I think most of you would recognize from the title that today’s tale will take place in Illinois. The story begins with the birth of a baby girl in Jacob, Illinois 130 years ago. Sophia Maria Johanna Arbeiter was born on February 7, 1892, the daughter of Henry and Caroline (Rowold) Arbeiter. Several other previous posts have detailed the lives of several other children in this family of 9. Another post was written about Henry and Caroline titled, Family Photos. I will insert here that Sophia’s parents had each grown up and were married in the Red Bud/Horse Prairie area, but moved to Jacob soon after they were married. Sophia was child #6 in this crew and the 3rd oldest daughter. She was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. A pair of images of her baptism record from that congregation’s books is pictured below.
Sophia is found in the 1900 census for the Fountain Bluff Township at the age of 8. Her father was a farmer.
Not long after the above census, the Arbeiter’s had a few family photos taken. First, here is one that is said to be taken around 1902. Sophia is standing on the left in the back row.
A few years later, this family can be seen in another photo. In this one, Sophia is standing in the back row on the far right.
I was unable to find Sophia in the 1910 census. She would have been 18 years old, so she may have been living in another household and working as a servant, but I was unable to find her. I do know that she was not still living with her parents.
Next, we will take a look at the man that would become Sophia’s husband. His name was Oscar Robert Moeckel, who was born on August 20, 1889. Oscar was the son of Charles and Mathilda (Sewerosky) Moeckel, whose story was told in the post, Motorman Moeckel. Oscar was the 3rd child of 5 in his family, 4 of which were boys. Like Sophia, Oscar was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. Below is an image of his baptism record.
Oscar shows up in the 1900 census for the Fountain Bluff Township at the age of 10. His father was a farmer.
Next, we find Oscar in the 1910 census as a 20 year-old farm laborer. He was still living with his father. His mother had died in 1902.
Oscar Moeckel married Sophia Arbeiter on August 17, 1913 at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. The church record for this wedding is displayed here.
We can also see a transcription of an Illinois marriage record for this couple.
In 1917, Oscar had his World War I draft registration completed.
Oscar and Sophia are another couple that had no children. We find them in the 1920 census, and Oscar was a farmer.
After 1920, Oscar and Sophia made a move to Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. That is where we find them in the 1930 census. This time, Oscar was called a house carpenter.
I have placed a map here to show the location of Prairie du Rocher. You can see that it is located right near the river bottoms of the Mississippi River. It is also not far from Red Bud, where Sophia’s parents originated.
The last census we can view taken in 1940 contains a puzzling person. Included in this entry with Oscar and Sophia, is Fred Moeckel, who is said to be Oscar’s brother. Fred was a 56 year-old farm hand who is said to be married on this entry. It also says Fred was living in St. Louis in 1935.
Oscar did have an older brother named Fred, but we find him living with his family in the 1940 census in St. Louis.
You cannot see it on the image above, but in that year, Fred did not have an occupation listed in St. Louis. I think it is likely that Fred went down to help his brother on his farm for a while and was there when the census taker arrived. So, Fred may be one of those people who managed to get listed in a census year twice at two different locations.
Sophia Moeckel died in 1978. She must have been about 86 years old when she died. Oscar Moeckel died in 1981. He must have been around 92 years old when he died. These two are buried together in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Red Bud, Illinois.
I suspect the Moeckel’s had moved to Red Bud later in their lives and became members of St. John’s. That would mean that Sophia would end her life close to where her parents were born and raised.