Rudy and Lydia and Their Fruit

Lydia Mathilde Pilz has a special birthday today. Since she was born on June 6, 1897, she would be 125 years old if she was still alive. Lydia was the daughter of Henry and Maria (Stueve) Pilz. According to our German Family Tree, she was the 4th of 7 children born into that Pilz family. Lydia was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can view the baptism record from that congregation’s books. I have to display this record in two images.

Lydia Pilz baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

Lydia is found in her first census in 1900 at the age of 3. Her father was a farmer.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

I find it amazing that in 1910, the year of Lydia’s confirmation, at the age of 13, was already a servant in another household. Perhaps that decision was made at least in part because Lydia’s father died in 1905, leaving her mother as a widow. I had difficulty finding this census entry because Lydia’s surname was transposed as Biltz by Ancestry.com. Lydia was living in the Herman Lichtenegger family.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Now, we will turn our attention to the man who would become Lydia’s husband. His name was Rudolph Reinhard Steffens, who was born on October 23, 1891. He was the 3rd of 8 children of Claus and Pauline (Thurm) Steffens. A previous story was written about Claus and his wives titled, Claus’s Wives – Two Thurm’s and a Koenig. Rudolph was also baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can take a look at his baptism record.

Rudolph Steffens baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

Rudolph is found in the 1900 census at the age of 8. His father was a farmer.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1910, we find Rudolph as an 18 year-old laborer on his father’s farm.

1910 census – Brazeau Township MO

Rudolph Steffens married Lydia Pilz on April 9, 1917 at Immanuel, Altenburg. The church record for this occasion is displayed below in tow images.

Steffens/Pilz marriage record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

The marriage license for this couple is pictured here.

Steffens/Pilz marriage license

Just 2 months after his wedding, Rudolph had a World War I draft registration completed.

Rudolph Steffens – WWI draft registration

Our German Family Tree lists 9 children that were born to Rudolph and Lydia. Two of them were born before the 1920 census was taken. In this entry we find a combination of Rudolph’s wife and 2 children, his parents, and a few of Rudy’s brothers. Rudy was a farmer.

1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

An article published in the Perry County Republican in 1929 was displayed in the previous article about Rudy’s father. It gives evidence that this Steffens farm was also involved in operating a fruit orchard.

Rudolph Steffens – PCR article 1929

Next, the Steffens household is listed in the 1930 census. Rudolph was now called the head of the household which had gotten considerably larger and still included his parents.

1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

At some point in time, Rudy and Lydia were photographed. That picture is shown here.

Rudy and Lydia Steffens

In the 1940 census we find the Steffens family with 7 children from age 9 to 20. Rudy’s parents were still living with them.

1940 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1942, Rudolph had a World War II draft card completed. Rudy is called both a farmer and fruit grower on this form.

Rudolph Steffens – WWII draft card

Lydia Steffens died in 1948 at the age of 50. Her death certificate indicates that breast cancer was the cause of death.

Lydia Steffens death certificate

An obituary for Lydia was found in a local newspaper.

Lydia Steffens obituary

Rudolph is found as a widower in the 1950 census. Some of our readers may recognize the name, Thelma Steffens, who still lives here in Altenburg.

1950 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Later in his life, the two photos of Rudy Steffens below were taken.

Rudolph lived a very long life. He died in 1993 at the age of 102. He and Lydia are each buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.

This past weekend, there was a wedding at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. If I have it figured correctly, the bride was the great great granddaughter of Rudy and Lydia. That bride came pretty close to getting married on her great great grandma’s 125th birthday.

The Steffens Orchard operated for a lot of years in this area. Even though the Steffens’ trees are no longer producing fruit, you could say that the list of descendants of the Rudy and Lydia Steffens marriage are a bountiful supply of fruit that came from that tree. That family tree continues to grow.


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