You will be presented with another surname today that has not appeared on this blog before. As it is in most cases, this is a new surname that is found when a Perry County native marries someone from another location. The new surname is Kueker. Based on what I have seen during my research on this post, if you live around Ruma, Illinois, which is found near Red Bud, this surname is likely very well known. The name Kueker shows up a few times in our German Family Tree, but each time it occurs, the person listed is either buried in a local cemetery or was a witness at someone’s marriage in Perry County.
However, this tale begins with a surname that quite possibly could be the most-mentioned name on this blog…Mueller. Louise Emma Mueller was born on January 18, 1855, making today her 167th birthday. Emma was the daughter of Friedrich Benjamin (F.B.) and Hanna (Hornemann) Mueller. I can display this photo of Emma’s parents.
Emma was the 3rd child of 10 born to this couple according to our German Family Tree, but family trees on Ancestry.com indicate there were 2 more children born to this family after they departed Perry County. Emma was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. We can take a look at her baptism record.
In the history of Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar, it includes Bernard Mueller as one of their original members. You might note that Salem did not have its first official worship service until 1859, when Emma would have already been about 4 years old.
Emma is found in the 1860 census living in the Cinque Hommes Township of Perry County. Her father was a farmer. You can also see that at that time there was a set of twins that were 11/12 years old.
The last census in which we find this Mueller family living in Perry County was the one taken in 1870.
Sometime after that census, the Mueller’s moved to Chester, Illinois. However, before the next census in 1880, Emma would get married, so we will turn our attention to the man who would become her husband.
Charles Diedrich Friederick Heinrich Kueker was born on July 9, 1848, the son of Diederich and Louise (Peters) Kueker. In some historical articles about St. John’s Lutheran Church in rural Ruma, Illinois, we find this note saying that Charles’s parents donated the land where that congregation would build their first church. It was donated in the year when Charles was born, so his baptism record is likely found in that church’s books. I might also note that Diederich Kueker was one of the charter members of that congregation, along with several other men with the Kueker surname.
Here is a photo of St. John’s Lutheran Church as it exists today. You can see this church when you travel on Highway 3 south of Red Bud, Illinois.
Charles is found at the age of 3 when the 1850 census was taken.
I was unable to find Charles in the 1860 census, but since he shows up in the same location when the 1870 census was taken, it is not likely that his family had relocated since the 1850 census. In 1870, at the age of 21, it looks like he was working on his older brother’s farm. His father is called a retired farmer.
That leads us up to the marriage of Charles Kueker and Emma Mueller that took place on June 20, 1873. That marriage likely occurred at either St. John’s Lutheran Church in Chester, Illinois or at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Ruma. We can take a look at an Illinois marriage record for this event.
An unexpected census record from Kansas showed up on Ancestry.com for Charles Kueker. I almost chose not to even look at it, but when I did, everything on it was correct information about this Kueker family. The ages of Charles, Emma, and their first child are correct. It says that Charles was born in Illinois and Emma in Missouri, so I think this is indeed the Charles Kueker family that we are discussing today. I think Charles tried his hand at farming in Kansas not far from Kansas City, Kansas.
It looks like Charles and Emma did not spend much time in Kansas because when the 1880 census was taken, we find them living in Red Bud, Illinois. Charles was a farmer with 3 children. I thought the August Miller who is included in this list as a 14 year-old laborer, would be a sibling of Emma, but I could not find such a person in the Mueller family of the right age.
Sometime before the 1900 census, Charles and Emma moved to Perry County. Don’t jump to conclusions. They moved to Perry County, Illinois, not Perry County, Missouri. We find them living in the Southwestern Township in that county. Charles was a farmer, and this time there are 8 children in the family.
Even though it is located in an adjacent county, the town of Campbell Hill is located not far from that township, as you can see on the map below.
Next, we find the Kueker’s in the 1910 census for the Southwestern Township.
The last census in which we find Charles Kueker was the one taken in 1920. His family was still in the same location. Two Kueker sons and their families are listed right below that of Charles and Emma, who had an empty nest.
Charles Kueker died in 1927 at the age of 78. We can view an Illinois death record that contains several items of information about his life. This document says he was living in the Campbell Hill Village when he died.
Emma Kueker is still found in the 1930 census as a widow. She was living by herself in the Bradley Township, which is where the village of Campbell Hill is located.
Emma Kueker died in 1933 at the age of 78. We can also view her Illinois death record.
Charles and Emma Kueker are buried together in the St. Luke’s Cemetery in Campbell Hill, Illinois.
Below is a photo of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Campbell Hill, Illinois, pictured next to a photo that was displayed yesterday of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Cole Camp, Missouri. I find it interesting that we find such amazing architectural similarities amongst some of these older Lutheran church buildings, which would also include the previously shown image of St. John’s, Ruma, even though it is a brick structure.