William and His Kornthal Bride

A baby boy born to Peter and Elizabeth (Gratz) Ludwig is today’s birthday boy. He was the 5th of 6 children born into his family. William Benjamin Ludwig was born on March 15, 1873, so today would be his 150th birthday. William’s father was highlighted in a previous post titled, Peter’s 45th Birthday. Since Peter was a person born on Leap Year Day, he was celebrating only his 45th birthday when that post was written in 2020. Peter also had a biography included in Goodspeed’s History of Southeast Missouri that describes his extensive experience as a soldier in the Union Army during the Civil War.

Peter Ludwig – Goodspeed’s History of SE Missouri

Not long after the Civil War ended, Peter Ludwig was instrumental in establishing St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. He was one of that congregation’s charter members. That is where William was baptized in 1873. We do not have actual images of that congregation’s records in our museum yet, so I cannot display one. William shows up in his first census in 1880 at the age of 7. His father was a farmer in the Apple Creek Township. William’s grandfather, Johannes Ludwig, was also part of this household.

1880 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Since we cannot view the 1890 census, the next entry in which we see William is in the census taken in 1900. He was living in the Herman Schmidt household. Herman’s wife, Mary Kate, was William’s older sister. William was a 27 year-old hired hand on Herman’s farm. That farm was located near Jonesboro, Illinois.

1900 census – Jonesboro, IL

In a rural area near Jonesboro, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was located in a place called Kornthal. That church, like some of the Lutheran Churches located in the Shawnee Township of Cape Girardeau County, was one that had several members of Austrian origin. That congregation always had special ties to those congregations in Missouri.

Now, we will turn our attention to the woman who would become William’s bride. Her name was Emma Sauerbrunn, who was born on September 19, 1878. Emma was the daughter of Thomas and Louisa (Worstmann) Sauerbrunn. We find Emma in her first census entry in 1880 at the age of 2. Emma’s father was a farmer in the Misenheimer Township in Union County, Illinois.

1880 census – Misenheimer Township, Union County, IL

The Misenheimer Township is shown on the map below. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kornthal was either in that township or nearby in the Jonesboro Township.

Union County, IL township map

I did find some Saurbrunn’s and Worstmann’s in the Kornthal binders that we have in our research library, and there was a Worstmann and a Sauerbrunn who happened to be born in 1878, but the Sauerbrunn baby was not Emma.

Worstmann and Sauerbrunn baptism record – St. Paul’s, Kornthal, IL 1878

When the 1900 census was taken, we find Emma in her 20’s and still living with her parents. It must have been about this time when William and Emma were located near one another that they became acquainted.

1900 census – Jonesboro, IL

William Ludwig married Emma Sauerbrunn on April 10, 1902. The binder we have for St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas gives the impression that this marriage took place at that church, but I located the church marriage record for this wedding in the Kornthal binder that contains that congregation’s records.

Ludwig/Sauerbrunn marriage record – St. Paul’s, Kornthal, IL

William and Emma had two children, a girl and a boy. We find the Ludwig family living in the Apple Creek Township when the 1910 census was taken. Their 2 children, Sadie and Edgar are already in their household. William was a farmer.

1910 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Next, we find the Ludwig’s in the 1920 census. We see the same individuals in the household as we saw in the previous entry.

1920 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

The last census in which we find William was the one taken in 1930. The Ludwig children were in their 20’s, and there was a nephew of Emma’s, Cecil Sauerbrunn, living with them at the age of 6. Cecil’s mother had died in 1925, and his father apparently gave the child to the Ludwig’s to raise. Cecil’s name will come up again later.

1930 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

William Ludwig died in 1938 at the age of 65. His death certificate says he died of a brain tumor. He was in a St. Louis hospital when he died.

William Ludwig death certificate

A transcription of William’s obituary is pictured below.

William Ludwig obituary

Emma is found as a widow in the 1940 census. Her two children, now in their 30’s, were still living with her, and her nephew, Cecil, still lived in this household.

1940 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

In 1942, Emma’s son, Edgar, died. His obituary below tells of some of events that had taken place to him during his life.

Edgar Ludwig obituary

The 1950 census shows Emma living in the Cecil Sauerbrunn household. Cecil had married Doris Brown in 1946. Emma is called a mother-in-law in this entry, which is not correct. She was an aunt. I guess you could argue that she was also Cecil’s mother because she had raised him, but not a mother-in-law. This household is found living in the Shawnee Township.

1950 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Emma Ludwig died in 1955 at the age of 79. She died of stomach cancer according to her death certificate below. It appears that Emma was living with her daughter, Sadie, in Oak Ridge at the time of her death. Sadie had married Aaron Petzoldt, and she is the Mrs. Aaron Petzoldt who is the informant on this document. This is where we find the maiden name of Emma’s mother, Worstmann.

Emma Ludwig death certificate

Emma’s obituary published in a local newspaper is shown here.

Emma Ludwig obituary

William and Emma Ludwig are each buried in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas.

This story is not the first one involving people from here in Missouri with some folks in Kornthal, Illinois. It likely will not be the last.

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