The tale today has little documentation to be found in the German Lutheran records from area churches. Those few documents are the starting point for this story that takes us off into some interesting directions, but I think it’s a few photographs that I located on Ancestry that convinced me to compose this article.
Benjamin Gottlieb Rudert was born on October 20, 1876, so today would be his 146th birthday. Benjamin was the son of Gottlieb and Augustine (Fiehler) Rudert. He was child #7 of 8 that were born into this family. We have this photo of Benjamin’s parents.
Benjamin was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. We can take a look at his baptism record from that congregation’s books.
Benjamin’s confirmation record from Grace, Uniontown is the last evidence we have of him in our German Family Tree. His birthday is given as December 20th on this form, not October 20th.
Benjamin is found in his first census in 1880. His family is found on those long-lost pages of the 1880 Union Township census. Benjamin was 4 years old at the time, and his father was a farmer.
Between 1880 and the next census we can view in 1900, Benjamin became a soldier in the American army during the Spanish-American War. I have rarely had the opportunity to discuss a connection from East Perry County records and this short war that took place at the end of the 19th century. The record shown below includes Benjamin, and we find that he enlisted in 1898.
He was still involved in the military in 1904 according to the enlistment form below. Under the occupation column, it states that he was a musician.
The photo shown below is attached to a family tree on Ancestry for Benjamin. I assume he is supposed to be included in this photo of a Spanish American War band.
On the same family tree, this photo of Benjamin in his military uniform is found. I’ll let you determine if you can find Benjamin in the band shown above.
One more photo shows a building in the Philippines. Apparently, Benjamin spent some of his time during his service quite a distance away from Perry County. This picture is dated as 1906-1907
I think it is possible that Benjamin enlisted on two occasions. He is found in the 1900 census (which is between the times of the two enlistment forms shown earlier) living in Ste. Genevieve in a hotel and working as a blacksmith. I have to display this entry in two images.
After Benjamin returned from his military service in the 1900’s, he was living in the Hubble Township of Cape Girardeau County and working as a blacksmith.
Living in the Hubble Township is almost certainly the reason he met his wife. Let’s take a look at her early life. Caroline Othelia LaCroix was born on December 1, 1888, the daughter of Jacob and Mary Ann (Meiderhoff) LaCroix. All indications are that Caroline was baptized as a Catholic.
LaCroix is the French word for “the cross”. On a totally different subject, let me mention that when the French explorer, LaSalle, passed Tower Rock on his trip down the Mississippi, one of his aides placed a cross on top of that rock formation, and it became known as La Roche de la Croix (The Rock of the Cross).
Caroline is found in her first census in 1900, although she is called Pauline in her entry. She was 11 years old, and her father was a farmer in the Hubble Township. This was a rather large family. Caroline’s father was married twice, and she was the daughter of the second marriage.
Next, we find Caroline in the 1910 census. She was 21 years old, and called a servant at home.
Benjamin Rudert married Caroline LaCroix on October 4, 1911. The marriage license indicates that this marriage was conducted by a Catholic priest. It says Caroline was from Gordonville.
I am able to display a wedding photo of Benjamin and Caroline.
In 1918, Benjamin had his World War I draft registration completed. It says Benjamin was a blacksmith in Cape Girardeau.
I am thinking that the two photos below of Caroline were taken at about this time in her life.
I have to rely on Ancestry family trees, but all indications are that this couple had 3 children. We find the Rudert’s in the 1920 census living in Cape Girardeau. This time, Benjamin was a shoe worker in a shoe factory. All 3 children were listed.
The photo below was taken of the Rudert family with two of their children.
In 1930, we find only 2 children in the Rudert household. Their oldest daughter, Evelyn, was in Memphis studying to be a nurse at that time. Benjamin remained at the same job.
At some point in time, this photo was taken of Caroline Rudert.
The 1940 census lists just their son, Jean, living with Benjamin and Caroline.
The last census we can view is the one taken in 1950. Their daughter, Kathleen, and her husband were living in their household.
Caroline Rudert died in 1951 at the age of 62. Her death certificate states that she died in an ambulance on Highway 61.
Caroline’s obituary is shown here in two images.
Benjamin Rudert died in 1961 at the age of 84. The record below once again documents his service in the Spanish-American War.
An application was made for a military headstone for Benjamin.
Benjamin and Caroline Rudert are buried together in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Cape Girardeau. There is a plaque that recognizes Benjamin’s service to our country.
I have to think that Benjamin’s childhood in Uniontown may have been where he was influenced to learn how to play a musical instrument. Uniontown, over the years, had a band of their own.