I consider today’s story to be another one that is painful to write as is alluded to in the title. I have previously written another post called The Perils of Pauline (Palisch). There is a different Pauline for today’s tale. Her name was Pauline Gerler, who was born on this day 175 years ago in Germany. She was the daughter of Friedrich Christian and Christiane (Meichsner) Gerler and born on April 10, 1845. It was this family that originated the Gerler name in East Perry County. The story of the immigration and early history of this family in Perry County is a story that I consider one of the most fascinating tales I have told on this blog. You can find that story at this link:
I will quickly summarize that story. On the voyage to America, the mother and two of the 9 children in the family died at sea, leaving the father alone with 7 children in a new land. Below is the passenger list for that family.
The father remarried rather quickly, got his second wife pregnant, and died possibly before his second wife knew she was pregnant. That left a stepmother with 7 children she hardly knew. She would marry again (even before she gave birth), but a decision was made to farm out the 7 children to other homes. In that previous Gerler post, I displayed where those children were located in the 1860 census. However, I wrote in that post the following excerpt.
Pauline Gerler was confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg in 1858, but I could not find her in the 1860 census.
Here is that confirmation record from Immanuel, Altenburg. Pauline’s confirmation class was the very first one in Immanuel’s history. Pauline in #10 on this list.
Now, thanks almost entirely to the amazing research done by Diane Anderson, a great friend and supporter of the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum, we know quite a bit about the life story of Pauline. Diane’s Gerler research is just one of the projects she has done that we now have as part of our research library. Although Diane has a theory about where Pauline was in the 1860 census, I have my doubts, so I’m going to stand by my statement and say that I could not find Pauline in the 1860 census. However, on a future document, her burial certificate, it says Pauline lived in St. Louis for 30 years before she died in 1892. That would put her in that city in 1862. I was unable to find a Pauline Gerler in the 1860 St. Louis census.
On February 3, 1866, Pauline Gerler married Anton Andreas, Jr. in St. Louis. They were married by a Justice of the Peace.
Let’s take a look at Anton’s early life. Anton was born on July 1, 1846, the son of Anton Sr. and Anna Andreas. His family arrived in America in 1849. We can see his family living in St. Louis in the 1860 census.
Not long after this census was taken, it appears that both Anton and his father served in the military during the Civil War. First, here is a transcription of Anton Sr.’s military service.
Next, we see a similar record for Anton, Jr. I always find it interesting when I find a military record that refers to some sort of service as a musician. A bugler perhaps? A drummer? Anton Jr. was a teenager during that war.
According to Diane Anderson, the first child born into this family was born at the end of 1865. If that was so, then this couple had a child before they were married. Then the babies kept coming. Between 1865 and 1891 (26 years), Pauline gave birth to 13 children. As was so common back in those days, several of those children died early. Pauline can be found in only two census records. First, here is the one for 1870, the first one after her marriage. They had 3 sons.
The above entry says Anton was a nailor. Is this a tailor, or was there such a thing as a nailor? I found this description of an old-time nailor. Is this Anton’s occupation?
Next, we find the Andreas family in the 1880 census. This time Anton is said to be a night watchman.
Several more children were born between this census and 1891 when their last child was born. Then on September 8, 1892, at the age of 47, Pauline died. I have as many documents on Pauline’s death and burial as I have for other events in her life. First of all, we find a death record for the city of St. Louis. It is in two images.
Next, let’s take a look at a burial permit.
Both of the above documents give marasmus as the cause of death. I admit that I had to look that up, and I also admit that I did not like what I found. Marasmus is described as severe malnutrition. Such a condition is almost always found in babies and small children. In fact, two of Pauline’s children had also died of marasmus. How sad it must have been for a 47 year-old mother of so many children dying of such a condition. Next, here is the burial certificate I mentioned earlier.
Pauline was buried in the Old St. Marcus Cemetery in St. Louis. That cemetery has an interesting story. It fell into disrepair and was later sold. The story of that cemetery along with some fascinating photographs can be found by clicking on the link below and scrolling down that website.
The bottom line is that Pauline was buried there, but no stone can now be found, if indeed there was one in the first place.
Anton Andreas, with the loss of his wife, must have had a difficult time dealing with his remaining children. Diane Anderson found evidence that some of the younger ones ended up in the homes of some of the older children that had already moved out of Anton’s household. Anton is found living alone in the 1900 census. He was a day laborer.
Then on May 30, 1901, Anton married Hannah Schaffer in St. Clair County, Illinois. Here is an Illinois record for this marriage.
The 1910 census for East St. Louis, Illinois shows that Anton fathered a few more children with his second wife. Hannah was giving birth to children in her late 50’s. Anton was a bookkeeper for a stockyard in this census.
Hannah must have died in the 1910’s because she does not show up in the 1920 census showing Anton. Neither do the children.
Anton died in 1921 at the age of 75. His death certificate indicates that he must have moved back to St. Louis and was living with one of his daughter’s families.
We also have Anton’s obituary…at least part of it.
Anton was also buried in the Old St. Marcus Cemetery, but, like his wife, there is no gravestone to view.
What a life story Pauline had, beginning with her sea voyage to America, all the way to her early death!
Let me end today by giving a shout-out to Diane Anderson for her monumental efforts compiling family histories for her ancestors as well as so many others in the East Perry County vicinity. I know I am in awe of her amazing, well documented efforts.