Hang on tight! You’re going on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and then spend some time on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers back in the days of steamboats. Along the way, a couple of brothers spend part of their lives in East Perry County. The next generation moves up the river to St. Louis and continues their lives there. The inspiration for this story is found in a birth that took place on this day 150 years ago. However, let’s start with a passenger list for a ship that landed in New York City in 1849.
Two Schieferdecker brothers, Carl and Theodore, arrived aboard the George Washington on July 5, 1849, smack dab in the middle of the Cholera Epidemic that was taking place all up and down the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Carl arrived with a wife and several children, while his brother arrived with them but with no wife or family. Their entries spill over two pages of the passenger list.
Please note that there are two Theodore Schieferdecker’s on this list. One is the 37 year-old merchant, and the other is the 11 year-old son of Carl Schieferdecker.
A year later, when the 1850 census was taken, we find this group of Schieferdecker’s living in Louisville, Kentucky, along the banks of the Ohio River. Carl and Theodore were merchants.
The next record I found for someone in this Schieferdecker group was a death record for Carl’s wife, Sidonia, which is found in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. And, as most of our regular readers know, the pastor at that church, which was just established in 1857, was Rev. Georg Schieferdecker. I have this suspicion that there was some sort of familial relationship between these Schieferdecker’s, but I have yet to find proof. Sidonia died in 1858. Here is her death record. If you look closely, you will see a reference to Wittenberg on this entry.
I could not find Carl in the 1860 census, but I did find his brother, Theodore, living in a Schuessler household in Wittenberg and working as a merchant.
It must have been around this time that the two Schieferdecker’s were using the trunk that we have on display at our museum that was discussed in the post, A Shipping Trunk with a Story.
Now, we will turn our attention to the other Theodore Schieferdecker, the one who was a son of Carl. His full name was Theodore Bernhard Schieferdecker, so we see him called Theodore B. Schieferdecker on occasion. On September 27, 1864, Theodore married Elisa Ballmann in St. Louis. The marriage record for this couple can be found in the books of Old Trinity Lutheran Church.
Theodore brought his wife back to Altenburg, and they began having children in 1865. Three of those children, all girls, were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Rev. Georg Schieferdecker would leave that congregation in 1866.
In 1868, the older Theodore Schieferdecker died. His death record is in the Immanuel books.
In the 1870 census, we find Carl (Charles) Schieferdecker living in Wittenberg and his occupation is given as retail dry goods merchant.
It was in that year that the third girl was born into the Theodore B. Schieferdecker family. She is today’s birthday girl, Sidonia Schieferdecker, born on September 21, 1870. She was likely named after her grandmother. Sidonia’s baptism record from Immanuel, Altenburg is shown below.
Next, we return to Sidonia’s grandfather, Carl Schieferdecker. He died in 1871, and his death record is found in the Immanuel church books.
Two more children were born into the family of Theodore and Elise Schieferdecker. Both of those children were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Carl Max Schieferdecker was born in 1872. His baptism record is shown here.
This child did not live long. He died in 1873, but his death record is found in the books of Immanuel, not Trinity.
I confess that there was a point in time this morning when I was struggling with some of the facts in this story. After my breakfast, I was passing by Immanuel, so I decided to pull in to look in their cemetery. After all, Findagrave has four Schieferdecker graves listed, none of which are connected to the pastor of that congregation. Below is a screenshot of what you find on that website.
The above list includes all the deaths discussed in this post thus far. However, there are no grave photos for any of them. I arrived at the Immanuel Cemetery at the right time. Pastor Lucas, the present pastor, was standing outside. He took me inside to see a cemetery plot map, and I saw this list.
The 4 Schieferdecker names are here along with a Niederstadt who had married one of Theodore B.’s sisters, Molli Schieferdecker. I proceeded once again outside to find these grave sites. Here they are.
Carl Max Schieferdecker was almost certainly buried here because the family wanted this burial to take place in the Schieferdecker plot in the Immanuel Cemetery despite his baptism occurring at Trinity just a year earlier.
By the time of the 1880 census, Theodore B. and Elise moved their family to St. Louis. This entry says that both Sidonia and Bernard were born in Illinois. A future passport application says that Bernhard was born in Grand Tower, Illinois, just across the river from Wittenberg. That means that Sidonia might also have been born there.
The Grand Tower births would explain why the trunk that we have on display says “Schieferdecker Bros. Grand Tower, IL. An 1876 city directory for St. Louis shows several Schieferdecker names, including Theodore’s.
Theodore was working as a clerk for A.E. Faust. A little search on the internet led me to discover that A.E. Faust, and later his son, Tony, would operate the Faust Oyster Bar and Restaurant in St. Louis. It was apparently a rather famous restaurant in that city. Here are a couple of photos of that restaurant, one an interior shot and the other an exterior one.
An additional look at the interior of the home of A.E. Faust demonstrates the fact that both the restaurant and the home were quite luxurious.
I would add at this point that A.E.’s son, Tony, would marry a daughter of August Busch of Anheuser-Busch Brewery fame.
Theodore B. Schieferdecker died in 1891. We can view his St. Louis death record.
The remainder of this Schieferdecker household can be seen in the 1900 census.
The other sister, Anna, had died in 1893, so we see the two other unmarried sisters, Ida and Sidonia, plus Bernhard who was a bookkeeper. Bernhard was the only child in this family to get married. He and his wife, Stella, would have a daughter, Bernice, who would marry a Lutheran pastor from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Rev. Valentine Mack.
A 1901 St. Louis city directory shows another variety of Schieferdecker names.
This, along with his World War I draft registration, show Bernhard working as a bookkeeper for Saxony Mills, another business with close connections to the Gesellschaft that has been the subject of a post on this blog.
All three of the Schieferdecker sisters never married. They, along with other members of the Schieferdecker family are buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in St. Louis.
We now come to the end of the journey. It took us down and up two major rivers in the United States. It also covered several generations of this Schieferdecker family. The question still remains, however, if these Schierferdecker’s were related to Rev. Georg Schieferdecker.
This post also provides information that should correct some mistakes that we now have in our German Family Tree. It also might lead to Diane Anderson, our Findagrave expert, to add some gravestone photos to Immanuel’s Findagrave site. She should contact me if she wants me to provide individual grave photos.