Alwin (Or Is It Alvin) Koenig

Today’s birthday girl will marry a man who was shown as Alwin Koenig on several documents, but was buried as Alvin Koenig. I think the change was likely due to how Germans pronounce the name Alwin. The “w” in German is mostly pronounced like Americans pronounce a “v”. So, if someone asked Alwin for his name, being the good German that he was, he would say Alvin.

Alwin Koenig was born on March 30, 1868, the son of Andreas and Christina (Haertling) Koenig. He was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri. Below is his baptism record.

Alwin Koenig baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

I was hoping this baptism record would help settle the dispute between Alvin or Alwin, but it does not. To me, his name on the above record says Altvin. Alwin can be found in the 1870 census for Shawnee Township at the age of 2. His name doesn’t look to me like either Alwin or Alvin.

1870 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Alwin can be found next in the 1880 census. In this census, we find Alwin at the age of 12, and there was a 10 year-old girl in the household, Susanna Felway, who was said to be adopted.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

We now turn to today’s birthday girl, Martha Schrumpf, who was born on August 16, 1870. That makes today Martha’s 150th birthday. She was the daughter of George and Elizabeth (Schaefer) Schrumpf and baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. Here is her baptism record.

Martha Schrumpf baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

This baptism record says Martha’s birthday was August 16, 1871, not 1870. Perhaps the pastor made a mistake. An older Schrumpf sister was born in 1865 but was not baptized until 1869. This Schrumpf family did not exactly hurry to get their children baptized.

I ran across this photo of Martha’s parents. Elizabeth Schaefer was the sister of two other rather famous Schaefer’s who settled in Appleton.

George and Elizabeth Schrumpf

I cannot resist displaying another photograph. It is one that shows a reunion of Union soldiers from Perry County that is said to include George Schrumpf. I’ll let you pick out which one he is. I really wish we had all the men in this photo identified.

Perry County Union Soldiers

Just a side note. It looks like there are two different American flags in this photo. Also, because the flags are “waving” in different directions, I think they are being held in some way to display the differences.

Martha Schrumpf can be found in the 1880 census for Apple Creek Township at the age of 9.

1880 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

On October 11, 1891, Alwin Koenig married Martha Schrumpf. Here is this couple’s marriage license.

Koenig/Schrumpf marriage license

This marriage record is not found in our German Family Tree. It is a license from Cape Girardeau County, and there was a minister of the Gospel who signed this form, but I cannot decipher the name. I thought it might be the pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Jackson, but that congregation was not established until 1893. This was about the time when a change in pastors was taking place at Grace, Uniontown, which might explain why the marriage did not take place there.

Martha had just one daughter named Flora who was born in 1893. Martha also died in 1893, and when I saw that she had a child and died in that year, my first thought was that she died as a result of that childbirth. That was not the case. Flora was born in January, and Martha died in November. Her death record in the Immanuel, New Wells books says she died of diphtheria.

Martha Koenig death record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Martha was buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells. Her gravestone gives her year of birth as 1870. It also clearly states that her husband’s name was Alwin.

Martha Koenig gravestone – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Martha’s death left Alwin as a widower with a baby. Both of his parents had died prior to this time. I do not know who might have assisted Alwin with this baby, but I figure someone must have helped him. Then on February 13, 1896, Alwin got married again. His second wife was Elizabeth Diefenbach.

Elizabeth was born on July 12, 1858, the daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Steinbrugge) Diefenbach. She was born in Chester, Illinois and probably baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Her confirmation pastor was probably Rev. Martin Stephan, Jr. We find Elizabeth in the census for Chester in 1880. By that time, her mother had already died.

1880 census – Chester, IL

The marriage license for Alwin and Elizabeth is shown here. They were married at Immanuel, New Wells.

Koenig/Diefenbach marriage license

Two more daughters were born to this couple, so we see this household in the 1900 census.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The 1910 census would be the last one in which we find Elizabeth Koenig.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

In both of the last two census records, Henry Diefenbach is shown as a step-son. That really makes no sense to me. If Elizabeth was previously married, her children would not have carried the Diefenbach surname.

Elizabeth Koenig died in 1915 at the age of 57. We can view her death certificate. The informant was Alvin Koenig.

Elizabeth Koenig death certificate

Elizabeth Koenig was also buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells.

Elizabeth Koenig gravestone – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Alwin would be found in two more census records. Here is the one for 1920. He was living with his daughter, Ella, who had married August Leimbach.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Next, we find Alwin in the 1930 census. Once again, he is living with the Leimbach family.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Alwin Koenig died in early 1940, so he would not show up in the census for that year. Alwin’s death certificate says he died at the age of 71 as a result of throat cancer.

Alwin Koenig death certificate

Alwin Koenig is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells. Even though his death certificate shows his name as Alwin, his gravestone says Alvin.

Alvin Koenig gravestone – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Just yesterday, our museum got a visit from an old friend of mine, a Lutheran principal from Minnesota, Cletus Pfeiffer. Clete told me that he had a grandmother who was a Koenig from Pocahontas. At that time, I had not chosen a story for today. His grandmother married a Pfeiffer. When I found that couple in our German Family Tree, it turned out the Koenig was a niece of Alwin’s. Also, it was a marriage between an Alwin and an Alwine…Alwin Pfeiffer and Alwine Koenig. What are the chances?

One thought on “Alwin (Or Is It Alvin) Koenig

  1. On the photo of the Perry county soldiers the back row second from the left is Casper Ludwig the brewer from Old Appleton my great, great uncle. I have a close up of him from that photo I think from a newspaper story that also shows Gabriel Lottes and I’m pretty sure it’s Casper. If you would like a copy I can email or text it to you.


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