I am writing this story on Good Friday. It will be a story that has some similarities to the events that took place on the original Good Friday, but also some distinct differences. This story has an only son. Also, because of a death, a woman becomes a grieving mother. Yet, the surrounding details in this story are different that those of Mary witnessing the death of Jesus on the cross close to 2000 years ago.
Caroline Elizabeth Seibel was born on April 15, 1872, making today a very special birthday. She would be 150 years old if she was still alive today. Caroline was the 2nd of 5 children of Immanuel and Sophia (Grass) Seibel. All of the children in this Seibel family were baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. We can take a look at the baptism record for Caroline.
The only census in which we find Caroline as a single woman was the one taken in 1880 when she was 8 years old. Her father was a blacksmith in Frohna. A previous post was written about Caroline’s parents titled, Emanuel Seibel’s Grass Roots. However, in that post, I mistakenly called Caroline, Concordia. Below is an image of that 1880 census entry.
Next, we will take a look at the man who would become Caroline’s husband. His name was August Karl Theodore Lueders, who was born on August 8, 1869. Some records included Peter in his name. August was the son of another August Lueders, one who was one of the notable merchants in Frohna. August K. was the 8th of a dozen children born to August and Anna Marie (Roth) Lueders. Like the children in the Seibel family, all of the Lueders children were baptized at Concordia, Frohna. We can take a look at August Karl’s baptism record from that congregation’s books, but it says his name was Carl Peter Martin Lueders.
August is found in the 1870 census at the age of 1. His father is called a retail dry goods merchant. He operated the Lueders Store in Frohna. The story of that store was told in the post, Frohna Entrepreneur.
Next, we find August in the 1880 census. You can see that August grew up in a rather large family with plenty of brothers.
August Karl Lueders married Caroline Seibel on October 25, 1891 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. The church record for this occasion is pictured here.
We can also view this couple’s marriage license.
This couple had just one child, a son named Alfred, who was born on August 25, 1892. That baby was baptized at Concordia, Frohna. This is his baptism record.
Tragedy struck this young family while Caroline was still nursing her little baby boy. Her husband died at the age of 23 on September 30, 1892, about a month after their son was born. The church record says he died of nerve fever. August was buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.
The next census in which we find Caroline and her son was the 1900 census. We find her listed with several other folks with the surnames, Lueders and Seibel. It has all the looks of these families taking a widow with a young child under their wings.
A photo was taken of the Lueders family when August and Anna celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1905. I have to think that Caroline and her son attended this event, but sadly, her husband is missing from this family photo.
In 1910, we find Caroline living in the same neighborhood of relatives, but Alfred was not living with her. This time, Caroline was called a dressmaker.
In 1910, Alfred was a servant on the Gottfried Mueller farm at the age of 17.
Caroline Lueders is found in the 1920 census still living in Perry County. She was living with her father, who was also a widower. Caroline’s mother had died in 1900. Immanuel Seibel would die later during the year this census was taken. After this census, Caroline would no longer be found living in Perry County.
When the 1930 census was taken, we find Caroline living in St. Louis. As near as I can tell, her son had been living in St. Louis for a while and got married there in 1923. Perhaps Caroline moved to that city to be closer to her son and his family. Caroline was living with her single sister, Emma, and working as a servant for private people.
Caroline is found in the 1940 census at the age of 67. She was still living with Emma Seibel, but this time she was called a laundress.
Caroline was still alive in 1950 and was likely living in St. Louis. I spent a little bit of time looking for her in the 1950 census, but did not find her. Perhaps when that census is indexed better and searchable on Ancestry.com, I could find her.
Caroline Lueders died in 1961 at the age of 89. Her death certificate says she was living at the Lutheran Altenheim in St. Louis.
The above death certificate says that Caroline was to be buried in the Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis. Findagrave.com has an entry for Caroline, but there is no gravestone photo.
Caroline Lueders was grieving and a mother, but she did not lose her only begotten son, she lost her husband. She was blessed to have her son alive the rest of her life.
Caroline (Seibel) Lueders certainly had a tragic death occur in her life that had an incredible impact on her. All indications, though, are that not only did she have plenty of family to surround her with their love and care, but also that she remained faithful to her Savior, who died so long ago on a Friday, making it a tragic day for Jesus, but also good day for us. I wish you a very blessed Good Friday.