A Valentine Master

I don’t think I will ever be referred to as a Valentine master. For many years, my friends considered me a confirmed bachelor. I didn’t get married until I was 39 years old. Even after I became a happily married man, I don’t think people would consider me a man of great romance. I am not even a big fan of Valentine’s Day because I think a man ought to tell his wife on a daily basis that he loves her, and I make a practice of that. I guess I consider every day to be sort of a Valentine’s Day. Today, I will tell the story of a man who was actually a Valentine Master. Of course, in German, that would be Valentine Meister.

Today’s tale is another one of those which got started on false pretenses. Our German Family Tree says that Valentine Meister was born on June 8th. His entry on Findagrave.com says he was born on June 8th. However, I do not think that was his birthday. Other documents indicate that he was born on January 8, 1830. The most convincing document is a baptism record for him in Germany. I have every reason to believe that the record shown below is indeed the Valentine Meister that shows up in our German Family Tree. Valentine’s parents were Andreas and Christine Meister according to this baptism record.

Valentine Meister baptism record – Beerwalde, Germany

There is a Valentine Meister living in New York City in the 1850 census that is the right age, but I cannot guarantee that this is the same one that shows up later in the 1850’s in Perry County.

1850 census – New York City, NY

I found several Valentine Meister’s on passenger lists, but I also could not conclude that any of them were the young man that showed up in Perry County. The first records I could find for him in Perry County were ones that documented his marriage in 1855. I am going to display his church marriage record first. It gives us some information about both Valentine and his bride. One item that shows up here is the fact that Valentine’s father was named Andreas, which corresponds with his father’s name on the baptism record shown above. The marriage took place on October 27, 1855 at home of Andreas Koenig, and the record is found in the books of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown.

Meister/Pfau marriage record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

The bride of Valentine Meister was Christine Pfau. She was born on April 28, 1831. Although we do not know her mother’s name, Christine’s father was named Andreas according to this marriage record, so both the bride and the groom had fathers named Andreas, and the marriage took place at the home of yet another Andreas. Another interesting fact from the above record is the fact that both Valentine and Christine were from the city of Beerwalde in Germany. I found a baptism record for a Christine Pfau from Beerwalde that says Christine was born on April 5, 1831, but the father’s name was not Andreas. I will let you judge whether this is the Christine Pfau that showed up in Perry County and married Valentine Meister.

Christine Pfau baptism record – Beerwalde, Germany

In the case of Christine, I think we do have a fairly reliable passenger list for her. She is found on the list for the ship, Gaston, which arrived in New York in 1854.

Christine Pfau – Gaston passenger list 1854

It was not long after Christine’s arrival in America that she married Valentine. We can also view this couple’s civil marriage record. It is one of 3 marriages that are included in the same document.

Meister/Pfau marriage record – Perry County, MO

The German Family Tree lists 7 children born to this couple. All of them were born or confirmed or both at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. The Meister family can be found in the 1860 census for Brazeau Township. There were 3 children in the household by that time.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Valentine Meister enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War. A record of his service is shown below.

Valentine Meister – Civil War military record

Next, we find Valentine and Christine in the 1870 census. All 7 children are listed in this entry.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

We have to look in the long-lost pages of the 1880 Union Township census to find the Valentine Meister household.

1990 census – Union Township, MO

Valentine Meister died in 1897 at the age of 67. He died before Missouri death certificates came into existence, but we can look at a death record from the books of Grace Lutheran Church.

Valentine Meister death record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

This is one of those death records that gives the person’s age at death in terms of years, months, and days. Valentine died on June 27, 1897. If he would have been born on June 8, 1830, he would not have been 67 years, 5 months, and 19 days of age. This death record would verify a January 8, 1830 birthday. Next, let’s take a look at Valentine’s gravestone in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown. In his case, there are 2 photos shown on Findagrave.

I think the photo on the left is easier to read when you look at the date of birth. However, I think it is very understandable that someone may read the birth date as June (Jun) and not January (Jan). I think that is what happened in this case to get a birthdate of June 8th for Valentine in our German Family Tree.

Christine Meister is found in two more census entries. We find her living with 2 of her children in the 1900 census.

1900 census – Union Township, MO

A similar entry is found in the 1910 census, but there was a different son listed in her household.

1910 census – Union Township, MO

Christine Meister died in 1915 at the age of 84. In her case, we are able to view a death certificate. Unfortunately, this form does not list the maiden name for Christine’s mother. It even includes a bad misspelling of her father’s surname. The date of birth on this form makes no sense.

Christine Meister death certificate

Christine’s death record from the Grace, Uniontown books says she was 84 years, 3 months, and 7 days old when she died. That calculates to an April 28, 1831 date of birth.

Christine Meister death record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Christine Meister was also buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown. Her gravestone is so much easier to read than her husband’s.

Christine Meister gravestone – Grace, Uniontown, MO

There are several pages of descendants from Valentine and Christine in our German Family Tree. A story or two has already shown up on this blog telling the stories of some of those people. I suppose more will show up in the future.

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