Double Stepmother – Never a Birth Mother

The main character for today’s post is Maria Amalia Seibel.  She was born on June 10, 1860, so today would have been her 159th birthday.  In documents, she was recorded as being Amalia, but it is also reported that her nickname was “Mahle”.  I assume folks around here would have pronounced that Molly.  During the course of Amalia’s life, she was married to two different husbands.  When she married them, they were both widowers with children, but Amalia never had children of her own.

Once again, I am at a disadvantage.  I am sitting in Memphis, Tennessee at the moment writing this post.  I will be in Altenburg later today, but right now, I am unable to access the documents we have in the research library at our museum.  One thing I do have is a nice early picture of Amalia Seibel.

Amalie Maria Seibel
Maria Amalie Seibel

Amalia was the daughter of Jacob and Caroline (Rabold) Seibel.  That also made her the younger sister of Gotthold Seibel, the main character in the post titled, Your Pastor for a Father-in-Law.  Amalia was also the sister of my great grandmother, Wilhelmine (Seibel) Schmidt.  Amalia was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  All of these characters, along with several other siblings, can be found in the 1870 census for Brazeau Township.

Amalie Seibel 1870 census Brazeau Township MO
1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In the 1880 census, which happened to be taken by my great grandfather, Gottwerth Schmidt, we find Amalia still living with her parents in Brazeau Township.

Amalie Seibel 1880 census Brazeau Township MO
1880 census – Brazaeu Township, MO

There was another son shown on the next page of the census, but I did not include that page here.  Also, it is noted on this census that Amalia’s mother, Caroline, had a fever.  This did not cause her death because she did not die until 1905.

Amalia did not get married until she was 31 years old, and when she did, she married a widower by the name of Stephanus Schuessler.  Stephanus had previously been married to Linna Weinhold.  Their marriage had taken place on April 14, 1885 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna.  Here is a license for that marriage.

Schuessler Weinhold marriage license
Schuessler/Weinhold marriage license

The Schuessler and Weinhold surnames at that time were “Frohna names”.  That couple had two children, but only one, a son named William, lived to adulthood.  The other child, born in March of 1890, was just two months old when her mother, Linna, died in May.  Her cause of death was shown to be “winter fever” in the Concordia death records.  Another post was written about Linna and Stephanus which was titled, So Many Causes of Death.  Then in November of 1890, the baby daughter died.  That left Stephanus as a widower with a 4-year-old son to raise by himself.

It was on May 1, 1892 that Stephanus Schuessler married Amalia Seibel.  That marriage took place at Amalia’s church, Trinity Lutheran in Altenburg.  Here is that marriage license.

Schuessler Seibel marriage license
Schuessler/Seibel marriage license

This marriage did not last long at all.  On November 4, 1892, Stephanus died.  We have a Perry County death record for Stephanus.  It is shown in two images.

Stephanus Schuessler death record 1 Perry County MO

Stephanus Schuessler death record 2 Perry County MO
Stephanus Schuessler death record – Perry County, MO

I will let you attempt to figure out the cause of death that is found in the red box.  Now Amalia was a widow with William as a stepson.  We find this pair of Schuessler’s in the 1900 census.  They were listed right below the parents of Stephanus, so I am guessing that Schuessler’s took in Amalia and William.

Amalia Schuessler 1900 census Brazeau Township MO
1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

It appears that both William and Amalia got married in 1909.  I could not find a marriage record for William, but apparently he married Mathilda Walther sometime in 1909.  We find this couple in the 1910 census for Union Township in Perry County.  That entry says they were married for one year, and they had a 5-month-old baby.

William Schuessler 1910 census Union Township MO
1910 census – Union Township, MO

On January 20, 1909, Amalia married again.  Her second husband was William Rodewald.  William had been previously married to Amalia Maria Sittner.  That means William was married to two women who were named with Amalia and Maria.  Fortunately, his first wife used the name Maria in census records.  William and Maria were married in 1870 when William was just 18 years old.  Here is a very unreadable Perry County record of that marriage.

Rodewald Sittner marriage license Perry County
Rodewald/Sittner marriage record – Perry County, MO

No church record can be found for this marriage, but we find 9 children born to them in our German Family Tree, and they were all baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville.  Their last child was born in 1887.  We find the Rodewald household living outside the city of Perryville in the 1880 census.  Two additional children could be found on the next census page which I did not show.

William Rodewald 1880 census Perryville MO
1880 census – Suburbs of Perryville, MO

I must admit that I giggled when I saw this notation at the top of this census page.

1880 census Suburbs of Perryville
1880 census – Suburbs of Perryville, MO

I would not have guessed that the term “suburbs” had entered the American vocabulary as early as 1880.  You can also note that this census was taken by Charles Weber, another famous Perry County name.

William’s wife, Maria, died in St. Louis where that household resided at the time, in 1908.  That would lead up to the widower, William, marrying Amalia Schuessler in 1909.  That marriage record can be found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Point Rest, Missouri, which is located in Perry County.  When Amalia married William, the youngest Rodewald son was already 22 years old, so Amalia did not really have to do much “raising” of William’s children.  However, she did gain several new stepchildren.

The 1910 census shows William and Amalia living in St. Louis where William was listed as a merchant.  One son, Emmanuel, was living with them and he was called a “peddler” and a “huckster”.

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

We find William and Amalia back in Perry County in the 1920 census.  They were living in the Salem Township.  William was 68 years old and had no occupation listed.

William Rodewald 1920 census Salem Township MO
1920 census – Salem Township, MO

William died in 1924 at the age of 73.  Here is his death certificate.

William Rodewald death certificate
William Rodewald death certificate

It indicates that William died in Crosstown.  The notation on this form that fascinates me is the place where it says the undertaker was “neighbors”.  No burial record for him can be found, although there is a death record found in the books of Zion Lutheran Church in Crosstown.

After her second husband’s death, Amalia became a member of the William Schuessler household.  They lived in the Union Township in 1930 and the Bois Brule Township in 1940.

Amalia Rodewald 1930 census Union Township MO
1930 census – Union Township, MO
Amalia Rodewald 1940 census Bois Brule Township MO
1940 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

One of our museum’s docents, Richard Schuessler, says he remembers “Grandma Rodewald” living with family members in Altenburg toward the end of her life.  Amalia died in 1952 at the age of 91.  We have her death certificate.

Mary Rodewald death certificate
Amalia Rodewald death certificate

The form says she is buried at the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg, and also has an entry for her, but no gravestone photo.

Today is one of those days when I wish I was in Altenburg to find some church records for some of the events discussed in this story.  I would also like to take a trip to our cemetery to see if I could find Amalia’s gravestone.  When I get back home, if I find anything else interesting pertaining to this post, maybe I will place an update here.


3 thoughts on “Double Stepmother – Never a Birth Mother

  1. What a wonderful surprise when I found your article tonight. I have a friend, Aurelia Lewis, that wanted me to see what I could find on her family and was so surprised to find your article about William Schuessler and Amalia. William Schuessler is my friend’s paternal grandfather. I wanted you to know that made copies of some of your facts that pertain to William and Amalia. Her parents were Leonard Irene Schuessler.

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