Maria Hopfer was born on this day, and I will attempt to tell her story. She was born on March 4, 1841, so today would have been her 178th birthday. She was the daughter of Michael and Justine (Quaas) Hopfer and baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown (although neither the church nor the town went by those names in 1841). Below is her baptism record in two images.
We find Maria in the 1850 census for Brazeau Township in Perry County. Brazeau Township spread all the way to the area around Uniontown back in those days. Her father was a cooper. In fact, I have written a post about him titled, Cooper Hopfer.
A few years before Maria was born in Missouri, Heinrich Schaefer was born in Rodheim, Germany. His birthday was February 8, 1838. He was the son of John and Gertrude (Oley) Schaefer. Although I cannot access the actual image of his baptism record, below is a transcription of what you would find on it.
In 1851, Maria’s future husband came to America. I think I located a passenger list for the Schaefer family. It is for the ship, Hulburt, which landed in New Orleans in December of 1851.
There is a story that says this Schaefer family spent some time in Pennsylvania before coming to Southeast Missouri. This passenger list has this family arriving in New Orleans, and it states their destination is Missouri. I am puzzled why they would end up in Pennsylvania based on the facts of this passenger list.
Heinrich can be found in the 1860 census for Apple Creek Township in Cape Girardeau County. He was 22 years old and listed as a carpenter.
Even though the map below was made in 1930, I believe the Schaefer parcel of land shown on this map was the property owned since back in 1860. It was located just across the Apple Creek, not far from Uniontown, which is in Perry County.
On January 19, 1862, Heinrich married Maria at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. Below is the church record for that event.
We can also take a look at the civil marriage record for this wedding.
I am sure the following photos were taken well after their wedding, but here we see photos of Maria and Heinrich.
According to the document shown below, Heinrich Schaefer enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War not long after their wedding in 1862.
Heinrich entered his military service as a private, but after just 84 days of duty, he has a rank of 1st sergeant. Heinrich was part of the 56th Missouri Regiment. This was the same regiment in which another Uniontown personality, Christoph Mueller, was a member. His story on this blog was titled, Christoph in the Cavalry.
It appears that the first child born into the Schaefer family arrived while Heinrich was in active military service. We find another Civil War record that documents some more service later during the Civil War.
By the end of his service, Heinrich had reached the rank of an officer. He was a Second Lieutenant. Another record of Heinrich’s service in the Civil War shows up in 1890. Although the 1890 Federal Census was lost in a fire, we do have the Veteran’s Schedule for that year. This document says that Heinrich served from 1861-1865. His brother, Christian Schaefer, is listed right below him.
Heinrich Schaefer would go on to establish a general store in the town of what is now called Old Appleton, Missouri. Apparently, he also did some farming as well. Below is the entry for the Schaefer household in the 1870 census.
Heinrich and Maria had ten children, some of which died early. They were all baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. We have this Schaefer family photo.
The 1880 census is the last census in which we find Heinrich. In that census, he is called both a merchant and a farmer.
In 1890, Heinrich applied for a passport. The application form is shown below. I do not know if he ever used it for travel. There are some tidbits of Schaefer history to be found on this document.
Heinrich died in 1893. Maria lived with other members of her family over the years until she died in 1917. In one census, she is even called a farmer. Below is her death certificate which indicates that she died of diabetes.
Heinrich and Maria were buried in the Jackson Cemetery in Jackson, Missouri. They have a stone which denotes their surname and two individual markers for Heinrich and Maria.
Heinrich Schaefer became a very prominent personality in the early years of Old Appleton, Missouri. We see plenty of evidence of his leadership qualities. If you look into the stories of the Schaefer children, you see evidence that these leadership traits were passed on to the next generation. And lest we forget, behind every great man is a great woman. That would have been today’s birthday girl, Maria.