Maria Magdalena Schuessler is today’s birthday girl. If she was alive today, she would be celebrating a very special birthday. There would have been 150 candles on her cake. I am once again not in Altenburg, so I will not be able to display any church records for this story. I am out of town celebrating the birthday of our eldest granddaughter, who will have 14 candles on her cake today.
Mary was born on July 15, 1870, the daughter of Gotthilf and Sarah (Saalfeld) Schuessler. She was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri. Mary is already found in the census that was taken during the year of her birth.
I was unable to find the Schuessler family in the 1880 census. If I was at our research library, I could have looked in our printed census books to see how the Schuessler name might have been misspelled, but I was not able to do that. No one on Ancestry.com seems to have found that census record either. I did look in the infamous “Lost records of Union Township” from 1880, but did not find any Schuessler’s there. I really didn’t expect to because as near as I can tell, Mary’s family lived just outside of Frohna.
Now we turn our attention to Mary’s future husband. His name was Heinrich Simon Nennert, although much of his life, he was known as Samuel. Simon was born on December 10, 1859, making him about 11 years older than Mary. He was the son of Friedrich and Amalia (Naeser) Nennert. Simon was one of a set of twins, a boy and a girl. The girl’s name was Therese Louise. These twins were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. They were born in December of 1859 but were not baptized until February of 1860. I suspect that is because this Nennert family was living across the river in Jackson County, Illinois. That is where we find them in the 1860 census. Simon’s twin sister is not shown in this entry, so she likely died at as an infant. This census record says Simon was born in Illinois.
Between 1860 and 1870, Simon’s parents moved across the river to Missouri and established a hotel in Wittenberg. Already in 1866, a tax assessment form shows Frederick Nennert living in Wittenberg. There are also records showing him participating in the Civil War as a resident of Missouri.
The Nennert Hotel is shown in the photograph below.
The 1870 census not only shows the Nennert’s and their children living in this household, but also several boarders at their hotel. Simon was 10 years old. This census record says he was born in Missouri.
Simon’s father died in early 1880, so he is not shown in the census for that year. Even though Simon’s mother is not shown as being a hotel owner, the fact that there are boarders listed in this entry is an indication that she was still in the hotel business.
On October 12, 1890, Simon (Samuel) Nennert and Mary Schuessler were married in St. Clair County, Illinois. I do not know why they were married in that location.
We have this photo of Simon and Mary Nennert. I am not sure if it is their wedding photo or not.
According to our German Family Tree, Simon and Mary had 8 children. All of them except the last one, because she was born after 1903, have their baptism records in the books of Trinity, Altenburg. However, it is likely they were baptized in the church/school building in Wittenberg by a Trinity pastor. When St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was established in 1903, Simon was one of the charter members.
We find this Nennert family in the 1900 census for Wittenberg. Samuel was a cooper. Perhaps he was working for Joseph Weinhold’s flour mill.
Two more children were born after the 1900 census. I have a suspicion that sometime before the 1910 census, the Nennert’s moved to St. Louis. For some reason, I cannot find any more census records for either Simon or Mary, even though they should have been found in several census records. I did find a few entries for Samuel Nennert in St. Louis city directories. Below is one for the year 1914 showing Samuel as a trucker. I have included the other Nennert names also.
Here is one for him in the 1932 directory which also includes the other Nennert’s living in St. Louis at the time.
Simon died in 1933 at the age of 74. His death certificate says he was a mail trucker for the U.S. Post Office.
Mary Nennert died in 1953 at the age of 81. Her death certificate says she died of liver cancer.
Several of these documents state that the Nennert’s lived at 1912 Nebraska Ave. The photo below shows that house as it looks today.
Simon, Mary, and their unmarried daughter, Rose, are buried together in the St. Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in St. Louis.
I have now written several posts that involve the Nennert Hotel in Wittenberg. Several of them have included members of this Nennert family. That hotel is also mentioned on several occasions in my book Wittenberg ’03: Coming of a Church, along with the other hotel in Wittenberg at that time, the Birner Hotel. There was even a third hotel that existed during the time period when the swing factory was prospering in that river town. There was once a time when Wittenberg was a booming place. Now, it is a ghost town.