I invented a new term for today’s post. I hereby declare that bi-bicentennial means a set of two bicentennial birthdays. Let me say that I come across only a few folks in our German Family Tree who would be celebrating their 200th birthdays, so when I locate a case when there are two people on the same day who would be celebrating their 200th birthdays, I figure it is well worth writing a post about them.
Two men were born in Germany on February 10, 1823. Both of these men have been mentioned on this blog before, but one has gotten more attention than the other. That is because one of the men has a surname that can be still found in East Perry County, and the other surname has disappeared. The two surnames are Oberndorfer and Heimbecher.
Matthias Oberndorfer was the pioneer Oberndorfer for this area. He was born in Sicking, Austria. He was the son of Franz and Eva Maria (Meyr) Oberndorfer. By the way, the term obern means “upper” and the term dorf means “village”, so if you put them together to get Oberndorfer, it would be “upper villager”. Matthias Oberndorfer married Anna Maria Meyr on September 15, 1845 in Austria. That means he married a woman who had the same surname as his mother’s maiden name. Then, in 1852, Matthias and Anna brought their family to America aboard the ship, Deutschland. We find this family with 2 young children on the passenger list for that ship. You can see the Oberndorfer’s on the same ship with the Meyr’s and the Mirly’s who settled in the New Wells area.
After arriving in this country, Matthias found some land north of the Apple Creek near Frohna. That land would later be listed as being owned by his son, Joseph, when the 1915 plat maps were produced.
In previous posts, it has been pointed out that there is evidence of the Oberndorfer’s being members of Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, but when Immanuel Lutheran Church was established in 1857, Matthias was one of its charter members. I have shown census entries for the Oberndorfer’s in previous posts for the years 1860, 1870, and 1880, so I will not show them again today. Matthias Oberndorfer died in 1887 at the age of 64. His death record is found in the books of Immanuel, Altenburg.
Anna Oberndorfer died in 1891 at the age of 74. Her death record is also found in the books of Immanuel, Altenburg.
The likely place that these two were buried is the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg, but their gravestones, if they are there, are not identified. I even went to that cemetery this morning to locate them, but I was unsuccessful. There are still plenty of Oberndorfer’s living in this area.
Now, we will take a look at the other bicentennial birthday boy. His name was Johann Heimbecher, who was born in Darmstadt, Germany. I have no names for his parents. I found a passenger list for a ship, Alfred, that arrived in the United States in 1852.
He’s the right age anyway. If this is the correct Johann Heimbecher, then both of today’s bicentennial birthday boys arrived in the United States during the same year. John Heimbecher was married to a woman by the name of Maria Catharina Doering. I am not sure when or where these two got married, but there was a child born to Johann in 1855. I suppose there is a possibility that John may have been married to someone else in 1855 when that daughter was born. In the 1860 census, that daughter was said to have been born in Pennsylvania. That is somewhat suspicious because Maria Catharina Doering is likely to be the sister of the woman who married August Vogel, the original Vogel to show up in Frohna.
There is another puzzling fact about John. In that same 1860 census, we find another John Heimbecher living in the Justine Buck household. Justine was a widow. This John Heimbecher was the same age, from the same place, and living in the same township.
There was another child, a son named Gustav, born in 1861 to Johann and Maria. That child was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. The Heimbecher’s are found in the 1870 census with both children, Catherine and Gustav. This time, Catherine was said to have been born in Missouri.
The Heimbecher’s are found in the 1876 Missouri state census.
John Heimbecher died in 1879 at the age of 56. His death record is found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.
Maria Heimbecher died in 1899 at the age of 69. We can also look at her death record from the books of Trinity, Altenburg.
The most likely place for Johann and Maria to be buried is the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg, but like the Oberndorfer’s their gravestones are not identified.
The Heimbecher daughter married a Stemmermann. The Heimbecher son married a Hemmann, and that couple had 3 children, all daughters. So, after that generation, there were no more Heimbecher’s to be found in East Perry County.
There is a possibility that today’s bi-bicentennial birthday pair were not only born on the same day, but they may have come to America in the same year. They are also likely to be buried across town in the two Lutheran cemeteries found in Altenburg. However, the Oberndorfer surname has survived, but not so with the Heimbecher’s.