I found a story for today that introduces us to two surnames that have yet to show up on this blog. Those new surnames are Kampmeyer and Bergsieker. Another more familiar name enters this story as well. That is the name Kalbfleisch. I am writing this story on this date because 180 years ago, a Kampmeyer married a Kalbfleisch.
Today’s tale begins in New York City. Rudolph Kampmeyer and Christine Kalbfleisch had arrived in America prior to 1839. We find their names on the list of immigrants that decided to join the group of Stephanites that planned to settle in Perry County, Missouri.
The first question we need to consider in this story is whether the Rudolph Kampmeyer that Christine Kalbfleisch married is the one on the above list, or whether he was one of the 5 children shown on the list. A son may have also had the name Rudolph. If he was the tinsmith with a wife and family, his wife must have died before 1840. There is a clue to help us with this question. In the marriage record included in the Old Trinity Lutheran Church books, it says Rudolph Kampmeyer’s father was also called Rudolph. It also says he was the youngest son in his Kampmeyer family. Therefore, I think the groom in today’s wedding was one of the Kampmeyer children. However, the fact that none of the other Kampmeyer family members show up in our German Family Tree is somewhat puzzling. Not only was I unable to find a passenger list on which the Kampmeyer family traveled to America, but I noticed in our binders on the New York Group put together by our friend and phenomenal researcher, Ken Craft, that he made a more extensive search than I could ever attempt and was also unsuccessful.
Christine Kalbfleisch is listed by herself in the Zion on the Mississippi list of New York Group members, but there is another Kalbfleisch by the name of Conrad who was married and had a child. Our German Family Tree lists Christine and Conrad as sister and brother. There are records in the Old Trinity books that list their father with the same name. Thanks to Ken Craft’s research, he found a marriage record for Conrad Kalbfleisch that took place in 1836 in a German church in New York City as well as the baptism record of their child who was born in 1837.
This is proof that the Kalbfleisch family had been in New York City for several years before heading off to Perry County in 1839. Unless he has found new data, Ken Craft says the Kalbfleisch family was the first of the members of the New York Group to arrive in America.
There is no evidence that any Kampmeyer’s lived in Perry County, although they must have arrived here with the rest of the group. Both the Rudolph Kampmeyer who got married on this day and Christine Kalbfleisch that he married must have gone up the river to live in St. Louis not long after coming to Missouri. Their marriage took place in St. Louis on July 20, 1840. The Old Trinity books have a record of this marriage, but we cannot look at the original. However, we can look at the civil record for this wedding, which was conducted by Rev. Otto Herman Walther, the first pastor at that congregation.
Our German Family Tree lists 4 children born to this couple. I am going to display some information that can be found on the baptism record for their second child, a daughter named Rosina.
The above record, as well as other baptisms in this family, say that child was born to the “first wife” of the father. That is more proof that Rudolph Kampmeyer was not the father of the family that was part of the New York Group.
1849 was a very difficult year for St. Louis, and it was the case for the Kampmeyer family as well. In May of 1849, there was a devastating fire that destroyed many steamboats and quite a few city blocks in downtown St. Louis. Then there was the Cholera Epidemic of 1849 that peaked during the month of July during that year. For the Kampmeyer family, 1849 was the year that two family members died. First, in February, the mother of the family, Christine, died. Here is some information found in the Old Trinity death record.
There is no cause of death given in this death record. Please note that there was 1 daughter and 2 sons surviving this mother. Another son had died of malaria in 1846. Then in June of 1849, their youngest son, Jacob, died. Here is information concerning his death.
This form gives the cause of death as consumption, which is another name for tuberculosis. I confess that when I saw the death year of 1849 for these two individuals, I immediately thought they would have died from cholera, but neither one of them give that as the cause of death.
At the time of these deaths, Old Trinity had not yet established their cemetery, Concordia Cemetery, so we have no idea where these Kampmeyer’s were buried. It could have been at an early cemetery that was started where Holy Cross Lutheran Church would later be built, but that cemetery no longer exists and some of the bodies were moved elsewhere.
Now Rudolph Kampmeyer was a widower with two young children. Then on May 26, 1850, he married again. His second wife was Louise Bergsieker. She was born on December 4, 1832 in Germany, but I do not know the names of her parents. The marriage record for this wedding is also included in the Old Trinity books, but I will display the civil record.
The pastor who performed this wedding was Rev. C.F.D. Wyneken. I find it quite the coincidence that this marriage record was filed on July 20th, the anniversary of Rudolph’s first marriage.
I found the Kampmeyer family in the 1860 census for St. Louis, where Rudolph was a tinner. The oldest children came from his first marriage, and the youngest ones from his second.
Our German Family Tree just gives 4 children to this second marriage, but I found some more in the Holy Cross Lutheran books, bringing it to a total of 8. I was unable to find this family in the 1870 census. Then in 1874, Rudolph Kampmeyer died at the age of 60.
Louise would later be found in several census records. First, here is the one for 1880.
When the 1900 census rolled around, Louise was living in the household of her son, Edward. Two other single children of hers were also in the household.
The last census in which we find Louise was taken in 1910.
Louise Kampmeyer died in 1913 at the age of 80. Here is her death certificate.
Record from Concordia Cemetery say that Rudolph and Louise are buried there, but there are no photos of gravestones on Findagrave.
Before I close off this post, I must tell a quick personal story. One of the reasons this story piqued my interest was that I once went to school with a boy by the name of Tommy Bergsieker. He was a special person. Tommy spent his whole life in a wheelchair. As I look back on it, it must have been quite unusual for a Lutheran school that was nowhere near what could be called handicapped-accessible, to welcome a student like Tommy. Others at the school, especially his teachers, had to make sure Tommy got up and down the numerous stairways in that school. I know that Tommy’s continuous smiles taught me plenty of lessons about life, and I consider it a privilege to have known him. I do now wonder if he was related to Louise’s Bergsieker family in any way.