Batting Ninth for the Altenburg Giants

One hundred fifty years ago, on March 3, 1873, Anton Benjamin Dietrich was born in Altenburg, Missouri. He was the 9th child in a family made up of 9 boys who have been called the Dietrich Giants because they were all over 6 feet tall. Since there were 9 boys in the family, I have dubbed them the Altenburg Giants as if they were a baseball team. The parents of these Dietrich Giants were Gottlob and Louise (Vogel) Dietrich. All of the Dietrich boys were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Anton’s baptism record from that church’s books can be seen below.

Anton Dietrich baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

The 9 boys in the Dietrich family are seen in this photo which has been displayed on this blog before. Anton is sitting in front on the left. The other one sitting by Anton is Otto, and the boy on the far right is Joseph. Those other brothers become significant later in this story.

Dietrich boys

Anton is never seen in a Federal census entry for Perry County because the Dietrich family moved to Kansas sometime around 1877. We do see them in a Missouri state census that was taken in 1876. They were living in the Brazeau Township. All 9 boys are listed in this entry.

1876 Missouri state census – Brazeau Township, MO

The story of the family moving to Kansas can be found in the post, Another One of the Altenburg Giants. I have looked for the Dietrich’s in the 1880 census on several occasions, but I have always failed. Anton’s father died in 1884. The first census in which I found Anton was a Kansas state census for Junction City that was taken in 1885. He was 12 years old, and his brother, August Dietrich, who was already married and had a family, was called the farmer in this Dietrich household. His mother is found at the bottom of the entry.

1885 Kansas state census – Junction City, KS

Kansas took censuses at the midpoint between the national censuses, so the next one in which we find Anton was the one taken in 1895. This time, he was living in the Smoky Hill Township in Geary County, Kansas. He and his brother, Otto, were in the same household, along with several other people.

1895 Kansas state census – Smoky Hill Township, KS

As you can see in the map below, the Smoky Hill Township is located just outside Junction City. It is also located near Ft. Riley, a military camp that was used for training soldiers for a lot of years.

Smoky Hill Township, Geary County, KS map

I was once again unsuccessful at finding Anton in the 1900 Federal census. Add to that the fact that I could not find him in the 1905 Kansas state census. Then, I also could not find Anton in the 1910 Federal census either. The next census I can display is the one taken in 1915. This time, he was living with his brother, Joseph, in the Smoky Hill Township. These two brothers were both in their 40’s, and both were still single.

1915 Kansas state census – Smoky Hill Township, KS

Anton had a World War I draft registration completed in 1918. His brother, Joe, was called his nearest relative. Anton was called tall and stout on this form.

Anton Dietrich – WWI draft registration

Now, we need to turn our attention to the woman who would become Anton’s bride. Her name was Alice Balsinger, who was born on April 18, 1890. She was the daughter of John and Alice Balsinger. I do not know the maiden name of her mother. Alice is found in the 1900 census living in the Noble Township of Dickinson County, Kansas at the age off 10. That is where the town of Chapman, Kansas is located. If you look at the map that I displayed earlier, you can see how nearby Chapman was to the Smoky Hill Township, even if it is in a different county. Alice’s father was a farmer. Both of Alice’s parents were originally from Switzerland.

1900 census – Noble Township, KS

Next, we find Alice in the 1910 census when she was 20 years old. Please note that in this and the above census entry, Alice had an older sister named Anna (called Annie).

1910 census – Noble Township, KS

Here’s where things get interesting. On April 23, 1919, Anton’s brother, Joseph, married Anna Balsinger, the older sister of Alice. A record that tells some facts about this marriage was printed in a local newspaper.

J. Dietrich/Anna Balsinger marriage record – 1919

Exactly 2 weeks later, Anton Dietrich married Alice Balsinger on May 7, 1919. A record shown here indicates the date of that wedding. I figure that Alice was 29 years old and Anton was 46 years old when these two were married.

A. Dietrich/Alice Balsinger marriage record 1919

I guess I have to shake my head at this situation. Both of these Dietrich brothers and Balsinger sisters would likely have had the same relatives who attended these 2 weddings. I have to ask why these two weddings were not planned to take place on the same day instead of 2 weeks apart.

The 1920 census shows this pair with no children. Anton was a farmer in the Smoky Hill Township.

1920 census – Smoky Hill Township, KS

When the 1930 census was taken, we find Anton and Alice with 2 sons. Anton’s brother, Joseph, died in 1928. Joseph’s wife, Anna, also Alice’s sister, was included in this household as a widow.

1930 census – Smoky Hill Township, KS

Next, we find the Dietrich’s in the 1930 census. Anton’s 2 sons were then old enough to be helping him on his farm.

1940 census – Smoky Hill Township, KS

The last census we can view is the one taken in 1950. At the age of 77, Anton was a retired farmer. His son, John, was doing the farming.

1950 census – Smoky Hill Township, KS

Anton Dietrich died in 1950 at the age of 77 not long after the above census was taken. Alice Dietrich died in 1966 at the age of 76. These two are buried in the Highland Cemetery in Junction City, Kansas. They have a Dietrich family marker along with two separate markers for Anton and Alice.

Anton and Alice Dietrich gravestones – Highland, Junction City, KS

The Highland Cemetery has 19 different grave sites that have the surname, Dietrich. It is not hard to see why there are that many Dietrich grave sites in this location when so many of those Dietrich males moved to that area from Altenburg back in the 1870’s.

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