Alfred Grosse and His Two Marie’s

There were two Grosse families that were part of the original immigration group that arrived in Perry County, Missouri in 1839. Both Grosse families travelled to America aboard the Johann Georg, but they were not on that ship at the same time. One group of Grosse’s was made up of 3 shoemakers and their mother. The other Grosse’s, the ones I will discuss today, was made up of a tailor and his family. The Johann Georg made two voyages that arrived in New Orleans during the year 1839. The first arrival was as part of the folks that we refer to as the Stephanites. They arrived at the beginning of the year. The Johann Georg returned to Germany and made another voyage that carried what we refer to as the Gruber Group. They arrived in New Orleans in November. The Grosse family you will read about today were part of the Gruber Group, headed by Gottfried and Henrietta. That family can be seen on the passenger list from that ship shown below.

Grosse family – Johann Georg passenger list November 1839

Today’s story will especially focus on Alfred Grosse, the 3 year-old on the above passenger list. His birthday is somewhat questionable. His confirmation record says he was born on February 25, 1835 in Ronneburg, Germany, but his gravestone says he was born on February 14th. To make matters worse, his death certificate says he was born on August 1st. When the 1850 census was taken, we find the Grosse household living in the Brazeau Township. Gottfried, the father, was still a tailor. Interestingly, the household shown just below this one was for Jacob Seibel’s family, and he, too, was a tailor. Alfred’s older brother, Friedrich Robert, had died in 1843 at the age of 16, so he does not appear in this census entry. Also, we find another brother named Emil on this list. In addition, we do not see the older sister in the family any longer.

1850 census – Brazeau Township, MO

There was an Emil Moritz Grosse who was confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg in 1845. For some reason, he is not listed on the passenger list with his family, or he might have for some reason arrived later. Here is a list of his confirmation class from the books of Trinity, Altenburg. Emil is #3 on the list.

Emil Moritz Grosse confirmation class – Trintiy, Altenburg, MO 1845

By the way, Alfred was confirmed in 1848, and we can look at his confirmation class as well. Alfred is #6 on this list. He was in the same confirmation class as my great grandfather, Gottwerth Schmidt, who is #2 on the list.

Alfred Grosse confirmation class – Trinity, Altenburg, MO 1848

The 1860 census provides us with a few other mysteries.

1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

First of all, there is a Mary Grosse who is a year older than Alfred who has not been seen before. That must be Alfred’s first wife. We have no marriage record in our German Family Tree for Alfred’s first marriage. However, we know Alfred and his wife, Marie Amalia Schaefer, had their first child in 1861, so he must have gotten married sometime around 1860. We do find an interesting record in some St. Louis marriage records. This record gives nothing but the names of the bride and groom, but it does seem to look like the right marriage. This document is from 1858, with no specific date during that year.

We know very little about Marie Amalia Schaefer. Even her birthday has to be calculated from the number of years, months, and days that appear in her death record from Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. When that calculation is done, you come up with a birthday of April 26, 1834. If that is correct, then today would be Marie’s 187th birthday. There was a prominent Schaefer family in the Old Appleton area, but it does not appear that Marie is connected to them. I have no idea what the names of her parents were. However, we do know that all of Alfred’s children came from his first wife.

There is another puzzle in the 1860 census. Another son named Joseph shows up that we haven’t seen before, but he is the same age as what we would suspect Emil Moritz to be by 1860. This person does not show up in any other censuses. However, we do find an interesting entry on Findagrave for a Joseph Gross, who died in 1873. The birth year isn’t quite right, but it is close, and being buried in a Quarantine Cemetery would explain why Joseph was not included in future census entries.

Our German Family Tree includes 3 children born to Alfred and Marie. All three of those children were baptized at Immanuel, New Wells, so this family must have moved to that area before 1861. The 1870 census shows the Grosse family living in the Shawnee Township of northern Cape Girardeau County. All 3 children are included, along with Albert’s mother, Henrietta, who by that time was a widow.

1870 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Next, we find the Grosse family in the 1880 census. Alfred’s mother had died in 1875. Alfred was always a farmer. This couple’s youngest child, Joseph William, was called Joseph this time.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Marie Grosse died in 1886 at the age of 52. Her death record from the books of Immanuel, New Wells is where we find that Marie lived 52 years, 4 months, and 14 days, thus leading to her birthday being April 26, 1834.

Marie Grosse death record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Alfred would get married again in 1890. His second wife had also lost her spouse, and she was another Marie. Her name was Marie (Mueller) Hoffmann, who had been married to Charles Hoffmann, who had died in 1885. A previous post was written mainly about Marie and her first husband titled, Where Was She Born? There were no more children born into Alfred’s 2nd marriage.

The next census we can view is the one taken in 1900. We find Alfred’s wife once again called Mary, but it is his second Marie. These two had an empty nest.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Marie (Mueller) Grosse died in 1907 at the age of 68. So, when the 1910 census was taken, we find Alfred living by himself. At the age of 75, he was still farming.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The last census in which we find Alfred was the one taken in 1920. Alfred was living all by himself at age 84, and the entry says he had no occupation.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Alfred Grosse died in 1924 at the age of 89. His death certificate mentions that he had broken some ribs as a result of a fall.

Alfred Grosse death certificate

Alfred and both of his wives are buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery (except they are divided between the old and new cemeteries for that congregation).

Now, I think I may call one of the original Grosse immigrant families the “Shoemaker Grosse’s” and this Grosse family discussed today as the “Tailor Grosse’s”. The “Tailor Grosse’s” are the ones that ended up in New Wells. One of the “Shoemaker Grosse’s” ended up in Altenburg, and a whole other set of Grosse descendants come from him. I just have to keep them all straight somehow.


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