Another Lonely Church Record

I have one of those special birthday celebrations to write about today. A baby was born 175 years ago, and it is his baptism record that is the only record to be found in our German Family Tree. What we see in our GFT is displayed below.

Before I get around to discussing our birthday boy, I must admit that I am scratching my head about the situation concerning his parents. First of all, we have this entry on the passenger list of the ship, Lyons, which arrived in America in 1845. We find Friedrich and Caroline Kiepe and one daughter named Louise.

Kiepe family – Lyons passenger list 1845

Yet, as you may have seen in the above excerpt from our GFT, it says Friedrich Kiepe and Caroline Zimmermann were married after they arrived in America. Their marriage record from the books of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown is displayed below in two images. If I was able to read this German, perhaps there is some explanation here why this couple looks as if they were married in Germany and in America.

Kiepe/Zimmermann marriage record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

We can also view a civil record for this marriage.

Kiepe/Zimmermann marriage record – Perry County, MO

How can this be? Add to this mystery these two images from the Kiepe family Bible. The image on the left is in German; the image of the right is the English translation.

According to the above records, the Kiepe couple got married two weeks after their arrival in Apple Creek Township, even though they were listed as a married couple with a child on the Lyons passenger list. I do not have an answer to this mystery, but I can add another piece to this puzzle by pointing out that Theodore Kiepe was born on May 18, 1846, just 4 months after her parents’ marriage in America. You can even argue that when the Kiepe’s arrived in New Orleans in November of 1845, Theodore was also a passenger of that ship because his mother must have been pregnant.

As pointed out in the entry from our German Family Tree, Theodore Kiepe, today’s birthday boy, has his baptism record in the books of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. Pastor Gruber was known to have had preaching stations in different locations away from his own congregation. It is somewhat likely that the Kiepe marriage and baptism took place at such a preaching station in the Apple Creek Township. We know that it was through such efforts by Rev. Gruber that Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim was established in the late 1840’s. Pastor Gruber, however, recorded such baptisms and marriages in the books of his own congregation in Paitzdorf, which is now called Uniontown. Here is Theodore’s baptism record.

Theodore Kiepe baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

We also find information about the Kiepe family in the Arnsberg binder that we have in our research library. Theodore’s parents, along with his siblings, are shown on the page displayed below from that binder. This document states that Theodore’s parents were married in Germany.

Kiepe family information – Arnsberg binder

Since I was unable to find the Kiepe family in the 1850 census, the first one in which I found Theodore was the one taken in 1860. Theodore was 14 years old, and his father was a farmer.

1860 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

The 1870 census is another one which I was unable to find for Theodore. I do know that he was not living with his parents. I did manage to find Theodore in the 1876 Missouri state census where it indicates he was the only member of the household, although I think the William Evans listed below his name was a laborer on his farm. His name shows up again in the next Federal census in 1880.

The 1880 census lists Theodore along with William Evans, who was a farm laborer. It is not often that I run across a person with a “B” in the race category, indicating he was black. If you look at the above census again, you will not see any tally marks for William. That is because his tally marks are included farther to the right on that page under “colored males”.

1880 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Now, we need to take a look at the future bride for Theodore. Her name was Elizabeth Cleve, who was born on January 30, 1862 in Farmington, Missouri. Her parents were Louis and Louise (Rickus) Cleve. She was part of a rather large Cleve family. She is found sitting in the front on the right in this Cleve family photo taken later in her life.

Louis Cleve family

When we look at the obituary of her father, who died in 1911, we find some other information about Elizabeth’s family. For example, they were members of a German Methodist church in Farmington.

Louis Cleve obituary

Elizabeth Cleve can be seen in the 1870 census for St. Francois County at the age of 8.

1870 census – St. Francois County, MO

Next, we find Elizabeth at the age of 18 in the 1880 census. Her family is so large that it spills over two pages.

1880 census – St. Francois County, MO

Theodore Kiepe married Elizabeth Cleve on June 8, 1883. This couple’s marriage license indicates they were married in St. Francois County. They were almost certainly married in the German Methodist church in Farmington.

Kiepe/Cleve marriage license

Theodore and Elizabeth had two children, both girls. We next find this Kiepe family in the 1900 census. Both of their girls are listed.

1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Next, we find the Kiepe family in the 1910 census.

1910 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

The last census in which we find Theodore Keipe was the one taken in 1920. Their household consisted of just Theodore and Elizabeth.

1920 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Theodore died in 1925 at the age of 78. His death certificate is displayed here.

Theodore Kiepe death certificate

Elizabeth is found living in Oak Ridge, Missouri in the 1930 census. She was living with her son-in-law, Harry Sutton. His wife had died in 1919.

1930 census – Oak Ridge, MO

Elizabeth Kiepe died in 1937 at the age of 75. The informant on this document, Gabe McCallister, was another son-in-law of Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Kiepe death certificate

Theodore and Elizabeth Keipe were both buried in the Goshen Cemetery in Oak Ridge, but Findagrave does not have photos of their gravestones. Even though, only one lonely record for Theodore shows up in our German Family Tree, that record leads us to what I consider a very interesting story.


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