Doberenz’s Two Brides

Today’s post may be one of those that presents just as many questions to the readers as there are answers. In the midst of it all, I will also share some of my speculations.

I will begin with a birthday girl. This woman would be celebrating one of those special birthdays today. Her name was Maria Elizabeth Lorenz, who was born on February 26, 1848. That means today would be her 175th birthday. She was the daughter of Johann Gottfried and Johanna Christiane (Mueller) Lorenz. Her father was one of the 3 Lorenz siblings that came as part of the Gesellschaft that was mentioned a few days ago in the post, Gesellschaft Gal Celebrates Bicentennial Birthday. Maria would have called Christiane Lorenz, Aunt Christiane (as opposed to her mother, who was also Christiane Lorenz by marriage). Maria was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis. Her baptism record is pictured here.

Maria Lorenz baptism record – Trinity, St. Louis, MO

The first 3 children in Maria’s family were baptized in St. Louis. After Maria’s baptism in 1848, the next child in the family would be baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Perhaps the Lorenz family fled St. Louis because of the Cholera Epidemic that took place in that city in 1849.

Maria is found in the 1850 census at the age of 12. Her father was a shoemaker in the Brazeau Township of Perry County.

1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Maria was not living with her parents when the 1870 census was taken. I am not sure where she was living in that year. I found two 20 year-old Mary Lorenz’s living in St. Louis, but this Maria would have been 22 years old at that time.

Now, we will take a look at the man who would become Maria’s husband. His name was Heinrich Carl Doberenz, who was born on October 21, 1848. Henry was the son of David and Sophia (Theimer) Doberenz. A later census says the Doberenz family arrived in America in 1855. Another said they arrived in 1857. The 1860 census shows Henry at the age of 10 (although I figure he was 11 or 12). His father was a farmer in the Brazeau Township.

1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Henry was confirmed in 1863, and that record is found in the books of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. Next, we find Henry in the 1870 census at the age of 21. He was working on his father’s farm.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Henry Doberenz married Maria Lorenz (a pair of ‘renz surnames) on September 9, 1875. A Perry County marriage record for this wedding is shown below.

Doberenz/Lorenz marriage record – Perry County, MO

The above document says Rev. J.F. Koestering was the pastor performing the marriage. He did not record this event in any church books. He was the pastor of both Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg and Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. Since Maria’s siblings were baptized at Trinity, I suspect that is where this wedding took place. This marriage did not result in any children, and it also did not last long. Although I do not know exactly when, Maria must have died sometime between 1875 and 1880.

Henry Doberenz would get married again. His second wife was Ernestine Proehl, who was born on March 2, 1852. The later marriage record for Henry and Ernestine says she was the stepdaughter of August Mueller. Another later census say Ernestine immigrated to this country in 1870. The 1870 census entry below shows an Ernestine Mueller living in an August Mueller household in the Brazeau Township. I think this could actually be Ernestine Proehl. All the children were said to be born in Prussia or Saxony.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Here’s where it gets both interesting and puzzling. I found a marriage record for August Mueller marrying Sophia Froehlich. It is pictured here.

Mueller/Froehlich marriage record – Cape Girardeau County, MO

I noticed that the pastor on the above document was Rev. Gruber, so I thought I might have a chance to find the church record for this wedding in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim, so off to the museum I went. I was correct. The church record below from Friedheim should make it into our German Family Tree eventually.

Mueller/Froehlich marriage record – Trinity, Friedheim, MO

If this is the August Mueller in the 1870 census shown earlier, then the youngest child in the entry, Alwin, would have been born the year after the above wedding. However, it says that child was born in Prussia, not the United States. In 1880, we find this Mueller family in that year’s census in which Ernestine was called 28 years old. I still question whether this is actually Ernestine Proehl, but I do think it is possible.

1880 census – Union Township, MO

Henry Doberenz married Ernestine Proehl on November 23, 1880 at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. Their church marriage record is displayed below.

Doberenz/Proehl marriage record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Here is a translation of the above record.

Doberenz/Proehl marriage record translation

The German Family Tree lists 7 children born to Henry and Ernestine. All of them were baptized at Grace, Uniontown. We do not find this Doberenz couple in a census until the one taken in 1900. Four children were in their household. Henry was a farmer in the Union Township.

1900 census – Union Township, MO

The 1910 census shows the Doberenz household with just 2 children.

1910 census – Union Township, MO

The last census in which we find Henry and Ernestine was the one taken in 1920. There were two children living with them, but not the same two.

1920 census – Union Township, MO

Ernestine Doberenz died in 1921 at the age of 69. I was not able to find a death certificate for her. She is buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown.

Ernestine Doberenz gravestone – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Henry Doberenz died in 1925 at the age of 76. We can take a look at his death certificate. Theodore Holschen is the informant on this document. He was Henry’s son-in-law.

Henry Doberenz death certificate

Henry is buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg.

Henry Doberenz gravestone – St. Paul’s, Wittenberg, MO

Now, I have some more questions. First of all, just who is this August Mueller who is called Ernestine’s stepdad? Here is an interesting possibility. The name of Rev. J.A.F.W. Mueller has shown up on this blog on occasion. He was the first graduate of the Log Cabin College. He also had a brother named August Ferdinand Mueller who was born in 1827. That would be about the right year of birth for Ernestine’s stepfather. In a Mueller family binder that we have which traces this family’s history, it says this about August Ferdinand in the image below. As you can see, it’s not much help. Could he have been Ernestine’s stepfather? I did manage to find a family tree on that said he married a woman named Frohling.

August F. Mueller info

Here’s another puzzle. There was a Friedrich August Ernst Froehlich who was part of the Gesellschaft in 1839. He came to America aboard the ship, Olbers, and was a pastoral candidate. However he died toward the end of 1839. He was the only Froehlich listed in Zion on the Mississippi. What is even more interesting is that there was a woman by the name Johanna Christiane Froehlich on the passenger list of the Johann Georg, but for some unknown reason, she did not get listed in Zion on the Mississippi. Here she appears on that ship’s passenger list.

Johanna Christiane Froehlich – Johann Georg passenger list 1839

Is this Froehlich woman connected to this story in any way?

One more question. A Michael Proehl has been discussed on this blog before. He was born in 1822, so you could say he was old enough to be Ernestine’s father. Is he the mysterious father of Henry Doberenz’s wife? After all, Michael’s Proehl’s life history has examples of both an illegitimate child and welcoming orphans into his household. Very interesting.

3 thoughts on “Doberenz’s Two Brides

  1. August Muller along with wife Sophie and children Ernestine, Emile, and Alvine arrived in New York on 16 Dec 1867 from Bremen on the ship Marco Polo. Their place of origin was Altenberg, Saxony.

    An 1863 marriage is unlikely for this August Muller (Mueller) and Sophie MNU in Missouri if they didn’t arrive until 1867.


      1. August Müller married Sophie Pröhl in Großstöbnitz, Thuringen (Thuringia), Deutschland (Germany) on 30 April 1854. Her father is listed as Gottfried Pröhl. Her daughter Ernestine was born 2 Mar 1852 and is listed as Ernestine Pröhl in 1880 when she was married. It appears that Sophie was not married when Ernestine was born.


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