Courting Cordy by Horse-and-Buggy

Alfred Benjamin Johannes Theiss was born on this day, December 4, 1887, so he would have been 132 years old if he was still alive.  Back in October, I wrote a story about Alfred’s older brother, Paul Theiss, in a story titled, It’s Pronounced Tice – Rhymes with Mice.  The history of these two brothers were closely tied together, as you should see in today’s story.

Alfred was the son of Henry and Ernestine (Mueller) Theiss.  His baptism record is found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, but he was likely baptized in the church that was located in the town of Wittenberg.  Below is his baptism record.

Alfred Theiss baptism record Trinity Altenburg MO
Alfred Theiss baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Alfred does not show up in a census until 1900 when he is already 12 years old, although this entry calls him just 11.  I think this is a mistake.

Paul Theiss 1900 census Brazeau Township MO
1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Let’s turn our attention to Alfred’s future wife.  Her name was Concordia Meyr, the daughter of Amos and Maria (Mirly) Meyr who lived in New Wells, Missouri.  Concordia was born on August 18, 1895 and baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells.  Here is an image of her baptism record.

Concordia Meyr baptism record Immanuel New Wells MO
Concordia Meyr baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Concordia was only 4 years old when she first showed up in a census in 1900.  She was the baby in that Meyr family.

Concordia Meyr 1900 census Shawnee Township MO
1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Let’s take a look at these two in their respective 1910 census records.  First, here is the one for Alfred Theiss.

Paul Theiss 1910 census Brazeau Township MO
1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, here is the entry for Concordia Meyr.

Concordia Meyr 1910 census Shawnee Township MO
1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The 1915 plat maps for Perry County show a few parcels of land owned by Alfred’s  father, Henry Theiss.  This would later be the land which would be farmed by Alfred who was always a farmer in the Wittenberg bottoms.  His brother, Paul, would live on the same land, but he would be more involved in the mail carrying business.

Henry Theiss land map 1915
Henry Theiss land map – 1915

In 1917, Alfred had his World War I draft registration completed.

Alfred Theiss – WWI draft registration

We still find both Alfred and Concordia single in the 1920 census.  Here is the one containing Alfred.

Paul Theiss 1920 census Brazeau Township MO
1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, here is the 1920 census for Concordia.  She is often called Cordy.

Concordia Meyr 1920 census Shawnee Township MO
1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

On April 30, 1922, Alfred Theiss married Concordia Meyr at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells.  We have the church record for this occasion.

Theiss Meyr marriage record Immanuel New Wells MO
Theiss/Meyr marriage record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

I can also display this couple’s marriage license.

Theiss Meyr marriage license
Theiss/Meyr marriage license

This couple would have 4 children according to our German Family Tree, but the youngest one died at the age of 5 and never showed up in a census.  We see this family in the 1930 census.  I have included the Paul Theiss family in this image to indicate how close they lived to one another.  In fact, they both lived on the Henry Theiss land shown on the previous map.

Alfred Theiss 1930 census Brazeau Township MO
1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The final census in which we can view this family was the one taken in 1940.  It is in two images.  Once again, I also displayed the Paul Theiss family.

Alfred Theiss 1940 census Brazeau Township MO

Alfred Theiss 1940 census 2 Brazeau Township MO
1940 census – Brazeau Township, MO

At the age of 54, Alfred had his World War II draft card completed.

Alfred Theiss – WWII draft card

In 1962, Alfred and Concordia celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary by having a party.  A local newspaper published an article about that event.  I found this interesting because it included all the people who attended this event.

Alfred and Concordia Theiss 40th wedding anniversary article

This article also mentions the “horse-and-buggy courting days” of Alfred and Cordy.  The time around 1920 must have been a transitional period when some folks in Perry County were beginning to use automobiles for travel.  This article specifically mentions Alfred using a horse-and-buggy to court his future wife.  Keep in mind that the trip Alfred had to make to get to Concordia involved first of all taking the 4 mile road to Altenburg and then taking the 5 mile road that crossed a few creeks to get to New Wells.  Then Alfred had to turn around to make the same trip to get back home.

Alfred died in 1967 at the age of 79.  We have his death certificate.

Alfred Theiss death certificate
Alfred Theiss death certificate

Alfred was buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg.

Alfred Theiss gravestone St. Paul's Wittenberg MO
Alfred Theiss gravestone – St. Paul’s, Wittenberg, MO

Concordia died in 1979 at the age of 83.  We have a little bit of a mystery here, however.  An entry on says that Concordia is buried at St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg.  However, there is no photo of a gravestone.  Add to that the fact that St. Paul’s Lutheran Church death records do not contain a record for her.  The only other document I found was a Social Security death index record that says she died in April of 1979, and her last residence was in St. Louis.  I took a trip to the St. Paul’s Cemetery today to look for her gravestone.  I was unsuccessful.

While I was down there, I decided I could at least take a photo of the bottomland that was farmed by the Theiss family.  Their home was found on higher ground, but it is this bottomland that now often gets flooded that was part of their farm.  The hills in the distance are found on the other side of the Mississippi River in Illinois.

Wittenberg bottoms Theiss land

As I have done research over the years, I have noticed a pattern of ties between Wittenberg and the area around New Wells and Pocahontas in northern Cape Girardeau County.  It may have been Concordia traveling with her family to the river and railroad town of Wittenberg that may have triggered the romance between her and Alfred.

4 thoughts on “Courting Cordy by Horse-and-Buggy

  1. I believe the young daughter who died was named Alice. Her death was a result of being kicked by a horse according to my dad.


  2. I am wondering if Concordia ended up living near her brother Adolf Meyr near Warson Road and attending Immanuel Lutheran in Ollivette (St. Louis). Several of the people on the 40th Anniversary list are family my parents know/knew well.


  3. I thank you as well, Warren, as Alfred and Concordia (Cordy) were my grandparents. Grandma was not buried in Wittenberg. She was living with her daughter Rosa (we called her Rose) and her family in Maplewood when she died. Both Alma and Rose lived in the St. Louis area, and Grandma is buried in a family plot up there. Thanks again, and I am looking forward to Wittenberg ’04!


  4. Thanks Warren! I remember that anniversary party. My father spent time preparing his “talk”. I have many fond memories of Aunt Cordy and uncle Alfred.


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