Tribe of Benjamin Returns to Promised Land

Benjamin Schuessler is the subject of today’s post. That name often makes me think of the tribes of Israel, which resulted when Jacob was blessed with 12 children. However, you could make an argument that there were 13 tribes when you consider that the tribe of Manasseh was granted two different portions of property when they re-entered the Promised Land. Jacob’s youngest son was Benjamin, whose tribe ended up with a very small piece of property, but it contained the capital city of Jerusalem. Today’s Benjamin Schuessler was one of 13 children, although he was the #2 child, not the youngest. However, the father of Benjamin, Theodore Schuessler was the youngest in his family of 11 children (almost 12). Theodore’s story was told in the post, The Youngest Schuessler. Now, on to Benjamin’s story.

Gottfried Benjamin Schuessler was born on April 23, 1874. He was born close to today’s date, but not quite. He was the son of Heinrich and Catherine (Baum) Schuessler. Benjamin was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri. His baptism record is displayed below.

Benjamin Schuessler baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Benjamin shows up in the 1880 census at the age of 6. His father was a farmer.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

That census entry would be the only one in which Benjamin appears as a single man. We will now turn our attention to Benjamin’s future wife, Lena.

Lena Johanna Palisch was born on June 24, 1875, the daughter of Moritz and Pauline (Koenig) Palisch. A story was written about Lena’s parents titled, Palisch #10. Lena was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Below is an image of her baptism record from that congregation. It looks like the pastor was having issues with his ink pen.

Lena Palisch baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

Lena, too, can only be found in one census before she was married. Here is the 1880 census that shows Lena as a 5 year-old. Her father was a farmer. The head of the household was J.G. Palisch, the original patriarch of the Palisch clan.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Benjamin Schuessler married Lena Palisch on April 25, 1895 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. That makes today this couple’s 126th wedding anniversary. The church record, displayed in two images, is shown below. This document says that Benjamin was a farmer in Jackson County, Illinois.

Schuessler/Palisch marriage record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

We can also take a look at the marriage license for this couple. This document says that Benjamin was from Perry County, Missouri.

Schuessler/Palisch marriage license

The German Family Tree states that Benjamin and Lena had 5 children. When the first girl was born in 1896, she was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. The second child was also baptized at that congregation. The 1900 census shows the Schuessler’s living in the Fountain Bluff Township in Illinois. Benjamin was a farmer.

1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

This couple’s third child was born in 1902, and that child was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Point Rest, Missouri. Apparently, Benjamin moved his family back across the river to Perry County. When the 1910 census was taken, the Schuessler household is found living in the Bois Brule Township.

1910 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

Benjamin had his World War I draft registration completed in 1918. His address was given as Claryville.

Benjamin Schuessler – WWI draft registration

The 1920 census shows Benjamin and Lena with all 5 of their children, 4 girls and a boy.

1920 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

The last census in which we find Benjamin was the one taken in 1930. He and Lena had an empty nest.

1930 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

Benjamin Schuessler died in 1938 at the age of 64. For some reason, he is reported to have died in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, although I have no documentation for that. I do know that no death certificate can be found for him from Perry County, Missouri. His gravestone says he died on his birthday.

Lena Schuessler can still be found living in the 1940 census. She was living in the household with her daughter, Francis, who had married Ernst Dippold.

1940 census – Lithium, MO

Lena Schuessler died in 1955 at the age of 79. Her death certificate says she died at the Perryville Nursing Home.

Lena Schuessler death certificate

Benjamin and Lena are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville. There’s another puzzle here. Benjamin’s birthday is given as April 24th, not April 23rd.

Benjamin and Lena Schuessler gravestone – Immanuel, Perryville, MO

This small tribe of Benjamin, like the Biblical Benjamin, went to live in a distant land only to have his tribe return to the land of his ancestors. Benjamin Schuessler wasn’t the only Perry County native to hop back and forth across the Mississippi River. His move was understandable. After all, I returned to Perry County, the home of my ancestors, after spending many years elsewhere. What is not understandable is why Benjamin reportedly died in Arkansas.

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