Grandma Bergmann

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.

George Bergmann, Sr. gravestone – Peace, Friedenberg, MO

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.

Feulersdarf and Langenstadt, Germany map

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.

Bergmann/Poehner marriage record – Perry County, MO

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.

1860 census – St. Mary Township, MO

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.

Johann Peter Bergmann – Civil War military record

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.

1870 census – Cinque Hommes Township, MO

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.

1880 census – Central Township, MO

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.

Sophie Bergmann death certificate

I find it fascinating that when Sophie’s obituary was published in the local paper, it’s headline read, “Grandma Bergmann Dead”.

Sophie Bergmann obituary

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.

3 thoughts on “Grandma Bergmann

  1. I am looking for specific information regarding the family of origin of Anna Caroline Bergmann Schade, possible siblings, immigration story, etc., My Paternal Great Grandmother.


  2. Are any of these Bergmanns related to Anna Caroline who married Frederick Schade, Jr.- my Great Grandfather and Caroline being my Great Grandmother? I am gazing at their lovely photo as I type which includes the young women Rosita Onita ( my Grandmother Sadie) and Augusta Victoria,( my great Aunt). Indeed they did become the Jonesboro Butchers and opened the first City Meat Market on Main Street- I have seen the address many times. Frerderick Sr is my Great Great Grandfather and I am amazed to find people with so much knowledge of my ancestral family! I knew little until recently beyond Frederick and Caroline Schade of Jonesboro, but they there were immigrants or children of immigrants and that Caroline was from MO and that knowledge is fairly new to me!


  3. I spent some time a while back sorting out “my” Bergmanns from their local cousins and came to suspect that “Johann Peter Bergmann” was simply “Johann Bergmann” (a true John). “Johann” was the first given name of a significant portion of German males during this era, for whom the second (or third, etc.) given name was primary. A “Johann Peter” would generally have been known as or shortened to “Peter” and not “Johann”, though this convention began to swap a little as they encountered the English convention of the first given name being primary.

    I suspect the “Peter” portion was added by researchers in subsequent generations who encountered instances where his son, “Johann Peter Bergmann”, was referred to as “John Jr”. They likely assumed that since the “Jr” son had the additional name, that his father must have been “Johann Peter Bergmann, Sr”. While I’ve not seen his baptism record, none of his other documents (census, land, military, & death records/gravestone) include an additional name or initial. If someone identifies evidence to the contrary, I would love to see it.

    On a slightly different note, I’ve wondered about the monikers given to the three George Bergmanns. “Creek George” seems straightforward enough given his property was situated along the creek. “George Sr” was the elder George Bergmann in the county (though he does not appear to have had a surviving son named “George” or “Johann Georg”, etc.). “Siding George” is a bit more of a mystery to me. Census records refer to him as a farmer, though I suppose it’s possible he also made/installed wooden siding for houses, etc. It’s unlikely he lived along a railroad siding since he died in 1884 and the first local railroad was built about 1894. Another researcher mused that since he was the younger brother of “Creek George”, perhaps he spent a lot of time at his brother’s side, or siding with him, etc. They also remarked that his entry in the 1880 census contains a notation in the sickness column, “ruptured”, and questioned whether he could he have had a long-term disability that caused him to lean to his side, etc. Does anyone know how this nickname actually came about?


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