1909 – Not a Good Year for the Schuessler’s

I am going to revisit a story told several years ago. In that previous post, A Perry County Suburb in Oklahoma, the highlighted character was Walter Schuessler, who spent much of his life in Alva, Oklahoma. Today, I will delve further into the stories of Walter’s parents. For them, they had very short stories. I will share several additional documents to better tell their story. This story is one of those fairly uncommon ones in which both the bride and the groom were born in the same year.

Otto Friedrich Gotthilf Schuessler was born on February 24, 1883, so today would be his 139th birthday. Otto was the son of Gotthilf and Sarah (Saalfeld) Schuessler. Some mention of Otto’s parents was made in the post, Twins…..Only One Survives. In that post, this photo was included of Otto’s mother.

Sarah Saalfeld Schuessler

Otto was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can take a look at his baptism record from that church’s books.

Otto Schuessler baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Later that year, Otto’s future bride was born. Laura Ottilie Mueller was born on December 3, 1883, the daughter of Ferdinand and Amalia (Theiss) Mueller, who also happen to be a set of my great grandparents. I have a photo of Laura’s parents.

Ferdinand and Amalia Mueller

A Perry County birth record for Laura is also available to view. For some reason, her middle name is given as Willie on this form.

Laura Mueller birth record – Perry County, MO

The midwife for Laura’s birth was her grandmother, Christiane (Theilig) Mueller (also my great great grandmother). In the 1880 census, Christiane is even called a midwife.

1880 census – Altenburg, MO

Laura Mueller was also baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can view her baptism record below.

Laura Mueller baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

The next document we can view for each of these characters is their confirmation record. These two were even in the same 1897 Trinity confirmation class. There were 26 confirmands in that year’s class. First, here is Otto’s record.

Otto Schuessler confirmation record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Next, here is the record for Laura.

Laura Mueller confirmation record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

We next find both Otto and Laura in the 1900 census. They were each living with their parents, and as it turns out, this was going to be the only census in which either of them is found. Here is the entry for Otto who was 17 years old at the time.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The entry for Laura is displayed below. It is found just one page before the entry for Otto, so they likely lived fairly close to one another. This census was taken before Laura’s birthday, so she was still 16 years old. Laura’s oldest sister, Bertha, was my grandmother. You can see that this Mueller family was made up mostly of daughters and only one son, the last one born.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Otto Schuessler married Laura Mueller on October 28, 1906. As you might expect, their marriage record is found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church. I have placed an image of that church record here.

Schuessler/Mueller marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

The marriage license for this couple can also be viewed.

Schuessler/Mueller marriage license

A wedding photograph is available for us to view that not only includes Otto and Laura, but also their 6 attendants. Those 6 people are listed in the last column of the church marriage record above.

Otto and Laura Schuessler wedding

One of the attendants was Phillipine Jung (or Young) who was part of a post that I wrote not long ago titled, Answers in Death Certificates. Phillipine’s mother was a Saalfeld, so she was a cousin of Otto.

Otto and Laura had one child, a boy named Walter, who was born in April of 1908. Below is the baptism record for him, also found in the Trinity, Altenburg books.

Walter Schuessler baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

That leads us up to the tragic year of 1909. On January 13, 1909, Laura Schuessler died at the age of 25. Since Missouri state death records began to be recorded in 1910, we are not able to look at one for Laura. Her death record in the Trinity, Altenburg books says she died of pneumonia.

Laura Schuessler death record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

That left Otto as a widower with a very young son. Then things got worse. On November 30th, Otto died. His death record says he died of consumption, which is another name for tuberculosis. Here is his death record.

Otto Schuessler death record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Walter Schuessler, who became an orphan when Otto died, is found living in the household of his Mueller grandparents in the 1910 census.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Otto and Laura Schuessler were buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery. However, Findagrave.com only has a gravestone photo for Otto. I made a trip to the cemetery, fully expecting to find an empty spot for Laura’s grave. Instead, I found that there was a gravestone there for Laura, but it was probably too unreadable for someone to positively identify it. I found it where it should have been located and took a few photos of it. The surname, Schuessler, can be seen fairly clearly on the enlarged photo.

Below is the gravestone for Otto.

Otto Schuessler gravestone – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

I feel I ought to show you one more record that I don’t think we had at our museum back when I wrote the story about the son, Walter Schuessler. We now have a set of church records from Zion Lutheran Church in Alva, Oklahoma. Walter Schuessler married another Perry County native, Edna Rauh, at that church in 1934.

Schuessler/Rauh marriage record – Zion, Alva, OK

This story is especially meaningful to me. My great great grandmother was a Saalfeld, so Otto Schuessler is connected to my family in that way. Laura Mueller was the sister of my grandmother, Bertha Mueller, so she is also connected to my family from a different direction.

This story includes some very interesting facts. The bride and groom were born and baptized during the same year. These two were also confirmed in the same year. And, if that was not enough, these two died and were buried during the same year. You don’t see a story like that very often.

5 thoughts on “1909 – Not a Good Year for the Schuessler’s

  1. My name is Christa Schuessler and I am married to Walter’s youngest grandson, Scott Alan Schuessler. Although I never met Walter, I did know Edna until her death. Walter’s legacy is carried on through his children, grandchildren, great, and now great, great grandchildren. I am honored to be part of this amazing family legacy and even named our youngest son to honor the grandfather my husband adored. His name is Tripp Walter Keith Schuessler and he was born in 2005.
    You probably have current family information, but should you wish for more, I am happy to tell what I know.
    Thank your for this post and the pictures. They are wonderful reminders of the strong Christian heritage my sons have


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