Ernst Edward Gottlieb Zeibig was born on May 13, 1843. According to his baptism record, his twin sister, Amalia, was born on May 12th. That baptism record is shown here.
Amalia Zeibig is notable for being the first wife of Paulus Leimbach, from whom so many Ridge Leimbach’s came. If you would like to read a story about Paulus and Amalia, you can click on the following link:
Amalia lived a very short life, dying at the age of 22. Her twin brother’s life was not only much longer, but it involved quite a few twists and turns. It is his story I will attempt to tell today.
Ernst Zeibig is first found in the 1850 census for the Brazeau Township at the age of 7. His father was a farmer.
Ten years later, we find Ernst at age 17 in the 1860 census. The early census takers really had trouble spelling the Zeibig surname.
Ernst enlisted in the Union Army when the Civil War broke out. I managed to find 2 documents describing his military service.
Let’s now take a look at Ernst’s future bride. Marie Katherine Vogel was born on October 29, 1842. She was the first child of August and Catherine (Doering) Vogel. She is found in the 1850 census at the age of 8.
The 1860 census shows the following Vogel household. Marie was a teenager.
On May 9, 1867, Ernst Zeibig married Marie Vogel. The civil record for that wedding is shown below.
You can see that it was Rev. J.F. Koestering who officiated at this wedding. He is likely responsible for not finding a church record for this marriage. Since the Vogel family were members at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, that is likely where this marriage took place.
It was at this point in my research that I had a mystery to solve. Ernst’s future obituary speaks of him living in Keokuk, Iowa in 1870-1871, at which time he lost his wife and all 4 children to a smallpox outbreak. However, we find 4 baptisms for children born to Ernst and Marie from 1868-1874 that are found in local church books. Their first child born in 1868, Christiane, was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.
Their next child born in 1869, a girl named Marie, was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells.
After that, in 1872, a boy named Carl, was baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.
The last child born in this area was Ernst who was once again baptized at Immanuel, New Wells in 1874.
Some of the mystery of them moving around during those years can be explained by this note about Ernst and Marie’s membership at St. John’s, Pocahontas.
I figured the Zeibig family should have been found in the 1870 census for the Shawnee Township. A search for the surname Zeibig in that census turns up blank. I decided to look through the printed index that we have in our museum for that year’s census, and I found them. They were listed as a Seibert family, and all the names and ages match up with the facts we know about this family.
I don’t have any doubts that the Zeibig’s moved to Keokuk, Iowa where he lost his family, but I do not think the dates shown in Ernst’s obituary are correct. Sometime after 1874, this family must have moved away from this area. The next document I found for Ernst Zeibig was a marriage record. He married again on October 21, 1877 to a widow named Mary Evarts in Lancaster County, Nebraska. If you look closely at this document, you will see that the marriage was performed by Rev. Gotthold Ahner, who is another person with Perry County roots.
Her maiden name must have been Quarthammer. What I find fascinating is that Mary’s first husband was named Evart Evarts. His gravestone is shown below.
It appears, based on an Ancestry.com family history, that Ernst and his second wife had a child in 1878, but then it appears that marriage likely ended in divorce. That wife died in 1928. I was unable to find Ernst Zeibig in the 1880 census. We have to look again at Ernst’s obituary to find that he married Mathilda Graff on July 27, 1881. There is even a problem with this marriage date. Mathilda’s obituary says they were married on July 24th. Mathilda’s maiden name was Denzin, and her first husband died in 1879. That couple had one child previous to her marrying Ernst Zeibig. This 3rd marriage probably took place in Lanham or nearby Marysville. The 1900 census shows the Zeibig family living in the Oketo Township located in Marshall County, Kansas. There were 6 children in this household.
Ernst must have bought some property in Nebraska before 1906. This 1906 plat map shows a parcel of land located just north of Lanham.
Ernst’s obituary also says he was blessed with 6 more children with Mathilda. The 1910 census shows the following Zeibig household in which they are shown as living in the Glenwood Township in Nebraska. Only their youngest child, William, remained in their household.
At this point, I want to discuss this little town of Lanham. Lanham is described as being in both Kansas and Nebraska. That is because Main Street in Lanham is also the border between those two states. That road is also called State Line Road. Here is a present day photo of Lanham. I have placed a red box around the property that once was farmed by Ernst Zeibig.
Next, we find Ernst and Mathilde in the 1920 census, having an empty nest.
Ernst Zeibig died in 1921 at the age of 77. We can finally take a look at the obituary that has been mentioned several times in this article. This obituary and Ernst’s gravestone give the wrong birth year. He was born in 1843, not 1844. This obituary gives no mention of Ernst’s second marriage.
Mathilda can still be found in the 1930 census. She was living by herself.
Mathilda Zeibig died in 1933 at the age of 80. We can also view Mathilda’s obituary.
Both Ernst and Mathilda are buried in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Lanham. They have a Zeibig family stone along with individual stones for Ernst and Mathilda.
As you can see on the previous map of Lanham, Ernst and Mathilda, although they lived in Nebraska, could almost see the cemetery in which they were buried, and that cemetery is located in Kansas.