Gesellschaft Gal Celebrates Bicentennial Birthday

Today, you will be reading the story of a woman who was part of the original Stephanite immigration in 1839 that was called the Gesellschaft. She would be celebrating her 200th birthday because she was born on February 24, 1823. The man who would become her husband was also part of the Gesellschaft. However, neither one of these two made their way to Perry County, so our area will not be the setting for this tale. And there will be no local church records for this pair.

Today’s special birthday girl, Johanna Christiana Lorenz, came to America aboard the Copernicus. Christiana came here with 2 older siblings, a brother and a sister. We see this trio on the passenger list for that ship. It says these 3 were from Kolkau, Germany. I am getting her parents’ names from a family tree on that says these three were the children of Johann Gottlob and Christiana Juliana (Krauss) Lorenz.

Lorenz names – Copernicus passenger list

The book, Zion on the Mississippi also lists these 3 in a group. This list says this trio was from Lunzenau, and her older brother was a shoemaker.

Lorenz names – Zion on the Mississippi passenger list

The map below displays the fact that Kolkau and Lunzenau are located quite near one another in Germany.

Kolkau and Lunzenau map

Just Christiana’s brother, Johann Gottfried, settled in Perry County. She and her sister remained in St. Louis. Let’s now take a look at Christiana’s future husband. His name was Carl Gottlob Martin who was born on November 24, 1820. Once again, I am relying on a family tree on for Carl’s parents’ names. That tree says his parents were Johann Gottlieb and Louis Christiane (Werner) Martin. Carl and his brother, August William, are found on the passenger list for the ship, Olbers, so he was also part of the Gesellschaft. He and his brother were both called weavers.

Martin names – Olbers passenger list 1839

Zion on the Mississippi includes these Martin brothers, but it also lists their sister, Christiane Wilhelmine, and it says she came aboard the ship, Republik. Strangely, her name does not appear on the passenger list for that ship. The image below says this Martin trio came from Mittel-Frohna, Germany.

Martin names – Zion on the Mississippi

The map below indicates that the town of Mittelfrohna was also located near Kolkau and Lunzenau in Germany.

Mittelfrohna-Lunzenau-Kolkau map

The Martin siblings all seemed to also remain in St. Louis and not come to Perry County. Carl’s brother died right away at the end of 1839. His sister married a Hoffmann in St. Louis, and all their children were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis.

Carl Martin married Christiana Lorenz on October 29, 1843 at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis. That congregation dedicated their first church building in December of 1842, so this wedding probably took place in that new building. We can look at the church record for this couple’s wedding below.

Martin/Lorenz marriage record – Trinity, St. Louis, MO

The St. Louis marriage record shown here indicates that it was Rev. C.F.W. Walther who performed this wedding ceremony.

Martin/Lorenz marriage record – St. Louis, MO

Our German Family Tree lists 6 children born to this couple and baptized at Trinity, St. Louis. However, the family tree on Ancestry lists 9 children. We do see a later move by this couple to another location, so it is likely that the last 3 children were born elsewhere.

When the 1850 census was taken, we find this Martin family living in St. Louis with 2 children. Carl was called a cooper. Early in their marriage, census entries called Carl’s wife, Johanna, but a later one, along with her gravesite information, calls her Christina.

1850 census – St. Louis, MO

The last baptism to take place in St. Louis was in 1853. I figure it must have been after that date that the Martin’s moved away from St. Louis. I was unable to find this family in the 1860 census. When the next census after that was taken in 1870, the Martin’s were living in Madison County, Illinois where Carl was a farmer. You will see that starting with the 15 year-old, their children were born in Illinois. That gives evidence that the Martin’s were living in Illinois in 1855. Quite a few German Lutherans migrated across the river to Madison County back in those days to be part of the early church that was established in Collinsville, Illinois. That congregation was called Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Perhaps that is where this Martin family lived and attended church. This census page says it had a Collinsville post office.

1870 census – Madison County, IL

Another move was made by this family before the 1880 census was taken. That year’s entry has the Martin household living in Montgomery County, Missouri. Carl was once again called a farmer. My best guess is that they were living near the town of Wellsville.

1880 census – Montgomery County, MO

Christiane Martin died in 1888 at the age of 65; Carl Martin died in 1899 at the age of 78. That means these two did not make it to the 1900 census. Both Carl and Christiane have grave sites listed on Findagrave as being buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Wellsville, but neither of them have gravestone photos. The website of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod says that Trinity, Wellsville was established in 1897 (although their cemetery has a few gravesites for people that died before then). I would not be surprised to discover that Carl and Christiane were two of the charter members of that congregation. Here is what Findagrave says about these two. They are listed as having the same plot, so they were probably buried together.

Carl and Christina Martin – Findagrave information

Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis was established in 1839. Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Collinsville was established in 1848. And Trinity Lutheran Church in Wellsville was established in 1897. Carl and Christiane Martin were possibly involved in all of these congregations either at the time of their founding or shortly thereafter. Even though it looks like they never made it to Perry County, they seemed to be right in the middle of the early history of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s