Batting #3 for the Altenburg Giants

We are in the midst of the Major League Baseball season, and around here, there is much excitement because the St. Louis Cardinals are in first place in the Central Division of the National League. They are in excellent position to be playing in the postseason. So, when I found a birthday for Theodor Dietrich, I felt the need to tell his story. Theodor is one of the sons in the Dietrich family that has been referred to as the Altenburg Giants in previous posts on this blog. I find this family fascinating because there were 9 children, and all of them boys, enough to make up a 9-man baseball team. In the order of birth of these boys, Theodor was #3. I will attempt to tell his story today.

Theodor Carl Dietrich was born on September 14, 1858, making today his 164th birthday. He was the son of Gottlob and Louise (Vogel) Dietrich. The photo below of Theodor’s parents was displayed previously, but I will show it again.

Another photo that has been on this blog before is this photo of all 9 sons in this family. Not only were they all sons, but reportedly they were also taller than average men, thus justifying calling them the Giants.

9 Dietrich sons

Here is a caption to accompany the above photo. With it, you can identify which one is Theodor.

Theodor was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can view an image of his baptism record.

Theodor Dietrich baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

The 1860 census shows Theodor as a 2 year-old. At that point in time, Theodor was the youngest of 3 sons. His father was a farmer.

1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we find Theodor in the 1870 census. The family had grown to include 7 sons.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The last of the 9 boys was born in 1873, and they were all baptized at Trinity, Altenburg. A caption accompanies the photo of the 9 sons that helps us understand what happened next.

Since this entire family moved to Junction City, Kansas, I have considered renaming them the Junction City Giants (or the Junction City Jiants). Before they left Missouri, a state census was taken in 1876 that included the Dietrich’s. Theodor was 17 years old at the time.

1876 Missouri state census – Brazeau Township, MO

Unfortunately, I was not able to locate an entry for this family in the 1880 census. Theodor would have been 22 years old after his birthday during that year. Back in those days, the state of Kansas did their own censuses halfway between the national censuses. In the one taken in 1885, we find the Dietrich family living in Junction City. At that time Theodor was 27 years old. The 3 columns after the “W” column are for married, single, or widowed. Theodor’s father had died in 1884, so he is not in this entry. Neither is his mother. I was unable to find her in this census. August, Theodor’s brother, is the head of this household, along with his wife and children, and then you see 6 more of the Dietrich boys. All of them were single. These census entries do not give as much information as a Federal census.

1885 Kansas state census – Junction City, KS

Ten years later, in 1895, we find the Dietrich’s in another Kansas state census. This time, we do see Theodor’s mother in the entry at the age of 62. Theodor was 36 years old, and apparently still single.

1895 Kansas state census – Junction City, KS

I was unable to find the Dietrich’s in the 1900 census, but I found another state census including Theodor that was taken in 1905. His mother, at the age of 73, was the head of the household.

1905 Kansas state census – Junction City, KS

I am not totally sure that the next census entry that I will display is the right Theodor Dietrich, but I think it is. It is a census entry from Kiowa County, Colorado in which Theodor Dietrich was living by himself. He is the correct age, born in Missouri, and single. I found the occupation listed for him to be quite interesting. He is called an automobilist working in an auto livery. Those were the early days of the automobile, and it looks like the term “livery” had been transferred over to the automobile business from the horse and buggy times.

1910 census – Kiowa County, CO

Although I know that Theodor was still alive in 1920, I could not find him in a census. Then in 1921, Theodor died at the age of 62. An obituary was place in a newspaper in Junction City, Kansas for him. Although I cannot access the actual obituary, I can display some information that was found in it. It looks like he died in Junction City.

Theodor Dietrich obituary information

Theodor was buried in the Highland Cemetery in Junction City. In that cemetery, there is a Dietrich family stone along with some individual stones for members of that family. below is the marker for Theodor.

Theodor Dietrich gravestone – Highland, Junction City, KS

Theodor Dietrich’s story is a fairly rare one for this blog. I do not find many opportunities to tell the story of a lifelong bachelor.

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Progress has been made on the pavilion being constructed in Altenburg. Several people have been asking where this pavilion is located. I took several photos from different perspectives so you can see some other nearby landmarks. It’ rather close to the City Hall, the Hyde Park Playground, and also just across Main Street from Trinity Lutheran Church and our museum. You can click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.


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