The Buenger Bachelor

Today would have been the 133rd birthday of Ernst Friedrich Karl Buenger (rhymes with singer).  He was the firstborn child to Johann Friedrich and Pauline (Mueller) Buenger.  Here is the wedding photo of Friedrich and Pauline.

Friedrich and Pauline Buenger
Friedrich and Pauline Buenger 1884

There is an interesting birth record for Ernst.  I will show it in two images.

Ernst Friedrich Karl Buenger birth record 1

Ernst Friedrich Karl Buenger birth record 2
Ernst Buenger birth record

We see in the top image that Ernst was born on June 1, 1885 in Altenburg, Missouri.  We see in the bottom image that his father went by the name of Fritz.  We also see that Ernst’s grandfather, Dr. E.E. Buenger, was the medical attendant for this birth.  Ernst was probably named after this grandfather, Ernst Eduard Buenger.  Ernst was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.

Ernst’s mother gave birth to a girl in 1886 by the name of Amalia Buenger.  Then in 1888, another girl, Ottilie, was born in April.  About a month after this birth, Pauline died in May.  Then in July, the baby, Ottilie, died.  That left Fritz as a widower with two very young children.  It was about five years before Fritz married again.  His second wife was Ida Hellwege.  That marriage took place in 1893.  Ernst was almost eight years old when he got a new stepmother.

For some reason, even though they were a year apart in age, Ernst and Amalia were confirmed together on March 29, 1899.  As it turns out, both Ernst and Amalia never married, and Ottilie died as a baby, so there were no Buenger descendants to come from Fritz and Pauline.  There were six children born to Fritz and Ida, so there were plenty of descendants from them.

Before I move on, I would like to point out that in almost all the records I looked at for Fritz Buenger, Ernst’s father, he is said to be a farmer.  However, in this birth record for Ottilie in 1888, it states that he is a druggist.  Normally, you wouldn’t think that a farmer could also be a druggist, but it makes a little more sense if you remember that his father was a doctor.

Ottilie Buenger birth record father a druggist
Ottilie Buenger birth record

The first census in which we see Ernst is the 1900 census when he was 14 years old.

Ernst Friedrich Buenger 1900 census Altenburg MO
1900 census – Altenburg, MO

Even at the young age of 14, Ernst is shown as being a farm laborer.  When the 1910 census was taken, Ernst was a servant on the Adolph Jacob farm in Altenburg.

Ernst Buenger 1910 census Altenburg
1910 census – Altenburg, MO

That brings us up to the time when Ernst filled out his World War I draft registration.  Here is that form.

Ernst Buenger – WWI draft registration

This form shows that his permanent address was Altenburg, but he was employed at the Theobald Mueller farm in Jacob, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River.  Theobald was Ernst’s cousin.  I find it interesting also that he listed his sister, Amalia, as his nearest relative, and she was living in St. Louis.  By this time, his father had died, but he did not list his stepmother, Ida, as his nearest relative.

The 1920 census shows Ernst still living near Jacob, Illinois, but working for a different family.  He was a hired man in the Henry Heins family.  That family had some Perry County roots in it.

Ernst Buenger 1920 census Jacob IL
1920 census – Jacob, IL

I failed in my efforts to find Ernst in the 1930 and 1940 censuses.  The next record I could find for him was his World War II draft card.  When he filled out that form, he was back living in Perry County.  He was working on the Hugo Roth farm in Wittenberg.

Ernst Buenger – WWII card

Before I continue with Ernst, allow me to discuss his sister, Amalia, for a moment.  She went by the name of Mollie.  This photo has her labeled as sitting with her half-sister, Lucia, in the back seat of an automobile in 1911.  I wish I knew who the other two in the front seat were.  The background looks like a fake backdrop.

Molly and Lucia Buenger

Mollie spent most of her life in St. Louis.  I found her living in several households in censuses that indicated that she was a servant or a maid.  In 1940, she was living in the home of a physician.

A social security record states that Ernst’s last place of residence was Kimmswick, Missouri, which is located just south of St. Louis along the Mississippi River.  He died in 1970 on the Fourth of July.  His sister, Mollie, died in 1979.  These two are buried in the Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis.  Here are their gravestones.  Mollie’s stone is a much simpler one.


Ernst’s grave is inscribed with the word, “Brother”.  The only sibling I could find in this cemetery was his sister, Mollie.  I wish I could visit this cemetery to see if these two markers are next to each other.  While doing some research on the Biltz family several years ago, I ran across this interesting gravestone which just so happens to also be located in Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis.

Adolph and Marie Biltz gravestone Concordia St. Louis

You might assume this is a marker for a married couple, however, it is a shared gravestone for a brother and a sister who never married.

Researching people who were never married can be more challenging.  They do not have as many records to find.  When you find census records for them, there is a high likelihood that they will have a new place of residence every 10 years.  I was once a bachelor living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  During the 14 years I was there, I had five different residences, living with a variety of different guys.  Even though I still moved around a number of times as a Lutheran teacher, marriage at least got me one permanent roommate.

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