A Slew of Schuessler and Steffens Surnames

Roland Julius Gottlob Schuessler is today’s birthday boy. If he was still alive, he would be celebrating one of those special birthdays. He would be 125 years old. Roland was born on November 28, 1897, the son of Ferdinand and Juliane (Rabold) Schuessler. Roland was the first of 2 children born into this Schuessler family, and his younger brother died in infancy. That resulted in Roland being the only child in his family during his upbringing. He was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. We can take a look at an image of his baptism record.

Roland Schuessler baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Roland shows up in his first census in 1900 at the age of 2. His father was a farmer in the Brazeau Township.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Ten years later, we find Roland in the 1910 census. One year after this census, he was confirmed at Concordia, Frohna.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1918, Roland had a World War I draft registration completed. It states that he was working on his father’s farm

Roland Schuessler – WWI draft registration

The last census in which we find Roland as a single man was the one taken in 1920. He was a 22 year-old farm laborer.

1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we will take a look at the woman who would become his wife. She, too, carried the surname, Schuessler, so this was to become a Schuessler/Schuessler marriage. Clara Thekla Schuessler was born on November 25, 1907, meaning that she was born almost exactly 10 years after Roland. Clara was the daughter of Gottfried and Eleonora (Weber) Schuessler. Clara was also a firstborn child. There were 4 children born to her parents. Like Roland, she was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. Below is an image of her baptism record.

Clara Schuessler baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Roland and Clara had the same great grandparents, Johann Michael and Johanna Rosina (Hoppe) Schuessler. That means Roland and Clara were second cousins. Clara is found in her first census in 1910 at the age of 2. Her father was also a farmer in the Brazeau Township.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1920, Clara is found in the census at the age of 12. If you compare this 1920 entry to the one shown for Roland earlier, you may notice that Roland’s family is shown just below Clara’s family. Roland is the next person shown at the top of the next census page. Not only were Clara and Roland second cousins, they were also neighbors.

1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Roland Schuessler married Clara Schuessler on February 27, 1927, and, as you would expect, they were married at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. The church marriage record for this event is found in Concordia’s books, but our museum’s digital copies for that congregation’s marriage records only go up to 1922. I really wanted to view this Schuessler/Schuessler marriage record because I discovered that there was another marriage that took place on the same day that is included in the Concordia books. It involved a bride named Rabold. I figure she must have been some sort of cousin to Roland. The marriage license for Roland and Clara can be viewed below.

Schuessler/Schuessler marriage license

Our German Family Tree lists 4 children who were born to Roland and Clara. Two of their children were born before the 1930 census was taken. Included in the entry below, you will see Ferdinand Schuessler, Roland’s father, who was a widower. Roland was a farmer.

1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The last census in which we find Roland Schuessler was the one taken in 1940. All 4 of the Schuessler children are included in this household, along with Roland’s father.

1940 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Roland died in 1949 at the age of 51. His death certificate gives lung cancer as his cause of death.

Roland Schuessler death certificate

Clara is found as a widow at the age of 42 in the 1950 census. It says her occupation was farming, although her 20 year-old son was also farming, and a 15 year-old son was called a farm helper. Roland’s father outlived his son and is still included in this household.

1950 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1955, Clara Schuessler married again. Her second husband was Henry Kassel, whose wife, Ernestine (Koenig), had died in 1946. Henry was in his 60’s when this marriage took place. This couple’s marriage license is pictured here.

Kassel/Schuessler marriage license

Clara became a widow again in 1963 when Henry Kassel died at the age of 70. His death certificate is shown below.

Henry Kassel death certificate

Henry Kassel is buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar.

Henry Kassel gravestone – Salem, Farrar, MO

Clara would get married yet again in 1965. Her third husband was another Schuessler. His name was Elmer Schuessler, whose wife had died in 1961. Elmer had previously been married to Norma Steffens. This presents a rather unusual situation. Roland and Clara’s oldest child was Thelma Schuessler. Thelma died earlier this year and was mentioned in a previous blog post. Thelma was married to Herb Steffens, who was the younger brother of Norma Steffens. That means that Clara’s 3rd husband had been married to a woman who was the sister of the man that would marry her daughter.

Elmer Schuessler was from yet another branch of the Schuessler family tree. Since he also shared the same Schuessler great grandparents with Clara, he was yet another second cousin of hers. The marriage license for this Kassel/Schuessler marriage is shown here.

Schuessler/Kassel marriage license

Clara also outlived her third husband. Elmer Schuessler died in 1993 at the age of 83. Elmer was buried with his first wife in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.

Elmer and Norma Schuessler gravestone – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

Clara Schuessler died in 1999 at the age of 92. Clara and Roland Schuessler are buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.

When Thelma Steffens died earlier this year, I was so confused when I read her obituary. It simply gave her parents’ names as Roland and Clara Schuessler, not giving her mother’s maiden name. Once I looked in our German Family Tree, I discovered that she was also a Schuessler. Then, there were also some half-siblings named Kassel named in the obituary. That once again confused me. After researching this story, I now have a better understanding about this part of the Schuessler family tree, which also contains its share of people named Steffens.

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