Sale or Soul?

I asked some local experts for some advice for this post. I was wondering about a surname that shows up in today’s story. That name is spelled, Soehl. My question had to do with how that name is pronounced. It turns out that my local experts said that it all depends on who you ask. Some people pronounce the name as sale and others pronounce it as soul. The surname originally used the German umlaut and was spelled Söhl. The umlaut version of this name would lead you to pronounce this name more like sail. However, when this name was Americanized, it was spelled Soehl, and that spelling would lead you to pronounce it like soul. So, I guess it’s your choice how to pronounce this name in your brain when you are reading it.

Before we get to a Soehl, we must look at today’s birthday girl. Her name was Maria Martha Etzold. She was born on March 13, 1871, so she would be celebrating a very special birthday today. She would have to blow out 150 candles on her birthday cake. Martha was the firstborn child of Herman and Ernstine (Jacob) Etzold. Herman Etzold had arrived in America in 1867, travelling on the ship, Stella. We can see him on that ship’s passenger list.

Herman Etzold – Stella passenger list 1867

Martha was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar, Missouri, but I am once again away from Altenburg, so I cannot post images of church records today. We find Martha in her first census in 1880 where she was 9 years old. Her father was a farmer.

1880 census – Salem Township, MO

That census would be the only one in which Martha appears before she was married. Let’s now turn our attention to her future husband. His name was Heinrich Michael Soehl who was born on October 30, 1862 in Hanover, Germany. Henry was the son of Friedrich and Marie (Stelling) Soehl. The Soehl family came to America with several others who settled in Perry County. They made the voyage on the ship, Carl, which arrived in 1866 when Henry was 4 years old. The Soehl family can be seen on the passenger list for this ship displayed below.

Soehl family – Carl passenger list 1866

We find Henry in the 1870 census for Cinque Hommes Township when Henry was 7 years old. If you look just below the Soehl family, you will see Martha’s parents, who had yet to have children, but they apparently lived very near the Soehl’s.

1870 census – Cinque Hommes Township, MO

Next, we see Henry in the 1880 census. This time, they were in the census for Salem Township. Not far above the Soehl family, you will once again see the Etzold family. This is the same 1880 census as was shown before for Martha. We see both Martha Etzold and Henry Soehl on this image.

1880 census – Salem Township, MO

On May 24, 1894, Henry Soehl married Martha Etzold at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. I am unable to show the church record, but I can display this couple’s marriage license.

Soehl/Etzold marriage license

According to our German Family Tree, this couple had 4 children, three of which were boys. Unfortunately, I was not able to find this family in the 1900 census. In the first census in which I could find them, the one taken in 1910, we can see all 4 children. Also, Henry’s father was included in their household.

1910 census – Union Township, MO

Even though his father, Fred Soehl, died in 1913, when the plat maps were produced in 1915, we find a parcel of land in the name of Fred. I suspect this is where Henry farmed.

Fred Soehl land map – 1915

The 1920 census shows the Soehl household still having all 4 children living with them. Henry was a farmer all his life.

1920 census – Union Township, MO

The last census in which we find Henry and Martha was the one taken in 1930. The 3 boys remained in their household.

1930 census – Union Township, MO

I must point out to you that one year after the above census, their son, Friedrich, married Hedwig Schamburg, the daughter of the Schamburg’s that were the subject of the last post that I published.

Henry Soehl died in 1935 at the age of 72. His death certificate is shown below.

Henry Soehl death certificate

Martha Soehl died a year later in 1936 at the age of 65. We can also view her death certificate.

Martha Soehl death certificate

Henry and Martha Soehl are each buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar, Missouri.

I find it interesting that Henry’s gravestone has his surname spelled, Söhl, and Martha’s gravestone has her surname spelled Soehl, even though these two died only one year apart. Henry’s gravestone could be described as a German one, and Martha’s as an English one. I suppose you could make an argument that one of them was Mr. Sale and the other was Mrs. Soul.


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