Collinsville Coal Miner

I normally do not use a baptism birthday for a starting point on this blog, but that is the case today. It actually is a case of me making a mistake, but I found the story interesting and worthy off telling, so I made the choice of writing it anyway.

A baby girl was born to a familiar Frohna family in the late 1880’s. She was the 9th of 13 children born in her family. Her name was Adele Victoria Schuessler, who was born on April 29, 1887. Adele’s parents were Michael Heinrich and Kathrerine (Baum) Schuessler. She was baptized on May 8, 1887 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. We can take a look at her baptism record from that congregation’s books.

Adele Schuessler baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Adele is found in her first census during the year of her confirmation. The 1900 census entry for the Schuessler family is displayed below. Adele’s father was a farmer.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In a previous post written by our friend, Wayne Schuessler, the map below was published showing where the Schuessler farm was originally located very near Frohna.

Schuessler farm near Frohna

Adele would get married before the 1910 census was taken, so we will now take a look at the man who would become her husband. His name was Karl Wilhelm Heinrich Lorenz, who was born on September 29, 1879. Henry was the son of Traugott and Anna (Kropf) Lorenz. Henry is part of the Lorenz clan that was part of the Gesellschaft in 1839. Another clan of Lorenz’s arrived on the scene in Perry County later and settled in the Farrar area, but Henry was not part of that crew. Henry’s father had been confirmed at Concordia, Frohna, but after his marriage, we find him and his family living in the Shawnee Township. Henry was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. An image of his baptism record is pictured here. I was very surprised to see that one of Henry’s sponsors was Rev. J.A.F.W. Mueller, who was the first graduate of Concordia Seminary in Altenburg. In 1875, he accepted a call to the last church that he would serve, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Chester, Illinois. I have no idea how he would have been connected to this Lorenz family, other than the fact that the Mueller’s and Lorenz’s travelled to America aboard the ship, Republik, in 1839.

Henry Lorenz baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Henry is found as a baby in the 1880 census. His father was a wagonmaker in the Shawnee Township.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Henry is next found in the 1910 census when he was 20 years old. He and his father were called day laborers.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Before I move on, let me tell you that Henry had an older brother named Gottfried whose story was written in a previous post titled, Gottfried’s Popcorn Stand. In that post, it was told that prior to his wedding in 1900, Gottfried had moved to Collinsville, Illinois. That will help us understand this post about Henry.

Henry Lorenz married Adele Schuessler on September 26, 1909 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. The church record for this marriage is shown here. Rev. H. Schmidt conducted this wedding ceremony because Concordia’s pastor, Rev. Zschoche died in April of 1909 and this congregation was still searching for his replacement.

Lorenz/Schuessler marriage record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Another thing that is notable on the marriage recond and this license is the fact that it says Henry was from Madison County, Illinois, which is where Collinsville is located. Henry must have followed in his brother’s footsteps and moved to Collinsville.

Lorenz/Schuessler marriage license

Henry took his new bride to live with him in Collinsville, Illinois. This couple would remain there the rest of their lives. The 1910 census shows this pair before they had any children. Henry was working in a coal mine.

1910 census – Collinsville, IL

Henry completed his World War I draft registration in 1918. This document says Henry was for the Lumaghi Coal Company in Collinsville.

Henry Lorenz – WWI draft registration

In the story about Henry’s brother, Gottfried, we discovered that he worked for the Donk Brothers Coal Company. The map below was displayed in that article. You can notice that the Donk Brothers Coal Company and the Lumaghi Coal Company were located quite near each other.

Coal mines near Collinsville, IL

Next, we find the Lorenz’s in the 1920 census. Two children had been born to Henry and Adele. Based on this and other census entries, it appears that these two were their only children.

1920 census – Collinsville, IL

The 1930 census shows the same family members, and Henry with the same occupation.

1930 census – Collinsville, IL

When the 1940 census was taken, just their son, Clarence, was still living with Henry and Adele. Clarence was a salesman.

1940 census – Collinsville, IL

The last census we can view is the one taken in 1950. I am amazed that, at the age of 70, Henry was still a miner in a coal mine. As near as I can figure, he must have spent at least 40 years working as a coal miner.

1950 census – Collinsville, IL

Adele Schuessler died in 1969 at the age of 82; Henry Schuessler died in 1971 at the age of 91. Since Henry died in a St. Louis hospital, we are able to view his Missouri death certificate. I expected to see that he died of some sort of respiratory illness as a result of his work in the coal mines for so many years, but he died of heart failure.

Henry Lorenz death certificate

Henry and Adele Lorenz are buried together in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Collinsville.

Henry and Adele Lorenz gravestone – Holy Cross, Collinsville, IL

I find the combined stories of the two brothers, Gottfried and Henry Lorenz, to be very interesting. Two siblings ended up living near each other in Collinsville, Illinois and both working in the coal mines for several years. Gottfried made the decision to operate a popcorn stand later in his life, while Henry continued to work in the mines. Working at a popcorn stand sounds a whole lot safer to me, but perhaps not as lucrative as getting union wages in the mines.

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s