So Many Births; So Few Heirs

In the year that Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States, Ferdinand Hellwege was born in Altenburg, Missouri.  He is also today’s birthday boy because he was born on May 25, 1860.  Ferdinand was the son of Henry and Fredericke (Winter) Hellwege.  He was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  His baptism record is shown below.

Ferdinand Hellwege baptism record Trinity Altenburg MO
Ferdinand Hellwege baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

I find it amazing that when Ferdinand was baptized at the end of May in 1860, he was already the 19th baptism for that church during that year already.  Those German Lutherans took God’s directive to “be fruitful and multiply” seriously.

The 1860 census for Brazeau Township was taken not long after Ferdinand’s birth because he is shown as being one month old in that document.

Ferdinand Hellwege 1860 census Brazeau Township MO
1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Ten years later, Ferdinand is found in the 1870 census.  Partly because there were so many children in that family, it requires two images.

Ferdinand Hellwege 1870 census 1 Brazaeu Township MO

Ferdinand Hellwege 1870 census 2 Brazaeu Township MO
1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

After this census, two more children were born into this family, but they were the first ones to be baptized at Concordia, Frohna.  I am guessing this is when the Hellwege’s obtained some land near Frohna.

Amalia Ross would eventually become the bride of Ferdinand Hellwege.  She was born after President Lincoln was assassinated.  Her birthday was August 2, 1867.  She was the daughter of John and Gertrude (Distle) Ross.  She was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna.  Here is her baptism record.

Amalia Ross baptism record Concordia Frohna MO
Amalia Ross baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

The 1870 census for Brazeau Township includes the Ross family, which, like the Hellwege family, had a houseful of children and takes two images.

Amalia Ross 1870 census 2 Brazeau Township MO

Amalia Ross 1870 census Brazeau Township MO
1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

I believe Amalia is misidentified on this entry as the second Margaret who is 2 years old.  I was unable to find the Ross family in the 1880 census.  I looked through the “lost” Union Township records and did find a Ross family, but it was not the right one.  As for Ferdinand’s 1880 census, I just choose not to show it.

That leads us up to the marriage of Ferdinand and Amalia.  Their wedding day was October 24, 1886 and was held at Concordia, Frohna.  Below is the church record for that marriage.

Hellwege Ross marriage record Concordia Frohna MO
Hellwege/Ross marriage record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

We also have this couple’s wedding photograph.  I will note that the bride has a black and white wedding dress and the groom is wearing a suit coat with just one button fastened at the top.

Hellwege Ross wedding
Ferdinand and Amalia Hellwege wedding

The part of the Hellwege’s story that amazes me the most is the story of their children.  Amalia gave birth to a dozen children according to our German Family Tree.  Here is a list of those children which can be found in a family history on

Ferdinand and Amalia Hellwege children

When Ferdinand and Amalia celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 1911, the photo shown below was taken which included all of their living children.  I have seen several of these anniversary photos where the mother is wearing a special headdress, and the others are wearing special ornaments.  I think these are the largest ones I have seen.

Ferdinand Hellwege 25th anniversary
Ferdinand and Amalia Hellwege – 25th wedding anniversary

Out of 12 children, only the 5 pictured here lived into adulthood.  I might also add that one of the women in the back, whichever one is Edna, died before her parents did, so Ferdinand and Amalia had to attend another funeral of a child after this photo was taken.

The census that was taken right before their 25th anniversary shows 6 children.

Ferdinand Hellwege 1910 census Brazeau Township MO
1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The youngest child shown here, Elda, died later during that year.

Ferdinand was a farmer for much of his life.  The 1915 plat map shown here indicates where his land was located.  He actually had another parcel in an adjacent map also, but I chose not to show it.  However, I will say that the other piece of land had the Indian Creek flowing through it.  For local people that know landmarks, this land is not far from what is known as the Crossroads.

Ferd Hellwege land map 1915
Ferdinand Hellwege land map – 1915

Ferdinand died in 1930 at the age of 69.  Here is his death certificate.

Ferdinand Hellwege death certificate
Ferdinand Hellwege death certificate

Amalia died in 1934 at the age of 66.  Her death certificate is shown below.

Amalia Hellwege death certificate
Amalia Hellwege death certificate

Both Ferdinand and Amalia are buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.

Ferdinand’s last will and testament left most of his possessions with Amalia, but his land with his only son, Rudolph.  Rudolph was the executor of the will, and he was instructed to give $800 to each of the 4 daughters in the family.  However, between the time the will was signed and when Ferdinand died, Edna died.  Here is the portion of the will that stipulates these things.

Ferdinand Hellwege last will and testament 1

Ferdinand Hellwege last will and testament 2
Ferdinand Hellwege last will and testamentR

Rudolph was Ferdinand and Amalia’s only son, but he had just one child who lived to adulthood, and that was a girl.  That would mean that this branch of the Hellwege family would have no descendants carrying the surname, Hellwege, anymore.




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