In today’s story, you will read about how one of the original immigrants who was part of the Gruber Group in 1839 married a girl who was the child of one of the first Perry County Lutheran marriages. I will then follow one branch of this couple’s family tree all the way out to California where one of their boys served many years as a Lutheran educator in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
The tale begins with a possible birthday. It is debatable when Traugott Burkhardt was born. Our German Family Tree lists 3 potential dates of birth for him. According to the GFT, Traugott could have been born on July 27th, July 28th, or July 29th in 1833. So, today, tomorrow, or the following day will be his 189th birthday. Traugott was the son of Johann Gottlieb and Eva (Schumann) Burkhardt. Traugott was born in Zwotzen, Germany, and his family came to America aboard the ship, Johann Georg, that arrived in November of 1839 as part of the Gruber Group. The portion of the passenger list displaying this Burkhardt family is shown here. Traugott was 6 years old when he made this voyage.
There were two other Burkhardt families that were part of the Stephanite group that arrived in early 1839. Those two Burkhardt families came to this country aboard the ship, Johann Georg, also, but on a different voyage. Those Burkhardt’s were from Niederfrohna, Germany, which is not that far from Zwotzen, but our German Family Tree does not establish a family relationship between all the Burkhardt’s.
When Traugott was confirmed in 1847 at Trinity, Altenburg, his confirmation record says that he was born on July 27, 1833.
Traugott is found in the 1850 census living with his family in the Brazeau Township at the age of 17. Even though his father was called a mason on the above passenger list, this census entry shows him as a farmer.
Next, Traugott is found in the 1860 census. He was a 27 year-old wagon maker living in the household of Johann Schuessler. A merchant by the name of Theo. Schieferdecker was also living in this household..
When the Civil War broke out, Traugott spent some time serving in the Union Army. The military record below gives evidence of his service.
Not long after he served in that war, Traugott got married, so let’s turn our attention to the woman who would become his bride. Her name was Rosine Wilhelmine Schlimpert, who was born on October 4, 1845. She was the daughter of Johann Traugott and Maria Rosina (Poppitz) Schlimpert. Both the Schlimpert and Poppitz families came to America aboard the ship, Copernicus, and they were listed right next to each other on that ship’s passenger list. Maria was 26 years old and Traugott was 22. That couple would get married on June 30, 1839, about a month after the immigrants arrived in Perry County.
Rosine Wilhelmina Schlimpert was the 3rd child born in her parents’ family. Trinity Lutheran Church dedicated their first church in the spring of 1845, and Rosine’s baptism record is found in that congregation’s books, but her baptism record shown below says she was baptized at her home, which was in Seelitz.
Rosine is found in the 1850 census at the age of 5. In this entry, she was called Wilhelmina. Her father was a farmer.
In the 1860 census, Rosine was a teenager who was still living with her parents.
Traugott Burkhardt married Rosine Schlimpert on May 31, 1865 at Trinity Lutheran Church. Rev. J.F. Koestering arrived in Altenburg in 1864, and so began the “Koestering Hole”, so no marriage record is included in that congregation’s books. However, we are able to view a civil marriage record of this event.
According to our German Family Tree, Traugott and Rosine had 5 children. The first and last child were boys, and the 3 born in between were girls. Two of their children were born before the 1870 census was taken. Traugott was once again called a wagon maker. A 13 year-old boy named Edward Herring was also included in their household.
The last census in which I found this couple was the one taken in 1880. This time, Traugott was called a farmer. All 5 children were included in this entry, although their youngest son, Gustav, would die the next year.
Traugott Burkhardt died in 1896 at the age of 62. His death record in Trinity’s books says he was survived by Rosine along with 3 daughters and a son.
If you calculate Traugott’s birthday from the age shown on the record above, it comes out to be July 28, 1833. Our GFT also says he was born on July 29th, although I cannot figure out why.
I am sure that Traugott was buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg, but he does not have an entry on Findagrave.com. I stopped by the cemetery to look for his gravestone this morning. Based on when he died, he is likely one of the unmarked grave sites in this empty space.
We do not have a death record for Rosine. I think there is a distinct possibility that after she lost her husband, she moved away from Altenburg to live with one of her children, and I suspect it may have been her son, Martin. However, I found no evidence that this was the case.
Martin Burkhardt had an interesting history. After being seen as a 14 year-old in the 1880 census, he must have gone off to college to train to be a Lutheran school teacher. In 1889, Martin married Olga Pott. I found a marriage record for them in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau.
There is evidence that Teacher Burkhardt spent time in Peru, Indiana, Collinsville, Illinois, and Chicago before he ended up in California. In a 1924 Long Beach, California directory, we find Martin and Olga, and it describes Martin as being a teacher at Zion Lutheran School. That church was established at about that time, so it is possible that Martin was their first teacher.
In the 1950 census, Martin Burkhardt is listed with his son, Martin, Jr. in Long Beach. In the occupation column, it says Martin was a German school teacher, but it is for some reason crossed out.
Martin and Olga Burkhardt are buried in the Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.
The Burkhardt surname has pretty much disappeared from East Perry County, but we know it reached all the way out to the west coast.