Elias Estel’s Early End

An sad, but interesting, death took place on this date in 1851 in Altenburg, Missouri.  This event caused me to do quite a bit of thinking and searching, and the end result is that this post will take quite a few side trips. 

The death involved a very young boy by the name of Elias Estel.  He was the son of Andreas and Caroline (Anders) Estel.  Elias was born on July 8, 1839 in Perry County.  His was one of the first baptisms to take place in Perry County and to be recorded in the Trinity Lutheran church books.  There were actually 3 baptisms that took place the day before Elias’s birth.  Those three babies had probably been born elsewhere and later baptized in Perry County.  All of these baptism records say that they took place “in camp”.  That camp was likely located in the community that was named Dresden during the early days of the settlement here.  I will be referring to the map below several time during this post.

Dresden Colony map

My best guess concerning the location of the camp is in the neighborhood of #’s 15, 16, and 19 on the above map.  The Dresden congregation was served by Rev. C.F.W. Walther until his departure in 1841.  Elias was also said to have been baptized “in camp”.  It is reported that Rev. Walther lived in the Sproede household during those early years.  His property is listed as #9 on the above map.  I am guessing that Rev. Walther may have performed this baptism.

The Estel family owned the property that is shown as #8 on the above map.  On the present-day map shown below, I have placed a red arrow pointing toward a strip of land that may have been the Estel land.

Dresden Colony today

The black box toward the bottom of the map is where the “camp” was likely located.  The blue arrow points to the property that Christiane Buenger owned.  It was also where the Log Cabin College was constructed and opened on December 9, 1839.  It also happens to be where I live now.  The map shown below was drawn by Dr. Edward Lottes and shows this same general area.

Dr. Lottes’s map of Dresden Colony

I went out to my pasture early this morning to take this photo.  I was standing facing the northeast looking past the Log Cabin monument.  The Estel land must have been located just beyond the home at the top of the hill in the background.

Even thought Elias was one of the first baptisms in Perry County, he wasn’t the first member of the Estel family to show up in the Trinity records.  On June 14, 1839, his sister, Johanne Sophia Estel died in Perry County.  She was just two years old.  Below is her death record.

Johanne Sophia Estel death record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

She was probably buried “in camp”.  As we said before, Elias was born on July 8, 1839.   His mother must have been very pregnant when her young daughter died.  One other question comes to mind.  If Elias was born in July of 1839, when was he conceived?  If you backtrack nine months, you get to October or November of 1838.  The Estels came to America aboard the Olbers which left Germany on November 18, 1838.  It is very likely that Elias was conceived right before the Estels boarded their ship in Bremerhaven.  One could make the argument that, despite the fact that Elias is not listed as an original immigrant, he was indeed traveling aboard the Olbers as it made its trip across the Atlantic.  Below is Elias’s baptism record.

Elias Estel baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Elias had an interesting set of baptismal sponsors.  One of them was Rev. Gotthold Loeber, the first pastor of the Altenburg church.  Another was Ottomar Fuerbringer, who was one of the builders and first teachers in the Log Cabin College.  Ottomar was probably already beginning to chop down trees to be used for the Log Cabin College when Elias was baptized.  His final sponsor was Johanna Schlimpert, the wife of Johann Gottfried Schlimpert, who lived in the Seelitz community.  Johanna’s husband, Johann Gottfried, died about one month later.

Elias shows up in two different census forms.  The first one is the one taken in 1840, although only his father’s name is shown there.

1840 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Elias would have been the “1” marked right after his father’s name, indicating that he was between the age of 0 and 5.  The Estels also have some interesting neighbors.  Right below them, you will find Johanna von Wurmb, Theodore Brohm, and Christiane Buenger.  I have always figured that there were three cabins located on my property back in those days.  It is reported that a cabin was built for Johanna von Wurmb’s family so that she could help provide food for the students at the Log Cabin College.  Theodore Brohm was another builder and teacher at the Log Cabin College.  The fact that he is listed here separately gives credence to the fact that he occupied the loft found in the College.  The third cabin would have been the Buenger cabin, which housed the widow Christiane, as well as several other members of the Buenger family, including Johann Friedrich Buenger, who was the third builder and teacher of the College. 

Right below Christiane Buenger’s name on this census, you find the name, Francis Marbach.  That would have been the lawyer, Adolph Marbach, who is famous for making his case against Rev. C.F.W. Walther in the Altenburg Debate in 1841.

Elias Estel can also be found in the 1850 census for Brazeau Township.  He is listed as being 11 years old.

1850 census – Brazeau Township, MO

I have included some extra names here.  For somewhat selfish reasons, I have shown that two households above the Estels, you will find Joachim Schmidt.  Joachim was my great great grandfather.  On the blue map shown earlier, Joachim was the owner of the property shown as XIX.  So my early Schmidt ancestors lived quite close to where I live now and were neighbors of the Estels.

On this date in 1851, Elias, according to his death record in the Trinity church books, died as a result of a fatal accident with a horse drawn wagon.  He was just 12 years old.  Here is that death record.

Elias Estel death record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Rev. Gotthold Loeber had died in 1849, and the second pastor at Trinity was Rev. Georg Schieferdecker.  He was the pastor who recorded this death.  By 1851, there were already people being buried in Trinity’s cemetery, so that is probably where Elias was buried.

Elias might have already begun his confirmation studies when he died in 1851.  According to my reckoning, he would have been in the 1853 confirmation class.  Below is the listing of the other students in that class.

1853 confirmation class – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

The four members of that confirmation class were as follows:

  •  Luetje Holschen
  • Johann Jacob Seibel
  • Johann Kerstner
  • Ernestine Krause

It appears that Rev. Schieferdecker listed these students according to their birth dates.  That means Elias would have shown up between Luetje and Johann Jacob on this list had he still been alive.

My curious mind wonders many things.  When Elias had his accident, would my great great grandfather, or even my great grandfather, Gottwerth Schmidt who was 17 years old, have shown up to help?  Would Elias have ever tromped over to my property as a boy?  By the time of his death, there were two younger children in the Estel family, Martha and Samuel.  Martha would have been 10 years old and Samuel would have been 8 years old.  How would they have been affected by their older brother’s death?  As it turns out, Samuel ended up being a Lutheran pastor. 

There were a lot of deaths during those early years of the settlement of East Perry County, but I have to think this one may have resulted in quite a sad Christmas season for the Estel family.

2 thoughts on “Elias Estel’s Early End

  1. How very interesting! Andreas and Caroline Estel are my 3-times great grandparents, my great-great grandfather, Johann Martin Estel was their fourth child and 10 when they sailed from Germany on the Olbers. From what information I have of my family history and following others on this blog, losing young children to death was sadly not uncommon. This is information that I had not read about in my family history. Thank you for this story that I can now add to my story.


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