I debated whether to write this story today. I found a birthday for February 4th, but it did not take me too long to see it might be a challenge. Here are some reasons I came up with for not doing this story.
- I only found one record in our German Family Tree for this birthday boy.
- He apparently did not remain in Perry County very long.
- There is a “hole” in his story that extends from 1880 until 1910.
- The birthday boy and his wife had no children, so I figured there would be none of our readers who could say stuff like, “That was my grandpa.”
However, I am doing the story anyway. Sometimes, I just decide I want the challenge. So here we go. Today’s birthday boy is Theodore Palisch, born on February 4, 1872. When we look at our German Family Tree, this is all we see.
As you can see, Theodore was the son of Carl and Emilie (Engert) Palisch and baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Missouri. Both of Theodore’s parents were original immigrants who were part of the Gesellschaft in 1839. Theodore was the baby of this Palisch family. You see he is child #9 in the GFT. Here is his baptism record.
I have done a lot of Palisch stories, and I have gotten used to looking into the Palisch binders that we have in our research library. There are three binders which are part of quite an extensive bit of research that went into that family history. When you find what those binders have for Theodore Palisch, this is what you see.
That’s all, folks. Now I really know I have a challenge. Much of what I eventually found about Theodore is on Ancestry.com, but I have to first say that I did find some additional information on Kathy Birkbigler’s website, zionrootsgenealogy.org. Kathy is part of the Palisch family, so I fully expected to find some data on Theodore there since Kathy is such a fine researcher herself.
The only census record in which we find Theodore living in Perry County was the one taken in 1880. He was 8 years old.
Here’s where the biggest mystery of this story takes place, in my opinion. Theodore does not show up in any confirmation records for any of the churches around here. You would expect him to be confirmed at Immanuel, and indeed you find several Palisch cousins being confirmed there around the time he should have, but Theodore is not found.
Theodore would have been 28 years old in 1900 when the next census in which we might find him was taken, but he is not found in Perry County. I did find a Theodore Palisch living in St. Louis in 1900, but his age was not quite right. The next event I found for Theodore took place in 1910, and that event I only found on the zionrootsgenealogy.org website. It says that Theodore was married on September 10, 1910 in Bexar County, Texas at St. Joseph Catholic Church. San Antonio is the largest city in Bexar County, so it is likely that they were married there. His bride was Helen Wesenberg, the daughter of Charles and Mary (Seffel) Wesenberg. Helen was born on April 26, 1889 in San Antonio, making her about 17 years younger than Theodore. We find Helen in the 1900 census for San Antonio. She was said to be 12 years old, and her father’s occupation was listed as “bottle works brewery”.
In the year that Helen married Theodore, we find her still living with her parents in the 1910 census. This time, it says Helen was 20 years old. It also says that Helen worked as a saleslady at a dry goods store.
We see Theodore and Helen as a married couple in the 1920 and 1930 censuses, but we see that they never had any living children. Here is the 1920 census which says they were living in Temple, Texas. Theodore was said to be a coppersmith for the railroad.
In the 1930 census, they were living in Childress, Texas where Theodore was called a sheet metal worker in a railroad shop.
Theodore died in San Antonio in 1936 at the age of 64. We have his Texas death certificate. It mistakenly says that Theodore was born in Alton, Illinois. I suppose that may have resulted from Alton sounding like Altenburg.
We find Helen Palisch living with her mother and a few sisters in the 1940 census. It says Helen was a dress maker.
Helen Palisch died in 1957 at the age of 67. We also have her Texas death certificate.
Both of the death certificates say that Theodore and Helen were buried in the San Jose Cemetery in San Antonio. Findagrave.com has them listed there, but there are no gravestone photos.
I located only one photo for Theodore, and it was found in the Palisch family binders. It shows Theodore standing with his brother, Clemens Palisch. I figure this photo must have been taken not long before either Clemens or Theodore died. I do not know where the photo was taken, but I am guessing it was taken in Jackson County, Illinois where Clemens lived.
There is a certain degree of satisfaction in writing a story like this one. My goal in writing posts for this blog is to preserve the stories of folks who have some sort of roots in the German Lutheran community of East Perry County, Missouri. I figure this story may add a few previously unknown facts to the Palisch family history.