Local residents sometimes refer to Friedrich Florian Petzoldt as “The Face” That is because when Friedrich Florian was buried in the cemetery of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg, his tombstone bears the image of his face. That Friedrich Florian Petzoldt was born in Germany in 1812 and died here in Perry County in 1884. Here is one image of his gravestone.
A close-up of “The Face” makes him look even eerier.
For some reason, every time I look at “The Face”, it reminds me of the character, Jacob Marley, that you see in movie renditions of Dickens’ Christmas Carol, pictured as a spirit from the dead who is weighted down with the chains of the misdeeds of his earthly life. I am also amazed by the artistic ability of the carver of this stone back in the late 1800’s.
Today’s story is not about the life of this Friedrich Florian Petzoldt. It is about his grandson who was blessed with the same name. The second Friedrich Florian Petzoldt was born on January 6, 1889, so today would have been his 131st birthday. Friedrich Florian Petzold was the son of Adolph and Alma (Engert) Petzoldt and baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Below is his baptism record in two images.
The first census in which we find Friedrich (Fred) was the one taken in 1900. His family was living in Shawnee Township, just across the Apple Creek in northern Cape Girardeau County. His father, Adolph, must have been about 4 years old when this Petzoldt family arrived in America in 1849.
Fred is once again found living with his parents in the 1910 census. Fred was 21 years old.
Fred Petzoldt must have married Bertha Rogalski sometime around 1912, based on some information in a census record. However, I was not able to find either a church record or a civil record for that wedding. Bertha Rogalski was born on March 5, 1889, the daughter of Friedrich and Juliana (Hindmann) Rogalski. She was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Missouri. Here is her baptism record.
Bertha can be found in the 1900 census for Brazeau Township.
Bertha’s father died in 1903, and her mother remarried. It was actually her third husband. He was Dr. Johann Gottlieb Neumueller. However, when the next census came out in 1910, Bertha was living in St. Louis as a servant to a Harris family.
In 1917, Fred had his World War I draft registration completed.
After Fred married Bertha, the first census in which we find that household was the one taken in 1920.
Here we find an interesting tidbit. The son, Russell Petzoldt, shown in the above census was born in St. Louis in 1913, and according to our German Family Tree, he was adopted by Fred and Bertha. However, even though he was already living with them in 1920, the church records of Immanuel, Altenburg say Russell was not baptized until 1925.
The next census we find this family is the one from 1930.
The year when the above census was taken, there was also a plat map produced for Cape Girardeau County. In that census, we find property owned by Fred Petzoldt located right along the Apple Creek.
There is one more census we can view for this family. In 1940, their son, Russell, was married and had a few children. They were living in the same household as Fred and Bertha.
We also have a World War II draft card that was completed by Fred in 1942.
An interesting event happened in this Petzoldt family in 1944. Russell and his wife, Alida (Hemmann) Petzoldt had their second set of twins. They were born on their grandfather’s birthday, January 6, 1944. Sadly, both of these twins, Paul and Pauline, died after living only 3 days. They were buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells, Missouri. Both of their grandparents, Fred and Bertha, were still alive to witness this.
Fred died in 1964 at the age of 75. We have his death certificate.
Bertha died in 1970 at the age of 81. We are not able to view her death certificate. Fred and Bertha are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.
As you can see, this Friedrich Florian Petzoldt did not have his face displayed on his tombstone. I guess only one Petzoldt will go down in history as “The Face”.