The Preacher’s Grandparents

Yesterday’s post told of a baby girl being born in Altenburg on August 21, 1897 who would later marry a Roth. One day later, a baby boy was born in Frohna, and he was a Roth. It is his story you will read today. Recently, I re-posted the story about Dale Roth titled, Preacher on the River. The boy who would be celebrating his 125th birthday today was Dale’s grandpa.

Leo Alfred Roth was born on August 22, 1897, the son of Christian and Agnes (Schuessler) Roth. Leo was the perfect “middle child”, being the 5th child of the 9 born to Christian and Agnes. Leo was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. We can view his baptism record from that congregation’s books.

Leo Roth baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Leo is found in the 1900 census at the age of 2. His father was a teamster. I may be wrong, but I think his father was a teamster for the Frohna Mill.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

You begin to find church records for members of this Christian Roth family in the books of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg in 1904. That is why I included Christian in my book, Wittenberg ’04 describing him as coming down to Wittenberg as a teamster taking a flour shipment from Frohna to the steamboats. I speculated that he may have discussed purchasing or renting some land from Joseph Weinhold. My book is fiction, but I went to great efforts to make it based on facts.

Leo would have been around 7 years old when that move took place to Wittenberg. I found two photos of classes that attended St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Wittenberg that include Leo. I think they may have been taken in 1904 and 1905, but I am not positive which photo was taken first. You can click the thumbnails to enlarge them. The photo on the right makes me wonder if the dress code for the boys at this Wittenberg school was bib overalls.

Leo was 12 years old when the 1910 census was taken. Leo’s mother had died in 1905, so she is not found in this entry. This time, his father was called a farmer.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1918, Leo had to complete a World War I draft registration form. His address is given as Wittenberg.

Leo Roth – WWI draft registration

Leo would get married not long after the above form was completed, so we will turn our attention to the woman who would become his bride. Her name was Linna Amalia Mueller, who was born on September 24, 1896. Her baptism record spells her first name a Lina, but her gravestone spells it Linna, so I’m going with the gravestone spelling. Linna was the daughter of Gottfried and Ida (Landgraf) Mueller. She was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. We can take a look at an image of that document.

Linna Mueller baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Linna was 3 years old when the 1900 census was taken. Her father was a farmer in the Apple Creek Township, which is just across the Apple Creek from Uniontown.

1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Next, we find Linna in the 1910 census as a brand new teenager…age 13. Linna’s mother had died in 1903. In 1904, her father had married Martha Telle, so she is the wife listed in this entry.

1910 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Leo Roth married Linna Mueller on April 21, 1919 at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. The church record for this occasion is displayed below.

Roth/Mueller marriage record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

The marriage license for this couple can also be viewed.

Roth/Mueller marriage license

The wedding photograph, which includes the two witnesses, is displayed below. In the church marriage record, we can see that the other man in this photo is Rudolph Roth, Leo’s brother, but the name in the record for the other witness is difficult to read. My best guess is that it was Bertha Mueller, who was Linna’s younger sister.

Leo and Linna Roth wedding

At this point, let me tell a little side story. This wedding was the first of 4 such events in Linna’s Mueller family in which one of the Mueller sisters (or half-sisters) married Wittenberg men. Bertha Mueller married Leo’s younger brother Gottfried Roth, Esther Mueller married Ernst Doering, and Frieda Mueller married George Loebs. (Frieda and Georg were my aunt and uncle.) Perhaps Linna and Leo played the role of matchmaker in finding Wittenberg husbands for all those Mueller sisters. A later photo was taken of the children of Gottfried Mueller.

Gottfried Mueller children

Our German Family Tree lists 5 children born to Leo and Linna, all of them boys. None of their children were born before the 1920 census was taken, although their first son, Gilbert, was born during that year. Leo and Linna were living in the household of Leo’s father, along with a few brothers of Leo.

1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

There is a photo that is supposed to include Leo Roth. He is supposed to be the man standing in front of the tractor on the right. This photo is special to me because my grandfather, Emanuel Schmidt, is supposed to be the man sitting on the middle tractor. Also, it is claimed that my father, Richard Schmidt, is one of the children in the boxcar, although he always denied it.

Arrival of tractors in Wittenberg

The Roth household in the 1930 census includes 4 sons. Leo was a farmer.

1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1939, Leo was one of the officers for St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg.

One more son was born in 1931, so we see this household of Roth’s in the 1940 census. We now can see all 5 of the sons, and by the way, the Preacher, Dale Roth, comes from son #2, Arnold Roth.

1940 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Leo Roth had a World War II draft card completed in 1942.

Leo Roth – WWII draft card

The home in which Leo and Linna lived. which was located just north of the town of Wittenberg, is pictured here.

Leo and Linna Roth home

At one time, there was a gathering of all 5 of the boys in Leo and Linna’s family, and a photo was taken of all of them with their wives.

Leo and Linna’s boys and their wives

Left to right: Arnold and Violet, Willard and Elvira, Gilbert and Alida, Edgar and Betty, Vernon and Lorraine.

The last census that we can view including the Roth’s is the one taken in 1950. Only Willard and Vernon remained in their household.

1950 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Leo Roth died in 1955 at the age of 57. His death certificate indicates he had issues with his heart.

Leo Roth death certificate

Linna Roth did not die until 1987 at the age of 90. Both Leo and Linna Roth are buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg. Linna died during the year that the St. Paul’s congregation closed its doors.

A few other items of interest to me come from this Leo Roth family. Edgar Roth, one of the sons, became a Lutheran teacher, and after he retired, he would often accompany students from the Lutheran school in Steeleville, Illinois when they visited our museum. Also, Gilbert Roth and his family were members of St. Jacobi Lutheran Church in St. Louis where my family attended when I was a child.


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