Mecker Mates

Heinrich Mecker would be celebrating his 161st birthday today if he was still alive. I will attempt to give you an account of his life. I am going to begin with his parents, Jacob and Nettie (Arnold) Mecker. There is a story in the Mecker family that says Jacob Mecker was a stowaway on the same ship with the Arnold family that arrived in New Orleans in 1857. The story says that is how Jacob met Nettie, and this couple was married in New Orleans soon after their arrival in this country. You can take that story with a grain of salt. I am able to show you pictures of Jacob and Nettie Mecker.

This couple lived for a while in St. Clair County in Illinois. That is where Heinrich Mecker was born on May 29, 1860. Henry is already found in the 1860 census as a baby. The census page says the post office was in Fayetteville, Illinois. Jacob Mecker was a farmer.

1860 census – St. Clair County, IL

Our German Family Tree includes a Jacob Mecker family, and it also includes a separate entry for Henry Mecker, but the GFT does not tie those two together. I may have to inform Lynn Degenhardt that I have enough proof to warrant putting Henry into Jacob’s family as their firstborn child.

The Mecker family must have moved to Missouri between 1860 and 1870. They were living in St. Mary’s in Perry County when the 1870 census was taken. Henry was 10 years old at the time.

1870 census – St. Mary’s, MO

Another move was made before the 1880 census was enumerated. We find the Mecker household in the Cinque Hommes Township in that census entry.

1880 census – Cinque Hommes Township, MO

Now, we will take a look at Henry’s future wife, Catherine Bangert. As with the Mecker’s, let’s first look at Catherine’s parents and her father’s arrival in America. Wilhelm Bangert arrived in this country in 1847 aboard the ship, Post. Although it appears Henry travelled alone, there is an Eisenberg family on this passenger list that also ended up settling in the Friedheim area. In fact, another Bangert would later marry an Eisenberg. There are also individuals on this list with the surnames, Wilke and Kiepe. Those are Friedheim and Arnsburg names.

Wilhelm Bangert – Post passenger list 1847

Wilhelm married Catherine Eichmeier in 1849. However, there is evidence that Catherine was married to a Grossheider, and he likely died not long after their marriage. The Bangert couple’s daughter, another Catherine, was born on August 6, 1859. I have reason to believe that I would be able to find the baptism record for Catherine in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim, which we have in our museum. However, they are in the process of being indexed and have not been added to our German Family Tree yet. We have a bunch of individual Bangert records that show up in our GFT, but they are not tied to one another. Getting the Friedheim records indexed should enable us to put many of those individuals in the same Bangert family.

I found other Bangerts in early census records that were taken during Catherine’s early years, but I found none for her Bangert family. That leads us to the marriage of Henry Mecker and Catherine Bangert that took place on April 21, 1881. The marriage record below lists more that one marriage conducted by Rev. O.F. Voigt. Rev. Voigt was a pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church at Friedheim, and I also suspect I would find this marriage record in that congregation’s books.

Mecker/Bangert marriage record

This couple has 5 children listed in our German Family Tree, with some of them in the Friedenberg records and their last child baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. The first census record we can view of this married couple is the one taken in 1900 when they had already been married for 19 years. Henry was a farmer.

1900 census – Central Township, MO

Next, we find the Mecker household in the 1910 census. Their two oldest sons had gotten married before this census was taken.

1910 census – Central Township, MO

The 1920 census shows the Mecker family living in Perryville, and Henry is called a retired farmer.

1920 census – Perryville, MO

The 1930 census would be the last one in which we see either Henry or Catherine. They were still living in Perryville. They had a boarder living in their home by the name of Esther Dickmann.

1930 census – Perryville, MO

Henry Mecker died in 1932 at the age of 72. The cause of death is referred to as heart block.

Henry Mecker death certificate

Catherine Mecker died in 1935 at the age of 76. Her death certificate is shown here.

Catherine Mecker death certificate

Henry and Catherine Mecker were buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville. Their gravestone is one of those that includes photos of the people buried there.

Henry and Catherine Mecker gravestone – Immanuel, Perryville, MO

The photos of Henry and Catherine on their gravestone are the only ones I have of these two folks. Here is an enlarged image that gives a closer-up view of this pair.

I have no idea how Henry managed to find his bride in Friedheim, but I am glad he did. This story reminds me how important it will be for our research library to have an index for the Friedheim records. The last I heard, there was a set of volunteers that were working on that project.

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