An Interesting Pair o’ Docs

Today I am going to revisit a story that was mentioned briefly in a previous post.  I will add some more details to this story and look at it from a few other perspectives.  The event that was mentioned in that previous post was the death of Linda Arbeiter, who died on February 27, 1911 in Altenburg, Missouri.  The post that includes this story was titled, The Eldest Worker.  I am going to use Linda’s death certificate as a starting point for today’s post.

Linda Arbeiter death certificate
Linda Arbeiter death certificate

This is the only death certificate with the surname, Arbeiter, to be found from Perry County on the Missouri Secretary of State website that contains death certificates from 1910-1967.  The Arbeiter surname can be found across the river in Fountain Bluff Township in Jackson County, Illinois.  That is where Linda’s father, Henry Arbeiter, lived.  Linda’s mother, Lucy (Buck) Arbeiter, was raised in Altenburg, and that is just one of the reasons I think Linda was brought across the river to get medical help.

We can see on this form that Linda Arbeiter was born on October 9, 1910.  She apparently contracted the disease, whooping cough, early in 1911.  She was just a matter of months old.  The death certificate indicates that Dr. William A. Kluegel treated Linda from February 10th till February 27th when she died of that disease.

Just a quick note.  Henry Arbeiter gives his address as what appears to me as Fordyce, Illinois.  That is a new one for me.  I know the Arbeiters were from across the river near Jacob, Illinois, but I have never seen a reference to Fordyce.  An internet search did come up with just a little bit of information which did mention it being in Jackson County, but it was not helpful in placing that location on a map.  Do any of our readers know any more about this place called Fordyce?

There are actually two Altenburg doctors who signed off on Linda’s death certificate.  Dr.  Kluegel was the attending doctor, but in the lower left corner, you will see that the registrar for this form was Theo Estel MD.  I find this duo of doctors to be quite interesting because both of these names can be found in a listing of the members of the Gesellschaft of 1839.  To add to that, the names Kluegel and Estel have connections to one another early on in East Perry County history.

Rosina (Kluegel) Kramer was part of the original immigration in 1839, along with her daughter, Wilhelmina Kramer.  Wilhelmina married Immanuel Estel in 1856.  Immanuel was part of a rather large Estel family that also arrived as part of the original immigration.  There were also seven people with the surname Kluegel in the Gesellschaft.  Rosina was an additional daughter of that Kluegel family.

If you want to tie the name Arbeiter into this family history, you will find that Henry Arbeiter, the father of Linda, had a brother named Ernst who would marry Ella Euphemia Estel later during that year of 1911.  That couple was likely to be courting when Linda was suffering from whooping cough in early 1911.

I bring this up because all the surnames (Arbeiter, Estel, and Kluegel) show up on Linda’s death certificate.  I think another reason Linda was brought to Altenburg was to get medical attention from two fairly young doctors they likely knew.  I might also add that the Lutheran church in Jacob, Illinois had recently been served by Rev. Ph. S. Estel, another member of that Estel family.  He was the pastor at Christ Lutheran Church from 1882-1904.

Henry and Lucy (Buck) Arbeiter had three children before the birth of Linda in 1910.  I suspect that Henry. Lucy, and the three children (all 7 years old and younger) came to Altenburg when Linda was being treated for her disease.  I would say it was also quite likely that they stayed with Lucy’s parents who were still alive and living in Altenburg (right next to the Trinity Cemetery).

Let’s take a little look at Dr. William A. Kluegel.  He was the son of Gottlob and Margaretha (Debus) Kluegel.  Gottlob was one of those original Kluegel’s to come to America.  Gottlob did not remain in Perry County very long.  He moved to St. Louis and helped establish a furniture business there.  William was born in 1883.  The 1900 census shows William as a student living with his family in St. Louis.

William Kluegel 1900 census St. Louis MO
1900 census – St. Louis, MO

Ten years later, in 1910, we see him still living with his parents, but now he is called a physician.  He was a 26 year old single man.

William Kluegel 1910 census St. Louis MO
1910 census – St. Louis, MO

It must have been later in 1910 that William made the move to Altenburg to become a doctor here.  He had a house built in Altenburg.  The photo below was taken of that home around 1940.  Nowadays, you would see the Altenburg water tower in the background of this photo.

Dr. William A Kluegel home

Dr. Kluegel apparently only stayed in Altenburg for a few years before returning to St. Louis.  I find it amazing that a single man would have a house of this size built in Altenburg, only to stay here for a few years.

While he was in Altenburg, his aunt, Amalia (Grebing) Kluegel died and William signed that death certificate also.

Amalia Kluegel death certificate
Amalia Kluegel death certificate

This death took place in April of 1912.  As near as I can tell, it was not long after this document was completed that Dr. Kluegel moved back to St. Louis.  Also, Dr. Estel was the registrar for this certificate.

I did find Dr. Kluegel in a 1916 city directory for St. Louis.  He is listed with other physicians living in that city.

William Kluegel 1916 St. Louis city directory
William Kluegel – 1916 St. Louis city directory

Dr. Kluegel would spend the rest of his life in St. Louis.  He is buried in the Concordia Cemetery.

I was also surprised to find out that Dr. Kluegel’s father, Gottlob, also has a death certificate from Perry County.

Gottlob Kluegel death certificate
Gottlob Kluegel death certificate

This form gives a St. Louis address for Gottlob, but he died in Altenburg in 1926.  Dr. Estel signed this form as the attending physician.  Gottlob was then buried in St. Louis.

There was yet another doctor in Altenburg in 1911 when Linda Arbeiter died.  His name was Dr. Johann Neumueller, who didn’t die until 1917.  I found a few death certificates signed by him during that time period.  It may have been the fact that there were three doctors in Altenburg that may have caused Dr. Kluegel to stay for such a short time.  He may not have been able to do enough business.

I’d like to address one more topic today, and that is the disease, whooping cough.  In 1910, there was no real treatment or immunization for this disease.  There was some progress made on the whooping cough being made in Europe and early efforts being made at coming up with a vaccination for it, but those efforts had not yet had widespread effects.  It was not until 1940 that a whooping cough (pertussis) vaccination became combined with a few other diseases, known as the DPT vaccination.  That vaccination became widely used and had an important impact in helping to eradicate this disease.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t the case for little Linda.  Her family had a very sad trip back across the river to Illinois back in 1911.




4 thoughts on “An Interesting Pair o’ Docs

  1. Yes, I can confirm that Gorham was originally named Fordyce but after freight destined for Fordyce, Illinois, started ending up in Fordyce, Arkansas, the town was renamed Gorham after Stephen A. Douglas Gorham, a railroad engineer said to have befriended many Fordyce residents when he would pick up the town’s mail. Before Fordyce, the town was about a mile south of Gorham’s current location and named Leo Rock. An August 23, 1970, article in the Southern Illinoisan gives more of the town’s early history.

  2. I believe that Gorham Illinois was previously Fordyce, changed because the railroad had another fordyve on its line.  Do you have any history on Heinrich Arbeiter and his wife Lucy buck’s place of origin in Germany?  They were my grandparents. LaWanda

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