Carolina and the Teacher’s Son

August 2, 1908 was the wedding day for the couple I will discuss in today’s post.  That marriage is included in our German Family Tree because it took place at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois.  The bride was part of an Arbeiter family that has shown up on this blog before.  The groom has a surname that is brand new.  In fact, when I first saw it, I thought it was misspelled.  That surname is Stedingk.  Exactly how this couple found each other is somewhat of a mystery.  Perhaps Sally Gustin, our go-to person for information on the Arbeiter family, would know how that happened.  I have one suspicion which I will share later.

The bride was Carolina Arbeiter, the daughter of Henry and Carolina (Rowold) Arbeiter.  The story about Carolina’s parents was told in the post, Family Photos.  Carolina was born on June 11, 1883 and baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois.  She was the second child born into her family.  The first was a boy who was named Henry, who was likely named after his father.  Then came Carolina, who was likely named after her mother.  Below is her baptism record.

Carolina Arbeiter baptism record Christ Jacob IL
Carolina Arbeiter baptism record – Christ, Jacob, IL

Carolina can be seen in this Arbeiter family photo which was reportedly taken in 1896.  Carolina is the girl standing in the back.

Henry and Caroline Arbeiter family photo 1
Henry Arbeiter family – 1896

Because we cannot view an 1890 census, we first see Carolina in the 1900 census for Fountain Bluff Township in Illinois at the age of 16.  Several more Arbeiter children are listed on the next page of this census which I chose not to display.

Carolina Arbeiter 1900 census Fountain Bluff IL
1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

When her older brother, Henry, got married in 1903, Carolina was one of the individuals in his wedding party.  She is second from the right in the back of this photo.

Henry and Lucy Buck Arbeiter wedding
Henry and Lucy Arbeiter wedding

The Arbeiter family photo shown below was supposedly taken during the same year as the above wedding.  Carolina is seated, the third person from the right.

Henry Arbeiter family 2
Henry Arbeiter family – 1903

Now, we will turn our attention to the groom in the wedding that took place on this day in 1908.  His name was Theodore Stedingk.  Theodore was born on January 19, 1882, the son of Carl and Emilie (Schreiber) Stedingk.  A few years before Theodore’s birth, we find his parents living in Red Bud, Illinois.

Carl Stedingk 1880 census Red Bud IL
1880 census – Red Bud, IL

Even though Carl Stedingk is shown as living in Red Bud, he was actually a teacher at Trinity Lutheran Church in Horse Prairie, located just outside Red Bud.  That is the same congregation served by Rev. Martin Stephan after he was banished from Perry County.  When Teacher Stedingk was buried, his gravestone said he was the beloved teacher of the Lutheran school in Prairie, Illinois.

Carl Stedingk gravestone St. Trinity St. Louis MO
Carl Stedingk gravestone – St. Trinity, St. Louis, MO

Theodore can be found in the 1900 census for Red Bud at the age of 18.

Theodore Stedingk 1900 census Red Bud IL
1900 census – Red Bud, IL

Jacob and Horse Prairie are about 50 miles away from each other.  In the days of horse and buggy, that was a long way.  I have a suspicion how Theodor and Carolina came to know one another.  Carolina’s mother was a Rowold from Red Bud.  There may have been occasions when the Arbeiter family traveled to the Red Bud area, and Carolina got to know the young son of the teacher at Horse Prairie.  The end result was the marriage of Theodore Stedingk and Carolina Arbeiter on August 2, 1908.  Here is the church record for that wedding.  It indicates that by the time of the wedding, Theodor was from St. Louis.

Stedingk Arbeiter marriage record Christ Jacob IL
Stedingk/Arbeiter marriage record – Christ, Jacob, IL

This couple can be found in the 1910 census living in St. Louis where Theodore was called the head of the household which included several of his siblings and his mother.  As you may have noticed on the gravestone shown earlier, Theodore’s father died in 1909.  Theodore is called a salesman on this entry.

Theodore Stedingk 1910 census St. Louis MO
1910 census – St. Louis, MO

One more Arbeiter family photo was taken sometime along the way.  Carolina is standing in the back, third from the left.

Henry Arbeiter family
Henry Arbeiter family

In 1918, Theodore had his World War I draft registration completed.

Theodore Stedingk – WWI draft registration

By the time the 1920 census came around, we find this Stedingk family, including 3 children, two girls and a boy.  Theodor was a shipping clerk.

Theodore Stedingk 1920 census St. Louis MO
1920 census – St. Louis, MO

The next census we can view was the one taken in 1930.  One additional son can be found in the family.  Theodore was called a receiving clerk.

Theodore Stedingk 1930 census St. Louis MO
1930 census – St. Louis, MO

Finally, the last census we can view is the 1940 census.  Just two sons were left living with Theodore and Carolina.

Theodore Stedingk 1940 census St. Louis MO
1940 census – St. Louis, MO

Theodore had a World War II draft card completed in 1942.

Theodore Stedingk – WWII draft card

The address for the Stedingk’s is located just a door or two down from Emmaus Lutheran Church in St. Louis.  Some photos of that church can be found at the website linked below:

Theodore died in 1959 at the age of 77.  His death certificate says he died at the Lutheran Hospital.

Theodore Stedingk death certificate
Theodor Stedingk death certificate

Carolina died in 1972 at the age of 89.  Theodore and Carolina are buried together in the St. Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in St. Louis.

Theodore and Carolina Stedingk gravestone St. Trinity St. Louis MO
Theodore and Carolina Stedingk gravestone – St. Trinity, St. Louis, MO

Carolina and Theodore Stedingk both had their roots in Southwestern Illinois, but spent most of their lives in St. Louis.  I wonder how many times they made the trek back to their hometowns to visit their families.


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