Theodore and Theodora

I ran across a marriage that took place on this day back in 1901 that involved two characters that show up occasionally in my Wittenberg ’03 book, so I decided to tell the story of that couple in today’s post.  The marriage was between Theodore Militzer and Theodora Lueders.  I am still away from Altenburg today, so I will be unable to display church records.

Theodore Militzer was born on April 16, 1877, the son of Christian and Maria (Grebing) Militzer.  I wrote a post about a double Grebing marriage a while back titled, Double Wedding in the Hole, that included Theodore’s parents.  Theodore was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  The first census in which we find Theodore was the one taken in 1880 when he was just 3 years old.  His father was a farmer.

Theodore Militzer 1880 census Brazeau Township MO
1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

We have to skip quite a few years before we find Theodore in another census.  He was living in Wittenberg and working as a blacksmith in 1900.  He was still single at the age of 23.

Theodore Militzer 1900 census Wittenberg MO
1900 census – Wittenberg, MO

I find this census entry truly amazing.  It lists three bachelors, one of them Theodore Militzer, along with two Nennert orphans at ages 8 and 5.  I know the story of the Nennert couple that died and left several children as orphans not long before this census was taken, but it fascinates me that two of those orphaned children would be placed in a household of three single men.  Here is one possible explanation.  The grandmother of these orphans ran a hotel in Wittenberg.  The above census entry is also the last entry for the town of Wittenberg.  Maybe when the census taker listed Grandma Nennert and the hotel’s residents on an earlier page, he missed some.  It would make sense that 3 bachelor’s with various occupations might be living in the hotel, and it certainly would make sense that these two orphans would be under the care of their grandmother, not 3 young single men.

Theodora Lueders was also born in 1877.  Her birthday was November 13, 1877.  She was the daughter of William and Theresia (Lehner) Lueders.  Several other posts have been written about children in this Lueders family.  William, Theresia, and Otto Lueders are quite prominent characters in Wittenberg ’03.  Theodora’s baptism record can be found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, but it is quite likely that her baptism took place in the church/school building located in Wittenberg.  Theodora was one of the youngest children in this family when we see her in the 1880 census at age 2.  Her father ran a general store in that river town.

Theodora Lueders 1880 census Wittenberg MO
1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

When the 1900 census rolls around, we find a much smaller Lueders family, but it still spills over two pages.  Theodora is often referred to as Dora in documents like this.  She was 22 years old at the time.

William Lueders 1900 census 1 Wittenberg MO

William Lueders 1900 census 2 Wittenberg MO
1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

That leads us up to the wedding that took place in 1901.  Theodore Militzer married Theodora Lueders on June 30th of that year.  If Dora had her way, this marriage would have taken place in the church building in Wittenberg.  Below is the marriage license for this couple.

Militzer Lueders marriage license
Militzer/Lueders marriage license

The first child for this couple was born in 1903.  The baptism of that child is an event that is included in Wittenberg ’03.  Otto Lueders, a main character, was a sponsor for that baptism.  According to our German Family Tree, there were 4 children born into this family, two boys and two girls.

Dora’s parents celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1910 and had a family photo taken.  I have indicated Theodore and Dora with red arrows.

William Lueders 50th wedding anniversary family photo Dora and Theodore Militzer
William and Theresia Lueders family – 50th anniversary

We find the Militzer household in the 1910 census for Wittenberg with 3 children.  Theodore was once again called a blacksmith.

Theodore Militzer 1910 census Brazeau Township MO
1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Theodore had his World War I draft registration completed in 1918.  The registrar was Otto Lueders.

Theodore Militzer – WWI draft registration

Before the 1920 census was taken, this family moved to Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  Theodore was still working as a blacksmith.

Theodore Militzer 1920 census Cape Girardeau MO
1920 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

When the 1930 census was taken, it said Theodore was working for a shoe company as a machinist.  That was likely the International Shoe Company.

Theodore Militzer 1930 census Cape Girardeau MO
1930 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

I was unable to find a 1940 census entry for the Militzer’s, but I did find this entry in the 1937 city directory for Cape Girardeau.  Their youngest daughter, Erna, was operating a beauty shop at the same location as their home.

Theodore Militzer 1937 Cape Girardeau city directory
Theodore Militzer – 1937 Cape Girardeau city directory

Dora Militzer died on the first day of 1956 at the age of 78.  We can view her death certificate.

Dora Militzer death certificate
Dora Militzer death certificate

Theodore Militzer died in 1961 at the age of 84.  Here is his death certificate.

Theodore Militzer death certificate
Theodore Militzer death certificate

Theodore and Dora are both buried in the Cape County Memorial Cemetery in Cape Girardeau.


Theodore Militzer is another character who witnessed and had to adjust to the major changes made when work went from using hand tools to that which was done using machinery powered by internal combustion engines.  I have seen so many men and women who lived through these significant changes who have adapted to them and even prospered as a result.

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