Before I begin today’s story,  I’d like to discuss pronunciation.  I have talked to several local folks about how to pronounce Guetersloh.  Although there is some difference of opinion, the pronunciation that gets the most support is Gitter-slaw.  In fact, the folks that use this pronunciation far outnumber any other pronunciation.  At least among the people I have asked.  Since this is the written word though, you can pronounce it any way you want while you are reading this.

I also want to say that I almost wrote this story yesterday.  That is because there are a few places on the internet, such as and that state today’s birthday boy was born on August 25th, not August 26th.  However, all the documentation I have seen, some of which will be included in this post, give the August 26th birthday.  So I did all kinds of research for this story yesterday before deciding to do the story today.  It’s a good thing that I discovered that Lohmann/Steffens story to take its place.

Today’s birthday boy is Johann (John) Guetersloh.  He was born on August 26, 1873 according to our German Family Tree.  John, like the characters in yesterday’s story, was born in the Hanover area of Germany.  John’s parents were Dietrich and Margaretha (Boesch) Guetersloh.  Below are photos of his parents.

A few census records indicate that the Guetersloh family arrived in America in 1885.  The family settled in the bottoms near Jacob, Illinois, where Dietrich was a farmer.  The first census in which we find this family was the one taken in 1900 for Fountain Bluff Township in Jackson County, Illinois.  John was 26 years old and still single.  By the way, transcribes his surname as Grieterslok.

John Guetersloh 1900 census Fountain Bluff Township IL
1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Here is a photograph of John Guetersloh when he was quite young.

Johann Guetersloh young
John Guetersloh

On April 17, 1902, John Guetersloh married Anna Katherine Rathjen at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois.  I wish I could show you the church record for this marriage.  Let’s take a look at Anna Rathjen.  She was born in Jacob, Illinois and baptized at Christ Lutheran Church.  She was the daughter of Friedrich and Katherine (Weseloh) Rathjen.  Her birthday was September 10, 1884.  We find Anna in the 1900 census from Fountain Bluff Township.

Anna Rathjen 1900 census Fountain Bluff Township IL
1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

In order to understand the above entry, you must realize that Anna’s father died in 1891.  Her mother then married John Kistenmacher, and then Anna’s mother died in 1899.  So in this census, we see Anna as a step-daughter of John Kistenmacher.  She was 15 years old at that time.  That also means that when Anna was married in 1902, she was just 17 years old.

The map below shows the proximity of the Guetersloh (blue box) and Rathjen (red box) properties near Jacob, Illinois.

Rathjen Guetersloh land Fountain Bluff Township IL

We have the wedding photo for John and Anna Guetersloh.

Guetersloh Rathjen wedding
John and Anna Guetersloh wedding

Our German Family Tree lists 6 children for this couple.  Their first child was stillborn.  We find this couple in the 1910 census.  I have included the names of Herman Guetersloh, a brother, and Dietrich Guetersloh, father, to show that they were likely living on the same property.

Guetersloh names 1910 census Fountain Bluff Township IL
1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Then we have the census taken in 1920.  There were four children in the household.  Their last child would be born in 1921.  Only one of their children was a boy, and he was also named John.

John Guetersloh 1920 census Fountain Bluff Township IL
1920 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

A photograph was taken of three of the Guetersloh daughters, Mary, Frieda, and Meta.  It was probably taken around 1915.

Frieda Meta Mary Guetersloh
Three Guetersloh girls

John had his World War I draft registration completed in 1918.  It is another document that supports an August 26th birthday.

John Guetersloh – WWI draft registration

This photo was taken of John later in his life.

Johann Guetersloh older
John Guetersloh

John died in 1924 at the rather early age of 50.  The church record for this death says he died of stomach cancer.  He was buried in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Jacob, Illinois.  As you can see, it indicates an August 26th birthday.

Johann Guetersloh gravestone Christ Jacob IL
John Guetersloh gravestone – Christ, Jacob, IL

I located John’s last will and testament.  I will show a portion of it here.

John Guetersloh will
John Guetersloh will

I also found several pages in his estate papers that showed items that were sold at his auction and who bought them.  I will show one page.  I enjoyed looking at the names on the list which I would describe as “Jacob names”.


This will indicates that after Anna’s death, John, Jr. would get possession of the farm land.  Keep in mind that John, Jr. was only 7 years old when his father died.

Anna was still living in Fountain Bluff Township according to the 1930 census.

Anna Guetersloh 1930 census Fountain Bluff Township IL
1930 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

In 1936, Anna married William Schumaker.  The entry in our German Family Tree for this marriage is shown below.  It states that William was from Salina, Kansas.  The Bird W. Cline mentioned was married to Anna’s daughter, Mary.

Guetersloh Schumaker marriage record GFT

We find a puzzling entry in the 1940 census, however.  Anna Schumaker is listed as being married, but William is not to be found.  If William had died, Anna would have been shown as a widow.  If there had been a divorce, that would have been shown.  Where was William?

Anna Guetersloh Schumaker 1940 census Fountain Bluff Township IL
1940 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

I did not find many photos of Anna when she was young, but I located several when she was old.  The person who posted these photos described her as Grandma G.  Here is one with Anna standing with a horse.

Grandma Anna Guetersloh with horse

Here is one of her standing next to what is described as a 1940 Ford that belonged to her son-in-law, Bird Cline.

Anna Guetersloh with 1940 automobile

The farm place shown below is said to be the Guetersloh farm home.

John Guetersloh home Jacob IL

Another puzzle with Anna is that after the 1940 census, all the documentation I could find for her indicated that she was once again Anna Guetersloh.  She apparently spent some of her last years in St. Louis living with the Cline family.  It was there that she died in 1960 at the age of 75.  Since she died in Missouri, we have her death certificate.

Anna Guetersloh death certificate
Anna Guetersloh death certificate

This is the only document I found that stated that Anna was a seamstress making dresses.  This form also states that she was buried in the Laurel Hill Memorial Cemetery in Pagedale.  She can be found listed at that cemetery on, but there is no gravestone photo.

I was glad I did the research for this story yesterday so that I didn’t have to work so hard today.  I have a granddaughter that needs some attention from Grumps (that’s me).



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