The New Wells Benjamin Koenig

I almost overlooked today’s story because I have already written a story about Benjamin Koenig. That post was titled B.J. and Anna – A Koenig/Brueckner Pair. That Benjamin Koenig was born in 1870 and lived his life in Farrar. I looked more carefully at the data concerning a Benjamin Koenig that I ran across and discovered that he never lived in Farrar. All of his census records are found in the Shawnee Township near New Wells. So, you will read the story of the New Wells Benjamin Koenig today. However, the story does not begin with him. It begins with a birthday girl.

Margaretha Christiane Rupsch was born on January 10, 1867, so today would be her 156th birthday. Margaret was the daughter of Friedrich William and Sophia Catherine (Dede) Rupsch. She was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. We can take a look at an image of her baptism record from that congregation’s books. You can see that the two female sponsors were named Margaretha and Christiane. I am relatively sure this record says that Margaretha’s father had died prior to this baptism.

Margaretha Rupsch baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

This raises some difficulties. Margaret’s mother was married 3 times. By the time Margaret was born, she had previously been married to Charles Wachter and had one child that lived beyond infancy. She then married Friedrich Rupsch, and he fathered today’s birthday girl but died quite a while before Margaret was born. In fact, he died in July of 1866 which must not have been long after Margaret was conceived. Catherine then married Friedrich Kolbe at some point in time. This explains a few census entries we find for Margaret when she was young.

I failed to find Margaret in the 1870 census. I looked for both Rupsch and Kolbe households, but found none. A Missouri state census was taken in 1876, and we find an entry for a Kolby family. There were children named Ernst and Margaret. Ernst was actually Ernst Wachter and Margaret was Margaret Rupsch.

1876 Missouri state census – Shawnee Township, MO

I do not know what happened to Friedrich Kolbe, but he does not show up in the 1880 census, and a notation is on this entry indicating that Catharine Kolbe was still married. There is a column for divorced or widowed, but that column is not marked. We see Margaret Rupsch and Ernst Wachter in this entry, along with a laborer names Andrew Schumacher.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Now we need to discuss Benjamin Koenig. He was born in 1864, but there is some debate about his birthday. His baptism record says that he was born on November 29th, but his death certificate and gravestone say he was born on November 28th. Benjamin was the son of Andreas and Christiana (Haertling) Koenig. The first children born into this Koenig family were baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. Then a few children, including Benjamin, were baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. The last couple of children were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. Benjamin’s baptism record from Concordia, Frohna is pictured here.

Benjamin Koenig baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

We find Benjamin in his first census in 1870 at the age of 6. His family was living in the Shawnee Township, which is where New Wells is located. His father was a farmer.

1870 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Next, we find the Koenig’s in the 1880 census. Benjamin was a teenager and working on his father’s farm.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Benjamin Koenig married Margeret Rupsch on November 28, 1888. That may mean that Benjamin was married on his birthday if you accept November 28th as his correct birthday. Benjamin and Margaret were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. The marriage record in Immanuel’s books is shown below, but it does not contain much information.

Koenig/Rupsch marriage record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

We can also view the marriage license for this pair.

Koenig/Rupsch marriage license

The German Family Tree lists 8 children born to this couple, all of which were baptized at Immanuel, New Wells. Their first two died when they were children, one of diphtheria and the other of typhoid. Both died before 1900, so we never see them in a census entry. When the 1900 census was taken, we find 4 children in the Koenig household. Benjamin was a farmer in the Shawnee Township.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Two more children were born in the next decade. We then find the Koenig family in the 1910 census with all 6 of their children that survived childhood.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

In some previous blog posts, I have referred to a neighborhood near New Wells that over quite a few years of census entries included the names of Koch, Koenig, and Haertling. Benjamin and his family were part of that neighborhood. The 1920 census for the Koenig family shows the family down to 5 children. Their oldest son had gotten married in 1915.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Next, we find the Koenig’s in the 1930 census. Only their son, Otto, was still living with them, and he was a public school teacher. A teenage niece named Ida Wachter was living with them. She was a daughter of Ernst Wachter, Margaret’s half-brother.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The last census I was able to find for Benjamin and Margaret was the one taken in 1940. At the age of 75, Benjamin was still farming. Margaret was a telephone switchboard operator, and Otto, their son, was still living with them and still teaching.

1940 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Margaret Koenig died in 1949 at the age of 82. Her death certificate is shown below. The person filling out this form made an effort to spell her maiden name, Rupsch, and her mother’s maiden name, Dede, but did not get them right.

Margaret Koenig death certificate

Benjamin Koenig was still living when the 1950 census was taken, but I was unable to find him. He would have been getting quite old. Perhaps he was living in a nursing home. Benjamin died in 1959 at the age of 95. His death certificate says he died in Gordonville. This is a document that gives November 28th as Benjamin’s birthday.

Benjamin Koenig death certificate

Benjamin and Margaret Koenig are each buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells.

Now there are two different Benjamin Koenig stories to be found on this blog. The Benjamin Koenig from New Wells was born before the one from Farrar, and he also outlived him. I am now tempted to look through the German Family Tree to see if I can find another Benjamin Koenig.


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