Today’s tale begins in Perry County, but the setting changes rather quickly. Most of today’s setting is the Fountain Bluff Township of Jackson County, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River. The birthday girl is Frieda Emma Darnstaedt, who was born on March 5, 1898. Frieda’s parents were Martin and Bertha (Haacke) Darnstaedt. Frieda was one of the “girls” in the story, Martin and His Girls, that told the story of her parents. Frieda was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can view her baptism record below.
Frieda is found in the 1900 census at the age of 2. Her father was called a day laborer. This would be the only census in which we find this Darnstaedt family living in Missouri.
Before the 1910 census was taken, the Darnstaedt’s moved across the river to the Fountain Bluff Township, and we begin finding records for them in the books of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. The 1910 census entry is displayed here. Frieda was 12 years old at the time, and now her father was a farmer.
Frieda would get married in 1920, but not until after the census was enumerated for that year. Here is the Darnstaedt household in 1920.
Next, we will take a look at the man who would become Frieda’s husband. His name was Herman Friedrich Johann Zerbst, who was born on July 25, 1898. Herman was the son of Henry and Meta (Guetersloh) Zerbst and baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. Here is his baptism record.
Herman is found in his first census in 1900 at the age of 1. He was living in the household of his grandfather, Nicholas Zerbst. Both Herman’s father and grandfather were farmers.
We find the Zerbst household in the 1910 census, and you can see that several more siblings had joined Herman in his family.
Since both Herman and Frieda were born in the same calendar year and attending Christ Lutheran Church, I thought these two might have been in the same confirmation class, but Frieda was confirmed in 1911 and Herman in 1912. Then in 1918, Herman had his World War I draft registration completed.
In the year of his wedding, 1920, we find Herman still living with his parents when the census was taken. Herman was working on his father’s farm.
Herman Zerbst married Frieda Darnstaedt on November 7, 1920 at Christ, Jacob. We can take a look at the church record for their wedding.
I am able to display this couple’s wedding photograph.
Just one child was born to this couple, a daughter named Ruby, born in 1927. We find this small family in the 1930 census. Herman was a farmer all his life.
Frieda Zerbst died in 1938 at the age of 40. A few years later, we find Herman as a widower in the 1940 census.
Herman would get married again. Let’s take a look at his second wife. Her name was Ella Minna Rowold, who was born on August 5, 1904. She was the daughter of William and Anna (Steufe) Rowold. I do not have access to the records, but I suspect I would find Ella’s baptism record in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Prairie, Illinois. Ella is found in the 1910 census for Baldwin, Illinois, which is located near Prairie. She was part of a large Rowold household.
Next, we find Ella in the 1920 census living with her family in Red Bud, Illinois. She was 15 years old, and her father was a farmer.
Like many young ladies from Perry County, some from this part of Illinois would head to St. Louis to find work. Ella was living in Dr. Henry Kloepper’s household in St. Louis and working as a servant when the 1930 census was taken. That family was living quite near Holy Cross Lutheran Church in St. Louis.
A photo was taken of Ella Rowold when she was a young woman.
In 1940, Ella had moved back to her parents’ home in Red Bud. We find her in this census entry.
The only place I found the wedding date for the next marriage was in obituaries. Herman Zerbst married Ella Rowold on August 21, 1941 in Red Bud, although I think it may have taken place in Prairie, which is just down the road from Red Bud. I think the photo below may have been a marriage photo for this couple.
A son named Ralph was born to this couple in 1942. It was also during that year that Herman had his World War II draft card completed.
Herman Zerbst died in 1983 at the age of 84. We can take a look at his obituary.
Ella Zerbst died in 1994 at the age of 90. We can also read her obituary.
Herman Zerbst and both of his wives, Frieda and Ella, are buried in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Jacob, Illinois.
Even though the Darnstaedt name can also be a Perry County name, when I see the combination of the surnames, Darnstaedt, Zerbst, and Rowold, I automatically think it will be a Jacob, Illinois story.
During my days in Ft. Lauderdale, I knew Chuck Zerbst, who ran a motel right on U.S. Highway 1. Perhaps someone in the Zerbst family who runs across this blog post might tell me if Chuck was tied into the Zerbst name that comes out of Jacob, Illinois.