We have an excellent book in our museum’s research library telling the family history of the Sewing family. It is cleverly called The Sewing Circle.
Before I proceed any further, let me point out that folks around here pronounce this name as “saving”, not “sewing”. Today’s story will tell the tale of one of the members of this Sewing family. It is the story of a rather large group.
Even before we discuss today’s main character, let’s take a look at the arrival of the Sewing family in America. The Sewing’s came to this country aboard the ship, Diana, in 1843. There were also some Grossheider’s on that ship that settled in this area. The passenger list for that ship is shown here. It comes from The Sewing Circle and is captioned. It mentions that the original Sewing couple was Frederick and Catherine (Koch) Sewing.
The Sewing Circle includes this photograph of Frederick Sewing.
The Sewing couple had another child after arriving in this country, and he happens to be today’s birthday boy. His name was Heinrich Frederick Sewing, who normally went by the name, Henry. Henry was born on March 29, 1845 and has his baptism record included in the books of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, however, he was likely baptized in or near Friedheim. No church had been established there yet, but Rev. Gruber from Uniontown began a preaching station there, and Henry was likely baptized by that pastor. His baptism record, in two images, is pictured here. There is reference made to Cape Girardeau County (where Friedheim is located) in this record. You might also notice the the surname is spelled, Sebing, in this document. One of Henry’s sponsors was a Grossheider.
I was unable to find this Henry Sewing in a census entry until after his marriage. Let’s look at the woman that would become his bride. Her name was Matilda Louise Zoellner, who was born on February 27, 1852. Matilda was the daughter of Ferdinand and Antonetta (Dolle) Zoellner. I have no baptism documentation for her. Matilda shows up in the 1860 census at the age of 8. Her father was a farmer.
Next, we find Matilda as a teenager in the 1870 census. Her family’s surname is really butchered in this census entry.
Henry Sewing married Matilda Zoellner on February 1, 1872. A marriage record for this couple is found in the books of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.
I do not know why this couple was married at St. John’s, but I found that there was another Zoellner/Sewing marriage that took place at that congregation later that same year. Anna Sewing was Henry’s sister. Gustav Zoellner was Matilda’s brother.
A listing of the children of Henry and Matilda Sewing is included in The Sewing Circle. There were a dozen children in this list. Nine of them were boys.
When the 1880 census was taken, we find this Sewing household. Henry was a farmer with 4 children.
Not long before the 1900 census was taken, this photo is said to have been taken around 1897 of the Henry and Matilda Sewing family. The caption identifies the people in the photo.
Most of the folks in the above photo can be found in the 1900 census.
Again, not long after the above census, another family photo was supposedly taken in 1901. This picture was taken outside the Sewing home.
The Sewing household diminished considerably before the 1910 census.
The last census in which we find Henry and Matilda Sewing was the one taken in 1930. There was just one son left in their household, and he is called a teacher.
Henry Sewing died in 1925 at the age of 80. His death certificate simply says he died of senility.
Matilda Sewing died in 1929 at the age of 77. Her death certificate says she died of liver cancer.
The Sewing Circle includes this memorial to Henry and Matilda.
Both Henry and Matilda Sewing are buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Friedheim.
I am reasonably sure that the Sewing family may have been original members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim. Also, even though a few Sewing’s were married in Pocahontas, it appears that Henry and his family were members of Trinity, Friedheim all their lives. Their first child born in 1872 has her baptism record in that congregation’s books.
Although I didn’t take the time to find all the children’s baptisms, I did also find the baptism record of their last child in those books also.
I suspect that all 12 baptism records are found in those books. Right now, there is an effort being made to index the Trinity, Friedheim records. When they are done, I am certain that plenty of Sewing entries will be added to our German Family Tree. Right now, there are just a few isolated records found there. One of the primary persons involved in indexing those record is a descendant of today’s characters, Sue Sewing. I look forward to finding it easier to navigate that church’s records.