Rudy and Dora

Today’s couple reminds me of my aunt and uncle.  I had an Aunt Dorothy and an Uncle Rudy Schmidt.  As the title suggests, the couple I write about today were a Rudy and Dora, only their surname was Gerhardt.  Both Rudy and Dora had Perry County roots, but they managed to marry each other in the state of Kansas.  In fact, only in the case of Rudy do we have any church records in our German Family Tree.  However, in the course of telling this story, we run into several rather familiar Perry County names….Palisch, Eggers, and Stueve.

Today’s birthday boy is Rudolph Gerhardt who was born on July 6, 1894 in Altenburg.  He was the son of Edward and Hulda (Palisch) Gerhardt.  That makes Rudolph the great grandson of the prolific patriarch of the Palisch family, J.G. Palisch.  I managed to find a photograph of Rudolph’s father, Edward Gerhardt.   Unfortunately, it is a very small image, and it would lose its quality if I enlarged it.

Edward Gerhardt

Rudolph was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  Here is his baptism record.

Rudolph Gerhardt baptism record Trinity Altenburg MO
Rudolph Gerhardt baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

The Gerhardt family must have moved closer to Farrar, Missouri because we find Rudy’s  confirmation record in the books of Salem Lutheran Church.  He was confirmed in 1908.

Rudolph Gerhardt confirmation record Salem Farrar MO
Rudolph Gerhardt confirmation record – Salem, Farrar, MO

The last record we have of Rudolph living in Perry County was the 1910 census from Union Township.  He was 15 years old at the time.

Rudolph Gerhardt 1910 census Union Township MO
1910 census – Union Township, MO

Now let’s turn our attention to Dorothea Stuive.  Dora was born on February 2, 1896 (although her gravestone says she was born on February 6th).  She was the daughter of Carl and Dorothea (Eggers) Stueve, who had their roots in Perry County.  She was also the baby in the family.  In a previous post written by Fred Eggers titled, An Early Out-Migration of Original Immigrants, it said Carl Stueve had moved his family to Prairie City, Missouri in 1883, and then in 1888 had moved again to Linn, Kansas.  Dora’s birthplace was Linn, Kansas.  It is reported that she was baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Linn.  She and her family can be found in the 1900 census living near that town.  Dora’s father is described as an implement dealer.

Dorothy Stuive 1900 census Linn KS
1900 census – Linn, KS

By 1905, we no longer find this family in Linn.  Instead, we find them living in Pleasant Township of Lincoln County, Kansas, which is where we find the town of Sylvan Grove.  That town is one of the places that we call a Perry County outpost.  I like to use the term “Perry County suburb”.  The Stueve family can be found in a 1905 Kansas census.

Dorothy Stuive 1905 Kansas census Pleasant Township
1905 Kansas census – Pleasant Township, Lincoln County, KS

You may have noticed that I now have used two different spellings for this family surname….Stueve and Stuive.  There is a story there.  Fred Eggers has told me the story, and I wish he were here to tell it better.  I know it had something to do with a store and its accounting procedures.  If I remember correctly, there was a reason that a store’s name could not have two repeated letters in it, so the Stueve name, which has two e’s, had to be changed, and it was changed to Stuive.  From here on out, this family went by the name Stuive.  The 1900 census shown above for Linn, Kansas even looks like it may have been written as Stuive.

We find Dora’s family in the 1910 census living near Sylvan Grove.  Now her father was called a farmer.  Dora was 14 years old.

Dorothy Stuive 1910 census Pleasant Township KS
1910 census – Pleasant Township, KS

On December 22, 1915, Rudolph Gerhardt and Dora Stuive were married at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Sylvan Grove.  Between 1917 and 1930, this couple had 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls.  I was unable to locate photos of Rudy and Dora, but I did manage to find one of their youngest child, Mildred.

Mildred Gerhardt
Mildred Gerhardt

I will display the census records we have for this family, starting with the one in 1920.  The John Stuive shown above the Gerhardt’s was Dora’s older brother.

Rudolph Gerhardt 1920 census Pleasant Township KS
1920 census – Pleasant Township, MO

Next, in the 1930 census, we find this couple living near Rudolph’s parents, Edward and Hulda.  Rudy, and Dora’s last child would be born later that year.

Rudolph Gerhardt 1930 census Pleasant Township KS
1930 census – Pleasant Township, KS

The 1940 census shows that Rudolph and Dora had moved into the town of Sylvan Grove, and Rudy is no longer a farmer.  He is said to be a helper for a builder.

Rudolph Gerhardt 1940 census Sylvan Grove KS
1940 census – Sylvan Grove, KS

Rudolph had a World War II draft card filled out in 1942.  If I read it correctly, it says he was running a plower for the county.

Rudolph Gerhardt – WWII draft card

Dora died in 1971; Rudy died in 1980.  They are buried together in the Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery in Sylvan Grove.

Rudolph and Dora Gerhardt gravestone Bethlehem Sylvan Grove KS
Rudy and Dora Gerhardt gravestone – Bethlehem, Sylvan Grove, KS

I find this story interesting because it involves one person who was born in Perry County and another one who was not, but still had roots in Perry County.  Yet they both found one another in Kansas.  Someday, I would like to visit Sylvan Grove and walk through the Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery.  I would like to see just how many gravestones there display Perry County names.  The gravestone above may not look like it, but it’s background includes the names of Palisch, Eggers, and Stueve (or is it Stuive).  By the way, there are 15 entries on for Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery that carry the name Stuive, and only one for the name Stueve.



4 thoughts on “Rudy and Dora

  1. Thank you for this post & the documents & photos. I have a birth record for my grandmother, Dora Gerhardt, from Linn county. You are correct about the reason for the spelling change for the name Stueve. Albert Stuive told me that each letter represented a number. C. Stueve would place the number code on items to indicate his cost for the item. Then he could determine what to sell the items for to cover his cost.

  2. Rudolph and Dora Gerhardt were my grandparents. My mom was Vera May ( as shown in the 1930 census ). That is my Aunt Milly ( Mildred as noted ) you pictured in the article.

    The Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery is just east of Sylvan Grove, KS within eye site of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Rudolph’s parents [ Edward and Hulda (Palisch)] and Dora’s parents [ Carl and Dorothea ( Eggers )] are buried there also.

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