Today, I will tell the tale of a couple that was married on this day back in 1849. The groom arrived in America before the Gesellschaft did. The bride arrived right before her wedding. Both the bride and the groom were Bavarians. I will begin with the groom.
Johann Peter Bergmann was born on March 10, 1827 in Feulersdorf, Germany. The only evidence I found of a parent’s name is found in the Friedenberg Remembrances book that mentions that his father was named George Bergmann, Sr. His gravestone can also be found in the Peace Lutheran Cemetery in Friedenberg.
There are two other George Bergmann’s that are prominent in the early history of Bavarian Lutherans in Perry County, “Creek George” Bergmann and “Siding George” Bergmann. Johann Peter’s father was yet another George Bergmann, who is said to have come to this country in 1835 when Johann Peter was about 8 years of age. You may already notice that I am calling today’s groom, Johann Peter. I am doing that because I have already told the story of another Johann (John) Bergmann on this blog, and I want to distinguish between the two.
The bride in today’s highlighted wedding was Anna Sophia Magdalena Margaret Poehner. She was born on January 22, 1826 in Langenstadt, Germany. On the map shown below, you can see the hometowns of both Johann Peter and Sophie were located very near one another in Germany.
The Friedenberg Remembrances book states that Sophie came to the United States in 1849, the same year in which she got married. Perhaps this marriage was arranged by correspondence. Sophie was the daughter of Johann Friedrich and Anna Margaretha (Preusinger) Poehner.
Johann Peter Bergmann married Sophie Poehner on July 5, 1849 at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg. We can take a look at a civil record of this wedding.
A year after their marriage, this couple appears in the 1850 census living in the Cinque Hommes Township. At that point in time, they had no children. Johann Peter was a blacksmith.
Our German Family Tree lists 6 children born to Johann Peter and Sophie. The first child was born later in the year of the above census. The first 2 children were baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg, but when their 3rd child was born in 1859, she was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. Johann Peter and Sophie were original members of that congregation when it was established. When the 1860 census was taken, we find this couple with 3 children. This time they were found in the St. Mary Township, and Johann Peter was a farmer. Johann Peter’s father was living in their household as well.
When the Civil War broke out in the 1860’s, Johann Peter became a part of the Union Army. There were several John Bergmann’s in the Civil War records. I think the one shown below is the one for Johann Peter.
The last census in which we find Johann Peter was the one taken in 1870. All 6 of their children can be found in this entry. They are found once again in the Cinque Hommes Township.
Johann Peter Bergmann died at the end of 1873 at the young age of 46, leaving Sophie as a widow. In the 1880 census, Sophie is listed with the occupation of “farming”. Two teenage sons were working on this farm.
Later in her life, a photo was taken of Sophie and one of her sons, Frederick, standing in front of the Bergmann home. The narrative under the photo which can be found in the Friedenberg Remembrances book gives more details about this Bergmann family.
Sophie Bergmann was a widow for 38 years. Johann Peter died before ever having grandchildren, but Sophie began seeing plenty of grandchildren beginning at the end of the 1870’s. She was still alive when the 1900 and 1910 censuses were taken, but I was not able to find her. Toward the end of 1911, Sophie Bergmann died at the age of 85. Her death certificate gives the year of her death as 1825. Based on that year of birth, Sophie was 86 years old when she died.
I find it fascinating that when Sophie’s obituary was published in the local paper, it’s headline read, “Grandma Bergmann Dead”.
Johann Peter and Sophie Bergmann are each buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.
The fact that Sophie was called Grandma Bergmann in her obituary is a tribute to her loving care for those around her, especially to her grandchildren. I know that my wife, Sandi, who is called Grandma by 6 grandchildren who love her dearly, loves to spend time with them and does an amazing job of showering her love on them. I wonder if her obituary will someday refer to her as Grandma Schmidt.