When I am doing research for this blog, I sometimes refer to what I do as “going down rabbit holes”. I spend way too much time going down these rabbit holes just to see where they lead. Today, I started with the birth of a set of Guetersloh twins born in Jacob, Illinois, but as it turns out, my research led in several directions, but, in my humble opinion, the stories of the twins were not that exciting. On the other hand, the stories of their spouses did interest me. Therefore, I am going to focus on those two spouses today.
First of all, let me spend just a moment on the birth and baptism of the twins. Ida and Martin Guetersloh were born on August 3, 1898 and baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. They were the firstborn children in this Guetersloh family. Their parents were Henry and Katherine (Dreyer) Guetersloh. Here is the record we find in the Christ Lutheran church books.
The first “rabbit hole” I am going to take you down is the one that starts with Ida’s husband, Gustav Darnstaedt. Here is what is likely to be Gustav’s confirmation photograph.
Although Gustav was born in Illinois, his father had been born in Altenburg, Missouri. Therefore, the Darnstaedt family is another example of a Perry County family that ended up in Jackson County, Illinois, just across the river. Ida and Gustave were married at Christ Lutheran Church on October 30, 1921.
It is not the marriage of Gustav that got my attention, however. It was his death. Gustav died in 1944 at the age of 44. Here is his death certificate.
Gustav died at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. The certificate says his death was the result of an accident that occurred in Jacob, Illinois on July 21st. He did not die until August 20th. Here is an enlarged portion of this certificate that describes the cause of death, which is a little hard to read.
Here is what I think it says. “Extensive burns as a result of priming his auto with gasoline at his home in Jacob, Ill.” I discussed this with Gerard Fiehler, who ran an auto repair shop for many years. He said Gustav was probably trying to burn some gasoline that was in the carburetor. Gerard said he sometimes would attempt to get gasoline out of the carburetor when an engine was flooded. He said he had to be very careful in that process. Gustav must have been burnt badly in this accident and treated in Jacob for a while. Then he must have been transported to the hospital in St. Louis where he eventually died. The death record for Gustav found in the Christ Lutheran church books says he had 3rd degree burns.
Ida lived an additional 44 years after her husband’s tragic death and never remarried. She died in 1988.
Now on to the second rabbit hole. One of the main reasons I want to share this part of the story is the fact that I found an interesting series of photographs. Ida’s twin brother, Martin, married Emelia Koch. Like his sister, Martin’s spouse’s family had its roots in Missouri. Emelia’s family, however, was from Scott County. Her parents were Henry and Anna (Bretzel) Koch of Kelso, Missouri. I also found a photograph of Emelia when she was rather young.
Martin Guetersloh married Emelia on February 15, 1926. Like his sister, Martin’s marriage record can be found in the the records of Christ Lutheran Church, but that record says this couple was married in the Pfarrhause (the parsonage).
I found this photograph of Emelia’s father, Henry, and it is this photograph that kept me busy for a long time.
In this photo, Henry seems to be wearing a military uniform. Since he was born in 1860, so I knew it could not be a Civil War uniform. I thought maybe he was a soldier during the Spanish-American War in 1898, but I failed to locate any military records for him. I finally ran across the term, Sons of Union Veterans, which corresponds with the SV on his cap. I was unaware of what the Sons of Veterans meant, so I went down that rabbit hole. The Sons of Union Veterans was an organization established after the Civil War whose members consisted of sons of men who had participated in that war.
Then I just had to find out what the 14 on the cap meant. I think I now know. Each year, the Sons of Union Veterans would have what they called an encampment. Members of the Sons of Union Veterans would gather at some prescribed location to remember their ancestor’s service to the country. I believe Henry attended the 14th Encampment which took place in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1895. This listing of the locations of encampments over the years shows where the 14th Encampment took place.
I also was able to find this photo of four men who were from the 24th Encampment.
I also found an image of the Sons of Union Veterans Medal. You can see Henry wearing one of these in the above photograph.
I also found out that the 137th Encampment will be held next week, August 9-12, 2018, at Framington, Massachusetts.
If Henry was a member of the Sons of Union Veterans, then his father must have fought in the Civil War for the Union Army. Henry’s father was Friedrich Koch. Here is a photo of him.
There is also this photograph of Friedrich and his wife, Amelia, along with some others who are not identified. I figure there is a good chance that the house in the background is the Koch home in Scott County.
I found 19 men from Missouri by the name of Fred Koch who had Civil War records. The one below has been shown in an Ancestry.com family history as the one for this Friedrich Koch
Another name given to his wife was Wilhelmina, so I guess that would support this as being Friedrich Koch’s record. If Friedrich was a member of the Benton County Home Guards, then he must have been involved in the Battle of Cole Camp which took place on June 19, 1861. Cole Camp, Missouri was a Lutheran settlement located near Sedalia. The Home Guard (sometimes called the German Home Guard) was defeated by a group of secessionists in this battle, and there were several Union casualties.
The bottom line is that Friedrich Koch must have been a soldier in the Civil War because his son became a member of the Sons of Union Veterans, and you have to provide proof for becoming a member in order to join that group, just like you do for an organization like the Sons of the American Revolution.
We know that Henry Koch, Emelia’s father, was buried in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Jacob, Illinois. Emelia’s mother had died when she was just two years old.
I know that as a result of my research on this story, I learned some things I had previously not known. I hope you did too.