Heinrich Albert Pilz was born on July 10, 1864, so he is today’s birthday boy. Although I will call him Henry today, I really ought to call him Henry A. because there were two boys named Henry Pilz that were born around the same time and were both members of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. The other boy with that name was Henry C. Pilz whose story has already been told on this blog. That post was titled, Pilz/Stueve: Another Ridge Couple. Henry C. Pilz was born in 1866 in Hanover, Germany and arrived in Perry County when he was not even 2 years old.
Henry A. Pilz was born in Altenburg, the son of Curt Heinrich and Ernestine (Rudert) Pilz. His baptism record from Immanuel Lutheran Church is displayed below.
In 1870 Henry shows up in his first census at the age of 6. His father was called a plasterer. The census taker spelled this surname as Piltz, and by the way, when Henry C. showed up in the 1870 census, his surname was spelled Pilz.
The last church record we have for anyone in Henry A. Pilz’s family was a baptism record at Immanuel in 1873. None of the children were confirmed at that church. It looks as if they left Altenburg. I eventually found a census record for a Pilz family living in Murphysboro, Illinois that may be this family, although there are problems with it.
First, the surname is spelled Peltze. The father’s name was Henry which makes sense, and the wife’s name was Tena which could be a shortened form of Ernestine, but the two girls names, Rosey and Amey, do not seem to fit. This entry also says the children were all born in Illinois. However, since many of the upcoming records for Henry Pilz come from Murphysboro, I lean toward thinking this is the correct family.
Let’s take some time now to look at Henry Pilz’s future wife. Her name was Lillie Schrodt, the daughter of Conrad and Katherine (Schmidgall) Schrodt. She was born on September 27, 1867 in or near Murphysboro. I found a photograph of Lillie’s mother, the only photo I found for today’s story.
Lillie is found in the 1870 census for Murphysboro at the age of 2. It says her father was a shoe dealer.
I did not find the Schrodt family in an 1880 census for Murphysboro, but I did find one living in Mount Carmel, Illinois. It is another census entry that has its problems and may not be the correct family.
The names of the parents match, Conrad and Katherine, but the names of the children do not match with an Ancestry.com family history I found. Possibly Lillie could be the 11 year-old Louisa. Changing from a shoe dealer to a farmer might be a little stretch for Conrad also.
One thing I find interesting about Henry is that he was the only boy in his family. And if I am to believe the family history I found on Ancestry, Lillie was the only girl in her family (although the above 1880 census does not back that up).
Henry Pilz married Lillie Schrodt on November 15, 1885 in Jackson County, Illinois (probably Murphysboro). Here is an Illinois marriage record for that wedding.
I cannot rely on any church records for Henry or Lillie Pilz, so I have to look at what I consider the most reliable information I could find on Ancestry. It appears that Henry and Lillie had about 8 children from 1887-1910. We find the Pilz family in the 1900 census for Murphysboro. At that time, Henry was a 35 year-old bartender.
Next, we find Henry and his family in the 1910 census for the same location. This time, we find Henry working in a brewery.
I find it interesting that Henry was working at a brewery in Murphysboro because I have written a previous post about a man with Perry County connections who worked at a brewery in that city at about the same town. His name was Clement Martin Palisch, who also had been baptized at Immanuel, Altenburg in 1864, the same year as Henry’s baptism. That post was titled, Enjoying a Red Seal. The Murphysboro brewery was called the Rudolph Stecher Brewing Company. Their most popular product was Red Seal Beer.
We find Henry Pilz in one more census for Murphysboro. That census was taken in 1920. Henry was living with one of his sons, Otto, and Lillie is not to be found even though his marital status says he is married. His given occupation was a stationary engineer.
Meanwhile, Lillie Pilz can be found in a separate census entry in Murphysboro. It also states that Lillie was married.
When we see Henry’s later death certificate, it states that he was divorced. That death certificate also placed Henry in Cape Girardeau, Missouri at the time of his death. That makes me think that this Henry Pilz found in the 1930 city directory for Cape Girardeau is the person from this story. He was a traveling salesman.
Henry Pilz died in 1940 at the age of 76. His death certificate says he was buried in the Fairmont Cemetery in Cape Girardeau, but there is no gravestone photo to be found on Findagrave. I am not sure why his mother’s maiden name was shown as Lindner.
Lillie Pilz can still be found in the 1940 census for Murphysboro. She was living with a daughter and two grandchildren. She was also called a widow, which was not the case. The census was taken before Henry’s death in September.
Lillie died in 1943 at the age of 76. She died one day after her birthday. She is buried in the Tower Grove Cemetery in Murphysboro. Her gravestone has her name spelled Piltz.
Even though today’s story did not spend much time in East Perry County, it did not migrate too far from here. It’s not the first story that has been told on this blog in which two characters had the same name and birthdays not far from each other. It’s also not the first story that demonstrates small changes in a person’s surname. This story also presented some interesting census issues. Although I never enjoy writing a story involving divorce, I did enjoy the research on this one. It taught me some lessons.