Karling-Klemp Kouple

For a few days, I am once again working at a disadvantage. I am not in Altenburg, so I cannot get images of church records or use some of my strategies for locating hard-to-find census records. I chose a story today that would not enable me to display many images even if I was still at home. I think it’s a worthy tale to tell because it will demonstrate the original arrival of two surnames into Perry County. The two names fit into the category that I would call “Perryville Names”.

The birthday I will highlight today is one that took place in Germany (or Prussia). Peter Karling was born on March 11, 1807, and according to a family tree on Ancestry.com, his parents were Johann and Christina (Arnold) Karling. Today would be Peter’s 215th birthday. Our German Family Tree does not give his parents’ names. The church records we have for him are found in the Friedenberg Remembrances book and the records of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville.

Peter Karling was not only born in Germany, he was also married there. His wife’s name was Maria Klemp, who was born on February 2, 1808. In the case of Maria, we do have her parents’ names in our German Family Tree. They were Michael and Catherine (Rudda) Klemp.

The first document I was able to find for any of these people was a passenger list for the ship, George Stevens, which came to America in 1847, landing at New Orleans. We can see both Klemp names as well as Karling names on this list. Michael Klemp was already 70 years old when he made the trip to this country. According to this document, Peter and Maria Karling came to America with 3 children.

Klemp/Karling names – George Stevens passenger list 1847

The German Family Tree lists 2 more children born to Peter and Maria after they arrived in Perry County. Those two were baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg in 1849 and 1851. One of their daughters (probably the 9 year-old on the above passenger list) died in 1868 and is buried in the Peace, Friedenberg Cemetery.

I was unable to find the Karling family in either the 1850 or 1860 censuses. If I was able to get to our research library, I could look in the indexed records for those censuses to see if they are there under a misspelled name, but I am not able to do that today. The 1870 census is the first one I can display with this Karling couple. They were living in Perryville. Peter is called a laborer, and his son, William was a 19 year-old blacksmith. Peter and Maria were in their 60’s.

1870 census – Perryville, MO

Maria Karling died in 1874 at the age of 65. I managed to find an obituary for her that was printed in one of the local newspapers.

Maria Karling obituary

Peter can still be found in the 1880 census. He was living with his son, William, who had married Catherine Popp in 1872. This time Peter, at the age of 73, was a farmer, and William was also working on his farm.

1880 census – Central Township, MO

Peter Karling died in 1882 at the age of 77. He died at the time when Perry County was recording deaths. We can take a look at his death record in two images. It gives dropsy as the cause of death.

Peter Karling death record – Perry County, MO

Both Peter and Maria Karling were buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville. It looks as if Maria’s gravestone has fallen over and is on the ground.

The Karling name seems to have died out not long after this. I did a search on archived newspaper articles and found practically no stories containing that surname. However, the Klemp name became quite a well-known name in the Perryville area, and I believe there are likely to be folks by that name that can still be found in Perry County.


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