Art and Mathilda – Fruitland Petzoldt’s

The birthday of a girl who would have been a century and a half old today is the starting point for this tale. Mathilda F. Kaufmann was born on March 20, 1873, making this her 150th birthday. Mathilda was the daughter of George and Emilie (Penzel) Kaufmann. There are 14 pages in our German Family Tree for the surname, Kaufmann. There were Kaufmann’s who were original immigrants in 1839. However, Mathilda is one of those individuals that we sometimes call “leftovers” in that document. She is found on the 14th page and is not connected to any of the other Kaufmann’s. The reason Mathilda is included in the GFT at all is found in the fact that she married a man whose surname takes up even more pages of the GFT.

I do not know where Mathilda was baptized. However, when she was very young, her parents were actively involved in establishing a new congregation in rural Fruitland. The constitution shown below indicates that this church was called the German Evangelical Lutheran St. John’s Church.

St. John’s, Fruitland constitution

In a binder for St. John’s United Church of Christ that we have in our library, you find that Mathilda’s parents were some of the original members of that new church when it opened in 1877.

George and Emilie Kaufmann – early members of St. John’s UCC, Fruitland

In fact, you find George’s signature as person #2 who signed that congregation’s constitution, right under the pastor’s signature.

St. John’s UCC, Fruitland – first signers of constitution

A short history of that congregation describes how it began as a Lutheran church (not Missouri Synod), but eventually became a United Church of Christ congregation later in time.

St. John’s UCC, Fruitland – history

Mathilda shows up in her first census in 1880 at the age of 8. I did not include the column for place of birth in this image, but it says that Mathilda’s father was born in Missouri and her mother was born in Germany. Those two were married early in 1866 and started having children later that year. Mathilda is the 3rd of 4 children in this entry. Her father was a farmer in the Byrd Township. That township is located in the vicinity of Jackson and not far from Fruitland.

1880 census – Byrd Township, MO

Since Mathilda got married in 1899 and we cannot view the 1890 census, we will now take a look at the man who would become Mathilda’s husband. His name was Arthur Petzoldt, who was born on December 30, 1872. Arthur was the son of Herman and Ernstine (Schoen) Petzoldt. That makes Arthur yet another grandchild of Friedrich Florian “The Face” Petzoldt to show up on this blog. The first two children in the Herman Petzoldt family were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg, but beginning with Arthur, the children were baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. In fact, Herman Petzoldt was one of the founding members of that congregation.

St. John’s Lutheran Church, Pocahontas charter members

Arthur is found in the 1880 census at the age of 8. His father was a farmer in the Apple Creek Township. The Byrd and Apple Creek Townships are adjacent to one another.

1880 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Arthur Petzoldt married Mathilda Kaufmann on April 11, 1899. We can take a look at the marriage license for this couple. The pastor on this form is described as a pastor in Jackson.

Petzoldt/Kaufmann marriage license

I was surprised to find the photo below in the St. John’s UCC binder. I did not find a marriage record in that binder for Arthur and Mathilda, but I did find this photo that was taken when they were married. The caption identifies many people in the photograph. The caption also says that one of their sons would eventually become a student pastor of that congregation.

Arthur and Mathilda Petzoldt wedding

It appears that this Petzoldt/Kaufmann pair had 6 children. Not long after their marriage, we find this new family in the 1900 census. Their first son was still a baby in this entry. Arthur was a farmer in the Apple Creek Township.

1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

I do not know where the first few Petzoldt children were baptized, but when a child was born in 1906, that baptism is recorded in the St. John’s UCC binder. The 1910 census displays 5 children in this Petzoldt family.

1910 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Arthur had a World War I draft registration completed in 1918. His address is given as a rural route out of Jackson. This document states that Arthur had no sight in his left eye.

Arthur Petzoldt – WWI draft registration

The last Petzoldt child was born after the 1910 census, so when the 1920 census was taken, we see all 6 of their children in the household.

1920 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Plat maps for Cape Girardeau County were produced in 1930, and we find the Arthur Petzoldt farm located not far from the village of Oak Ridge. Right next door, you see the Herman Petzoldt farm. That was Arthur’s brother, Herman Jr.’s, farm. Their father had died in 1916, but perhaps both farms put together belonged to their father previously.

Arthur Petzoldt land map – 1930

I will also point out on the map above that another neighbor was August Mirly. He is the character described as the “Fake Mirly” in the recent post, Parents of the Fake Mirly.

During the same year in which that plat map was produced, there was also a Federal census taken. The 1930 census entry for the Petzoldt’s is shown here. The household had gotten a bit smaller.

1930 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Next, we find the Petzoldt’s in the 1940 census. Arthur and Mathilda had an empty nest, but right below their entry, you will see that of Leo Petzoldt, one of their sons. Both Arthur and Leo were farming (perhaps on the same farm).

1940 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

The final census entry we can view for Arthur and Mathilda was the one taken in 1950. The Leo Petzoldt family was once again listed right below Arthur’s entry, but I chose not to display it.

1950 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Mathilda Petzoldt died later that year in 1950 at the age of 77. Her death certificate is pictured below.

Mathilda Petzoldt death certificate

Arthur Petzoldt died in 1954 at the age of 81. His death certificate says he died while a patient at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Charles, Missouri.

Arthur Petzoldt death certificate

Arthur and Mathilda Petzoldt are buried together in the St. John’s United Church of Christ Cemetery near Fruitland.

Arthur and Mathilda Petzoldt gravestone – St. John’s UCC, Fruitland, MO

It may be a little unfair of me to call this couple the Fruitland Petzoldt’s because they lived a lot closer to Oak Ridge. However, we do find this couple buried in the St. John’s UCC Cemetery just down the road from Fruitland. I also find it interesting to find a couple that came from two local congregations that were both named St. John’s, and not located very far from each other. One of them is still Lutheran, and the other has become part of the United Church of Christ.


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