As the Civil War was winding down, two of my great grandparents were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Missouri. The two who were married were Gottwerth Schmidt and Wilhelmine Seibel. The pastor of Trinity at the time was Rev. J.F. Koestering, and the marriage must have taken place in the 1845 church which now serves as a gallery for our museum. I am going to use today’s story as an opportunity to show a few new artifacts that we now have at our museum.
Gottwerth was the son of Georg Joachim and Marie (Saalfeld) Schmidt, who brought their family to America as part of the Gesellschaft in 1839. Gottwerth was born in Kahla, Germany, the same town from which Rev. Gotthold Loeber came. Gottwerth was born on September 7, 1834. Here is a transcript of his baptism record.
Gottwerth was just 4 years old when he arrived in this country. He had a younger sister, Eva, who died in St. Louis before the immigrants moved to Perry County. Another sister, Maria, was born into this family in 1843. Gottwerth’s father, Joachim, was a locksmith who also was one of the first elders in the Altenburg congregation.
Wilhelmine was the daughter of Jacob and Caroline (Rabold) Seibel. She was born on October 8, 1846 and baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Here is her baptism record from the Trinity church books.
Rev. Gotthold Loeber was the pastor at that time. Therefore, it is likely that Rev. Loeber baptized both the bride and the groom for this wedding, except one was baptized in Germany and one was baptized here in the United States. Wilhelmine was 12 years younger than Gottwerth.
Two years before their marriage, Gottwerth and Dr. Ernst Eduard Buenger purchased some property from Gottfried Schmidt (no relation to Gottwerth). Recently, Walter Doering, Jr. donated the actual deed for the purchase of that property to our museum. In this image, you can see a portion of that document showing the names of the people involved in the purchase of this piece of land.
I had heard that at one time my great grandfather may have been partners with Dr. Buenger in running a general store in Altenburg. This document would lend some credence to that story. This deed was officially recorded in June of 1863, as you can see in this image of the outside of the deed. According to the document, the land was purchased for $650.
It is interesting that the recorder of this deed spelled Schmidt correctly when referring to Gottfried Schmidt, but when indicating Gottwerth, he spelled the name, Smith. In the 1915 land atlas which shows ownership of property, you can see the location of Gottwerth’s property.
As you can see on this map, his property was located right next to the Trinity church cemetery. Therefore, when Gottwerth married Wilhelmine, he was already a property owner, and may have already established the Schmidt Store on his property. A previous story was written about that store titled, The Schmidt Store.
There were 7 children born into Gottwerth and Wilhelmine’s family. Here is a list of them:
- Emanuel Gottwerth (1867) – apparently died as an infant, but there is no death record.
- Anna Caroline (1869) – also apparently died as an infant, but no death record. Also, the 1870 census does not show either Emanuel Gottwerth or Anna Caroline living with the family.
- Maria Friederike (1870) – married Wilhelm Doering.
- Ernst Friedrich (1873) – died in 1918, was not married.
- Emanuel Gotthold (1876) – my grandfather. Married Bertha Mueller.
- Louise Wilhelmine Emma (1879) – married Joseph Schuessler in 1902 and died in 1903.
- Clara Christiane (1882) – never married.
Wilhelmine died in 1905 and was buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery. Here is her death record in the Trinity Lutheran church books.
Her gravestone is not listed on Findagrave.com, so I went out to the cemetery to see if I could find her gravestone. I was successful. Here is a photo. I can understand why someone documenting our cemetery would have trouble reading what is engraved on the stone.
A photograph was taken of Gottwerth and his youngest daughter, Clara, in about 1920. It shows both the Schmidt Store and Gottwerth’s house next door.
I also took a photo this morning of the Gottwerth Schmidt house as it looks now. It was recently sold to new owners.
Walter Doering, Jr. also gave our museum another artifact from the Schmidt family. Below you will see a framed baptism certificate for Clara Schmidt. It is a beautiful piece of Lutheran art.
Gottwerth died in 1926 and is buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery. This is his death record in the Trinity Lutheran church books.
Here is his gravestone.
I also took a photo this morning which shows both Gottwerth and Wilhelmine’s gravestones. The arrow in front is Gottwerth, and the one in back is Wilhelmine.
Unless Jesus returns first, I plan to join my great grandparents in this cemetery someday. In fact, I live close enough to this location that my GPS, when it is set for our home address, says “You have now arrived at your destination” when we are passing the cemetery. I always respond, “Not yet. Someday.”