November 10, 1915 must have been quite the day at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri. There was a double wedding. However, even though a double wedding is unusual in and of itself, this one was well beyond that. You see, on that day, one couple was made up of a Roth marrying a Roth, and the other couple was made up of a Roth marrying a Roth. A brother and sister from one Roth family and another brother and sister from a different Roth family made up the two couples. Add to that the fact that they were second cousins. Now that is what I call an unusual wedding day.
Back in the old days, it wasn’t always the case that a wedding took place on a weekend. November 10th in 1915 was a Wednesday. Here is the marriage record that can be found in the Concordia books for this double wedding. This record even states that the couples being married were second cousins.
I am going to refer to these two Roth families as the Frohna Roths and the Shawneetown Roths. I will start with the Shawneetown Roths. The two Shawneetown Roths getting married were Otto and Bertha Roth. These two were the children of August George Louis and Pauline (Hoffmann) Roth. Their grandfather was Peter Roth, and their great grandfather was Johann Georg Roth. In order to be second cousins, they must have the same great grandfather, so all of these Roths could trace their ancestry back to Johann Georg Roth and his wife, Margaretha (Burkhardt) Roth. The original Roths were part of the New York Group that arrived to join the Gesellschaft in the spring of 1839. Since Peter Roth was born in Germany in 1832, he must have been about 7 years old when the New York Group arrived in Perry County. Peter married Johanna Schumann in 1856. Then their son, August George Louis married Pauline Hoffmann in 1885. That leads us to their two children, Otto and Bertha. Otto was born in 1893, and Bertha was born in 1895, and both of them were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. I will throw an additional interesting fact in here. These two also had an older brother named Martin who was born on November 10, 1891, so when this double marriage took place in 1915, Martin was also celebrating his 24th birthday.
The first census in which we find Otto and Bertha was the 1900 census from the Apple Creek Township.
In 1910, Otto was working and living at a farm near Jackson, Missouri, but I could not locate Bertha. Their parents were still farming in the Apple Creek Township.
Now we’ll move on to the Frohna Roths. Their names were Paul and Rosa Roth. They were the children of Friedrich August and Ernestine (Feig) Roth. Friedrich August Roth was the child of Johann Georg Roth, Jr., thus making Paul and Rosa great grandchildren of Johann Georg Roth, Sr. Paul was born in 1883, and Rosa was born in 1896. In the 1900 census, we find these two living with their parents in the Union Township. Another potentially confusing thing about this story is the fact that the fathers in both of these Roth families went by the name of August.
This family’s land was probably the parcel shown on this 1915 land map.
Even though they lived in the Union Township, their land was closer to Frohna where this family attended Concordia Lutheran Church. In 1910, Rosa was still living with her parents.
Paul, however, was living and working with his older brother in the Bois Brule Township.
That leads us up to the double wedding that took place on this date in 1915. Here are the marriage licenses for these two couples.
The next documents we find for the two men who were married was their World War I draft registrations. First, here is the one for Otto Roth.
This form says Otto was farming in New Wells, which is very near Shawneetown. Next, we see Paul’s registration.
This form has what may seem unusual information on it. It says that Paul is living in St. Mary’s, Missouri but working in Kaskaskia, Illinos. The map below should remedy any potential confusion.
Kaskaskia, Illinois is one of those strange locations where a part of Illinois is found west of the Mississippi River. St. Mary’s and Kaskaskia are rather close to one another and on the same side of the Mississippi River.
One other strange thing on Paul’s registration form is that the official who signed his form dated it as September 12, 1912. That is impossible. World War I was not occurring during that year. It must have been either 1917 or 1918. If it was 1918, this form was filled out just a matter of months before Paul’s death. He died on December 6, 1918. This means that Bertha was married to Paul for only 3 years. They did have two children, only one which was alive when Paul died. Paul was buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Shawneetown, Missouri.
Bertha would marry again in 1921 to Henry Lohmann.
Otto and Rosa Roth were living in the Shawnee Township in 1920. We see both this couple and Otto’s parents living near one another. Bertha, then a widow, was living with her parents, as well as her daughter, Anita.
For some reason, we find Otto and Rosa living in the Apple Creek Township in the 1930 census. They had four children living with them then.
In the 1940 census, Otto and Rosa were back in the Shawneetown with three children living with in their household.
Otto died in 1955; Rosa died in 1969. These two are buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Shawneetown.
Bertha died in 1984 and is the only one of the four Roths who is not buried in Shawneetown. She is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.
This story is amazing in and of itself, but it becomes even more amazing when you discover that there was another Otto Roth who lived at about the same time, and that Otto Roth was married on November 10, 1921, exactly six years after the double wedding discussed in this post. I might have to tell that story someday. I have a theory. All of these Roths decided to get married on the 10th of November because they wanted to be married on Martin Luther’s birthday. What do you think?