The Leimbach Mystery

My inspiration for writing this post comes from one of Warren’s recent posts. Most mornings when I’m at the museum I ask Warren what the day’s post is about. Most of the time I don’t know the name of the person the post is about, but I am curious about the story he found, and I also want to become familiar with more names from the area. Warren recently wrote about Charles Leimbach in Childless Couple Adopts. I asked him where the Leimbach’s lived, and he showed me the property they owned up on the Ridge. He also informed me that another Leimbach group settled in Pocahontas, but they were not connected to the Ridge group. Well I felt like this was a challenge, so I decided I would at least try to find out if they definitely were or were not connected. 

To begin I believe it is best to state what we already know about each Leimbach group, beginning with the Ridge. A lot of information concerning Paulus can be found in The Inaugural Ridge Leimbach.

Paulus Leimbach was born on October 4, 1835 in Hilgershausen, Germany near Festberg. His parents were Justus Leimbach, who was a shepherd, and Anna Katharina Schneider (Her maiden name will be important later on). He came to America in 1854 on board the ship Ernestine. He first married Fredericke C.W. “Amalia” Zeibig. Amalia was born on May 12, 1843 to Carl Gottlieb Zeibig and Marie Sophi Weber. Paulus and Amalia were married on January 19, 1864 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Amalia died on February 27, 1866. Paulus next married Louise Schreier on November 11, 1866 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Louise was born on January 26, 1841. She died on September 23, 1908, and Paulus died on November 9, 1904. Paulus, Amalia, and Louise are all buried in Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.

The other Leimbach group begins with August Leimbach. August was born on April 10, 1864 in Germany. He married Anna Caroline Margarethe Mirly on February 20, 1887 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. Here is a picture of their wedding record. 

August Leimbach and Caroline Mirly marriage record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Caroline Mirly was born on July 4, 1865. Her parents were Mathias Mirly and Maria Lehner, who immigrated from Austria. She was baptized on August 6, 1865, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, New Wells.

Caroline Mirly baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

August died on April 3, 1932 from cancer, and Caroline died on August 8, 1929. Both are buried in Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas.

August Leimbach headstone – Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Pocahontas, MO
Carolina Leimbach headstone – Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Pocahontas, MO

August’s death certificate revealed information into who his parents were. His death certificate states his father as Heinrich Leimbach and his mother as a woman with the maiden name Stiegel. No first name is provided for her. 

August Leimbach – MO Death Certificate

Knowing that Paulus was born in 1835 and August was born in 1864 led me to believe that the two men were born in different generations. Both men also came to the United States at different times and never lived near each other. However, I did not think it was mere coincidence that two gentlemen with the same surname “Leimbach” born 30 years apart happened to both settle in the same general region of Missouri. But in order to find any information on how these two might be related, I had to search for records from Germany. My first decision was to contact the parish church in Hilgershausen and see if they contained any records that may reveal any information about Paulus. 

As a side note, I must say how fascinated I am with the research capabilities the research library at the museum offers. Resources available in this library proved highly valuable in tracing the Leimbach families. I came across the Leimbach family book shortly after sending my email. The Leimbach family book for Paulus Leimbach, I discovered, contained some correspondence received from the parish church in Hilgershausen in the 1980s concerning Paulus Leimbach and other Leimbach’s in the region. A letter from the parish church stated that a Heinrich Leimbach had settled in Melgershausen and that some Leimbach’s still lived in the town. Melgershausen is about 6 kilometers north of Hilgershausen. I kept looking through the family book and discovered a list of baptismal records from the Melgershausen parish. August was not listed in any of the records, but there is information which contributes to this story. The first baptism listed was for a Justus Leimbach born on April 24, 1850 and baptized on May 5 of the same year. His parents were Heinrich Leimbach (Schneider) and Elis. Stiegel. The second baptism is for Anna Gertrud Leimbach, born on March 3, 1852, and baptized on March 14, 1852. She has the same parents as Justus.

Leimbach family baptism records – Kirche Melgershausen, Melgershausen, Germany

At this point I decided to email the church in Melgershausen to determine if they had any information on August.

Here is where we must remember some previous information. The death certificate for August Leimbach stated his parents were Heinrich Leimbach and ??? Stiegel. It is possible that the Heinrich Leimbach and Elis. Stiegel listed in this baptism record could also be the parents of August. It is also important to note the name listed in the parentheses after Heinrich in the baptism record. The name listed is “Schneider.” I wonder if this could be the maiden name of Heinrich’s mother. If this is the case, then Heinrich’s mother would have the same maiden as Paulus’ mother. This would also make sense since Melgershausen is only a short distance from Hilgershausen, so this may be the same Heinrich who settled in the town. This may also suggest that Paulus and Heinrich could be brothers. If that were the case, and also assuming that the Heinrich listed here is August’s father, then this would make Paulus the uncle of August. This might explain why August settled in the same general region of Missouri as Paulus. Paulus may have written to his nephew in Germany and encouraged him to come to America. At this point this is all speculation.

A few days later I received a reply from the parish church in Melgershausen. They did not have any August Leimbach in their records, but they had information on a Justus Leimbach. Justus Leimbach was born on April 10, 1864, the exact same day as August. His parents were listed as Johann Heinrich Leimbach and Anna Elisabeth Stiegel, which matches perfectly with our August. A small pedigree included in that email shows Johann Heinrich’s parents as Justus Leimbach and Anna Catharina Schneider, who are also the parents of Paulus. There is no doubt in my mind that this Justus born in 1864 is our August. That would definitely make the August Leimbach from Pocahontas the nephew of Paulus Leimbach from the Ridge.

Family of Johann Heinrich Leimbach & Anna Elisabeth Stiegel – Kirche Melgershausen, Melgershausen, Germany
Justus (August) Leimbach Family Pedigree – Kirche Melgershausen, Melgershausen, Germany

One explanation for why there is no August listed in the records of the church in Melgershausen could be that August was originally a middle name. There are multiple Justus’ in the Leimbach family, one who is an older brother born in 1850, so the Justus born in 1864 probably went by August. It was very common for people to go by their middle names, as is also seen by August’s father. On August’s death certificate, his father is listed as Heinrich, but he is listed as Johann Heinrich in the Melgershausen church’s records.

This story also demonstrates the effects of previous family immigration influencing the immigration of other family members. I wish I knew what correspondence existed between Paulus and August and the other Leimbach’s in Germany. Paulus almost certainly played a role in persuading August to come to America. However it occurred, though, we now know how these two Leimbach’s, whose relation was previously unknown, are connected.

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