Mina Markwort’s name can be seen on this gravestone in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville, Missouri.
You can see that she was born on today’s date in 1843, making her today’s birthday girl. Some quick math will tell you that today would have also been her 175th birthday. I will attempt to tell her family’s story in this post.
Her maiden name was Wilhelmina Behrens, and the first records I could find for her were in the church records for Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. She was listed as a sponsor for a few baptisms at that congregation in the early 1860’s. I found some other records in that congregation for a Henry Behrens, who was likely her father. She was born in Sudheim, Germany, and she reportedly came to America in 1859.
On January 11, 1863, Wilhelmina married Henry Markwort. Here is the civil marriage record for that wedding.
This image is not very clear and is very difficult to read. However, the pastor’s name on this record is Rev. E. Riedel. I was able to determine that, not by reading this record, but by reading all the records surrounding this one. All of them were signed by the same pastor. Other ones nearby were very easy to read.
For a while, I was having trouble finding which church Rev. Riedel was serving in 1863. I suspected it might have been at Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim. However, I discovered that even though Rev. Riedel was at that congregation, he left in 1862. I also found that Rev. Riedel had served the Lutheran congregation at Illmo (Scott City). However, looking through the records we have at our museum for that congregation, I was unable to find this marriage. Then I discovered that for a time, Rev. Riedel was serving both Illmo and Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau. That is where I hit paydirt. I not only found the Markwort marriage record, but also found Wilhelmina serving as a baptismal sponsor on several occasions.
Pastor Riedel had quite an interesting biography which intersected with several Lutheran churches in the Perry/Cape Girardeau County area. Here is a listing of the places he served during his ministry.
This listing of pastors at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau shows where he fit in there.
Henry Markwort was born in Germany in 1837, and he is said to have come to America in 1858. The first church record I could find of him was his marriage record. However, there were also some Civil War records for him. Here is a form which indicates Henry was part of the Fremont Rangers. Apparently, even his horse enlisted to serve.
Another document which shows his Civil War service with Fremont’s Rangers is this pension record.
By looking into the Fremont Rangers, I discovered that this unit was under the leadership of General John C. Fremont, who was well-known for exploring routes to California in earlier years. Early in the Civil War, some of the Fremont Rangers were involved in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in Missouri near Springfield.
This battle was a Confederate victory, and a Union general, Gen. Nathaniel Lyons was killed. It is possible that Henry Markwort saw action in that battle.
Back to the Markwort couple. Henry and Mina were married not long after Henry’s service in the Civil War. I was unable to find a baptism record for the first child born to this couple after their marriage. The next six children were baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. The final three were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville, Missouri.
The 1880 census shows that Henry and Mina were living with their family in Perryville, MIssouri, where Henry was a grocer.
There is a Missouri birth record for one of their children that was born in Perryville in 1886. This record is shown in two images.
In this document, Henry is recorded as being a saloon keeper. By the time of the 1900 census, this family can be found living in Apple Creek Township in Cape Girardeau County.
I cannot decipher what Henry’s occupation was on this form. At the age of 72, Henry was back in Perryville in 1910 along with his wife, Mina, but he lists no occupation. That would be the last census in which we find Henry. He died in 1914 and was buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville. Here is his gravestone.
Mina would make it into one more census in 1920, and then she died in 1927 at the age of 83. You saw her gravestone at the beginning of this post, and you can also see it on the left in the above image. They were buried next to each other with separate gravestones.
Many of the Markwort children ended up living in the St. Louis area. One of them was a physician.
I have now seen quite a few stories like that of Henry Markwort. After just a few years in America, he was willing to go to war as one of its soldiers. When he came to this country, he, like so many who still enter it, have a desire to do all that is required of good citizens, including the possibility of military service.