A Ruehling-Petzoldt Pair

There are still folks living in the East Perry County region that carry the surnames Ruehling and Petzoldt. I wonder how many of those folks know that if you go back far enough, you will find a Ruehling that married a Petzoldt. That couple will be highlighted in today’s post. We begin with the bride because she is today’s birthday girl.

Christiane Pauline Petzoldt was born on December 17, 1850, the 4th child of Friedrich Florian and Johanne Christiane (Maennel) Petzoldt. That makes Pauline a daughter of the man we affectionately call “The Face” because of his unique gravestone that includes a carving of his face. Pauline was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Because I am not in Altenburg, I do not have access to church records, so I cannot display her baptism record. I can tell you that a translation of her record in our German Family Tree says that her father was a “farmer and table maker in Dresden MO”. Pauline was the first of the Petzoldt children to be born in America. Her birth and baptism took place before the controversy at Trinity in 1857 that led to the establishment of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. The Petzoldt family became members of Immanuel, and that is where Pauline was confirmed in 1864.

Pauline was born too late in 1850 to make it into the census that was taken that year. So, the first census in which we find her was the one taken in 1860. Pauline was 9 years old, and her father was a farmer.

1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The 1870 census was taken when Pauline was a teenager.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The above census would be the last one in which we find Pauline as a single woman. Let’s turn our attention to her future husband. His name was Herman Friedrich Ruehling, the 3rd child listed in our German Family Tree of his parents, Gottlieb and Christiane (Thurm) Ruehling. Herman was born in Germany on July 1, 1843. Later census records state that Herman’s family arrived in America in 1853, but I was unable to find immigration documentation for them. We find Herman in the 1860 census at the age of 17 working as a farm laborer and living in the John Hellwege household. John Hellwege was a wagon maker. Interestingly, Rosina Hellwege was a baptismal sponsor for Pauline Petzoldt.

1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Herman served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He served under another German Lutheran from East Perry County, Captain Charles Boehme. Here are two forms showing the service of men named Herman Ruehling, one in which he is called a private, and another in which he is called a sergeant. You will discover later that there were 2 Herman Ruehling’s, and I’m not sure which one was today’s main character.

The 1870 census shows Herman at the age of 27 and working as a wagon maker. It looks like he might have learned the tools of that trade when he was living with John Hellwege. Herman is listed as the only member of his household in this entry.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The marriage of Herman Ruehling and Pauline Petzoldt is somewhat of a mystery. There is no church record of their marriage, nor was I able to find a civil marriage record. These two began having children in 1874, so the marriage probably took place around 1873. Our German Family Tree lists 9 children born to this couple. A set of twins was born in 1878, but only one of them lived to adulthood. The first 5 Ruehling children were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. The 5th child was born in 1881, and the rest of the children, starting in 1883, were baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.

Based of the above information, I knew that I should be able to find the Ruehling household living in Perry County when the 1880 census was taken. However, no family histories on Ancestry included an entry from that year’s census. When that happens, I usually think that the family may be found in the long-lost pages of the Union Township. I checked, and this family was not there. I next decided to page through quite a few pages for the Brazeau Township. In the process of searching, I found another Ruehling family that was transposed as the name Buehling. When an indexer gets the first letter of a name wrong, it becomes almost impossible to find someone with a search function. I eventually found the entry for a Herman Ruehling family shown below. It even has the middle initial of “F” for Herman. However, this is a different Herman Ruehling, one who was born in 1836 and married Eva Roediger.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

I have now given up on finding Herman and his family in the 1880 census. Perhaps one of our readers will have more success. The next census finds the Ruehling’s had moved their family south of the Apple Creek into the Shawnee Township of Cape Girardeau County. That is where we find them in the 1900 census. Pauline’s mother was still alive and living in this household.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Pauline Ruehling died in 1908 at the age of 57, so we do not see her in the 1910 census. In the household was a man named Moritz Zorn. He had married Olga Ruehling, but she also died in 1908. So, Herman lost both a daughter and his wife during the same year.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Herman Ruehling died in 1919 at the age of 75. His death certificate says he had paralysis of his right side.

Herman Ruehling death certificate

Herman and Pauline Ruehling are each buried in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas.

This Ruehling couple is made up of people who spent the early parts of their lives in East Perry County, with some of their church records in both Trinity and Immanuel Lutheran Churches. Then, this family moved near Pocahontas in northern Cape Girardeau County. Over the years, there have been plenty of people who spent their lives on both sides of the Apple Creek.

2 thoughts on “A Ruehling-Petzoldt Pair

  1. We, David and Gladys Prevallet, have a “picture” of the Ruehling’s wedding information. It includes her veil. Gladys’ mother was a Ruehling. We would be happy to give it to the museum. I could send a picture if you give me a web site to use.


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