A baby was born on this day in the Seelitz community in 1860. This baby’s birth will enable me to tell the tale of several very interesting couples that managed to find each other during the early days of East Perry County history. First of all, some of the details of this story have already been told in the previous post, Widows and Widowers Abounded.
First, let me review the story of Gottfried Darnstaedt, Sr. He came to America as a 24 year old single man who was said to be a joiner. Not long after he settled in the Seelitz area of Perry County, he married Johanna (Weineck) Boehme, whose husband had died in St. Louis in 1839 before the Gesellschaft found their home in Perry County. That marriage took place in 1840, even before the famous Altenburg Debate. She was about 17 years older than Gottfried, who was willing to not only marry this widow, but also take in 4 of her children. One of those children, whose name enters this story later, was a girl by the name of Johanna Bertha Boehme. In those early years, Gottfried built a log cabin on his land in Seelitz. That cabin, over the years, became known simply as the Darnstaedt cabin. Below is a photo of that cabin. Efforts were made to preserve this cabin for historical purposes, so that is why you see a pavilion roof over it. Later, this cabin would succumb to termites and no longer stands.
Seelitz (pronounced Say- litz) was one of the seven communities set up by the Gesallschaft in 1839. Seelitz never really got organized nor did they build a church. The Seelitz residents mostly became members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.
In 1852, a neighbor in Seelitz by the name of August Schlimpert found his sweetheart in the Darnstaedt cabin. His bride was Johanna Bertha Boehme. The Schlimperts had several children, one of which was Amalia Schlimpert, born on June 3, 1856. She was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Below is her baptism record.
Amalia was just two years old when her grandmother and neighbor died at the Darnstaedt cabin in 1858. That left Gottfried Darnstaedt as a widower. In 1859, he married again. His second wife was Christiane Friedricke (Mueller) Kaufmann, who was also a widow with one child. Her first husband had also died in 1858. Christiane was about 23 years younger than Gottfried, so he went from having a wife who was 17 years older to one that was 23 years younger. I don’t think you’ll find too many situations like that.
The first child born to Gottfried and Christiane was Gottfried, Jr., who was born on March 7, 1860, making him today’s birthday boy. He was baptized at Trintiy, Altenburg. Here is his baptism record.
When Gottfried was born, it was like a whole new family starting again in the Darnstaedt cabin. There’s even more amazing information to be found on the 1860 census. It spills over two pages in the census, so I have to show it in two images.
Included in this census, in addition to their new baby, Gottfried, Jr., you find two Kermse children, who apparently were some other children in need of a home and were being raised in the Darnstaedt cabin. You also find Amelia Kaufmann, the child from Christiane’s first marriage, as well as a farm laborer by the name of Conrad Schall.
Gottfried, Jr. was the first of six children born to his father’s second wife. I keep looking back at that photo of the Darnstaedt cabin and am amazed at how many children were raised in it. I have been told that for a while, there was an addition on this cabin, but it still amazes me. Next, we will take a look at the 1880 census.
Gottfried, Sr. is called John in this census, and it says he had dropsy. Later in 1880, Gottfried, Sr. died, leaving Christiane (here called Freidricke) as a widow. Being the oldest in the family, Gottfried, Jr. probably took over the farm in Seelitz.
That bring us up to 1884. Gottfried, Jr. found his bride at the neighboring Schlimpert farm. Or I guess you could say that another Schlimpert found her spouse in the Darnstaedt cabin. Gottfried Darnstaedt married Amalia Schlimpert on September 25, 1884 at Trinity, Altenburg. We showed Amalia’s baptism record earlier. Below is the church record for that wedding.
Gottfried and Amalia had 7 children according to our German Family Tree. One of them died right away. So, as near as I can tell, another set of 6 children were raised in the Darnstaedt cabin. We have this family photo of this Darnstaedt family which includes Gottfried’s mother, Christiane Friedricke.
We also have this photograph of just the three Darnstaedt daughters.
Two of these Darnstaedt daughters, the older ones, married Schmidt brothers, Joseph and Arthur. The youngest one, Anna, did not marry. Another son, Theodore (also called Dick) never married.
Amalia died in 1932 of influenza. Here is her death certificate.
Gottfried died in 1936 of heart trouble. This is his death certificate.
Gottfried and Amalia are both buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.
As a child who went to visit the Schlimpert farm in Seelitz fairly regularly, we would always pass that Darnstaedt cabin on the way. I had no idea how much history took place in that cabin that was connected to the Schlimpert’s in my family. Every day is a learning experience.