Yet Another Austria Bicentennial Birthday

A small group of Austrian immigrants arrived in New Orleans in June of 1852 aboard the ship, Deutschland. Those immigrants would settle in northern Cape Girardeau County near New Wells and were instrumental in the establishment of Immanuel Lutheran Church in that village. On the passenger list below, you will see the families of Matthias Oberndorfer, Joseph Meyr, and Carl Mirly. A story about Matthias Oberndorfer was written about a week ago on the occasion of his 200th birthday.

Oberndorfer/Meyr/Mirly – Deutschland passenger list 1852

One year later, in June of 1853, another group of Austrian immigrants arrived in New Orleans aboard the ship, Ernst Moritz Arndt. Yes, that is the same ship mentioned two days ago in the post about Theresia Kranawetter-Zwickelhuber-Oehlert-Dietrich. She was highlighted because it was her 200th birthday. The list below not only includes the Zwickelhuber’s, but also more Meyr’s and Oberndorfer’s, and throw in a few Lehner’s, another name that shows up in New Wells. Eva Oberndorfer was Matthias Oberndorfer’s mother.

Meyr/Zwickelhuber/Lehner/Oberndorfer – Ernst Moritz Arndt passenger list 1853

I have highlighted the name of Theresia Meyr on the above list. Right above her name, if you could read it, was the name of her husband, Johann Meyr. Johann Meyr was the father of Joseph Meyr, who was on the Deutschland passenger list. Johann Meyr was the father of Joseph Meyr, but his wife, Theresia, was not Joseph’s mother. Johann was married twice. Theresia was his second wife, and she will be highlighted in this post because she was born on February 16, 1823, making today yet another day for an Austrian bicentennial birthday.

Theresia was born as Theresia Ebner, who was the daughter of Wolfgang and Theresia (Steigler) Ebner. She was born in Estherine, Austria. In our research library, we have 4 thick family binders for the Meyr clan from Austria. In the second of those binders, we find the short paragraph below that tells the tale of Theresia Ebner getting to know the widower, Johann Meyr, who had lost his first wife, Eva Marie (Litzenfelner) Meyr in about 1850.

Theresia Ebner story – Meyr family binder

Johann Meyr married Theresia Ebner on November 23, 1852. By then, Joseph Meyr was already in America. Theresia was about 24 years younger than Johann, and it was not long after their wedding that they must have made plans to join Joseph Meyr in Missouri and booked passage on the Ernst Moritz Arndt in 1853.

The Lutherans, many being of Austrian descent, who had settled in the New Wells area were first served by the pastors in Altenburg and Frohna, Rev. Georg Schieferdecker and Rev. Heinrich Christoph Loeber. Immanuel Lutheran Church was established not long after that, but it was also the time when the controversy about millennialism caused the split in the Altenburg church and the establishment of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. That controversy also impacted the new church in New Wells. A group of members decided to leave Immanuel, New Wells to establish what was called the New Jerusalem church that met in a location between New Wells and Pocahontas. Only a cemetery remains giving evidence of that congregation’s existence. The split amongst the New Wells Lutherans also resulted in a split in the Meyr family. Johann Meyr made the choice to join the New Jerusalem church, while his son, Joseph, chose to remain a member of Immanuel, New Wells. The Meyr family binder indicates that rift in the family remained for quite a while.

Our German Family Tree indicates that Johann and Theresia had 6 children born in this country. The first 2 baptism records are found in the books of Trinity, Altenburg (while Rev. Schieferdecker was still the pastor there). The next 3 children have their baptism records in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg (where Rev. Schiefendecker was then the pastor). Their last child, born in 1864, was baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.

I was unable to find the Meyr’s in the 1860 census. That census should have shown Johann and Theresia with 3 children of their own. Then, at some point in time before the 1870 census, Johann Meyr died. He is not listed in that year’s census entry. I do not know exactly when he died or where he was buried. He had a sister, Catherine Meyr, who is listed on the Ernst Moritz Arndt passenger list, who died in 1872 and was buried in the New Jerusalem Cemetery. Perhaps Johann is buried there in a site that is not marked.

Before I move on with the rest of Theresia’s life, let me show you two photos, one of Johann Meyr and one of Theresia (Ebner) Meyr.

Theresia is found as the head of the family in the 1870 census with 5 children. One child must have died at an early age before 1870.

1870 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The 1880 census is the last one in which we find Theresia. Her daughter, Mathilda, got married in 1879, so she is no longer in this household.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Theresia Meyr died in 1899 at the age of 76. Her death record is found in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. There is an entry for her on in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells, but there is no gravestone photo.

The story of Theresia Ebner Meyr includes the names of so many people who were involved in the early Lutheran churches in the Shawnee Township. Many Meyr’s remained in the northern part of Cape Girardeau County. One of Theresia’s sons, Gottlieb Meyr, moved to Altenburg and began quite a large clan of Altenburg Meyr’s. One of those Meyr’s, a grandson of Theresia was the highlighted character in another recent post, Teacher Meyr. I am sure you have not read the last of the Meyr stories on this blog. More will likely be written in the future. After all, our research library has 4 fat binders listing all kinds of Meyr descendants.

Someday, I may have to do some studying on the name, Theresia. I have also written several stories recently in which women had that name, and most of the recent ones have been Austrian.

I want you also to know that the next few days are going to be rather busy for me. I have some planned hog butchering to do and some family time away from home. I am not likely to be able to compose new stories.

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