Peter’s 45th Birthday

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.

Peter Ludwig baptism record Germany
Peter Ludwig baptism record – Rodheim, Germany

According to this document, Peter’s parents were Johannes and Maria Ludwig.  I found three different maiden names for Maria on…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.

Ludwig names Nuremberg passenger list 1855
Ludwig family – Nuremberg passenger list – 1855

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 Ludwig 1860 census Apple Creek Township MO
1860 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

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.

Peter Ludwig Civil War military record
Peter Ludwig Civil War military record

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.

Peter Ludwig Goodspeed bio
Peter Ludwig bio – Goodspeed’s History of Southeast Missouri

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.

Artist’s rendition of the Battle of Shiloh

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.

Ludwig Gratz marriage record Immanuel New Wells MO
Ludwig/Gratz marriage record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

We also have a civil marriage record for that couple.

Ludwig Gratz marriage record Cape Girardeau County MO
Ludwig/Gratz marriage record – Cape Girardeau County, MO

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.

St. John's Pocahontas founders charter members
St. John’s Lutheran Church – founders

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.

Peter Ludwig 1870 census Apple Creek Township MO
1870 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

All of the Ludwig children were born by the time the 1880 census was taken.

Peter Ludwig 1880 census Apple Creek Township MO
1880 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

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.

Ludwig land map Cape Girardeau County 1930
Ludwig land map – 1930

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.

Peter Ludwig 1900 census Apple Creek Township MO
1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

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 1920 census Apple Creek Township MO
1920 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

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.

Peter Ludwig death certificate
Peter Ludwig death certificate

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.

Peter Ludwig info family binder

Some more information about Peter in the St. John’s books show Korbe as the maiden name.

Peter Ludwig info St. John's Pocahontas MO

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.

6 thoughts on “Peter’s 45th Birthday

  1. I was delighted to see the post about Peter Ludwig. He was my great-grandmother Apolonia Ludwig Jordan’s brother. Apolonia and her family arrived in MO in 1855 when she was ten years old She married Flavius Jordan, a Civil War soldier, and left Oak Ridge about 1864 for Chillicothe, MO and later, Colorado. In 1998, after extensive research, (and 134 years), we were reunited with her family on the land where the Ludwigs settled in 1856! My sister Nancy and I met our cousins, Marvin and Leonard Ludwig, and Verna Ludwig Thurm and the whole family at a memorable reunion at the Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. We have returned to visit our family several times, and on our last visit, discovered the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum. Clinton Wunderlich’s extensive collection of the Ludwig family history is housed there, and Nancy and I spent hours in the archives. One day I will return to study the Wunderlich branch – Apolonia’s sister Maria married Zacharia Wunderlich.
    I thoroughly enjoy reading the posts, learning about the daily in the place where my great grandmother was a little girl. Thank you to the skilled writers who keep them coming.

    Best wishes,
    Linda Dale Pompel


  2. Warren
    Yes they are both buried in the old St John’s cemetery along with John’s father Johannes and one child Ida who died at the age of 15. They are in a small fenced area within the cemetery. And I show Maria’s maiden name as Karben.


  3. My Greatuncle Joe Koenig was born the 29th of February. My grandfather married his sister Sarah. Every leap year growing up as a child we were invited to a birthday dinner. That was a very enjoyable memory


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