Friedrich Bodenschatz’s Two Lives

I think the story of Friedrich Bodenschaz contains two fairly distinct chapters. One chapter includes his life from birth to the year 1890, and the second chapter takes his life from that point until his death in 1929. You may understand that distinction by the time I get to the end of his story.

Ernst Friedrich Carl Bodenschatz was born on December 4, 1853, the son of Erdmann and Christiane (Wachter) Bodenschatz. Friedrich was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Here is his baptism record.

Friedrich Bodenschatz baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Friedrich is found in the 1860 census at the age of 6 living in the Brazeau Township of Perry County. Like many others with the name of Friedrich, he was called Fritz in this entry. Based on who is listed near him in that census, I have reason to believe that he lived in the village of Altenburg. His father was a blacksmith.

1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we find Friedrich once again in the same location in the 1870 census at the age of 16. This time, Friedrich is called an apprentice blacksmith.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Now, I will turn to the early life of Friedrich’s first wife. Rosalie Amalia Mueller was born on March 8, 1855, the daughter of Zacharias and Amalia (Palisch) Mueller. Rosalie was the firstborn child in a rather large Mueller family. Rosalie was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Here is her baptism record from that congregation.

Rosalie Mueller baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Rosalie is found in the 1860 census for Brazeau Township at the age of 5. Her father was a merchant.

1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we find Rosalie in the 1870 census. The Mueller family had gotten larger.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

On October 13, 1875, Friedrich Bodenschatz married Rosalie Mueller, making today their 145th wedding anniversary. Below is a civil marriage record from Perry County for this wedding.

Bodenschatz/Mueller marriage record – Perry County, MO

The church record for this marriage is displayed here.

Bodenschatz/Mueller marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

We have the wedding photograph for this couple.

Bodenschatz/Mueller wedding

Our German Family Tree records 4 births to this Bodenschatz couple. All of them were boys. One of them died just a matter of months after birth. The only census in which we find this couple is the one taken in 1880. This time we see Friedrich called a wagon maker. That trade required blacksmithing skills.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Rosalie Bodenschatz died in 1890 at the age of 35. Her death record from Trinity says she died of a heart attack. Below is that death record.

Rosalie Bodenschatz death record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Rosalie was buried at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg. Findagrave does not presently show a photograph of her gravestone (at least not yet). In fact, the only record on Findagrave for Rosalie has her buried in New Wells and does not have a photo there either. I decided to take a trip to the cemetery to look for Rosalie’s gravestone. I fully expected to spend some time searching for it. I not only found it, but I found it even before I got inside the gate of the cemetery. Her gravestone is the first one to be seen on the left as you enter the graveyard. Not only that, it was by no means hard to read, as you can tell in the photo below.

Rosalie Bodenschatz gravestone – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Just a quick side story. Right next to Rosalie’s gravestone, you can find the one for Maria Bodenschotz (spelled with an “o” not an “a”). I do not know why there is a difference in spelling. Maria was the wife of Friedrich’s brother, Theodore, whose maiden name was Jahn. This is yet another very readable gravestone that is not included in the Trinity Cemetery site on Findagrave. Perhaps our friend, Diane Anderson, can correct these problems.

Maria Bodenschotz gravestone – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

This brings to an end to the first chapter of Friedrich’s life. This first chapter took place in Altenburg. It included his marriage to Rosalie which included a family of boys. Friedrich was a blacksmith. All of his church records are found in the Trinity, Altenburg books. The next chapter has plenty of differences.

On April 5, 1891, Friedrich Bodenschatz married Martha Roenn. Let’s take a look at the marriage license for this couple.

Bodenschatz/Roenn marriage license

The church record shown here from the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells is kind of unusual. It only lists the couple who were getting married, but gives no date for it or any other information.

Bodenschatz/Roenn marriage record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Martha Roenn was born on June 15, 1868, the daughter of Johann and Anna Martha (Tiedemann) Roenn. She was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. Here is her baptism record.

Martha Roenn baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

By the time of the 1870 census, the Roenn children were living in a Schweitzer household. Martha was 2 years old.

Two children would be born to Friedrich and Martha, and both of them were girls. They can be seen in the 1900 census for Shawnee Township. Apparently, this marriage also precipitated Friedrich’s move from Altenburg to New Wells. This entry includes two boys from his first marriage and the two new girls to his second marriage. Another change is seen here. Now, Friedrich is called a farmer.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The next census in which we find this household is the one taken in 1910. In this image, you will also find two households headed by two of Friedrich’s sons, Otto and Anton.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The last census in which we find Friedrich is the one taken in 1920. Just his two daughters remained in this household. It cannot be seen in this image, but the census stated that Friedrich was once more a blacksmith.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

It must have been in the 1920’s that the following photo was taken of Friedrich and one of his daughters.

Friedrich Bodenschatz and daughter

Friedrich Bodenschatz died in 1929 at the age of 75. We can view his death certificate.

Friedrich Bodenschatz death certificate

Martha Bodenschatz can still be found in the 1930 census. She was living with her son, Otto, and his family. I think her age should have been 62, not 65.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Martha Bodenschatz died in 1935 at the age of 66. Here is her death certificate.

Martha Bodenschatz death certificate

Friedrich and Martha are each buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells.

As you can see, the second chapter in Friedrich’s life begins with his marriage to Martha. The second chapter takes place in New Wells, across the Apple Creek in northern Cape Girardeau County. The church records for this chapter of his life are found in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. He spends much of his time as a farmer, and his new children are girls. There is quite the contrast between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.


I am going to place here some more construction photos taken this morning. Yesterday, the last of the trusses was raised.

Being such a beautiful morning, I also took some other photos near the museum. Altenburg has become more colorful lately. We are blessed.

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