived in the New Wells, Missouri area.
Hilda Kieninger was the daughter of Martin and Aymer (Torrence) Kieninger. The story of the marriage of Martin and Aymer is an interesting one. They were married at Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas on June 15, 1906. Here is their marriage record from that church.
About six months after that wedding, Aymer was baptized at that church. It is reported to be the first adult baptism to be conducted at Zion Lutheran Church. Here is that baptism record.
That leads us up to Hilda’s birth. She was born on April 11, 1911 and baptized at Zion, Pocahontas. She was later confirmed at that church in 1926. Her father was a farmer. Hilda hardly got to know her mother because she died in 1914 when she was just 3 years old. Martin married a second time. His second wife was Matilda Bellmann.
Hilda never got married. The last census in which I could find her was the 1930 census when she was 18 years old and still living with her parents. I could not locate her in the 1940 census. We do know that she died in a small rural village known as Farmer’s Retreat, Indiana. We can find Hilda’s brother, Cline Kieninger, living with his family in the same county as Farmer’s Retreat in the 1940 census. Hilda died on November 10, 1979. Here is her Indiana death certificate.
The Edith Kieninger listed as the informant was Cline’s wife.
Farmer’s Retreat was mentioned in a previous blog post in which it was stated that there was a Rev. Friedrich Wilhelm Mueller, with roots from Frohna, Missouri, who was a pastor there for a while. That post was titled, Mr. Mueller, the Salesman.
Here is the gravestone for Hilda Kieninger at St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Farmer’s Retreat.
There are seven gravesites in that cemetery that carry the Kieninger surname.
Since the Wittenberg Cousins consider me an honorary cousin, and since they shared some of their food, drink, and stories with me last night, I could not resist the story of another Kieninger cousin.