Maria Margaretha Mahnken was born on August 9, 1882. She was actually a third-generation Maria Margaretha Mahnken. Her grandmother, Maria Margaretha Miesner, had married Peter Mahnken, so she became a Maria Magdalena Mahnken. That couple had a daughter by the name of Maria Margaretha Mahnken. Then we get to today’s Maria Margaretha Mahnken, who has quite a confusing beginning. When we look at Maria’s baptism record from Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri, it only lists her mother as a parent. No father’s name is given. Thus, this Maria Margaretha also had the surname, Mahnken, just like her mother.
The mother, Maria Margaretha Mahnken, died in 1884 when her daughter was only 4 years old. Below is her death record.
Maria was confirmed at Concordia, Frohna in 1895. Her confirmation record says Henry Mahnken was her foster father.
When the 1900 census rolls around, we find Maria living in the household of Henry Mahnken. She is called his daughter, but she was actually his niece, if I have this figured correctly.
On November 6, 1902, Maria Mahnken married John Kaufmann at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Below is the marriage license for this couple.
We can also view the church record for this wedding. As you may have already noticed, the name Mahnken is sometimes spelled without the final “n”. I choose to use Mahnken.
Sadly, John Kaufmann only lived for 4 months after this marriage. He died of typhus in March of 1903.
Now, we will turn our attention to the early life of Maria’s second husband, Benjamin Fiedler. Karl Heinrich Benjamin Fiedler was born on November 13, 1875, the son of Valentin and Mary (Kasten) Fiedler. He was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri. Below is his baptism record.
Benjamin is found in the 1880 census for Shawnee Township at the age of 4.
The next census in which we find him was taken in 1900. By then he was 24 years old.
The next decade was full of events for both Maria Mahnken and Benjamin Fiedler. As mentioned before, Maria had been married, only to see her husband die in the early 1900’s. In the case of Benjamin, he got married in 1904, but not to Maria. His first wife was Ottilie Scholl. Ottilie was born on December 14, 1882, the daughter of Herman and Alvina (Tanz) Scholl. She was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Here is her baptism record.
In the 1900 census, Ottilie was living with the Stierns household in the Whitewater Township of Cape Girardeau County at the age of 17.
On January 3, 1904, Benjamin Fiedler married Ottilie Scholl at Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. Here is the church record for that wedding.
We can also view this couple’s marriage license.
Here is where there is a big similarity between Maria Mahnken and Benjamin Fiedler. Ottilie, after only a little over a year of marriage, died in May of 1905. She died of tuberculosis.
That leads us up to the marriage between Maria and Benjamin. This widow and widower were married on October 15, 1905. They were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Here is the church record for that marriage.
Here is the marriage license for Benjamin and Maria.
Three of this couple’s nine children were born before the 1910 census. I have included the household of Benjamin’s parents in this image.
Benjamin and Maria can be seen in census records all the way up until 1940. Here is the one for 1920 where we see 7 children.
Next, we see them in the 1930 census.
The last one we can view is the one taken in 1940. Their household had diminished considerably.
Benjamin Fiedler died in 1948 at the age of 72. Below is his death certificate.
Maria Fiedler died in 1960 at the age of 79. I was hoping that her death certificate would give the name of her father, but it gives neither her father nor her mother’s names.
I am a little surprised that Benjamin is buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Shawneetown, but Maria is buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.
This story makes me wonder if it was the fact that both Benjamin and Maria were attracted to each other because both of them had lost their first spouses so soon after they each were married.
This post is a little late being posted today because I was working as a docent at the museum, and we were visited by Pam and Ken Scheible from Cincinnati. Pam is a descendant of Dr. Ernst Eduard Buenger. We had a wonderful visit, and I ended up taking a little trip to see Dr. Buenger’s gravestone and the Log Cabin monument on my property. My land was first owned by Dr. Buenger’s mother, Christiane Buenger. They were also shown the Buenger Well, dug by J.F. Buenger back in 1839. You can see it in the background of the monument photo at the bottom of the hill. Here is a gallery of photos that are clickable.