The Pastor’s Daughter and the Shoemaker

You will be reading a tale today that involves a man and a woman who were part of the Stephanite immigration that took place in 1838-1839. These two would get married on this day 175 years ago. I will begin with the groom.

I cannot give you an exact date for the birth of Johann Carl Edward Schröter, but it must have been sometime around 1818 or 1819 in Germany. Using a record in the German Family Tree, we can state that his father’s name was August Schröter, but I have no idea what his mother’s name was. There is some debate about the spelling of Andrew’s surname. The GFT uses the spelling, Schroeder, for this person, and other places use the spelling of Schroeter. Since Edward’s gravestone has the name, Schroeter, I will use that one. Edward came to America as part of the Gesellschaft aboard the ship, Copernicus. On the passenger list displayed below, he is called a 21 year-old shoemaker from Grϋnberg.

Edward Schröter – Zion on the Mississippi passenger list

We can also view Edward’s name on the actual passenger list for the Copernicus. This list says Edward was 20 years old.

Edward Schroeter – Copernicus passenger list

Upon entering this country, Edward decided to conduct his shoemaking business in St. Louis. He probably knew his chances of success might have been better there than in the undeveloped Perry County. Plus, there were already going to be several other shoemakers there. A previous post discussed the number of shoemakers that were part of this immigration titled, Too Many Shoemakers…..Not Enough Feet.

Edward’s bride was going to be Laura Maria Magdalena Niedner, who was born in 1826. She is another one whose exact birthday is not known. Laura was the youngest child of August and Henrietta (Wagner) Niedner. She was born in Braunsdorf, Germany. Laura’s father was a Lutheran pastor in Braunsdorf, and he died in 1836. A paragraph found in Zion on the Mississippi describes how Pastor Niedner’s successor was Rev. C.F.W. Walther.

Selection from Zion on the Mississippi

A few years later, Laura’s mother chose to join the Gesellschaft and make the trip to the United States. The Niedner’s came to this country aboard the ship, Johann Georg. She and her children are found in various places on the passenger list for that ship

Niedner names – Johann Georg passenger list

Laura, being the youngest, made the voyage with her mother in the cabin portion of the ship where the accommodations were nicer. Another son, August, is found farther down the passenger list.

August Niedner – Johann Georg passenger list

After arriving here, the Niedner’s spent some time in Perry County. We find some church records for them there. A letter can be seen on a family history on that describes how Edward proposed to Laura. It says that those two came to America aboard the same ship, but that was not the case.

Letter about Edward and Laura

Edward Schroeter married Laura Niedner on September 26, 1847 at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis. The church record for this event is shown below.

Schroeter/Niedner marriage record – Trinity, St. Louis, MO

There is also a civil marriage record for this wedding. On it, you can see that it was Rev. C.F.W. Walther that performed the marriage.

Schroeter/Niedner marriage record – St Louis, MO

I found this photo of Laura Niedner Schroeter. She was quite young when the photo was taken, so I don’t know if was before or after she got married.

Laura Niedner Schroeter

Our German Family Tree lists 5 children born to this couple, and all of the ones listed were baptized at Trinity, St. Louis. This couple and their family are found in the 1850 census living in St. Louis. Edward is called a merchant. There were 2 children in their family at the time.

1850 census – St. Louis, MO

On the same page as the Schroeter’s in the above entry, you can find the names of several students attending Concordia Seminary, including that of Martin Stephan, Jr. The Schroeter’s lived very close to that institution.

I was unable to find this Schroeter family in either the 1860 or 1870 censuses. Then, in 1877, Edward died at the age of 58. He was buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in St. Louis. As said previously, the surname on his gravestone is spelled Schroeter.

Edward Schroeter gravestone – Concordia, St. Louis, MO

Laura, as a widow, can be found in the 1880 census for St. Louis. This list gives the names of 7 children, so I am thinking that at sometime, this family transferred away from Trinity Lutheran Church. Most likely they then attended Holy Cross Lutheran Church which was right next to Concordia Seminary.

1880 census – St. Louis, MO

Laura almost made it to the 1900 census. She died in 1898 at the age of 73. We can view a St. Louis death record for her in two images.

Laura Schroeter death record – St. Louis, MO

The death record gives Laura’s address as 2300 Miami Street. That location is shown on the map below. You can see how close it is to Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Lutheran School of Nursing.

Laura Schoeter’s address – St. Louis, MO

The death record also says that Laura was buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery. has a listing for her, and even has a photo. However, that photo just shows a piece of ground with no stone. This may indicate that there is no gravestone, but someone knows the exact location of her burial.

Laura Schroeter grave site – Concordia, St. Louis, MO

I found another interesting event that occurred in the Niedner family a few generations later. A man named Frederic Niedner, a descendant of the August Niedner that was listed separately on the Johann Georg passenger list, married Dorothea Schroeter. That wedding took place in Frohna. The marriage license is shown here.

Niedner/Schroeter marriage license

That license says that Frederic Niedner was from Hennepin County, Minnesota. He was a Lutheran pastor there. So, today’s marriage between a Schroeter and a Niedner is not the only one found in our GFT. I may have to tell that tale sometime later.

One thought on “The Pastor’s Daughter and the Shoemaker

  1. I’m always envious of those who appear to have photos of relatives from before the 1870s! Even the ones I’ve discovered of my family from that period are few and far between.

    The Schroeter/Niedner family was enumerated in St. Louis as a “Schrader” family in 1860 and 1870, with Eduard shown as a “Teamster” and then a “Coal Dealer”. Eduard appears to have been quite a wealthy man with reported net assets of $375,000 in 1870 dollars, which according to an online conversion calculator I found, would be nearly $8.5 million today!

    You were right about many of the Schroeter/Niedner records being at Holy Cross-St. Louis. As you mentioned, they were married at Trinity-St. Louis in 1847 and five of their children were baptized there between 1850 and 1858. However, their first-born was baptized in 1848 at the then newly-organized Immanuel-St. Louis and his five youngest siblings were baptized at Holy Cross-St. Louis between 1861 and 1868. A Find-A-Grave contributor also appears to have added an additional child, Theodor, whose baptism was not in any of the aforementioned church registers and whose calculated DOB would have been only three months after Rosalie Karoline “Marie” Schroeter. He also does not appear to have been buried in section 5A with the other family members from this period, which makes me think his attribution to this family was in error.

    Holy Cross also has death records for Eduard and Laura, which provide clues about their dates of birth. Eduard died 24 Oct 1876 and was purportedly 58Y 8M 8D old, which would calculate to a DOB of about 16 Feb 1818. While civil, church, and cemetery records agree Laura died on 12 March 1898, there is slight variation on her indicated age at death: St. Louis civil records give her age as 72Y 11M 13D, a transcript of Holy Cross Lutheran death records gives her age as 72Y 11M 2D, and Concordia Cemetery burial records indicates she was 72Y 11M 12D. That suggests she was born between 27 Mar 1825 and 10 Apr 1825.

    The transcript of the Trinity Lutheran-St. Louis marriage record you showed indicates Eduard was born in “Grueneberg, Schlesien”, which is consistent with the last place of residence shown on the Copernicus passenger manifest. Schlesien is the German word for the region known in English as Silesia. Since WW-II, Grünberg, Silesia has been known as Zielona Góra, Poland.


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