There are times when I think that God gets involved in the process of my blog-writing. In this case, the story you are getting today was first intended to be written yesterday. I did a bunch of research on it before finding out that the birthday that inspired it was not December 15, but it was December 16. That caused me to frantically look for another story for December 15th, and I found that wonderful story about the adopted twins. Not only that, today’s story even has a connection to yesterday’s.
Theresia Lehner was born on December 16, 1842 in Austria, so today would have been her 177th birthday. Theresia was the daughter of Matthias and Theresia (Jungmeyer) Lehner. When the Lehner family arrived in the mid-1850’s, they settled in the Shawnee Township. I think the census entry below shows Theresia living in a Wilson household in the 1860 census.
Later that year, on November 29, 1860, Theresia Lehner married William Lueders. They were married just prior to Theresia turning 18 years of age. Here is the civil record for this marriage from Cape Girardeau County.
William and Theresia were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri. Here is the church record for that event. It was just the second marriage record in that congregation’s books.
William Lueders was born on October 28, 1839 in Hanover, Germany. He was the son of Henry and Augusta (Sarazin) Lueders. We find him in the 1860 census as a merchant.
Our German Family Tree includes a dozen children born into the Lueders family. The first was born in 1863, and the last was born in 1881. Some tax assessment documents show that both William and his brother August must have been in some sort of retail business in the early 1860’s. Here is one for 1862.
Here is another one from the next year, 1863. It shows William as a horse dealer.
It was also during this time that William spent some time serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. Here is a record of his military service.
I was unable to find this family in the 1870 census. A Goodspeed biography states that William started a store in New Wells in 1869.
Around 1873, the Lueders family moved to Wittenberg, Missouri, where William operated a dry goods store. We find the Lueders family in the 1880 census with 8 children.
We have this early photograph of the Lueders Store taken from the east. In other words, boats on the Mississippi River could see this sign as they went by.
William also became the postmaster in Wittenberg. In fact, over the years, he and Joseph Mueller, who operated another store in Wittenberg, were postmasters. Whenever a Republican occupied the White House, William Lueders was the postmaster. Whenever a Democrat was President, Joseph Mueller had that job. Here is list of the Wittenberg postmasters in the late 1800’s. It is in two images.
If you look at this list of U.S. Presidents, you will see that their terms correspond with the service of William Lueders and Joseph Mueller.
This pattern continued into the early 1900’s. In my book, Wittenberg ’03, William Lueders was the postmaster because Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, was the President.
The 1900 census entry for the Lueders family requires two images.
The 1910 census ties this story with the one I told yesterday. Living with the Lueders family was a boy by the name of Charles Nennert. Charles was an orphan and apparently, he lived with William and Theresia for a while. He is described as a ward. This may have been another case in which Ehregott Richter was involved in helping an orphan find a home in the Wittenberg area.
William and Theresia celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1910 and had this photograph taken. It was one of the photos which were featured in the post, A Tale of Two Photos.
This photo of William and Theresia was taken when they were getting up there in age.
William Lueders died in 1913 at the age of 73. We have his death certificate.
In the 1920 census, we find Theresia living with her son, Dr. Albert Lueders, in Maumee Township, Indiana just outside Fort Wayne.
Theresia Lueders died in 1929 at the age of 86. Her death record can be found in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church books. William and Theresia are buried together in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg.
When William Lueders had his will written, one of the witnesses was Joseph Weinhold.
William Lueders and Joseph Weinhold are main characters in my book, Wittenberg ’03. The document above, as well as other evidence we have, indicate that William and Joseph were good friends. They apparently did not let politics come between their friendship because William was a staunch Republican while Joseph was a staunch Democrat. Politics play a part in the fictional book that I wrote, and I made efforts to make sure to show the political differences between these two characters, but also the fact that they still maintained a friendship. And one of the main aspects of the book is the romance between Otto Lueders and Lydia Weinhold. These two children of William and Joseph would get married in 1904, and that event will be part of the next book Wittenberg ’04 (if I ever get it done).
I also have this suspicion that the Lueders and Weinhold families may have had a hand in the future of that orphan boy, Charles Nennert. Charles went on to become a Lutheran school teacher. His story was told in the posts, Indy Educators and Indy Basketball Beginnings. I think Charles Nennert may have been bankrolled by the William Lueders and Joseph Weinhold families, making it possibe for him to attend teachers college. They were both avid supporters of Lutheran education. Charles Nennert also went on to become a person who is responsible for preserving the history of the town of Wittenberg.
One more thing. The Lueders home in 1903 is shown on the cover of my book. It is the home located on the left between the Birner Hotel and the Lutheran church. At that time, the post office was also located in that house.