A young couple was married in Potter, Nebraska, but both the bride and the groom were born and raised in Jackson County, Illinois. These two would not remain in Nebraska, but shortly after their marriage, they would return to the place of their births and live there the rest of their lives. This story begins with a boy that was born on today’s date, June 18th.
David Paul Fritsche was born on June 18, 1898, so today would be his 124th birthday. David was the son of Robert and Magdalena (Darnstaedt) Fritsche. He was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. We can take a look at his baptism record in two images.
The first census in which we find David is the one taken in 1900 when he was 1 year old. His family was living in the Degognia Township in Jackson County, Illinois. David’s father was a farmer.
In the 1910 census, we find David at the age of 12. A few more younger Fritsche children had been born since the previous census.
In 1918, David had his World War I draft registration completed. This form says that David was working for his father on his farm.
David was still single when the 1920 census was taken, but he was no longer living with his parents. In fact, he was no longer living in Illinois. We find him living in Potter, Nebraska. That location has been mentioned in previous posts as being a place where several folks from this area moved to find work back in those days. David was living in the Reitz household, as was a Darnstaedt and a Schubert, who had their origins in Illinois and Missouri.
Now, we need to turn our attention to the woman who would become David’s wife. Her name was Ida Maria Margaretha Oetjen, who was born on October 26, 1901. Ida was the daughter of Friedrich and Margaretha (Dreyer) Oetjen. She, too, was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. Her baptism record is displayed below.
The first census in which we find Ida is the one taken in 1910 when she was 8 years old. Her family was living in the Fountain Bluff Township, and her father was a farmer. Some of the children in this entry were from Friedrich’s first marriage to Anna Rathjen. Also, Ida’s mother had died earlier in 1910, so her father was once again a widower.
Next, we find Ida in the 1920 census still living with her father, who had married again. His 3rd wife was Anna Luedemann.
Ida Oetjen traveled to Potter, Nebraska to be married to David Fritsche on February 16, 1920. They were likely married by one of the pastors of the Lutheran churches in that area. Thanks to an Oetjen family binder that we have at our museum put together by Daniel Oetjen, who lives in Germany, I can show the wedding photo for this couple.
According to our German Family Tree, David and Ida had 6 children. All of their children were baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois, so these two must have moved back to Illinois shortly after they were married. We find the Fritsche family in the 1930 census with their first 3 children.
Three more children were born in the 1930’s, but one of them died early. Three children of David and Ida are included in the photo below, but I am not sure which ones they are.
The 1940 census shows the following Fritsche family.
David Fritsche had a World War II draft card completed in 1942.
I figure the photo shown below of the Fritsche family was taken sometime around this time. Their son, Arnold, was in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
We find the Fritsche’s in the 1950 census still living in the Fountain Bluff Township, and David was still a farmer.
David Fritsche died in 1975 at the age of 76; Ida Fritsche died in 1982 at the age of 80. These two are buried together in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Jacob.
The surnames Fritsche and Oetjen are certainly names that are found in the books of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. The name, Fritsche, had its origins in Perry County, Missouri, but the Oetjen family originally settled in and around Jacob. I found 27 gravesites that included the name Oetjen and 21 gravesites with the name Fritsche in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery on Findagrave.com.