I am going to attempt to tell the story about a woman who has definite roots in Perry County, Missouri, and a man that may have had his origins in the 1839 German immigration led by Rev. Martin Stephan. One thing we do know is that there was some movement by these two up and down the Mississippi River.
I must begin by saying that there are aspects to this story that I cannot confirm. I still have questions about the connection of the man with the original immigration. I will share my questions and concerns here. But first, we must start with the only church record from Perry County that we have for this story. It is a birth record for Rosina Lueders that is found in the Trinity Lutheran, Altenburg books. Rosina was born on May 29, 1886. She was the daughter of Gustav and Clara (Schuessler) Lueders.
A while back, I wrote a post about Rosina’s parents. It was titled, Forth and Back. Her father was also mentioned in a recent post about cigar sellers in St. Louis titled, Schuessler Stogies. Gustav Lueders is only found in the 1900 census as living in St. Louis. By the 1910 census, he was back living in Wittenberg. So Gustav’s family was an example of a family that went “forth and back” from Wittenberg to St. Louis to Wittenberg. Thus, you could also state that he went “up and down” the Mississippi River.
Rosina Lueders, on the other hand, did not return with her parents when they moved back to Wittenberg. By that time, she had become married in St. Louis. But before I go there, let me show you another record I found for Rosina in St. Louis. I managed to find some records from the Gustav Lueders family in the Holy Cross Lutheran books. I cannot show images of actual records, but I can show some facts that are contained in an anniversary book which was produced for this congregation that we have in our research library. We find that Rosina was confirmed at Holy Cross in 1899.
Rosina is at the bottom of this list of people confirmed at Holy Cross. All of the others with the surname, Lueders, are children of Gustav except Lorraine, who was the daughter of Elmer, so she would have been Gustav’s grandchild.
I could not find a civil marriage record for Rosina Lueders, but I did once again find her in the Holy Cross book. She married William Hoffmann on September 25, 1907.
Now we have to spend some time identifying this William Hoffmann. First of all, finding someone with the name William Hoffmann is not an easy task because there are so many of them. In this case, the chore is made a little easier by the fact that this particular William Hoffmann often made a special effort to have his name listed as William F.H. Hoffmann. He may have done that partly because he had a son by the name of William, who was often listed as William B.W. Hoffmann. We find this to be the case in the 1910 St. Louis census. At this point in his life, William was shown to be an undertaker.
All of the records I could find from family histories on Ancestry.com claim that William F. H. Hoffmann was the son of Benjamin and Rosa (Prescott) Hoffmann. There is even a birth record for William in a Missouri birth register which validates this fact. He was born on April 10, 1884. This is why I chose this story. Today would have been his 135th birthday.
I am going to backtrack to find other information about this William F H Hoffmann. If we go back to the 1900 census, we find him living with his family in St. Louis. His father was an oyster salesman.
William was 16 years old at the time and working as a shipping clerk for a drug company. Other information on this entry seems to match properly with other documents we have for this family. The one fact here that causes concern for us later is that William’s father, Benjamin (and his mother) are said to have been born in Illinois. This goes along with a marriage record for a Benjamin Hoffmann and a Rosa Prescott that were married in the Chicago area in 1881.
This document also states that Benjamin was born in July of 1856. Next, we’ll backtrack to the 1880 census. We find this entry for Benjamin Hoffmann before he was married. He is living with his widowed mother, Catherine and several siblings.
Benjamin was a 25 year old horse collar maker according to this entry. It also states that he was born in Illinois.
Now comes the difficulty. Who is Benjamin’s mother, Catherine? She was 50 years old in 1880, indicating that she must have been born in about 1830. Some Ancestry.com family histories claim that she was Catherine Koch. Some of those family histories tie her to this 1870 census from St. Louis.
This census calls Benjamin’s mother, Kate, and she has a husband by the name of Ernst who is a cooper. However, it says that Ben was born in Missouri, not Illinois. The children’s names match up pretty well though.
We have a record of a Christian Friedrich Ernest Hoffmann being buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in St. Louis in 1871. Findagrave.com has an entry for him with no photo of his gravestone. It also includes this information about his parents and some of his children. These names correspond with the 1880 census shown above.
Unfortunately, it does not give his wife’s name. However, you do find another entry in that cemetery for Catherine Anna Koch Hoffmann who died in 1885.
In our German Family Tree, we have a Friedrich Ernst Hoffmann who came with his family on the Johann Georg in 1839. His parents are shown in our GFT as being Christian Friedrich, Sr. and Johanna Eleonore nee Buchheim. The only records we have for Friedrich Ernst Hoffmann, who was born around 1821, were a confirmation record and a marriage record from Old Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis. This Friedrich Ernst Hoffmann married Catharina Steiner on August 12, 1849.
One thing that would favor this Friedrich Ernst and Catharina (Steiner) Hoffmann being the ones from which today’s William F W Hoffmann comes is that we probably have his ancestors being buried in Concordia Cemetery which is the burial place for members of Old Trinity.
There are several other reasons why this connection would not work. The original Friedrich Ernst Hoffmann was a weaver, not a cooper, as is shown in the 1870 census. We also have no evidence that Catharina Steiner may have previously been married to a Koch to explain that surname. Also the parents’ names do not match. There are just way too many reasons to definitively connect William F H Hoffmann to the immigration. So let’s return to today’s couple.
In 1918, William had his World War I draft registration filled out. It is shown below.
It shows that William was then working as an electrician for the Busch-Sulzer Diesel Engine Company. The famous August Busch from St. Louis that began a brewery was also the Busch involved in this diesel engine company. It is said that diesel engines were used to help run the refrigeration units that were used by the brewery.
The 1920 census shows William as an electrician for an engine factory, so he was probably still working for the same company.
The 1930 census for St. Louis shows William Hoffmann working as an elevator controller. So I guess you could once again say someone in this family is going “up and down”.
The only daughter of the Hoffmann’s was married in Davenport, Iowa and it is there we find the last document for William F H Hoffmann. It is his death certificate. He died on October 29, 1938.
William is buried in the Fairmount Cemetery in Davenport, Iowa.
You can see Rosina’s name on this gravestone, but if you look closely, there was never a finalized death date inscribed on it. That is because Rosina is not buried there. Rosina died in St. Louis in 1966. Below is her death certificate.
Rosina is buried in the New Bethlehem Cemetery in St. Louis. She is one of those rare people that have gravestones with her name inscribed in two different cemeteries.
There is evidence that both Rosina and William lived in Davenport, Iowa for a while, and there is even an indication that Rosina was a nurse. Davenport is another city located on the banks of the Mississippi River, so I guess you could say that Rosina and William went “up and down” the river.