The post that we publish today was written by one of our guest bloggers, Cal Eggers. Today, Cal tells a story coming from his own Eggers family. The story he tells extends through more than one generation and will take two days to tell. So you get the special treat of getting posts from Cal for the next two days. I know that I am very appreciative to have a few days to pursue other interests. I want to point out that Cal has a local Perry County helper. Cal’s brother, Fred, assists him by getting images that can only be found in our research library. So I would like to thank both Cal and Fred for their contributions to this blog.
Not much is known about Johann Heinrich “Henry” Eggers, but we could assume that on this day in 1866 he did not venture far from his house or barn because his wife would have been very pregnant with their 5th child. I am writing this story about Henry as a prologue to the story of that child, Hermann Jacob that will be published tomorrow. The main emphasis of this story will be on the fate of each of Henry’s other children. As usual, thanks to my brother Fred who helped with resources at the Museum.
Henry was born April 7, 1835, in Lamstedt in what was then the Kingdom of Hannover as the third and youngest child of Claus and Dorothea (nee Buchholz) Eggers. Here is his baptismal record from St. Bartholomȁuskirche of Lamstedt followed by a transcription of the record.
In 2006 we visited Lamstedt and worshiped in the church pictured below where Henry and his siblings were baptized. The Lamstedt web site includes a history of the church, and relates that this was a former Catholic parish, which became Lutheran at the time of the Reformation. Although the church building has gone through several renovations, parts of it may date to the 17th century.
Claus Eggers and family are believed to have immigrated to Perry County in 1842. Henry is first found in Perry County records in the 1850 census, living with his parents and brother (his sister already having married Andreas Popp). Though only 15, Henry is reported to be a Laborer.
In 1856 Henry married Miss Anna Katharina Resen. The record of the marriage at Trinity, Altenburg, by Rev. Schieferdecker is shown below. Anna is believed to have immigrated from Lamstedt about a year before the wedding.
Four years later, at the time of the 1860 census, Henry is reported to be farming and his parents are living with him, his wife, and their daughter Catharine.
The next two censuses tell us more about Henry and Anna’s growing family.
We see that in 1870 Henry and Anna had four children (Lena, Ernestine, Jacob, and Annie) living with them and four (Ernestine, Jacob, Anna, and Martin) in 1880. This does not tell the whole story as the family was not immune to the tragedies of infant, youth, and natal mortality that were typical of the time.
The museum’s German Family Tree reports the birth and baptism of three other children that did not make it to any census.
Johanna Katharina Dorothea (Born 26 Jun 1860, Baptized 29 Jun 1860, Died 24 Aug 1860, Buried 25 Aug 1860)
Claus Hermann (Born 22 Sep 1864, Baptized 2 Oct 1864). Claus was not listed in the 1870 census so he must have died before the age of 6. There are no church records of his death as it might have occurred during the “Koestering hole” in the records.
Heinrich Martin (Born 12 Feb 1872, Baptized 21 Feb 1872). His sponsors were recorded as Pastor Lohmann, Heinrich Eggers (the baby’s father), and Mrs. Weber (a Weber family was the next entry in the 1870 census). This may mean that the baptism may have been carried out at home with some urgency. There is no church record of his death and burial either.
Most notable among the tragedies was that of Henry’s first daughter, Catharine “Magdelena” (Lena in the 1870 census). The German Family Tree (GFT) reports that Dietrich Blanken married Magdalena Eggers on 24 Oct 1877, when she was 20.
Next to Magdalena’s entry in the GFT are two records from Concordia, Frohna: “Anna Margaretha Blanken, Born 1 Sep 1878, Baptized 4 Sep 1878, Died 11 Sep 1878, Buried 11 Sep 1878;” and “Magdalena Catharine Blanken, Born 1 Sep 1878, Died 15 Sep 1878, Buried 16 Sep 1878 … daughters of Diedrich & the late Magdalena Blanken.” Here is the record of their baptism.
The GFT also records for Magdalena the following: “Died 1 Sep 1878, Buried 2 Sep 1878, 21y-6d old, died in the evening during a prayer by her twin sister, buried at 4 pm.” This is apparently an error in transcription or in translation. Since we know she did not have a twin sister, but gave birth to twin sisters, this may have been confusion between gebaten (prayer) and geborn (born). In any case, this was a tragic event, with mother and the twin daughters dying within a few days of each other. And there must have been fervent prayers on everyone’s part.
Below is the memorial where Magdalena Catherina (Eggers) Blanken is buried in the Concordia cemetery.
An Ancestry.com family tree reports that Mr. Blanken remarried, moved to Flagler, Colorado, and had 10 more children. He must have been a leader in his Lutheran congregation there; Fred found the picture below and based on another picture of him, I believe he is the man standing second from the right with a full beard.
Another daughter of Henry and Anne, Ernestine Maria was born in 1861 and, like her sister, survived to be married — but not much longer. The following is an image of the license for her marriage in August 1883 to Henry Versemann.
The German Family Tree and ancestry records show that Ernestine had three children before dying in 1889, leaving boys aged 5, 3, and 1. Findagrave.com does not show her memorial stone, but includes the following summary.
Like Mr. Blanken, Catherine’s widower, Mr. Versemann, went on to remarry and have a large second family.
The history of the next child, Jacob, and his family will be described in tomorrow’s blog.
Jacob was followed by Anna Dorothea, who married Edward Franke and became part of the Uniontown and Grace Lutheran community. Following is an image of their marriage license.
Henry and Anne’s youngest child was Heinrich William “Martin” who was 5 years old at the time of the 1880 census shown above. According to page 123 of Mary Dillon’s Altenburg history, Martin was selected as Buttermaker of the Altenburg Creamery on March 1, 1898. Below is a picture of him with some creamery equipment.
By 1910 Martin is found in Pittsburg, Kansas in this image of the census report.
Why Kansas? Ancestry.com trees report that Martin married Meta Marjenhoff of Pittsburg in 1902. A family member told me that Meta met Martin while she was visiting in Altenburg, perhaps visiting a Grother family that was related to her family. Martin and Meta began to correspond and agreed to marry without meeting again until the wedding in Kansas.
During his lifetime, Henry Eggers took important action to acquire land for himself and, ultimately, his heirs. In the Act of Admission of the State of Missouri of 1821, the Federal government granted unclaimed land to Missouri, which could then be sold to provide operating funds. These “land patents” were granted to applicants at a low cost. Henry obtained two such patents, in 1853 and in 1854. (His brother, Herman, and brother in law Andreas Popp also obtained land patents located near to Henry’s) We don’t know what he paid for them but one internet source specifies the cost to be “not less than $1.25 per acre.”
Here is the record of the second patent, which bears the signature of Franklin Pierce, President from 1853 to 1857.
The land patent is described as: “The Southwest quarter of the Southwest quarter of Section 33, Township 34N, Range 13E.” Landowners will understand that description; for those of you of the GPS age, the earthpoint.us web site provides the coordinates of the centroid of that section as N37.6019933, W89.6051401 and displays the area on Google Earth. If you plug those coordinates into Google Maps on your phone you will see Apple Creek meandering toward Route C. The purple dot on the image below is at the center of the section.
By the time of the 1900 census shown below, Henry and Anna were “empty nesters” in a rented home and he had apparently retired from farming. Circled is the only clear evidence we have of the immigration year of the Eggers family.
The picture below of Henry and Anne might have been taken around that time.
Left to Right in rear: Martin Eggers, Anne (Eggers) Franke, Jacob Eggers
Henry died about two years later; here are images of his death certificate and of his memorial in the Trinity, Altenburg cemetery.
The GFT reports that Anna died September 28, 1917. I have not found a death certificate or findagrave record for her.
Henry’s last will and testament included some provisions in the images below that I found interesting. First, as is often the custom, he left his farm to the eldest son, with provision for the care of his widow. Then, he then bequeathed equal amounts of cash to his married daughter and his other son, as well as to the widowers of his two deceased daughters.
At age 7, Johann Hinrich “Henry” Eggers experienced a long trip across the Atlantic and up the Mississippi. At age 15 he was already helping his family by working, either on his father’s farm or for a neighbor. As an adult, his life as a farmer working previously unclaimed — and most likely uncultivated — land was probably not easy. He and Anne experienced the deaths of five children, two in early childhood and two more as young adults. But his last will and testament demonstrated his care for his family and shows that he was able to provide help for their future: his son by providing farm land and the others with a gift of cash.