Today’s post will attempt to tell the story of a wedding that took place 150 years ago. By the time I am done with this post, you will see that I have some unanswered questions about both the bride and the groom that were involved in this wedding.
Let’s begin with the groom. Friedrich Metzner was born on August 11, 1847 in Germany. That birth date is etched on his gravestone. Here’s the rub. Our German Family Tree lists Friedrich as the youngest son of Johann and Christiane (Aloe) Metzner. We see no evidence of that mother ever being in America. The father has a death record in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg that says he died in 1860. In 1860, Friedrich would have been just 13 years old, and evidence points to him still being in Germany in 1860. If Johann is Friedrich’s father, why would such a young son be left behind in Germany? To be honest, I could find no evidence why Friedrich should be included in this Metzner family in our German Family Tree. Some more questions arise if you look at some facts that were shared in a previous post titled, Metzner Maze.
Next, let’s take a look at the bride. Her name was Caroline Johanna Ernestine Bodenschatz who was born on June 24, 1851. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that the Bodenschatz name has been included in quite a few posts. It is a name that shows up very early in the East Perry County area. However, Caroline was still in Germany in 1871, and the only evidence I could find of her family was that her father’s name was Heinrich Bodenschatz. There is a Heinrich Bodenschatz in our GFT, but he would have been too young to have been Caroline’s father. However, in her obituary (which will be displayed later), it says she “emigrated to America, coming directly to Altenburg to relatives.” I do not know which Bodenschatz’s would have been her relatives.
Next, I need to share an exciting discovery that I made that really convinced me that I wanted to write this story. All we have in our German Family Tree about this marriage that took place 150 years ago is that there was a Perry County marriage record for them. In addition, it says that Friedrich immigrated in 1871, so I decided to look for a passenger list showing his arrival in America. That’s where I made the discovery. Take a look at this passenger list for the ship, Rhein, that arrived in New Orleans at the end of 1871. You will not only see Friedrich Metzner, a 23 year-old bricklayer, but also Lina (Caroline) Bodenschatz, at the age of 20.
This is not the first time such a story has been told on this blog. It is a story of a couple that was apparently engaged to be married, but found it easier to get married in America than it would have been to get married in Germany. It looks like Friedrich and Caroline had what folks nowadays call a “destination wedding”. Let’s take a look at the Perry County marriage record for this couple.
As you can see, the pastor who performed this wedding was Rev. Koestering, who was the pastor during the time when many marriage records are missing. He was serving at both Trinity, Altenburg and Concordia, Frohna at that time. There is a much higher chance that Friedrich and Caroline were married at Trinity.
Our German Family Tree lists 4 children born to this couple. When the 1880 census was taken, we find 2 children in their family. Friedrich was a stone mason in Longtown. This census entry is from the Union Township, but a notation on the form says it was for the town of Longtown.
In the Friedenberg Remembrances book, it says, “According to recollections of Rev Weber, he [Friedrich] was one of the leaders to build a new church building in 1885.” That would have been the Peace Lutheran Church sanctuary in Friedenberg.
The next census we can view is the one taken in 1900. Once again, we find this household living in Longtown. This entry is not easy to read. Friedrich is still a stone mason. The two children listed in the 1880 census were no longer in their household. In their place, you find their last 2 children. It’s not very legible, but this entry says that both Friedrich and Caroline came to America in 1871.
The last census in which we find Caroline Metzner was the one taken in 1910. The Metzner’s had an empty nest.
Caroline died in 1918 at the age of 67. The cause of her death was cancer of the uterus. It is this death certificate that states that her father’s name was Heinrich Bodenschatz. The informant on this form was G.D. Hamm, who had been the first pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown when it was established in 1897, and had married Isabella Metzner, one of Friedrich and Caroline’s daughters.
Caroline’s obituary was published in the Perry County Republican. You may have to click on the images to enlarge them.
Friedrich was still living in Longtown in 1920. He had been a stone mason all his life, but at the age of 72, he no longer had an occupation.
When the 1930 census was taken, we find the 82 year-old Friedrich living in St. Louis with his son, Harry’s, family.
One year after that census, Friedrich died in 1931 at the age of 84. His death certificate shows that he was living in St. Louis at the time of his death.
Friedrich and Caroline Metzner are buried together in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Longtown. Perhaps Friedrich had something to do with crafting the stone found at the bottom of his grave marker.
Although we are left with several unanswered questions about this pair, we wish a very Happy 150th Anniversary to the Metzner’s.
2 thoughts on “Destination Wedding – 150 Years Ago”
Do you know what the German sentence is at the bottom of the gravemarker? I’ve seen this on a number of graves and have wondered what they mean. Thank you.