Peter Ludwig would be celebrating his 45th birthday today. He was one of those people who, because he was born on Leap Day, his birthday only occurred every four years. Today would have been only the 45th time Peter’s birthday has been found on a calendar since he was born. That doesn’t take away the fact that the Earth has made the trip around the Sun 180 times since that birthday in 1840.
Peter Ludwig was born on February 29, 1840 in Rodheim, which in the Hesse region of Germany. By the way, February 29th in 1840 was a Saturday, just like it is this year. Although I cannot show the actual church record, I can show how that record has been transposed.
According to this document, Peter’s parents were Johannes and Maria Ludwig. I found three different maiden names for Maria on Ancestry.com…Korbe, Heyde, and Stube. The maiden name is shown on Peter’s death certificate, but it is difficult to read.
At the age of 15, Peter came to America with his family. They made the voyage aboard the ship, Nuremberg, in 1855. Below is the passenger list that shows the Ludwig family.
The Ludwig’s settled in the Apple Creek Township in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. Peter’s mother died right away in 1856, and his sister, Maria, got married in 1859 at the age of 16, so when the 1860 census was taken, there were only 3 members of the Ludwig household.
Peter became a soldier in the Union Army during the Civil War. The military record shown below indicates that he was a private in the 8th Regiment Infantry Volunteers. It shows Peter’s service beginning in 1861 and extending through 1864.
A biography of Peter’s life was published in Goodspeed’s History of Southeast Missouri. It described in more detail the battles in which Peter was involved during the war.
The battles in which he fought were pretty brutal. It says he was slightly wounded in the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing (more often referred to as the Battle of Shiloh). When I taught in Memphis, Tennessee, I took a few field trips to the Shiloh Battlefield. I vividly remember the graveyards there containing the bodies of the thousands of men who died during that conflict.
Not long after returning from the war, Peter Ludwig married Elizabeth Gratz on May 31, 1865 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri. We have the church record for that wedding.
We also have a civil marriage record for that couple.
Elizabeth Gratz was born on October 24, 1840 in Austria. She was the daughter of Matthias and Theresia (Ettinger) Gratz. Elizabeth’s mother died in 1853, and there is a death record for her in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. However, I was unable to locate the Gratz family in the 1860 census.
St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas, Missouri was established in 1868, and both Peter Ludwig and Elizabeth’s father were founders of that congregation.
Three of Peter and Elizabeth’s six children were born before the 1870 census was taken. Peter’s father was also listed in this household.
All of the Ludwig children were born by the time the 1880 census was taken.
The Goodspeed bio says Peter Ludwig had a farm located 2 1/2 miles east of Oak Ridge, Missouri. The map below was not produced until 1930, but it shows some Ludwig land that probably was once farmed by Peter.
Elizabeth Ludwig died in 1893 at the age of 52. When the 1870 census rolled around, we find a collection of family members living with Peter. His son, Henry, had married, and they had some children. Emma Huttegger was the sister of Henry’s wife, Amelia.
The 1920 census is the last enumeration in which we find Peter Ludwig. He was 79 years old and living with his son, Arthur and his wife.
Peter Ludwig died in 1920 at the age of 80. He managed to make it to his 20th birthday. His death certificate is the document that shows his mother’s maiden name. I’ll let you attempt to decipher it. Of the names listed before, I choose the name Stube.
When you look at some information found in a Ludwig family binder that we have in our research library, you find yet another possible maiden name for Peter’s mother…Carben.
Some more information about Peter in the St. John’s books show Korbe as the maiden name.
Both Peter and Elizabeth Ludwig are buried in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas, Missouri. That church has two locations for its cemeteries, and the Ludwig’s are said to be buried in the Old Cemetery.
I recently celebrated my 70th birthday. It will be the year 2120, one hundred years from now, before Peter Ludwig will finally get around to his 70th birthday. I won’t be around to help him celebrate.