I certainly had some struggles with today’s post. Even when I’m finished with this story, there will be unanswered questions. However, the story has some interesting characteristics, including the fact that there is a chance today’s main character spent time living on the property that I now own. So, here we go.
Emilie Wilhelmine Neumueller was born on March 27, 1858, the daughter of Gottlob and Clementine (Buenger) Neumueller. Emilie would have been 162 years old today. Her mother was in the Buenger family that were main characters in my first book, Mama Buenger: Mother of a Synod. In fact, I think Emilie may have been named after her Aunt Emilie Buenger, the wife of Rev. C.F.W. Walther. Emilie’s parents had been married in St. Louis and had some children while there, but sometime between 1850 and 1853, they moved to Altenburg. Their first child to be baptized in Altenburg was born in 1853. Emilie’s baptism record is shown below.
I am also going to display a translation we have of this baptism record.
The translation says Emilie is a 1st child. That is not the case. She was child #8 in this family. Perhaps this is what caused this notation (if it is translated correctly). In 1857, Trinity’s pastor, Rev. Georg Schieferdecker, was removed, and he started Immanuel Lutheran Church on the other side of town. The next Trinity pastor was Rev. J.P. Beyer who took over in late 1857. This was the first Neumueller baptism that he had performed and recorded.
Not long before Emilie was born, an interesting transaction took place. I happen to have the title search to the property that I own. Its first owner was Christiane Buenger, Emilie’s grandmother, who had later transferred the property over to Dr. Ernst Buenger, one of her sons. In 1856, this land was transferred to Gottlob Nuemueller, Emilie’s father. In other words, there is a good chance that Emilie spent some of her early years living on my property. Here is an image of the pertinent page of the title search.
The first census in which we find Emilie was the one taken in 1860. Emilie is shown to be 1 year old, and her father was a farmer. You might get a kick out of the fact that Ancestry.com transcribes their last name as McMiller.
Here is the entry for the Gottlob (John) Neumueller family in the 1870 census where Gottlob was called a brick layer. Just a side note: There were some brick works once located not far from my place, and Gottlob may have worked there. I was out digging up some dirt in my pasture yesterday. I came away from that experience thinking to myself that I understand why they made brick around here based on the amount of clay in the soil.
Do you see the problem? We see the children, Jacob (please remember his name since he re-enters this story later) and Lena, but where is Emilie? I frankly do not know. I looked everywhere I could think of as a possibility. I am really puzzled that a child at about 12 years of age would not be living with her parents. I did come up with a possible scenario to explain Emilie’s absence from this census. In a book we have in our research library which tells the history of the first 100 years of Lutheran education in the Missouri Synod, I found this selection:
The fact that it says a girls’ school was established after the Civil War got my attention. It makes me wonder if the Neumueller’s sent their daughter to this school, which also happened to have a connection to the church where Emilie’s uncle, Rev. J.F. Buenger was the pastor. The problem with this possibility is the fact that I could not find Emilie in the St. Louis census. I know she wasn’t living in the households of Rev. Buenger or Rev. C.F.W. Walther.
That leads us to our next dilemma…finding Emilie in the 1880 census. First of all, her father, Gottlob, died in 1879, and we cannot find her mother, Clementine, in a Perry County census for 1880. There is a family story that says Clementine went to live with some of her children after her husband’s death. Bottom line is that I did not find Clementine or Emilie.
I did find evidence that Emilie got married during that census year of 1880, but I was unable to find a marriage record for her and her husband William Henry Wolf. I know practically nothing about his past history. Unfortunately, we cannot look at another census until 1900. When that year rolls around, we find this couple living in Chicago, Illinois and having four children, three of which were already teenagers. William was a milk dealer, and two children were already employed. You will also see that Emilie’s brother Jacob Neumueller was living in their household.
We see this family in the 1910 census for Oak Park, which is located in the Chicago area. The same children, along with Jacob Neumueller, were in the household.
At this point, I want to show you the World War I draft registration for the oldest child, Henry Wolf.
I displayed this document to show the address of the Wolf family. It was 218 Wesley Ave. in Oak Park. I found this address on a map website. When I found it, I discovered that this house had been recently on sale and photos of it were available. I’m going to put a few of them here in a gallery. Click on them if you’d like a closer look.
William Wolf died in 1919 at the age of 69, leaving Emilie as a widow. When we look at the 1920 census, we see the household for which she was the head. It includes three children in their 30’s, all of which are still unmarried. It also still includes Emilie’s single brother, Jacob Neumueller.
The 1930 census requires us to look at two images because this household spilled out over two pages. This time, there were only two of Emilie’s children, along with Jacob Neumueller, and a newcomer, Clara Stueven, who was described as a niece. All of the people, except for Emilie who was a widow, were unmarried.
Henry Wolf died in 1937 at the age of 55, so we do not see him in the 1940 census. A daughter-in-law and granddaughter had joined this household. Emilie was 82 years old; her brother, Jacob, was 79.
Jacob Neumueller died in 1949 at the age of 90. I found this record of his death in Illinois. I was unable to find out where he was buried.
Emilie died in 1951 at the age of 93. She was buried in the Concordia Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois along with her husband and son, Henry.
I leave you today with plenty of unfinished business. I also leave you with a story about a woman who, as it turns out, was almost always surrounded by unattached folks. I also find it somewhat strange to be sitting here at my home in my recliner, writing a story about someone who may have lived on this land over a hundred years ago.