Paul Joseph Ehregott Theiss (pronouced Tice) was born on October 27, 1882. Paul was the son of Henry and Ernestine (Mueller) Theiss. This Theiss family lived near Wittenberg right along the Mississippi River. They owned property both on the hill near the river as well as some land in the bottoms.
Here is a present-day satellite view of this area.
Paul’s baptism record can be found in the church books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, but the baptism could likely have taken place in the church/school that had been built in the village of Wittenberg. Here is his baptism record.
It would not be until 1900 that Paul would show up in a census.
Even after that census was taken, Paul would be found in two more census records before he would get married. Here is the 1910 census. His mother had died in 1901.
Next, we see him in the 1920 census. Paul’s cousin, Linda Mueller, was living in this household at that time. I can imagine why this house full of just men would need a woman to help take care of them.
It was later during 1920 that Paul got married. His bride would be Clara Hilpert. She was the daughter of Ludwig and Maria (Schilling) Hilpert who lived in the Frohna area. Clara was born on August 3, 1888. If she would have been born 5 days later, she would have been born on 8/8/88. Clara was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. Below is her baptism record.
The first census in which we find Clara was the one taken in 1900.
For some reason, I could not find Clara in the 1910 census when she would have been 21 years old. That leads us up to the wedding of Paul Theiss and Clara Hilpert which took place at Concordia, Frohna on October 24, 1920, three days before Paul’s birthday. Here is the church record for that marriage.
We also have the marriage license for this couple.
About a month after this marriage, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church would dedicate their new church sanctuary which was located in the Wittenberg bottoms near the Theiss farm. Below is a photo of that church when it was being built.
Paul and Clara would go on to have four children, all of them boys. Here is the household that we find in 1930. Clara’s mother was living with this family.
The last census in which we can find the Theiss’s is the one taken in 1940.
Over the years, in addition to being a farmer, Paul Theiss was a mail carrier. He began as a temporary carrier, but eventually took over on a permanent basis. When he started in 1912, he delivered the mail by horse and buggy. The photo below shows Paul’s predecessor, Martin Grebing, with his mail wagon.
We have a mail “hack” similar to this one in our museum that was used in the Uniontown area.
Later, their son, Gilbert Theiss’s wife, Viola (Meetz) Theiss, was the postmaster in Wittenberg for many years. The U.S. Mail was an important part of this Theiss family for a long time.
There is also evidence that Paul Theiss was a member of the Wittenberg Band. The caption I found for the photo below says Paul Theiss is standing behind the bridesmaid, but I don’t know which bridesmaid.
Paul Theiss died in 1955 at the age of 72; Clara died in 1969 at the age of 80. They are both buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg, Missouri.
My dad was a good friend of Gilbert “Gib” Theiss, who was one of Paul and Clara’s sons. Also, over the years, I’ve gotten to know Kathy Schoenherr, Nancy Ponivas, and Bud Theiss. They all would have called Paul and Clara their grandparents.