One hundred fifty-two years ago, Johann Martin Stelling was the firstborn child of Johann and Anna (Popp) Stelling. This child would go by the name of Martin throughout his life. Before I move on to tell Martin’s story, I feel the need to discuss the name of Anna Popp.
Just a few days ago, I wrote a story about Friedrich Moeckel who married Anna Popp. After publishing that post, I received several e-mails discussing the difficulty one has when researching anyone with the name of Anna Popp. I may not have even got the information about the Anna Popp that married Friedrich Moeckel correct in that article. I looked in Lori Adam’s family history on Ancestry.com, which is called the Fritsche/Miesner Family. Her family tree is incredible. It includes almost every person who has been included in church books in this area over the years. I did a search on her tree for the name, Anna Popp. Amazingly, 15 different women who carried that name resulted from that search. I am displaying them below in 3 images of 5 Anna Popp’s each.
Another thing that makes it worse is the fact that you see multiple cases of Anna Marie, Anna Katherine, and Anna Margaret Popp’s. The Anna Popp that was Martin’s mother was Anna Marie Popp who lived from 1848-1927. Also, let me tell you that Lynn Degenhardt recently spent quite a bit of his time trying to “clean up” the Popp entries he has included in the German Family Tree, making sure that all the Popp individuals were placed in the correct Popp clan (and there are several distinct Popp clans).
Martin Stelling, born on July 16, 1869, was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Missouri. His baptism record is shown here.
After Martin’s baptism, another Stelling child was baptized at Immanuel, but in 1874, when their 3rd child was baptized, that baptism and all future baptisms in that family took place at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. Martin would later be confirmed at Concordia. Martin Stelling is found in the 1870 census at the age of 1. His father was a farmer.
Next, we find Martin in the 1880 census at the age of 11. This time, his father was said to be working in a mill, almost certainly the Weinhold’s Frohna Mill.
One might expect Martin to be married by the time of the 1900 census, but he married late compared to most young people of that era. When the 1900 census came out, he was 31 years old and still single. He and his father were called farmers. You can see that several other Stelling siblings had been born into this family by this time.
Now, we will take a look at Martin’s future wife. Her name was Anna Margaretha Beckmann, who was born on February 18, 1870. Margaret’s parents were Heinrich and Anna (Holschen) Beckmann. Margaret’s birth must have been a very traumatic one for her mother. Margaret’s father died just 4 days before she was born. Margaret’s baptism record shown here comes from the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.
Anna Beckmann then married Claus Luehrs, so when we look at the census entries for Margaret’s early years, we find a blended Beckmann/Luehrs family. Also, when Margaret’s mother remarried, the children to her second husband were baptized at Concordia, Frohna. Last April, a story was written about Margaret’s parents titled, Holschen-Grother-Beckmann-Luehrs. Anna Beckmann and her children were living in the Holschen household in the 1870 census in which we find the baby, Margaret, except she is called Anna in this entry.
We find Margaret at the age of 9 in the 1880 census after her mother had married Claus Luehrs. Let me also add that the Stelling family and this Luehrs household are found on the same census page for that year.
Margaret was 30 years old and still single when the 1900 census was taken.
As a writer of historical fiction myself, I can just imagine some scenarios that could be described if a novel was written about the romance between Martin and Margaret. Perhaps both sets of parents strongly urged their children to get together with their neighbor down the road. Maybe one could tell the tale of how Martin was afraid to make the commitment to get married. Or perhaps Margaret turned down Martin’s proposals, only to finally give in to his persistence.
Anyway, on October 31, 1901, Reformation Day, Martin Stelling married Margaret Beckmann at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. I would state that it’s only appropriate that a man by the name of Martin would get married on Reformation Day. If you are interested in such things, October 31st was on a Thursday that year. The church record for this couple’s marriage is shown below.
We can also take a look at Martin and Margaret’s marriage license.
The German Family Tree lists 6 children born to this pair. The first child died right away. We find the following Stelling household in the 1910 census. I included the Emmanuel Popp household under theirs. Emmanuel was Margaret’s cousin.
When the 1915 plat maps were produced, we find a parcel shown as belonging to M.J. Stelling located just west of Frohna.
The next census we can view for Martin and Margaret was the one taken in 1920. All 5 of their children are shown in this entry.
We find the Stelling household in the 1930 census. Martin was a farmer all his life.
The last census in which Martin and Margaret are found was the one taken in 1940. Right below their entry is that of Edwin Stelling, one of their sons.
I went to the newspaper archives of the Perry County Republican to find articles about the Stelling’s. Below are two of them. I found the one about the frog and snake humorous. You can click on them to make them easier to read.
Margaret Stelling died in 1946 at the age of 76. Her death certificate is displayed here. For some reason, her date of birth is given as February 19th, not the 18th.
Martin Stelling died in 1949 at the age of 80. His death certificate indicates that he died at the Southeast Missouri Hospital.
Martin and Margaret are each buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.
I guess you could say this story is a fairly common type of story in which both the bride and groom spent their whole lives in East Perry County and functioned as a farmer and a farmer’s wife.