Molly was born 160 years ago. Her full name was Amalia Wilhelmine Theresia Landgraf, but it appears that she was called Mollie during her lifetime. She was born on March 9, 1860, the daughter of Herman and Mathilda (Naeser) Landgraf. Her baptism record can be found in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg, but her family was living in the Shawnee Township in northern Cape Girardeau County when the census was taken in 1860. Molly was child #2 in her family. The first 3 children have their baptism records at Immanuel, but in 1864, that family’s children began to be baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri. Below is her baptism record.
Here is the 1860 census, in which we find the baby, Amalia.
The Landgraf surname entered this area when Mollie’s father, Herman, came to America as part of the Lindner family aboard the ship, Mercury, in 1848. Herman was just 14 years old at the time. A later church record says that he was the stepson of Gottlieb Lindner.
I was unable to find the Landgraf family in the 1870 census. Mollie was confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells in 1873. Then in 1880, we find Mollie in the census taken for that year. This census was a little difficult to find because Ancestry.com lists the surname as Lantgry.
Now, we will turn our attention to Mollie’s man, Charles Gerharter. He was born in Austria on April 2, 1859. His parents, Michael and Susanna (Schilcher) Gerharter, brought their family to America aboard the ship, Bremen, in 1869. We find this family on the passenger list below. I think Charles’s (Carl’s) age is incorrect on this list.
The first census in which we find this Gerharter family was the one taken in 1870. The same names as those on the passenger list are found here, except Joseph and Charles have ages that are inconsistent with the ship’s record. Their surname is also spelled as Gearhart.
In the 1880 census, we find the Gerharter family living in the Shawnee Township. Charles’s father had died in 1871, so he was the head of the family at the age of 21 and running the farm.
That leads us up to the marriage of Charles Gerharter and Amalia Landgraf which took place on May 12, 1881 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. We have this civil marriage record from Cape Girardeau County.
The church record for this wedding is displayed here. It was the only marriage at Immanuel, New Wells during 1881.
According to our German Family Tree, there were 11 children born into this Gerharter family. Several of them died young. Since we cannot view the 1890 census, the first census in which we find this married couple was the one in 1900. Their last child was born earlier in that year, so all of their children who lived past infancy are included in this entry.
When Mollie’s parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1906, a photo was taken of her parents and her siblings. I am not sure which one of the three women was Mollie. Maybe one of our readers could help us with that identification.
By the time of the 1910 census, the Gerharter family had diminished somewhat.
The last census in which we find both Charles and Mollie was the one taken in 1920. Both Charles’s mother and Mollie’s mother were still living in 1920. We can see Charles’s mother on this image. Mollie’s mother was living with Mollie’s little sister, Mathilda Kasten.
Several deaths of people associated with this family took place in the 1920’s. First of all, Susanna Gerharter died in 1926. Then, in 1928, both Charles and Mollie died. Charles Gerharter died in July of 1928. His death certificate says he died of cancer of the intestines.
On the last day of 1928, Mollie died on New Year’s Eve. Her death certificate mentions both pneumonia and influenza as causes.
About a month after her daughter’s death, Mathilda Landgraf died on January 29, 1929. During 1930, some land maps were produced for Cape Girardeau County. There is a parcel of land on those maps which was farmed by Charles Gerharter. That would either be the Charles from this story or his son who also carried that name. That land was not far from the village of Shawneetown which would be located just off the right side of this image.
Charles and Mollie are buried together in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Shawneetown. Here are two different images of their gravestone.
Charles had one brother who carried the Gerharter name, but he died at age 19 before he had a chance to get married and have more Gerharter’s. Herman was the only Landgraf to arrive in Perry County in 1848. So, it was just those two men who began the two surnames, Gerharter and Landgraf, which became quite numerous over the years in this area.
The noise continues at our museum today. Concrete chunks that were broken apart last week are being hauled away. I am including a short video today that reminds me of a children’s book that was read to me when I was a boy, “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.”
I discovered that this book was first published in 1939, the year that folks around here were celebrating the Centennial of the Gesellschaft which took place in 1839. It’s also coincidental that Mike Mulligan and Mollie show up on the same day.