I have written a few posts that have told the story of how a woman by the name of Barbara Schmeuszer, the daughter of Count Schmeuszer, was disinherited by her father because she married below her social standing. She married a man by the name of Peter Lang. Barbara and Peter are pictured below.
Today’s tale will be about one of the granddaughters of Count Schmeuszer. Christina Katharina Lang is today’s birthday girl, being born on October 1, 1840 in Germany. When Christina was 15 years old, the Lang family made their way to America. They made the voyage aboard the ship, Goethe, in 1855. We see this family on the passenger list for that ship shown below.
Even before the 1860 census was taken, Christina got married, so in all the U.S. census entries in which we find her, she no longer carried the Lang surname. Let’s take a look at the man that Christina married. His name was Peter Bienlein, whose exact birthdate is unknown. It is calculated that he was born sometime around 1838 in Germany. Peter was the son of Johann and Margaretha Bienlein. The maiden name of his mother is unknown to me. The Bienlein family came to this country quite a while before Christina’s Lang family. Peter was just 2 years old when his family made the voyage to this country in 1840 aboard the ship, Plato. We can see the Bienlein names on the passenger list for that ship pictured here.
I did a search on our blog to find other Perry County names that came aboard that same ship. I located the names Hilpert, Fassold, and Bergmann. So, the Bienlein’s came to the United States with several other folks that began very prolific families in this county.
Before I move on, let me say at little bit about pronunciation. In German, when you see a pair of vowels like you see in the surname Bienlein, you almost always pronounce that combination by using the long vowel sound of the second letter. So, “ie” would be pronounced with a long “e” sound, and “ei” would be pronounced with a long “i” sound. The name, Bienlein, includes both of these vowel combinations, so I would pronounce it “Bean-line”. However, I discovered that this surname was sometimes misspelled in documents that I searched. It made the searching task more difficult because of the misspellings.
The Bienlein family is found in the 1850 census living in the Brazeau Township of Perry County. Peter was 13 years old, and his father was a farmer. You can see that Peter was the oldest child in his family, and that several other Bienlein children had been born in America.
Peter Bienlein married Christina Lang on July 18, 1858. That marriage took place at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg. We can view a civil marriage record from Perry County for this event.
There is some debate about how many children were born to this couple. Our German Family Tree lists 5 children, but 3 of them died at young ages. A later obituary states that Christina was survived by 5 children, so there must have been more children born to these two than are recorded in our GFT. We find the Bienlein’s in the 1860 census with just one young child. Peter was a farmer in the Cinque Hommes Township.
When the Civil War broke out, Peter served in the Union Army. I almost did not find a record of his service because of a misspelling of his name. Whoever filled out the form spelled it Bienlien.
It turns out that the last census entry in which we find Peter Bienlein was the one taken in 1870. This time, the family was living in Perryville where Peter was called a laborer. There were 5 children listed in their household.
The child named Anna in the above image died in 1873 at the age of 12. Another child, Emma, was born two months after that death. Then, in early 1874, Peter died at the young age of 36, leaving Christina as a widow. The death record found in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville says Peter died of bronchitis.
An obituary for Peter appeared in a local newspaper.
There is an entry on Findagrave.com that says Peter is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville, but there is no gravestone photo. In fact, it is on Findagrave that I found the image of the obituary shown above.
Christina shows up as a widow living in Perryville in the 1880 census. She is said to be the keeper of a boarding house. Five children remained in her household. The oldest, George, was a cooper.
Peter Bienlein, even though he was no longer living, is found in the 1890 Veterans Schedule, which is the only part of an 1890 Federal census that we can view. That entry is from Jackson, Missouri, because that is where Christina was living.
The Friedenberg Remembrances book says that Christina Bienlein operated a bakery in Jackson after her husband’s death. Christina was living in the Byrd Township, where Jackson is located, when the 1900 census was taken. She was living with her son, Fred, who was a cooper. Fred had been married to Emma Hoffmann, but she had died in 1900. No occupation is given for Christina.
Christina Bienlein died in 1904 at the age of 63. An obituary for her was published in the Jackson Herald. It mistakenly says she was just 60 years old.
Christina was buried in the Jackson Cemetery in Jackson, Missouri.
I suppose that I should explain the title of this post before I finish. I looked up the name, Bienlein, on Google Translate. It said the word means “little bee”. I took the liberty of calling a little bee a baby bee.