The story of Arthur Richter had me snookered for a little while. His wife, Emma, died in 1919, and then Arthur shows up as a widower in the 1920 census. However, in the 1930 and 1940 censuses, he is once again married to Emma. How could this be? There really is only one explanation. Arthur must have married twice, and both wives were named Emma. That is indeed the case, as you will read today, but several family histories found on Ancestry.com do not record Arthur’s story correctly. The German Family Tree has it right. The documents back up the fact that Arthur Richter was married twice to two women who became Emma Richter’s.
Arthur Johann August Richter was born on March 18, 1878, the son of Ehregott and Elizabeth (Hartung) Richter. He was child #7 in a family of 9 children. His baptism record is included in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. However, because his parents had a farm near Wittenberg, it is possible that his baptism took place there. Here is Arthur’s baptism record. Interestingly, his name, Arthur, is not shown here, only Johann August.
Arthur is found in his first census in 1880 at the age of 2. His name is clearly written as Arthur.
The above entry is the only one in which we find Arthur as a single man. We cannot view another census for him until 1900, and by then, he was married. His spouse, the first Emma, has an even more interesting census history. She was born in 1880, too late to be included in that year’s census, and she was married before the 1900 census. So, she never is found in a census as a single woman.
Emma Sophia Moeckel was born on September 13, 1880, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Distler) (Schweitzer) Moeckel. Her mother had been married to George Schweitzer, but he died in 1876. Elizabeth then married Robert Moeckel, and Emma was that couple’s first child. Emma was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. On her baptism record shown below, you can see that two of her sponsors were named Emma Bronnenkant and Sophia Schmidt. This could be evidence to back up the stories which state that back in those days, some children were given first names of their sponsors. I have to show this record in two images.
In a Richter family binder that we have in our research library, it says that as a young man, Arthur moved across the Mississippi to find work near Jacob, Illinois.
On October 26, 1899, Arthur Richter married Emma Moeckel at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois, making today their 121st wedding anniversary. Here is the church record for that wedding.
We can also take a look at this couple’s wedding photograph. Emma was wearing what I have referred to as a black and white wedding dress.
After they were married, these two moved back across the river and were living with Arthur’s parents when the 1900 census was taken.
The German Family Tree lists 10 children born to Arthur and Emma. The same Richter binder states that Arthur bought a farm in Shawnee Township near New Wells in 1901, just a year after the above census entry.
Next, we can see the Richter household in the 1910 census for Shawnee Township.
Arthur had his World War I draft registration completed in 1918.
The photo of Arthur and Emma’s family shown here was probably taken sometime around 1918.
Emma Richter died in 1919 at the age of 38.
Emma Moeckel Richter was buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells.
The 1920 census shows Arthur as a widower with 9 children.
That census was taken in January of 1920. Arthur married again on February 15, 1920 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. His second wife was Emma Schmidt. Emma was born on November 10, 1887, the daughter of Henry and Sophia (Ross) Schmidt. Emma was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. Below is her baptism record.
The church record for the Richter/Schmidt marriage is displayed below.
We can also take a look at the marriage license for Arthur and Emma.
I can also display the wedding photograph for this couple.
Two more children were born to this couple in the 1920’s. We find the Richter household in the 1930 census. Arthur’s brother, Theodore Richter, who never married, was also included in this household.
In 1930, plat maps were produced for Cape Girardeau County. We find the Arthur Richter farm near the town of New Wells in those maps.
The last census in which we find this couple was the one taken in 1940. They were still found in the Shawnee Township.
Not long after the above census was taken, Arthur and Emma moved to Perryville, Missouri.
Arthur’s second Emma died in 1941 at the age of 53. Her death certificate states that she fell down her basement stairs and fractured her skull.
Arthur Richter died in 1947 at the age of 69. Here is his death certificate.
Arthur and Emma (Schmidt) Richter are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.
Some other writings in the Richter family binder state in several places that Arthur Richter was always a great supporter of Lutheran education. The author of those writings was Walter Richter, who was a Lutheran educator throughout his career.