Not long ago, the post titled, Meister Bauer, was published. In that story, it was pointed out that there was only one boy from the Meister family who lived to adulthood. That boy will be the highlighted character in today’s post.
Rudolph Theodor Meister is today’s birthday boy. Rudi was born on August 29, 1893, the son of Emil and Mary (Schilling) Meister. He was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri. That baptism record is displayed below.
Sadly, Rudi’s mother died when he was just 2 years old, so he likely would not have remembered her. His father remarried on Rudi’s 4th birthday, August 29, 1897. It was Bertha (Pohlmann) Meister who was to become Rudi’s mother for most of his life. We find Rudi in his first census in 1900 at the age of 6.
Other half-siblings were born into his family. The only other boy was born before the above census in 1899, but he lived for only about 4 months. When we look at the 1910 census, we find the following Meister household. The image below shows several other family members living nearby. Christine Meister was his grandmother. Hulda and another Meister were his aunt and uncle. Gustav Schilling was another uncle.
The plat maps below were shown in the previous blog post about Rudi’s parents. They demonstrate that part of the Meister land was located in one township and part in another.
We now turn our attention to Rudolph’s future wife. Her name was Ida Weseloh. Ida was born on May 14, 1897, the daughter of Heinrich and Pauline (Haehnlein) Weseloh. I quickly learned that I had to be really careful when looking at Ida Weseloh because there was another Ida Weseloh born in 1899, and these two Ida’s were cousins. The Ida Weseloh that Rudi married also would go through life without one of her parents. Her father died a week before Ida was born. Ida was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. Here is her baptism record in two images.
Ida’s mother remarried in 1899. Her second husband was Johann Darnstaedt. Johann’s story was told in the post, Baby Darnstaedt and His Bride. So, Ida Weseloh would have considered John Darnstaedt as her father. We find the Darnstaedt family in the 1900 census for Fountain Bluff Township in Illinois. Ida appears to be called Ida Darnstaedt in this entry.
Next, we find Ida in the 1910 census. This time, Ida has her Weseloh surname.
That leads us up to the marriage of Rudolph Meister and Ida Weseloh which took place on April 30, 1916 at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. Here is the church record for that wedding.
Rudi had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917. Their first child had been born before this form was filled out, and you see that they established their home in Frohna.
We see the Meister family in the 1920 census for Perry County, Missouri. You can see that they are listed right next to the household of Rudi’s parents.
The German Family Tree shows this couple having 9 children in all, but some of them did not live long. We find a larger household in the 1930 census.
The oldest child in this family, Hildegard, did in 1928 before the above census was taken. She died at the age of 11. Her death certificate says she took sick while at school.
The last census we can view for the Meister family is the one taken in 1940.
Rudi Meister died in 1988 at the age of 95; Ida Meister died in 1995 at the age of 97. They each lived very long lives. They died too recently for us to view their death certificates. These two are each buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.
This story once again makes me wonder how courtship would take place back in those days when the individuals lived on opposite sides of the Mississippi River. I know that there were several ferries crossing the river in those days, but one still has to wonder about how the two would communicate with each other. I don’t think phone service across the river was available around 1915. Would a man just show up on a girl’s doorstep in order to go ‘acourting? I suppose in this case, perhaps Ida came to this side of the river to live in another household sometime in the 1910’s. Maybe one of our readers would know how this couple got to know one another and how Rudolph courted Ida.