r Henry Pilz was born on February 9, 1893, so today would be his 130th birthday. This boy would take the name, Arthur, during his life. Arthur was the son of Henry and Maria (Stueve) Pilz. A previous story on this blog told the story of Arthur’s parents, Pilz/Stueve: Another Ridge Couple. Arthur was the 2nd in a family of 7 children according to our German Family Tree. He was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can view the two images for his baptism record below.
Arthur is found in his first census in 1900 at the age of 7 His father was a farmer in the Brazeau Township. Adelheid Pilz was Arthur’s grandmother.
Arthur’s father died in 1905. That must have put Arthur in a tough position. Being the oldest son in the Pilz family, Arthur would be the oldest male on the family farm at the age of 12. When the 1910 census was taken, we see the 17 year-old Arthur as the only laborer on the Pilz farm. He had just one older sister and two younger brothers who, at the ages of 10 and 7, must still have been in school.
The last document I found for Arthur before he was married was his World War I draft registration which says he was a farmer in Wittenberg.
The Pilz farm, under Arthur’s mother’s name, is found in the 1915 plat maps. It was located on The Ridge not far from Wittenberg.
Now we will turn our attention to the woman who would become Arthur’s bride. Her name was Erna Christina Engert who was born on September 17, 1897. Erna was the daughter of Adolph and Martha (Mueller) Engert. Like Arthur, she was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.
Erna was just 3 years old in the 1900 census. Her father was a farmer in the Brazeau Township. Erna was the 2nd of 6 children in her Engert family.
Next, we find Erna in the 1910 census when she was 12 years old. This time, her father was the proprietor of a saloon.
Arthur Pilz married Erna Engert on June 30, 1918 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. The church record for this wedding is pictured here. This document says that Erna was from Venedy, Illinois. When I hear about Venedy, I am reminded that Venedy was the home of one of the charter congregations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
The marriage license for this pair can also be viewed.
An article was published in the Perry County Republican describing the Pilz/Engert wedding. This article mentions Rudy Engert, Erna’s older brother, attending the wedding from Venedy, Illinois. That would explain why Erna was living in Venedy.
The German Family Tree lists 6 children born to Arthur and Erna. They were all baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. The 1920 census shows this family with their first child. Included in their household was Arthur’s mother and his brother, Henry Pilz. Arthur was a farmer.
In the 1930 census, we find the Pilz household with 4 children. One child had died right after birth in 1929, and their last child would be born not long after this census.
The Pilz family is next found in the 1940 census. There were 3 children still living with Arthur and Erna. Arthur’s mother was still in the household as well.
An announcement about a public sale for Arthur Pilz was placed in the Perry County Republican in 1946.
The last census we can view is the one taken in 1950. Arthur is still called a farmer.
There is a story that involved Arthur that is associated with a fire that reportedly took place in Altenburg in 1952. There were two neighboring blacksmith shops in Altenburg that burned in that fire. After that tragedy, Arthur had a house built where those shops had been located. That house still stands right across the road from Altenburg Public School.
Erna Pilz died in 1955 at the age of 58. Her death certificate says she died at the state hospital in Farmington, Missouri. This document says she had resided in that hospital for “4 das.” I have to think that meant she was there for just 4 days.
Arthur Pilz died in 1980 at the age of 87. That means Arthur was a widower for 25 years. Arthur and Erna are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.
The story of Arthur and Erna Pilz is one of those in which we see both the husband and wife who were from the same congregation to begin with, and remained there for almost their entire lives. The only exception is that time when we are told that Erna was from Venedy, Illinois. I will add that there are still some folks around here that carry the Pilz surname.
If you’d like to read more about Erna’s Engert family, a post was written about her parents in the article, Engert the Egger.
One thought on “Arthur and Erna – A Pilz Pair”
Thank you for the information about Arthur and Erna Pilz who were my Great Uncle and Great Aunt. Erna’s brother, Rudolph, was my paternal Grandfather. I always appreciate learning more about my family! In later years my father would go from St. Louis down to visit “Uncle Addie” as he was called, and they would go fishing. As a child I was thrilled that in the Fall, Uncle Addie always sent back bushels of apples, and (for my parents) bottles of homemade elderberry wine.