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 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.
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 was only 4 years old when she first showed up in a census in 1900. She was the baby in that Meyr family.
Let’s take a look at these two in their respective 1910 census records. First, here is the one for Alfred Theiss.
Next, here is the entry for Concordia Meyr.
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.
In 1917, Alfred had his World War I draft registration completed.
We still find both Alfred and Concordia single in the 1920 census. Here is the one containing Alfred.
Next, here is the 1920 census for Concordia. She is often called Cordy.
On April 30, 1922, Alfred Theiss married Concordia Meyr at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. We have the church record for this occasion.
I can also display this couple’s 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.
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.
At the age of 54, Alfred had his World War II draft card completed.
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.
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 was buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg.
Concordia died in 1979 at the age of 83. We have a little bit of a mystery here, however. An entry on Findagrave.com 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.
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.