Gotthilf and Lydia Hecht

I do not know if I really have a birthday boy today or not. That is because there is some debate about the birthday of one of today’s main characters. Church records do not agree on the date of birth of Gotthilf Hecht. According to his baptism record at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, Missouri, his birthday was February 9, 1868. His parents were Carl and Mary (Gentsch) Hecht. An image of his baptism record is displayed below. It definitely states that Gotthilf was born on February 9th.

Gotthilf Hecht baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Gotthilf is found in the 1870 census at the age of 2. He was living in the Brazeau Township, but not long after this census was taken, the Union Township was formed, and that is where we find Gotthilf living the rest of his life.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In order to find Gotthilf in the next census, we have to look in the long-lost pages of the 1880 census for Union Township. Gotthilf’s father had died in 1879 at the young age of 42, so his mother was the head of the household. Gotthilf was 12 years old at that time.

1880 census – Union Township, MO

By the time of the 1900 census, Gotthilf had gotten married, so let’s take a look at his bride. Her name was Lydia Sophie Jacob. She was born on August 20, 1871, the daughter of Joseph and Anna (Hemmann) Jacob. Lydia was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar, Missouri. Her baptism record from that congregation’s books is shown below.

Lydia Jacob baptism record – Salem, Farrar, MO

Like her future husband, Lydia’s father died rather early. In fact, he died at the even younger age of 30 in 1876. So, we never see Lydia in a census with her father. We find Lydia in the 1880 census when she was 9 years of age. She can be found in the census for Union Township, but not the lost records. It was just Lydia and her mother listed in this entry.

1880 census – Union Township, MO

On November 22, 1896, Gotthilf Hecht married Lydia Jacob at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. We can take a look at the church record for this wedding. It was the only marriage that took place during 1896 at Grace.

Hecht/Jacob marriage record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

The marriage license for this couple can also be viewed.

Hecht/Jacob marriage license

Our German Family Tree lists 7 children born to this couple, and only one of them was a boy. That included a set of twin girls born in 1905. The last of these children was born in 1911. We find Gotthilf and Lydia’s family in the 1900 census with their first two daughters. Gotthilf’s mother, had married again in 1880. Her second husband’s name was Robert Rudert. However, he died in 1886, once again leaving Mary a widow. So, when we see Mary on this census, her name was actually Mary Rudert, even though it looks like Mary Hecht.

1900 census – Union Township, MO

Next, we find the Hecht household in the 1910 census where we find 6 of the 7 Hecht children, 5 of them girls. We also see that Mary Rudert was a member of this household.

1910 census – Union Township, MO

As mentioned earlier, the last daughter born into this family showed up in 1911. When that child was just 3 years old, her father, Gotthilf, died in 1914 at the age of 46. I was unable to find a death certificate for Gotthilf, but the church record for his death says he died of heart failure. The burial record from that church’s records, as well as the confirmation record, state that Gotthilf was born on January 22, 1868. That birth date is also inscribed on his gravestone which will be displayed later.

Lydia Hecht died in 1918 at the age of 47. Her death certificate says she died of an obstruction of her bowels.

Lydia Hecht death certificate

Both Gotthilf and Lydia were buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown. Gotthilf’s gravestone clearly indicates a birthday of January 22nd.

The deaths of Gotthilf and Lydia left a bunch of children, almost all girls, without parents. When the 1920 census was taken, we find this group of children living with their grandmother, Mary Rudert, who was 78 years old at the time. The oldest daughter, Hedwig, at age 22, was listed as the head of the household. Hedwig was described as the manager of the farm, and Walter, the only son, was called a farm laborer. The twins, Clara and Flora, were 14 years old.

1920 census – Union Township, MO

This story illustrates quite a few individuals who died at rather young ages. I suppose it may be the case of people whose short life spans might be hereditary. We see evidence of it in both the Hecht and Jacob families. Sometimes, we find the opposite to be true, where family members have histories of living very long lives.


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