Zwickelhuber Becomes Kranawetter

Joseph Zwickelhuber arrived in America on June 13, 1853 aboard the Ernst Moritz Arndt.  He was 9 years old at the time.  As you can see on the passenger list for this ship, Joseph arrived with his parents, Paulus and Theresia (Kranawetter) Zwickelhuber and three other siblings.

Zwickelhuber names Ernst Moritz Arndt passenger list
Zwickelhuber family – Ernst Moritz Arndt – 1853

There were several other names of families on the passenger list for this ship that settled in the Shawnee Township of Cape Girardeau County.

Not even two months their after arrival in America, the father, Paulus Zwickelhuber, died on July 25, 1853.  His death record can be found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  At that time, Rev. Georg Schieferdecker was the pastor of that congregation.  Here is that death record.

Paulus Zwickelhuber death record Trinity Altenburg MO
Paulus Zwickelhuber death record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Here is a transcription of some of the pertinent information in this record.

Paulus Zwickelhuber death record transcription Trinity Altenburg MO

The puzzling fact here is that it says Paulus was survived by 5 children, not the 4 found on the passenger list.

It is somewhere around this time that this story takes an interesting twist.  There is a rather unusual story told about the Zwickelhuber family.  However, it is just that…a story.  I have no proof.  I don’t even know the origination of this story.  We have a rather large family binder on the Kranawetter family in our research library, and I was unable to find this story within it.  I will tell the story as I have heard it.

After the death of Paulus Zwickelhuber, his wife, Theresia, confessed to her pastor, Rev. Schieferdecker, that her oldest son, Joseph, was not the son of Paulus.  Instead, he was the son of an unnamed soldier back in the old country (Austria?).  The story includes a reference to the possibility that this unnamed soldier was of Jewish descent.  When Rev. Schieferdecker heard the story, he told Theresia that her son was not a Zwickelhuber and he should have his name changed to her maiden name, Kranawetter.  She did that, and from then on, Joseph Zwickelhuber became Joseph Kranawetter.  So, even though there is absolutely no evidence that a Kranawetter ever immigrated to this area, a whole host of Kranawetter’s can be found in a family binder in our research library.

Before I move on, let me show you a picture of Joseph’s mother, Theresia, who would later also marry an Oehlert and a Dietrich.

Theresia Kranawetter Zwickelhuber Oehlert Dietrich
Theresia Kranawetter Zwickelhuber Oehlert Dietrich

One of the challenges in researching this story was the difficulty in finding Joseph in the 1860 or 1870 censuses.  Although I failed to find him in the 1870 census, I did find him in 1860.  I was helped by finding a Joseph Kroneywetter in the printed 1860 census index that we have in our library.  However, using that name, I was still unable to find him on Ancestry.  The printed census had Joseph living in an Abernathy family, and I was able to find that family in that census on Ancestry.  There was Joseph, but Ancestry translated his surname as Kromywether.  Here is that census entry.  Joseph was 17 years old.

Joseph Kranawetter 1860 census Shawnee Township MO
1860 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Not long after the 1860 census, Joseph served in the Civil War.  We have this document that shows his military service.

Joseph Kranawetter Civil War military record
Joseph Kranawetter – Civil War military record

Records found in the Kranawetter family binder say that he was injured during his service when he fell off his horse, injuring his shoulder.  Documents also indicate a variety of other medical issues which showed up later in his life that were attributed to his military service.  Here is a pension record for him.

Joseph Kranawetter Civil War pension record
Joseph Kranawetter – Civil War pension record

It is reported in the Kranawetter binder that Joseph Kranawetter bought some land east of Pocahontas, Missouri in 1868.  Then on July 13, 1871, Joseph Kranawetter got married.  His bride was Ernstine Ruehling, and she is the reason I am writing this story today.  She was born on May 13, 1848 in Austria.  She was the daughter of Johann and Christiana (Thurm) Ruehling.  Her father died in 1860, so when we find Ernstine in the 1870 census, her mother was the head of the household.

Ernstine Ruehling 1870 census Brazeau Township MO
1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The Kranawetter/Ruehling marriage took place during the Koestering Hole in the Trinity, Altenburg books.  There is a listing of this marriage in the index of the Perry County Marriages for that year, but no original image can be found on Ancestry.  However, this is one of those rare occurrences  when the Kranawetter family binder has a copy of a later transcription of that marriage record, complete with the name of Rev. J.F. Koestering.

Kranawetter Ruehling marriage record Trinity Altenburg MO
Kranawetter/Ruehling marriage record

The photos shown below are said to have been taken when this couple was married.

Joseph and Ernestine Kranawetter

Once they were married, Joseph and Ernstine had 9 children.  All of them were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells.  Our German Family Tree has 10 pages on just this family and their descendants.  We can find this couple for the first time in the 1880 census.

Joseph Kranawetter 1880 census Shawnee Township MO
1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Because we cannot view the 1890 census, the next one we can look at was the one taken in 1900.  The youngest son by the name of Ben was the last child born into this family.

Joseph Kranawetter 1900 census Shawnee Township MO
1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Next, we find the following Kranawetter household in the 1910 census.  Benjamin is the only child left in their household.

Joseph Kranawetter 1910 census Shawnee Township MO
1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The last census in which we find Joseph and Ernstine was the one taken in 1920.  At that time, they had an empty nest.

Joseph Kranawetter 1920 census Shawnee Township MO
1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

In 1921, this couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  The photo below was taken on that occasion.

Joseph and Ernstine Kranawetter 50th anniversary

The Kranawetter binder also contains this collection of photos of the children of Joseph and Ernstine.

Joseph and Ernstien Kranawetter children

Joseph Kranawetter died in 1923 at the age of 80.  His death certificate says his father was A. (or a) Kranawetter, which is not the case.

Joseph Kranawetter death certificate
Joseph Kranawetter death certificate

Ernstine died in 1930 at the age of 81.  Her death certificate says she died in Perry County.

Ernstine Kranawetter death certificate
Ernstine Kranawetter death certificate

Joseph and Ernstine Kranawetter are buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas.

Joseph Kranawetter was at one time the only person with the Kranawetter surname in this area.  Perhaps if his mother had never told the story that her first husband was not his father, instead of this area having plenty of folks named Kranawetter over the years, we would have had plenty with the name Zwickelhuber.  And even then, if the story is correct, Joseph should not have been named either Kranawetter or Zwickelhuber.  If their last name was something like Putz, a lot less pencil lead would have been used over the years by the children in this family.



6 thoughts on “Zwickelhuber Becomes Kranawetter

  1. Thank you. Will find this line soon. What about. Rev C. F w Walther. His student rev Charles Gross closly followed his ministry to Buffalo ny. In 1850 CFW Walther is a teacher at St. Louis seminary. Charles gross is 10 with Ferdinand gross 39 and Amelie 29 and Johanna 3. Don’t understand the listing as the Walther is listed first unless it’s a congregation?? Rev Eugene Walther is with Rev Conrad Diehlmann in Salenville Wisconsin 1864-1874 at St. John Lutheran church next known as Zion Lutheran. Rev Gross is related to Conrad gross & Jiliann Diehlmann.


  2. Oral family legends are always interesting aren’t they? I took a look at the baptism and marriage registers from Neukematen, Austria to see what they may reveal. Theresia Kranawetter was unwed when Joseph was born in January 1843 and his baptism record (1843, #1) does not identify a father:

    In fact, she was still unwed two years later in January 1845 when Joseph’s [¿half-?] brother, Paul Zwickelhuber, was born. However, Paul [Jr.]’s baptism record (1845, #1) notes that Paul Zwickelhuber [Sr.], on leave from military service, had subsequently come forward as the father:

    Their wedding record (1846, #3) from May 1846 also notes Paul Sr.’s continued military service:

    Based on that timeline, I think it likely that Paul Sr. knew Joseph was not his biological son. If Theresia made such a confession to Rev. Schieferdecker after her husband’s death, it was more likely to have regarded Paul Jr. than Joseph. The order of names on the passenger list hints at such a possibility as the children in most familes are listed in chronological order while “Paul Zwickelhuber” & “Joseph Zwickelhuber” are listed beneath their younger siblings who were born after their parents’ marriage. Joseph’s surname on the manifest was probably an oversight made by a clerk or possibly even part of a more active deception to expedite travel. “Whose child is leaving the country with you?”


  3. Reblogged this on and commented:

    Today is another travel day for me, so I have no time to research or write. Two years ago on this date, I wrote this post that tells a story about the origination of the name, Kranawetter. I’m sharing it again today.


  4. My name is Hadassah (Hollace on birth records …Holly was childhood name) Taylor nee Karl. My mother’s name was Eleanor Evelyn Karl nee Mueller. Her mother’s name was Esther Lee Mueller nee Kranawetter. Her father’s name was Paul Kranawetter. That brings us to my great grandfather Paul Kranawetter and his father Joseph Kranawetter. Thanks for this record of our family history! My uncle Paul Vernon Mueller, (my mother’s brother, now 91 yrs) said this information was on the internet somewhere and I found it by researching the name Zwickelhuber! Ha! Thanks again!!


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