Ridge Romance Goes to Nebraska

Many stories have been written on this blog about couples that were made up of a husband and a wife who were raised on The Ridge, a hilly, wooded area found north of Altenburg. You will read another such Ridge Romance story today, but it will be a couple that does not remain on The Ridge. This particular pair moves to Nebraska and spends most of their lives there.

It all begins with the birth of a boy on this day 128 years ago. August Carl Thurm was born on March 16, 1893, the son of Gerhardt and Johanna (Kutscher) Thurm. August was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Our German Family Tree says this Thurm family had 10 children, 9 of which were boys. August was son number 5. Below are two images of his baptism record from that congregation. In those days, the church baptism records stretched over two pages. I included the previous baptism in this church’s books, which happens to show the baptism record of his future wife’s younger brother, Johann Arthur Pilz.

August Thurm baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

August is found in the 1900 census for Brazeau Township. This entry mistakenly says that August was born in 1892. The age given on this form looks like both a 7 and an 8.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we find August in the 1910 census where he is called a farm laborer. This would be the last census in which we find August living in Perry County.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Now, we will take a look at August’s Ridge bride. Her name was Ida Maria Pilz who was born on August 12, 1891. She was the firstborn child of Heinrich and Maria (Stueve) Pilz. Seven children were born into this Pilz family, 5 of which were boys. Ida was also baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Below are the images of her baptism record from that church’s books.

Ida Pilz baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

The 1900 census shows Ida as being 8 years old along with 4 other siblings. Adelheid Pilz, who is listed right below Ida’s family, was Ida’s widowed grandmother.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Ida’s father died in 1905, so we see her mother as the head of the household in the 1910 census. Ida was 18 years old at the time.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

August Thurm married Ida Pilz on June 28, 1914 at Immanuel, Altenburg. We can take a look at the marriage license for this couple.

Thurm/Pilz marriage license

The church record for this wedding states that both August and Ida were from Friedland. Friedland is a term that was once used for The Ridge. Also, this record states that August was a railroad agent. This is another record that stretches over two pages in the church books.

Thurm/Pilz marriage record – Immanuel, Alenburg, MO

This is not a very good image. I found it in Diane Anderson’s Thurm family binder that we have in our research library. The image in that binder is quite small and I had to enlarge it. It is the wedding photo of August and Ida Thurm.

August and Ida Thurm wedding

Apparently, it was not long after this marriage that this couple moved to Nebraska. When their first child was born in 1916, that daughter was said to have been born in Nebraska on several censuses. In 1917 or 1918, August had his World War I draft registration completed, and it said he was living in Norfolk, Nebraska with a wife and baby. He was working for the Union Pacific Railroad.

August Thurm – WWI draft registration

We find the Thurm family living in Norfolk, Nebraska in the 1920 census. Their first two of 5 children were born by this time.

1920 census – Norfolk, NE

Sometime in the 1920’s, August and Ida moved their family to Fremont, Nebraska. In the 1929 city directory for Fremont, we find this entry. August was said to be a chief clerk for the Union Pacific Railroad.

August Thurm – 1929 Fremont, NE city directory

The 1930 census shows the Thurm household living in Fremont. They had all 5 of their children by then. This entry looks like the 1900 census for Salem Township for Perry County. It is very difficult to read.

1930 census – Fremont, NE

Next, we find the Thurm family in the 1940 census in the same location. It says August was the chief clerk for the Union Pacific Freight House.

1940 census – Fremont, NE

August Thurm died in 1941 at the age of 48. Although I have no documentation, Diane Anderson’s Thurm binder states that he died in a hospital following a surgical operation. Ida Thurm did not die until 1980 at the age of 89. August and Ida are each buried in the Memorial Cemetery in Fremont, Nebraska.

In a previous post, That Thurm Throng, it was pointed out that 5 of August’s brothers moved away from Perry County to settle in Bremer County, Iowa. August was another son in that family that did not remain in Perry County, but he was the only one who ended up in Nebraska. Two of the boys died quite young and only one of the Thurm boys from this branch of the Thurm family tree remained to live on The Ridge for a while.


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