Getting Married Later in Life

I did not get married until I was 39 years old. Many thought I would never get married, including myself. As it turns out, it was the best thing that ever happened in my life, other than my baptism. I will tell the story of a woman today that also did not get married until the age of 39. In her case, her first and only marriage was to a man that was almost 20 years older than she was. Today’s birthday girl is Susanna Louise Doering. The only records contained in our German Family Tree for Susanna are for a baptism, a confirmation, and a wedding. Here is what we find in our GFT.

C3.DOERING, “Susanna” Louise (Born 15 Feb 1883, Married 25 Nov 1922) [AltenburgMO-Trinity]: Father: Heinrich Doering, Mother: Emilie nee Petzold, Born 15 Feb 1883, Baptized 21 Feb 1883; [AltenburgMO-Trinity]: Susanna Louise Doering, Born 15 Feb 1883, Confirmed 29 Mar 1895; [PerryCoMO-1900Census]: Susanah Doering, dau of Henry, 17y old, born Feb 1883 in MO, father & mother born in MO (#350-Brazeau Twnshp); [AltenburgMO-Trinity]: Susanna Doering, age 39, dau of Heinr & Emilie Doering, and George M Eckert, age 58, widower from Granite City IL, married on 25 Nov 1922, Witnesses: George Doering & wife Olga Doering

Susanna, the daughter of Henry and Emilie (Petzoldt) Doering, was born on February 15, 1883. Just yesterday, I wrote about an Amalie Petzoldt (whose name was actually listed as Emilie on her baptism record). I have already written posts about at least two other Emilie Petzoldt’s, The First Emilie Petzoldt and The Second Emilie Petzoldt. Neither one of those posts were about yesterday’s Emilie Petzoldt or the one just mentioned in this post. Susanna was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Her baptism record is displayed below.

Susanna Doering baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Because we cannot view the 1890 census, the first census in which we find Susanna was the one taken in 1900. It would be the only census in which we find Susanna living in Perry County. She was 17 years old at the time, and her father was a farmer. She was also called a servant, which probably meant she helped her mother around the house. Two other daughters were also called servants.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

We discover that Susanna became one of many young women during the early 1900’s that went to St. Louis to find work. Many of them became servants for private families in that large city. I have discovered that several of these young single ladies would serve families with small children or the families of more elderly folks. When the 1910 census was taken, we find Susanna in the household of Otto Bollman, who had a few young children, as well as an elderly mother. Susanna was 27 years old at the time.

1910 census – St Louis, MO

When these young ladies went to St. Louis to become servants, I have noticed that the ones who stayed in St. Louis for more than one census rarely remained in the same household. The family they served may no longer have needed her services, so they found another household that needed a servant. When the 1920 census was taken, we once again find Susanna living in St. Louis as a servant. This time she was living in the household of Samuel Butler. This was not your ordinary family to employ a servant like Susanna. It consisted of a husband, a wife, and only one daughter in her 20’s. There were actually 2 servants working for this family. The other one was a 24 year-old Emma Boren. I found a girl by that name who was born in Appleton, so this may have been another young lady from this area. Susanna was 35 years old according to this entry. She was probably 37 years old.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

Susanna would get married shortly after 1920, so we’ll take some time to look at the man that would become her husband. His name was George Martin Eckert, who was born on June 25, 1864. He was the son of George Phillip and Anna (Knecht) Eckert. We first find George as a 5 year-old in the 1870 census from St. Clair County, Illinois which is located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.

1870 census – St. Clair County, IL

Next, we find George in the 1880 census for the same location. George was 16 years old at the time.

1880 census – St. Clair County, IL

George married his first wife in 1887. Her name was Katharina Heberer. According to a family history on Ancestry.com, that couple had 10 children. We find the Eckert household in the 1900 census with 4 sons. Right below that household was another Eckert family.

1900 census – Fayetteville Township, IL

I was unable to find the Eckert’s in the 1910 census, but in 1920 we find them living in Collinsville, Illinois, which is partly located in St. Clair County. George and Katharina were living in the household of one of their sons. George was already 55 years old at the time.

Then, sometime in 1922, Katharina died, leaving George as a widower. Later that year, George would get married again. His second marriage would take place in Altenburg, Missouri. On November 25, 1922, George Eckert married Susanna Doering at Trinity Lutheran Church. His church marriage record is shown here. It says George was a 58 year-old man from Granite City, Illinois. It also says Susanna was 39 years old.

Eckert/Doering marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

We can also view the marriage license for this pair.

Eckert/Doering marriage license

One child, a girl named Ruth, was born in 1924. We find the Eckert’s in the 1930 census living in Collinsville. George was still called a farmer.

1930 census – Collinsville, IL

George Eckert died in 1933 at the age of 69. When the 1940 census was taken, we find Susanna living with her daughter, Ruth, in Collinsville.

1940 census – Collinsville, IL

Susanna Eckert died in 1954 at the age of 71. George Eckert is buried with his first wife, Katharina, in the St. John’s Cemetery in Granite City, Illinois. Susanna is also buried in the same cemetery with a separate marker.

Susanna began her life in Altenburg. She spent quite a bit of time in St. Louis as a servant. She returned to Altenburg to get married. I have no idea how she met a widower from St. Clair County in Illinois, but once she married him, she spent the rest of her life in that location, even having a child after her 40th birthday. I find this an interesting story, probably because it is not a standard type story that shows up on this blog.


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