George Gerstacker – Bavarian Bottoms Farmer

Johann George Gerstacker was born on January 28, 1857, the son of Johann Friedrich and Margaretha (Mausner) Gerstacker. His baptism record was once found in the books of Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg, but that congregation’s records were destroyed in a fire. We can find the following information about George Gerstacker in a re-creation of those church records that we have in our research library.

George Gerstacker info – Peace, Friedenberg, MO

George Gerstacker can be found in his first census in 1860 when he was 3 years old. His father was said to have his roots in Bavaria in Germany.

1860 census – Boise Brule Township, MO

When the 1870 census came around, George was a teenager, and his family was living in Perryville. George’s father was a farmer.

1870 census – Perryville, MO

George’s wife was going to be a woman by the name of Eva Bergmann. Eva was born on December 5, 1863, the daughter of Johann Peter and Sophia (Poehner) Bergmann. Like her future husband, Eva was baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Freidenberg. The information below about Eva can be found in the book Friedenberg Rememberances.

Eva Bergmann Gerstacker info – Peace, Friedenberg, MO

I was unable to find Eva in the 1870 census, but before the 1880 census was taken, she and George Gerstacker were married. Their marriage date was May 18, 1880. A Perry County civil record exists for this marriage.

Gerstacker/Bergmann Perry County marriage record

This couple was married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. Below is a transcription of that marriage record from the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Gerstacker/Bergmann marriage record – Immanuel, Perryville, MO

Our German Family Tree lists 9 children born into the Gerstacker family. Several of those children died at an early age, including a set of twins born in 1889. Most of the Gerstacker children were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. In addition, we find members of this family showing up in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Point Rest, Missouri. The newly married Gerstacker couple can be found in the 1880 census for Central Township. George was called a farmer, and his father was included in his household. George’s new wife was said to be just 17 years old in this entry.

1880 census – Central Township, MO

Next, we find the Gerstacker household in the 1900 census. They had quite a full household, including 6 children by that time.

1900 census – Boise Brule Township, MO

We find what I consider to be quite an unusual set of circumstances when the 1910 census was taken. First, we find George listed in the census entry below. George is called a farmer. He is also listed as married at the age of 53, but his wife, Eva, is not living in his household, even though I know she was still alive at the time.

1910 census – Boise Brule Township, MO

His wife, Eva, is found living in a different household. One of their daughters, Nellie Anna Gerstacker, had married a man named Amiel Collins. Amiel was a section hand for the relatively new railroad that was running through East Perry County. Eva was living with the Collins family. This entry spills over two pages of this census.

1910 census – Boise Brule Township, MO

The Collins family had a very young baby, so I am thinking that Eva was asked to come help with the baby and ended up living separately from her husband for a while.

Eva Gerstacker died in 1912 at the age of 48. Her death certificate states that she died of typhoid fever.

Eva Gerstacker death certificate

Eva was buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.

Eva Gerstacker gravestone – Immanuel, Perryville, MO

When the plat maps were produced for Perry County in 1915, we find a few parcels of land that were farmed by John G. Gerstacker.

John G. Gerstacker land map – 1915

I looked at the Perry County Assessment map which shows present-day ownership of land. The land once owned by George Gerstacker is indicated by the red arrows. In the map below, the parcels of land are listed as being owned by a man name Kluender. One of the Gerstacker daughters had married a Kluender, so it appears that this land is still in the family to this day. You can also see on the map below that the Gerstacker land was located in a rather large area of bottomland not far from what used to be the town of Menfro, Missouri.

Kluender land – Perry County Assessor maps

George Gerstacker died in 1928 at the age of 71. We can also view his death certificate.

George Gerstacker death certificate

George Gerstacker is not buried in the same cemetery as his wife. George is buried in the Home Cemetery in Perryville. One can see that the birth date of January 28, 1857 is inscribed on his gravestone.

George Gerstacker gravestone – Home Cemetery, Perryville, MO

A lot of farmers in this area have had to deal with farmland that is located in the rolling hills of East Perry County. That was not the case with George Gerstacker. His farmland was incredibly flat because of its location in the bottomland that is found between the hills of Perry County and the banks of the Mississippi River.

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