A Post that Ends with Z’s

I’m a big fan of Zzz’s. The older I get, the more I enjoy getting some Zzz’s.

As the title for this post implies, this article “ends with Z’s”. However, we will not be discussing naps. Instead, you will hear the story of a Gratz who married a Pilz, two surnames that ended with Z’s.

Michael Gratz was born on September 4, 1838 in Austria. He was the son of Matthias and Theresia (Ettinger) Gratz. According to a later census, the Gratz family arrived in America in 1853. There are two deaths recorded in the Trinity Lutheran Church books in Altenburg during 1853. First, Theresia Gratz died in August.

Theresia Gratz death record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Then, Michael’s older brother, another Matthias Gratz, died in September of 1853.

Matthias Gratz death record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

I was unable to find the Gratz family in the 1860 census. I looked in both the Perry County and Cape Girardeau County records, but with no success. The next record I found for Michael Gratz was a Civil War military record. Michael was serving in the 29th Missouri Infantry Regiment in 1862. However, this record indicates that Michael deserted when his unit was in Arkansas.

Michael Gratz – Civil War military record

At this point, let me point out that one of Michael’s sisters would marry Peter Ludwig, whose exemplary Civil War service was mentioned in the post, Peter’s 45th Birthday.

Let’s now take a look at Michael’s future wife. Her name was Theresia Pilz, the daughter of Lorenz and Theresia (Seitz) Pilz. That means we are up to 3 Theresia’s in this story, and we have yet another surname that ends with a “z”. Theresia Pilz was born on October 18, 1851 in Austria. A future census says her family arrived in America in 1865, right after the end of the Civil War.

On January 5, 1869, Michael Gratz married Theresia Pilz. I believe this marriage may have taken place at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, but no record is to be found in that congregation’s books. Let’s take a look at this couple’s civil marriage record from Cape Girardeau County.

Gratz/Pilz marriage record – Cape Girardeau County, MO

The pastor shown on the above form was Rev. J.F. Koestering from Altenburg. I think he performed this wedding because Immanuel was between pastors at the time, and Rev. Koestering has been mentioned on this blog as not being the best record-keeper, the person responsible for what we call the “Koestering Hole”.

The 1870 census from Shawnee Township shows an interesting combination of family members.

1870 census – Shawnee Township, MO

At the bottom of this entry, you see Michael, Theresia, and their first child, Herman, who was a baby. Above them, you will see Matthias Gratz, Michael’s father who was a widower. Below him is Theresia’s mother, Theresia Pilz (misspelled), who was a widow. There is also a farm hand whose name is difficult to decipher.

Next, we find the Gratz family in the 1880 census. Their oldest son, Herman, had died in 1872, and this couple went on to have 4 other children who are all included in this entry. Only the first child, Herman, was baptized at Immanuel, New Wells. After that, the other children were baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas, Missouri.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

By the time we can view this couple in the 1900 census, their household had mostly emptied. Their son, William, who never married, is the only child left in their household.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The last census in which we find both Michael and Theresia was the one taken in 1910.

1910 census – Shawnee Townshp, MO

Michael Gratz died in 1914 at the age of 75. Here is his death certificate.

Michael Gratz death certificate

What makes the above death certificate even more interesting is the fact that the doctor who signed this form, Dr. E.R. Schoen, was Michael’s son-in-law. Dr. Schoen had married Maria Louise Gratz.

We find Theresia Gratz in the 1920 census living with her unmarried son, William.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

In a plat map made in 1930, we see a piece of land owned by William Gratz (misspelled as Grantz).

William Gratz land map – 1930

Theresia is seen yet again in the 1930 census living with William.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Theresia Gratz died in 1932 at the age of 80. Below is her death certificate.

Theresia Gratz death certificate

Michael and Theresia Gratz are each buried in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas.

Now that we’re at the end of this story, have I put you to sleep yet? I know that, with all the Z’s in this story, I’m ready for a nap. Good night.


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