It all starts with a Bicentennial Birthday today. Anna Maria Pilz was born on December 8, 1821. About the only place I get that date of birth is on Findagrave.com. However, that data was placed on that website by Diane Anderson, and she’s one of the best family researchers I know. I have every reason to believe that she is correct. As near as I can tell, even Diane does not know the names of this Anna Maria Pilz’s parents.
The name, Anna Maria Pilz, sounded like one that I have included in this blog before. I decided to check it out. First, let me tell you that one of the best family histories on Ancestry.com for studying people from this area is the one produced by our friend, Lori Adams. It is called the Fritsche/Miesner Family Tree. The number of individuals included in her tree number in the thousands. I searched Lori’s tree using the term, “Anna Pilz”. The image below displays the results.
As you can see, there are 6 different versions of Anna Maria Pilz, along with another one, Anna Pauline Pilz, included in that tree. There are even two that were each born in the year, 1851. The Anna Maria Pilz who is celebrating her 200th birthday today married Johann Michael Leimer while those two were still living in Austria. John Leimer was born on September 22, 1819. John and Anna Maria were likely married sometime in the 1840’s. This Leimer family then came to America sometime before 1867 because John Leimer is included in a list of the founding fathers of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. That church was established in 1867.
The binder we have in our museum containing information about past members of that congregation gives the following data about John Leimer, Sr. This does not give the maiden name of his wife.
The Leimer couple is first found in the 1870 census living in the Shawnee Township in northern Cape Girardeau County. John was a farmer.
I find the above census fascinating. Here’s why. Right above the Leimer’s you find a Wallmann household. Included in that household was a house servant named Mary Pilz. Was she one of the Anna Maria Pilz’s. She was 16 years old in 1870, so she must have been born in about 1854. The closest you come to that year of birth would be the Maria Anna Pilz that was born in 1855. If this servant is that Maria Anna Pilz, she went on to have two husbands, Joseph Haberfellner and Ernst Schoen. A post published recently, A Nice Fungus…or a Beautiful Mushroom told that story. Those folks were all members of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas also.
Not only that, but living in the Leimer household in 1870 was a farm laborer by the name of Joseph Lichtenegger. Joseph would marry Anna Maria Pilz in 1871 at St. John’s, Pocahontas. That Anna Maria Pilz is one of the two that were born in 1851. Are you confused yet? I wrote Joseph’s story in the post, The Pioneer Lichtenegger.
John and Mary Leimer had 3 children, all of whom had been born in Austria. They are named Frank, Theresa, and John in the 1870 census. That census would be the only one in which we find John’s wife. That Anna Maria died in 1878 at the age of 56. I am not able to determine a cause of death. Perhaps it is listed in the actual books of St. John’s, Pocahontas, but our museum only has some summaries of the lives of St. John’s members in a binder. The information found in that binder for Anna Maria Leimer is shown here. Her maiden name of Pilz is not shown here.
John Leimer is found in the 1880 census. This entry included John, Sr (age 61), as well as all 3 of his children. John, Sr. was living in the household of John, Jr.
Here’s where I found myself shaking my head in disbelief once again. All three of the Leimer children married 3 children in the family of August and Augusta Petzoldt. That family had 11 children, and the Leimer’s married #8, #9, and #10.
- Frank Leimer married Pauline Petzoldt in 1876.
- John Leimer, Jr. married Emilie Petzoldt in 1879 (A post titled, The First Emilie Petzoldt, told that story)
- Theresa Leimer married Charles Petzoldt in 1883.
John Leimer, Sr. did not live long enough to make it into the 1900 census. He died in 1895 at the age of 75. Both John and Anna Maria were buried in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery. They each have an entry on Findagrave, but neither one is accompanied with a gravestone photo.
In a recent post about a Pilz, I mentioned that the word, “pilz”, in German means “mushroom”. Mushrooms reproduce by spreading spores, which normally do not travel far from the parent mushroom. I cannot help but think that several “Anna Maria Pilz” spores were deposited not far from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. I’m also thinking that there were several Petzoldt’s who enjoyed some of the fungi produced from one of those “Anna Maria Pilz” spores. I also discovered that Google Translate says the word “leimer” means “glue”. It makes me ask, “Is there any kind of glue produced from mushrooms?” I don’t have an answer to that question, but I did run across a 12 minute video that shows how to make mushrooms out of hot glue. I put it here for your entertainment.
In closing, let me tell you that several years ago, two researchers mentioned in this blog, Lori Adams and Diane Anderson, visited our museum on the same day. The photo below was taken on that occasion that includes some local men who often frequent our research library..