Baptism Triplets

I am going to begin this post today by explaining the process that I use to discover a story to write. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know that I usually tell the tale of someone who has a birthday or wedding anniversary happening on the day that I write a story. I use our German Family Tree to find such a story. The German Family Tree can be found in two different formats in our research library. First, we have a set of several binders filled with thousands of printed pages of this document. It would take me forever to leaf through these binders looking for a particular date. That’s where the other format comes in handy. We also have the GFT in digital format. It is a very large Word document. Microsoft Word documents are searchable, so I am able to do a search for a particular date. Such a search can be a starting point in finding a story to write. I also usually take a stab at looking for a special birthday or anniversary. I start by looking at the date from 200 years ago, then proceed to 175 years ago, 150 years ago, and 125 years ago. If I do not find such a special birthday or anniversary, I simply search the current date in the 1800’s.

I used the search term, “12 sep 1847” yesterday when looking for a story for today, hoping to find a special event that took place 175 years ago. That search came up with just 3 results. I went through these 3 results rather quickly because they were all baptism records. I rarely write a story based on a baptism record, so my eyes usually zip past them. However, this time, after I looked at those 3 results, I thought to myself, “Wait a second. Did all those baptisms take place at the same church?” So, I went back to look again. Sure enough, all 3 baptisms were from the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis. I will call the 3 individuals who were baptized on that date the baptism triplets mentioned in the title.

When I went to the Excel spreadsheet that we have for the baptism records of Trinity, St. Louis, I was surprised that it wasn’t just a set of baptism triplets, it was a set of sextuplets. You can see all 6 of the baptism records from September 12, 1847 below.

6 baptisms – September 12, 1847

I decided to just highlight the trio of individuals that are also found in our German Family Tree…Adam Heinrich Kalbfleisch, Friedrich August Eduard Heinig, and Ernst Theodor Buenger. Two of these individuals have already appeared on this blog. Recently, Henry Kalbfleisch’s story was told in the post, Doc Kalbfleisch. Ernst Theodore Buenger was included in a story about his parents titled, Buengers Back and Forth. No story prior to today was told about Edward Heining. Let me spend some time with his family’s arrival in America.

Edward’s parents, Johann and Johanna Heinig, came to this country as part of the Gesellschaft in 1839. They came on the ship, Johann Georg. We see his mother and father, and two older siblings on the passenger list for that ship shown below.

Heinig family – Johann Georg passenger list 1839

This Heinig family chose to remain in St. Louis after their arrival. Three more children were born in St. Louis, one in 1840, one in 1842, and one in 1844, but all 3 of them died shortly after birth. Then, Edward was born September 9, 1847.

Let’s follow these 3 boys through their first 2 census entries. First, let’s look at the entries from the 1850 census when these boys were each about 3 years old. All 3 were still living in St. Louis. Here is the entry for Ernst T. Buenger. His father was a physician.

1850 census – St. Louis, MO

Next, here is the census entry for Henry Kalbfleisch. His father was a tailor.

And here is the census entry for Edward Heinig. The book, Zion on the Mississippi, calls Edward’s father a weaver, but this census simply calls him a laborer.

1850 census – St. Louis, MO

As it turns out, Edward was the only one of the triplets who remained in St. Louis. When the 1860 census was taken, Henry’s Kalbfleisch family was living in Collinsville, Illinois where his father was still a tailor.

1860 census – Collinsville, IL

Dr. Ernst Eduard Buenger moved his family back to Altenburg in the 1850’s, so that is where we find Ernst T. Buenger when the 1860 census was taken.

1860 census – Altenburg, MO

Finally, here is the entry for Edward Heinig in the 1860 census for St. Louis. This time his father was called a woodcutter. Edward was the only child left living with his parents.

1860 census – St. Louis, MO

1860 was also the year that this trio of boys would have been confirmed. Later in the 1860’s, all 3 of them would live through the Civil War, but I found no evidence that any of them were in the military during that conflict. Two of these young men would die before the 1870 census was taken. First, Ernst T. Buenger died in 1868 at the age of 20. He died during the “Koestering Hole”, so we cannot find a death record for him that would indicate a cause of death. Whatever it was, his father, the local doctor, was not able to prevent his death. He is buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg. His gravestone is one that lays flat on the ground. Perhaps while Trinity is attempting to work on cemetery maintenance, they will find a way to prop up his stone again.

Ernst T. Buenger gravetone – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Edward Heinig was the other one of the triplets to die before 1870. He died in 1869 at the age of 21. His death record in the Trinity, St. Louis church books says he died of consumption. That usually refers to tuberculosis. Edward is buried in the Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis.

Edward Heinig gravestone – Concordia, St. Louis, MO

That means that Henry Kalbfleisch was the only one of these 3 boys to live beyond 1870 and get married. He is buried in the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Peru, Indiana.

Dr. Henry Kalbfleisch – Mt. Hope, Peru, IN

As far as the other 3 who were baptized on September 12, 1847, I was shut out on finding information about Catherine Schleuter or Henry Harms. I can tell you that Meta Windler, would already be found living in the Cole Camp, Missouri area when the 1850 census was taken. She would live in that relative vicinity all her life. I have a suspicion that she may have been a member of Mt. Hulda Lutheran Church at one time, a congregation that has been served by a few pastors over the years with connections to the original immigrants to Missouri. Meta married a man named Christopher Witte. I located a photo of that couple.

Meta and Christopher Witte

In my book, Mama Buenger: Mother of a Synod, I included a chapter about what happened on September 12, 1847. Here is an excerpt.

Mama Buenger – Chapter 122

At the time when I wrote this, I was unaware that there were other baptisms taking place on that day. I certainly didn’t know there were 6 of them.


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