Sarah Outlives Entire Family

Sarah Christiana Mueller is one of those women, who, at an early age, moved from her birthplace in Perry County to the big city of St. Louis to find work. In her case, she never moved back. I will attempt to tell her story today.

Sarah Mueller was born on November 22, 1886, the daughter of Jacob and Anna (Hartung) Mueller. Jacob Mueller was the brother of one of my great grandfathers, so this Mueller clan is the one that is part of my family tree. In fact, my grandmother had a sister named Sarah Mueller who was born in 1881. To make matters more confusing to me, that Sarah Mueller married a Schmidt, but not a Schmidt from my Schmidt clan. These two Sarah’s would have been cousins. Sarah Christiana Mueller’s baptism record is found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. However, I think it is likely that she was baptized in the church building that was located in Wittenberg. A later confirmation record for one of Sarah’s younger sisters states that she was baptized in Wittenberg. Below is the baptism record for Sarah that is found in Trinity’s books.

Sarah Mueller baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

We find Sarah at the age of 13 in the 1900 census. That was also the year that Sarah was confirmed. Based on the neighbors that I noticed on this census page, this family lived near the village of Wittenberg.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

A later set of plat maps produced in 1915 shows the J.J. Mueller property near Wittenberg.

J.J. Mueller land map – 1915

Sarah and several other members of her family became members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg in 1903. That means they could be described as charter members of that congregation.

The 1910 census finds Sarah Mueller living in St. Louis and working as a servant in the household of a lawyer. Her middle initial is incorrect, but I think this is not some other Sarah Mueller. One reason I say this is the fact that there is another young woman by the name of Louise Pfau listed right under her name, and she is another native of Perry County.

1910 census – St. Louis, MO

Unfortunately, I was unable to find a marriage record for Sarah. However, I do know that it must have taken place before 1917. So, we will turn our attention to her future husband, Theodore Henry Volle. Theodore was born on June 18, 1889, so he is today’s birthday boy. He was the son of Charles and Louise (Kottmeier) Volle. Theodore’s later World War I and World War II draft registrations would document that he was born in New Minden, Illinois. New Minden is the home of St. John’s Lutheran Church which was one of the charter members of what would later be called the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. That is the congregation where Theodore’s baptism record is likely to be found, but we do not have access to those records.

Theodore’s family must have moved to St. Louis not long after his birth. We find the Volle family in the entry below where we see Theodore at the age of 10 and his father as a carpenter.

1900 census – St. Louis, MO

We next find Theodore Volle in the 1910 census. At the age of 20, Theodore was a clerk at a publishing house. I have every reason to believe that it was Concordia Publishing House.

1910 census – St. Louis, MO

I looked for a civil record for the marriage of Theodore Volle and Sarah Mueller, but was unsuccessful. I also looked to see if this marriage took place at one of the St. Louis Lutheran churches for which I have sources…Old Trinity, Holy Cross, and Immanuel…but did not find a record for this marriage. I figure they must have gotten married at some other Lutheran church in St. Louis. When Theodore had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917, we know he was married by then. That form said he had a pregnant wife. This document also says he was an employee of Concordia Publishing House.

Theodore Volle – WWI draft registration

About a month after the above form was completed, a daughter was born to this couple. Her name was Violet Volle. Sadly, this child died not long after her first birthday. Below is Violet’s death certificate.

Violet Volle death certificate

Even though Violet is the person in this post who lived the shortest life, she is the only one for which I have a photo. Below, you will see that photo and one of her gravestone. She was buried in the Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis.

Theodore and Sarah were childless when the census was taken in 1920, but later that year, another child was born, a son named Theodore. He was another Theodore H. Volle, but his middle name was Harding, not Henry like his father. In this census, Sarah’s husband is called a salesman for a publishing house.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

The 1930 census showed the Volle family with 2 boys, Theodore and Herbert. The boys’ father was called an accountant this time.

1930 census – St. Louis, MO

The last census we can view is the one taken in 1940. This time, Theodore was called an estimator for a publishing company.

1940 census – St. Louis, MO

When World War II required men to register for a draft, we find not only a draft card for Theodore Henry, but also one for Herbert and Theodore Harding.

Theodore Henry Volle – WWII draft card

Next, here is the one for Herbert. He was just 18 years old when he had this form completed.

Herbert Volle – WWII draft card

Theodore Harding Volle’s document is somewhat different. Ancestry.com says this form was completed in 1946 and says he had an honorable discharge from serving in the Marines.

Theodore Harding – WWII draft card

Sadly, Herbert Volle became a casualty during this war. He died on March 14, 1945. He was part of a group of Air Corps soldiers who are buried in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.

I found this document describing his interment in this National Cemetery. His body had been returned from St. Avold, France in 1950.

Herbert Volle – National Cemetery Interment form

Theodore and Sarah Volle must have moved to California later in the 1940’s. I suspect they went there because that is where their son, Theodore Harding, lived. Theodore Volle died in 1949 at the age of 60, leaving Sarah as a widow. Sarah lived until the age of 92 when she died in 1979. Prior to her death, her only remaining son, Theodore Harding Volle, died in 1976. He, too, is buried in a National Cemetery. Theodore and Sarah are said to be buried in the Grand View Memorial Park and Crematory in Glendale, California.

It is my understanding that the word, voll, in German means “full”. Sarah, since she lived to the age of 92, could be said to have lived a full life. However, it could also be said that her life ended up being quite “empty” after she had to live through the death of her husband and all three of her children.


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