The $15 Bride’s First Child

I must admit that every time I recall a post that I wrote several years ago titled, The $15 Wedding, I begin giggling.  That post told the story about the stipulations in a will that stated when a single daughter would get married, her brother, the executor of that will, would be required to pay the expenses of his sister’s wedding.  However, the expenses were not to exceed $15.

That will was written in 1878, and the single girl whose name was Magdalena Feig, got married in 1882.  She married a man by the name of Friedrich Ruehling.  On July 26, 1883, the first child was born into that family.  His name was Carl Theodore Ruehling, and he is our birthday boy today.   Like several other boys by the name of Carl, this one went by Charles most of his life, and that is what I will call him.  Charles was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri.  Here is his baptism record.

Charles Ruehling baptism record Immanuel New Wells MO
Charles Ruehling baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Another circumstance that I have included in a few other stories lately has resulted in the lives of people who were born in the early 1880’s.  The first census in which we can see them is not taken until these folks are in their teens, and in some cases, by that time in their lives, they are living as servants in other people’s households, not that of their parents.  In today’s story, we can see this happening with both of the individuals who get married.  We find Charles in his first census living in the Theodore Koenig household in the Salem Township of Perry County.  This is from that notorious census that is so difficult to read.  Charles was 16 years old and was a farm laborer.

Charles Ruehling 1900 census Salem Township MO
1900 census – Salem Township, MO

Now we will discuss the early years of Charles’s future wife, Emma Marie Walther.  Marie was the daughter of Franz and Maria (Weseloh) Walther.  She was born on September 5, 1881.  That means she was almost two years older than Charles.  All of Marie’s siblings were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, but for some reason, her baptism record is not to be found in this congregation’s church books.  Her confirmation record is in those books, and that record gives us her birth date.

When we look for Marie in her first census in 1900, she was already 18 years old.  I think I found her living in a Fischer household as a servant in St. Louis, Missouri.  That census lists the month and year of a person’s birth, and this Mary Walter, matches the September 1881 birth date of Marie Walther.

Marie Walther 1900 census St. Louis MO
1900 census – St. Louis, MO

How Charles and Marie got together is unknown to me.  I do know that it was what I could call a “Cross the Creek” marriage in which one person getting married is from Perry County north of the Apple Creek while the other is from Cape Girardeau County south of that creek.  Charles Ruehling married Marie Walther on June 13, 1909 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  Here is the church record for this wedding.  This document says Charles was from Pocahontas.

Ruehling Walther marriage record Trinity Altenburg MO
Ruehling/Walther marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

We can also take a look at this couple’s marriage license.

Ruehling Walther marriage license
Ruehling/Walther marriage license

When we look at this couple in the census taken during the year after their marriage, we see that they had not had any children yet.  Charles Ruehling was called a house carpenter.

Charles Ruehling 1910 census Shawnee Township MO
1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The only child born to this couple arrived on the scene in 1911.  That child was named Magdalena Ruehling.  I would suspect that this girl was named after the $15 bride, Magdalena Feig, her grandmother.  We see Magdalena in the 1920 census along with her parents.  Charles is called both a mechanic and a carpenter, which seems a little unusual to me.

Charles Ruehling 1920 census Shawnee Township MO
1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Next, we find the Ruehling’s in the 1930 census.  This time, Charles was called a truck farmer.

Charles Ruehling 1930 census Shawnee Township MO
1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Magdalena can be seen in the above census at the age of 18.  We do not see her in the 1940 census, but that is not unusual by itself.  She would have been 28 years old by then.  However, I was not able to find Magdalena in any census entry.  Also, I found no marriage record.  No death record.  No city directory listings.  Nothing.  Maybe one of our readers can tell me what happened to Magdalena Ruehling.  Charles was back to being a carpenter doing custom work in the 1940 census.

Charles Ruehling 1940 census Shawnee Township MO
1940 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Marie Ruehling died in 1949 at the age of 67.  Here is her death certificate.

Marie Ruehling death certificate
Marie Ruehling death certificate

Charles Ruehling died in 1959 at the age of 75.  His death certificate says he died at the Lutheran Hospital in St. Louis of lung cancer.

Charles Ruehling death certificate
Charles Ruehling death certificate

Charles and Marie Ruehling are both buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells.

There are quite a few Ruehling’s that still live around here.  However, I know none of them come from this branch of the Ruehling family tree.


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