We are going to celebrate a 175th birthday today. Johann Franz Leimer was born in Austria on April 2, 1847, the son of Johann Michael and Anna Maria (Pilz) Leimer. Sometime before 1867, the Leimer family came to America and settled in the area around Pocahontas, Missouri. Both Franz and his father became two of the charter members of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas when it was established in 1867.
The Leimer family is found in the 1870 census for the Shawnee Township in Cape Girardeau County. Franz, whose name became “Americanized” to Frank, was a 25 year-old farm hand, working for his father.
By the way, I included the unusual entry of another Mary Pilz, just two lines above Frank’s mother, Mary (Pilz) Leimer. That younger Mary Pilz was a servant in the household of Johann Wallmann, another founding member of St. John’s, Pocahontas.
Next, we will take a look at the woman who would become Frank’s wife. He found his wife across the Apple Creek in Perry County. Her name was Pauline Ernstine Petzoldt, the daughter of August and Augusta (Roth) Petzoldt. That makes her a niece of Friedrich Florian (“The Face”) Petzoldt. Pauline’s date of birth is debatable. Her baptism record found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg says she was born on February 19, 1853. However, her death certificate and gravestone state that she was born on February 25th. Pauline was the 8th of 11 children born to her parents.
When Pauline was very young, her family became members of the newly-formed Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Her father was one of the charter members.
Pauline is found in the 1860 census for the Brazeau Township of Perry County at the age of 7. Her father was a farmer.
The other census in which Pauline shows up as a single woman was the one taken in 1870. At that time, she was 17 years old.
Frank Leimer married Pauline Petzoldt on September 3, 1876 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Information about both Frank and Pauline that is found in the St. John’s Lutheran Church binder that we have in our library is pictured here.
A civil marriage record from Perry County is shown below. It is a document that uses Frank’s other name, John.
Our German Family Tree lists 6 children in the family of Frank and Pauline. However, one of them was a foster child that died at a rather young age. We find the Leimer household in the 1880 census. Emma Dan, at age 4, was the foster child. I have also included the household of Frank’s younger brother, John Leimer, who married Pauline’s younger sister, Emilie Petzoldt.
As it turns out, the 1880 census is the only one in which we find both Frank and Pauline. Frank Leimer died in 1895 at the age of 47. The information shown earlier from the St. John’s binder says that Frank was buried in the old cemetery at St. John’s. However, there is no gravestone photo on Findagrave.com for him.
Pauline is found in the 1900 census with 4 remaining children and a nephew named Rudolph Petzoldt. Pauline is called a farmer in this entry, but her son, 15 year-old John, was a farm laborer.
Next, we find the Leimer’s in the 1910 census. This time, Pauline is called the owner of the farm.
I should have been able to find Pauline in the 1920 census, but I did not. Pauline died in 1929 at the age of 75.
Pauline was buried in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas. We can take a look at her gravestone photo.
We wish Frank Leimer his special “Happy 175th Birthday” today. Sadly, he did not have a very long life.
If you haven’t heard this already, yesterday, April 1st, was the day that the 1950 Federal census records were released to the public. The records that are now available can be found at the link below:
These records are not yet found on Ancestry.com. When they do, I am sure they will be much easier to search. I know I spent quite a bit of time last night attempting to find my name in those records. That task was not made any easier because I was born and raised in the big city of St. Louis. After much effort, I did manage to find my family. I was wondering if I would be found there because I was born in 1950. I knew I had a good chance since I was born in January. The record including my name is displayed below.
If you’re as old as me or older, I hope you are successful at finding your name in this newly-available census.