Ted’s Two Wives and Two Kids

Theodore Albert Bodenschatz would be celebrating his 159th birthday today. He was born on April 6, 1862, the son of Erdmann and Christiana (Wachter) Bodenschatz. I am able to display a photograph of Theodore’s parents.

Erdmann and Christiana Bodenschatz

Theodore was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. His baptism record from that congregation’s books is shown below.

Theodore Bodenschatz – Immanuel Altenburg, MO

The 1870 census shows the Theodore’s Bodenschatz family living in the Brazeau Township. Theodore’s father was a blacksmith and his older brother, Friedrich, was learning to be a blacksmith from his father. Theodore was 8 years old.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1880, we find this family still living in the same township. This time, Theodore and his father were blacksmiths, and Friedrich was a wagon maker. One thing I have discovered while writing for this blog is that men from the Bodenschatz and Wachter families often had the occupation of blacksmith.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The story about Theodore is one of those in which the missing 1890 census makes it difficult to figure out the full story behind the events that take place between the 1880 census and the 1900 census. During that 20 year time period, Theodore ends up getting married twice and burying one of his wives. In addition to that, he had one child by each of his two wives, a girl by his first wife and a boy by his second wife. I will do my best to describe the 1880’s and 1890’s in Theodore’s life.

First, let’s take a look at the early life of his first bride, Maria Amalie Jahn. She was born on September 27, 1861, the daughter of Friedrich and Magdalene (Kaufmann) Jahn. Her father was one of the Stephanites who traveled to America aboard the Copernicus, and his mother was part of the New York Group that were also part of the original immigrants that arrived in Perry County in 1839. Maria was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Let’s take a look at her baptism record from that church’s books.

Maria Jahn baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Maria is found in the 1870 census at the age of 9. Her father was a farmer. Two images are required to display this family’s entry.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we find Maria in the 1880 census. Maria’s mother had died in 1877, and her father had married a widow by the name of Maria (Haertling) Koch. Martin Koch, who is shown on this entry was a son by Maria’s prior marriage. There was also an adopted daughter by the name of Mary Burn. Maria Jahn was 18 years old.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

On October 7, 1883, Theodore Bodenschatz married Maria Jahn at Trinity, Altenburg. We can view the church record for this marriage.

Bodenschatz/Jahn marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

We can also look at the marriage license for this couple.

Bodenschatz/Jahn marriage license

In 1887, a girl named Concordia was born to this couple. She would be their only child. If we could look at the 1890 census, we would see Theodore, Maria, and their 3 year-old daughter. Then, in 1891, Maria died at the age of 29, leaving Theodore as a widower. She was buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.

Maria Bodenschatz gravestone – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Theodore’s second wife would be Josephine Palisch. Josephine was born on November 25, 1868, the fourth child of Bernhard and Louise (Seise) Palisch. Josephine was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Her baptism record is displayed below.

Josephine Palisch baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

Josephine shows up in the 1870 census at the age of 1. Her father was a farmer.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we find Josephine in the 1880 census at the age of 11.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

On July 31, 1892, the widower, Theodore Bodenschatz, married Josephine Palisch. This couple was married in the home of Franz Sittner. Franz was married to Theodore’s older sister, Alwine. The marriage record for this couple is found in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville.

Bodenschatz/Palisch marriage record – Immanuel, Perryville, MO

The marriage license for this wedding is displayed below.

Bodenschatz/Palisch marriage license

In 1895, this couple had their only child, a boy named Eugene. Then, we find a document that is somewhat confusing. A Theodore Bodenschatz is found getting an appointment to be the postmaster in New Wells, Missouri in 1897. I did not find any other evidence of Theodore living in New Wells. I searched for another Theodore Bodenschatz who lived in that area. There was another one who lived in Pocahontas, but it doesn’t seem likely that Theodore Bodenschatz was this postmaster either. I don’t know why a blacksmith would take over the task of being a postmaster. A postmaster was usually some sort of storekeeper. I do know that another postmaster was appointed just a year later in 1898. I also know that even the middle initial on the document below is correct for the character in today’s story.

Theodore Bodenschatz – postmaster appointment, New Wells – 1897

In 1900, we find the Bodenschatz family living in the Salem Township of Perry County. That means we have to look at a pretty lousy census entry. Theodore was a blacksmith. Only their son, Eugene, was in their household, not Theodore’s daughter, Concordia. I was unable to find her in a 1900 census.

1900 census – Salem Township, MO

In the 1910 census, we find the Bodenschatz family back living in the Brazeau Township where Theodore was a farm laborer.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Theodore and Josephine moved to St. Louis before the 1920 census. It looks like it says Theodore was a blacksmith for a car company, but the dot at the end of car may indicate that it was a carriage company. Their son, Eugene, was a clerk for the railroad.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

The last census in which we find Theodore and Josephine was the one taken in 1930. They were living in Maplewood, which is found in the municipality of St. Louis. Theodore was now called a machinist.

1930 census – Maplewood, MO

Josephine Bodenschatz died in 1934 at the age of 64. Her death certificate says that her remains were taken to the Missouri Crematory, indicating that she was likely cremated.

Josephine Bodenschatz death certificate

I think Theodore moved to Oklahoma after his wife’s death to live with his daughter and her family there. The story telling how his daughter, Concordia, got to Oklahoma was told in the post, No More Boden, Honey. Theodore died in 1937 at the age of 75. He was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in Wagoner, Oklahoma.

Theodore and Josephine Bodenschatz gravestone – Elmwood, Wagoner, OK

As you can see, the gravestone indicates that this is also the grave site of his wife, Josephine, who was probably cremated 3 years earlier. It makes me wonder if Theodore carried his wife’s ashes with him when he moved to Oklahoma so she could be buried with him.


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