If you would tromp through the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery, you could find the five the gravestones shown in the gallery below.
Those five individuals will all be part of today’s post. The story begins with the only gravestone above that does not have the surname, Stueve, engraved on it. It is also the person who was the first to be born of all the above characters.
Johann Friedrich Christian Ahrens was born on November 17, 1858, making today his 163rd birthday. I cannot identify the names of his parents for sure. Since I could also not find him in any American census, I could not even tell you if he was born in America or in Germany. I am guessing that he was born in the Hanover area of Germany. A later Perry County birth record states that fact.
Let’s take a look at Friedrich’s future bride. Her name was Clara Catharina Christiana Burfeind, who was born on October 15, 1863. Clara was the daughter of Herman and Elizabeth (Schuessler) Burfeind. She was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. In 1863, Concordia, Frohna was in the process of calling a new pastor. Rev. J.F. Koestering would become the pastor of both Concordia and Trinity in 1864. Clara was the only Burfeind child to have a baptism record in the Trinity books. All of the others are found in the Frohna books.
Clara is found in the 1870 census at the age of 7. Her father was a farmer from Hanover.
Next, we find Clara in the 1880 census as a teenager.
Friedrich Ahrens married Clara Burfeind on August 12, 1883 at Concordia, Frohna. The church record for this wedding is displayed below.
Our German Family Tree lists 5 children born to this couple. Friedrich Ahrens died in 1897 at the age of 38 so we do not see him in a census in 1900.
I just want to show another census entry for that year showing another son, Friedrich, who was living in a Milster family. It says his father was born in Illinois. The above census showing other children says their father was born in Germany. What was it? I don’t know for sure.
The 1910 census shows Clara Ahrens in a new location. She was living in St. Louis.
I was unable to find Clara in the 1920 census, but in 1927, when she remarried, the church record says that she was from St. Louis. Let’s take a look at her second husband. This will take a while.
Claus Johann William Stueve was born on March 7, 1863. Claus was the son of Claus Johann William Stueve, making him a Claus Stueve, Jr. However, I must add that he is not the only Claus Stueve, Jr. found in our German Family Tree. Claus’s mother was Margaretha (Buck) Stueve. Claus, Jr. was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, probably for the same reason as explained before. Below is his baptism record.
Claus is found in the 1870 census at the age of 10, although I think that age is incorrect. His mother had died when he was very young, and his father then married Mary (Miesner) Mahnke. Two children from Mary’s first husband are in this household.
Next, we find Claus, Jr. in the 1880 census. His age of 17 is a correct age this time.
On February 1, 1883, Claus, Jr. married Emilie Popp. Emilie was born on September 19, 1960, the daughter of Andreas and Catherine (Eggers) Popp. She, too, was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.
Our German Family Tree says this Stueve/Popp marriage took place at Trinity, but I could not find the record in that congregation’s books. As it turns out, this marriage did not last long. In December of 1883, Emilie had a stillborn child. Then in January of 1884, Emilie died. The death records for these two are right next to each other in the Trinity church books. The death record (translated) says that Emilie died of malaria on her childbed.
Claus Stueve, Jr. would get married again in 1885. His second wife was Louis Kaempfe, who was born on February 8, 1866. Louise was the daughter of Traugott and Justine (Hennecke) Kaempfe. She was born when her parents still lived in Millstadt, Illinois, so her baptism record is not included in our GFT. The marriage of Claus and Louise took place at Concordia, Frohna.
This couple had just one child that was born and died on the same day. We find them in the 1900 census. A few other laborers were included in this household.
In 1910, we find this Stueve household. I find it interesting that right above the Stueve household is Clara (Burfeind) Ahrens’s mother and her household.
Next, we find Claus and Louise in the 1920 census. In this household we also find Martha Kaempfe, the widow of Louise’s brother, Otto, and their children.
The Tri-State Tornado that ripped through Perry County in 1925 struck the Claus Stueve home. Martha Kaempfe was killed right away, and a short time later, Claus’s wife, Louise, died of injuries from the tornado. That finally leads us up to the last marriage in this post.
Clara (Burfeind) Ahrens married Claus Stueve, Jr. on August 21, 1927. That wedding took place at Concordia, Frohna, but I cannot show the church record because our copies of that congregation’s books does not go up to that year. We can take a look at their marriage license.
Clara Stueve died in 1939 at the age of 75. Below is an image of her death certificate.
Claus Stueve, Jr. died in 1956 at the age of 92. His death certificate says he died in St. Louis.
An obituary for Claus was published in a local paper, along with the only photo I found of him.
Claus Stueve, Jr is a unique individual. I don’t think I have ever written about a man who was married 3 times who did not end up with any children that at least lived more than a day. I already displayed all the gravestones for each character in this story. What is amazing is that all of them were buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna, but none of their baptism records are included in that congregation’s records.