We begin today with the 160th birthday of Amos David Meyr. Amos’s bride would be Mary Mirly, thus bringing together two rather prolific surnames that have historically populated the northern parts of Cape Girardeau County and the Lutheran churches found there. We will begin with the birthday boy.
Amos David Meyr was born on February 22,1861, the son of Johann and Theresia (Ebner) Meyr. The baptism record for Amos is found in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. That baptism record is displayed below.
This baptism record from Immanuel, Altenburg and other baptism records in the Meyr family lead me to discuss a little bit of church politics. After the Meyr family arrived in America in 1853, they settled in the Shawnee Township of Cape Girardeau County. The first two children born into this family after their arrival were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg where Rev. Georg Schieferdecker was the pastor. It was also a time when a controversy was brewing over the issue of millennialism, and in 1857, Rev. Shieferdecker was forced to leave Trinity. After leaving Trinity, he formed the other Lutheran church in Altenburg, Immanuel Lutheran Church, which was not part of the synod of which Trinity was a member. I think the Meyr family was loyal to Rev. Schieferdecker, and this explains why their next 3 children, including Amos, were baptized at Immanuel, Altenburg. Meanwhile, another Immanuel Lutheran Church was being established in New Wells. That church eventually settled on becoming a member of what is now named the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Not everyone who was involved in the early years of Immanuel, New Wells was happy with that decision, and an effort was made to establish another Lutheran congregation in that area. It became known as the New Jerusalem Church. That church did not have a long history, and the only remaining evidence of their existence is a cemetery located between New Wells and Pocahontas. In that cemetery, there is a gravestone for Katherina Meyr, who was Johann Meyr’s younger sister who never married. This leads me to think that Johann Meyr’s family was part of that effort to establish the New Jerusalem Church. Then, in 1864, the last child born in the Johann Meyr family was born, and that child’s baptism record is not included in our German Family Tree. Perhaps that child was baptized at the New Jerusalem Church. Johann Meyr died sometime before the 1870 census, but when that occurred and where he was buried is a mystery. When the last Meyr child was confirmed in 1878, that record is found in the books of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas, another non-Missouri Synod congregation that joined the Iowa Synod in 1871. That was the same synod that Immanuel, Altenburg joined. Throughout this time period, there seemed to be an anti-Missouri Synod attitude in this Meyr family.
Let’s return to the life of Amos Meyr. The first census in which we find him was the one taken in 1870, and in that entry we see his mother, Theresia, as the head of the household, indicating that Johann Meyr had died. Amos is the 9 year-old on this entry.
We find a very similar situation for the Meyr household in 1880. The only change was that Amos’s older sister, Mathilde, had gotten married in 1879. Amos, at age 19, was one of several brothers who were described as farm laborers.
We will now take a look at Amos’s future bride. It turns out that he apparently fell in love with a Missouri Synod Lutheran girl. Her name was Maria C. Mirly, the daughter of Matthias and Maria (Lehner) Mirly. She was born on November 7, 1857, the firstborn child in her family. Mary was born right at the time when the Schieferdecker crisis was hitting Trinity, Altenburg. Our German Family Tree does not say where her baptism record can be found. When the second Mirly child was born in 1860, that child was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. Mary is found in her first census in 1860 at the age of 2. Her father was a farmer.
I was unable to find the Mirly family in the 1870 census. The first church record we have for Mary was her confirmation record from Immanuel, New Wells. She was confirmed in 1870.
We find Mary in the 1880 census for Shawnee Township where she is listed as being 22 years old.
That leads us up to the marriage of Amos Meyr and Mary Mirly. They were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells on May 24, 1882. We can take a look at the church record for this wedding. There were 3 marriage at that congregation in 1882, and all 3 of them involved a Meyr. Two of them were Meyr/Mirly marriages.
The German Family Tree lists 6 children born to this couple. All of their children were baptized at Immanuel, New Wells. Two of those children born in the late 1880’s died at about 3 years of age from diphtheria. When the 1900 census was taken, we find this family with their 4 remaining children. This census entry says Amos was a stone mason.
We find the Meyr’s in each census until 1940. The next one was the one taken in 1910. Amos is called a plasterer and their youngest child, Concordia, was the only child in the household.
Next, we can see this household in the 1920 census. This time, Amos was called a brick layer and farmer.
The 1930 census shows Amos and Mary in their 70’s and living in the household of Gustave Schneider, who had married one of their daughters, Emma Meyr. No occupation is given for Amos.
Finally, we find this couple in the 1940 census living in the village of Pocahontas. Amos was back to being a brick layer and plasterer.
Mary Meyr died in 1943 at the age of 85. Here is her death certificate.
Amos Meyr died in 1958 at the age of 96. He was called a brick layer and builder on his death certificate.
Amos and Mary Meyr are each buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas. Zion Lutheran Church is the Missouri Synod church now located in Pocahontas.
Amos’s parents were not the only Meyr’s to settle in Shawnee Township, but they seemed to be ones that became involved in the millennialism debate that affected so many churches. That debate did not just take place in Altenburg. Evidence of it can be found all over the country. In the case of Amos Meyr, all indications are that it was his marriage to Mary Mirly that got him back into a Missouri Synod church where he spent much of his life.