The Wittenberg Muellers

There is an event that took place on this date 140 years ago.  Although I have written previously about that special occasion, I choose to revisit the couple that would be celebrating their 140th wedding anniversary today.  I wrote the blog post titled, Yet Another Mueller Question, but it was written back in the early days of this blog, and much more could have been added to this couple’s story.  In addition, another post highlighted this couple’s business titled, Wittenberg Wares, but like the other, it was very short.  Today, I hope to add some more details.

The couple married on this date 140 years ago was Joseph Mueller and Mathilda “Tillie” Buenger. The date for that wedding was June 22, 1879, and that wedding took place in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  This wedding photo was published before, but I will show it again.

Mueller Buenger wedding
Mueller/Buenger wedding

After their marriage, this couple ended up in Wittenberg, where Joseph was a merchant.  First, he was in partnership with William Mattingly.  The Mueller Mattingly Store can be seen in the photo below.  You can see they were actively involved in the operation of the steamboat landing in Wittenberg.

Mueller & Mattingly sign X
Mueller Mattingly Store

Around 1898, Joseph Mueller went into business by himself, opening a general store located against the steep hill found on the west end of Wittenberg.  The photo below shows several buildings that were in Wittenberg way back then.  The town is pictured as it would have been seen from the Mississippi River.

Wittenberg view from river

On the left was the Nennert Hotel.  On the right of the hotel was the Mueller Mattingly Store.  Farther in the background in the center, you can see the Joseph Mueller Store.  The tall, white building was the flour mill run by Joseph Weinhold, and the last building on the right was the Lueders Store.  Several of those buildings are mentioned in my book, Wittenberg ’03.

To the south of the Mueller Store was the Joseph Mueller home.  It can be seen in this picture on the right.  You can see the steep hill that was located right behind their home and store.

Joseph Mueller home Wittenberg
Joseph Mueller home – right

Here is another picture of the Mueller Store taken at a later date.  It was taken after the railroad began operation in 1904.

Mueller store Mueller & Kieninger X
Joseph Mueller Store

The interior of the Mueller Store is shown in the next photograph.  Joseph’s two sons, Arthur and Arnold are shown in this photo along with their father.

Joseph Mueller Store 1903

I find the above photo especially helpful.  It is said to have been taken in 1903, the year which is highlighted in Wittenberg ’03.  It gives me an idea about what a store like this would have looked like at that specific time.  The Lueders Store, which gets more attention in my book, would probably have looked similar to this one on the inside.

Joseph Mueller had another interest.  He also pursued photography, although I do not know if he ever had a studio or attempted to make money off his craft.  We have an exhibit on display in our museum right now of some of his cameras and accessories.

Mueller photography exhibit
Mueller Photography Exhibit

Here is a close-up of the top shelf of this exhibit.

Mueller photography exhibit 2

At about the time when the railroad was coming to Wittenberg, Joseph Mueller was involved in a land development plan.  Some of his land north of the Brazeau Creek was divided into lots and became known as the Mueller Addition.  That addition is indicated by a red arrow on the map below.

Wittenberg map Mueller Addition

Joseph Mueller was actively involved in governing the town of Wittenberg.  In the book of minutes for the town board of Wittenberg, you find Joseph’s name mentioned quite often.

I found the birth record for one of Joseph and Tillie’s children to be quite interesting.

Arthur Mueller birth record Perry County MO
Arthur Mueller birth record – Perry County, MO

First of all, Joseph was called a farmer and storekeeper.  In the last column where it documents who assisted with the birth, it shows the name, Magdalena Mueller.  One might think that Magdalena would be related to Joseph Mueller, but that is not the case.  However, there is a connection to his family.  Magdalena is actually Tillie’s sister.  Magdealena and Tillie were both daughters of Dr. Ernst Eduard Buenger, the first doctor in Perry County who came to America as part of the Gesellschaft.  Magdalena became one of Perry County’s early midwives.  She, like her sister, married a Mueller, but her husband was from a different Mueller clan.

An aerial photograph of Wittenberg was taken of what was left of that river town in the 1960’s.  The Mueller home is #4; the Mueller Store is #5.

Wittenberg aerial view 1960's

The store and home were all boarded up in the photograph shown next.  The old chimney for the flour mill is seen in the foreground.

Mueller house & store windows boarded X

In closing, I will include a photograph of the Joseph Mueller family.

Joseph Mueller family
Joseph and Tillie Mueller family

Joseph and Mathilda are seated in front.  In the back, from left to right, are Martha, Arthur, Arnold, and Esther.


2 thoughts on “The Wittenberg Muellers

  1. My father, Walter (Wally Mueller) bought this store back in the early 50’s it was full of merchandise as shown. He had it open for a few months and then had an auction for 4 or 5 week ends in a row until most of the merchandise was liquidated. The auction would have to stop when the trains came thru. I wonder what treasures he sold during those auctions? Wally’s daughter Virginia (Mueller) Leimbach.


  2. Fantastic job Warren thank you so very much I love to see things out of my family Arthur was my grandfather Joe with my great-grandfather


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s