Doc’s Wife – Captain’s Sister

Doc’s Wife – Captain’s Sister

Yesterday’s post told the story of a grandson of Charles Weber, who had been a probate judge of Perry County. Charles was also once the mayor of Perryville, and before that, was a captain in the Union Army during the Civil War. He is pictured as a soldier below.

Captain Charles Weber

Today, you will read a story about Charles’s older sister, Amalie Auguste Wilhelmine Friedricke Weber. I placed Amalie at the front of her name because that is what she was called during her life. She got my attention because the German Family Tree says that today would be her 200th birthday. After just a little bit of looking, however, I discovered that today just might not be her birthday. I will say this. I found both a February 4th or 5th date of birth in the GFT, but I also located a German baptism record that gives her birthday as February 6th. Maybe you should read this story today, then read it again tomorrow, followed by reading it a 3rd time on February 6th. Let’s begin by looking at that baptism record from Germany.

Amalie Weber baptism record – Germany

The above baptism record says that Amalie was the daughter of Johann Christoph and Johanne Dorothea Weber. Although I could not locate Dorothea’s maiden name in any church records in Perry County, a similar baptism record to the one above for Franz Ludwig Weber, Amalie’s older brother, says her maiden name was Schenk.

Franz Ludwig Weber baptism record – Germany

The Weber family was part of the Gesellschaft that left Germany in 1838 and arrived in America in 1839. They made the voyage aboard the ship, Republik. The members of this family are shown on the passenger list for that ship below. The parents, along with the youngest child, Christian Carl (Charles), traveled in the fore-cabin of the ship. The others are listed on two pages of the steerage section of the ship. Amalie is listed as being 12 years old, which does not make sense if she was born in 1823.

Weber family – Republik passenger list

I will add at this point that Amalie’s father died in St. Louis in 1839 even before this family arrived in Perry County. When the 1840 census was taken, their entry was made for Frederick Weber, the oldest son in that family. They were listed right above the entry for Henry Lober (Rev. Gotthold Heinrich Loeber), the first pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.

1840 census – Perry County, MO

Now, we need to look at the man who would become Amalie’s husband. His name has appeared on this blog on several occasions. That is because in the early days of the Lutheran settlement in Perry County, he was the only doctor to be found. His name was Ernst Eduard Buenger, who was born on October 10, 1817 in Etzdorf, Germany. He was the son of Rev. Jacob Friedrich and Christiane (Reiz) Buenger. Ernst Eduard’s father died right before the 1838 immigration, so his mother was a widow when most of this family came to America as part of the Gesellschaft. Some complications came up when they were leaving Germany, so the members of the Buenger family traveled on different ships. Mama Buenger (as I call Christiane) came with a few children to New York and then became part of the New York Group. The very first character to show up in my fictional book, Mama Buener: Mother of a Synod, was Ernst Eduard. I know that I have mentioned in the past that Christiane Buenger was the first person to own the property on which I now live in Altenburg. (I will also say that a Chinese balloon went by right above this property last night just so that this historic event is documented on this blog.)

The Buenger’s are also found in the 1840 census for Perry County.

1840 census – Perry County, MO

Ernst Eduard Buenger married Amalie Weber on November 7, 1842 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. In Chapter 63 of the Mama Buenger book, I wrote about how Ernst Eduard and Amalie had a picnic lunch together, with Ernst Eduard walking her back to her home. It was my way of imagining how these two became a couple. The church record for the Buenger/Weber wedding is pictured below.

Buenger/Weber marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Our German Family Tree lists 14 children born to this couple. Quite a few of them died in infancy. Even babies of the local doctor apparently did not have a better survival rate than anyone else back in those days. The first 2 children were born in Altenburg. Then, in the mid-1840’s, the Buenger’s moved to St. Louis for a while. That was about the time that Mama Buenger moved to St. Louis. Another two brothers were serving as a pastor and teacher in St. Louis also, which may have led Ernst Eduard to relocate in St. Louis. When the 1850 census was taken, we find the Buenger’s living in St. Louis where Ernst Eduard was a physician.

1850 census – St. Louis, MO

That census was taken just one year after the tragic Cholera Epidemic struck the St. Louis area in 1849. Dr. Buenger must have been kept very busy and had seen many people die that he was attending.

Several children were born to the Buenger’s during their time in St.Louis. A few were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church and a few others were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Louis. Immanuel is the church at which Ernst Eduard’s brother, Rev. J.F. Buenger was the first pastor. When a child was born to Ernst Eduard and Amalie in 1851, the baptism once again took place at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, so the Buenger’s had moved back to Perry County. On the document shown below, Dr. Ernst Eduard and Amalie deed the piece of property that once had belonged to Mama Buenger over to Gottlob Neumueller, who had married Clementine Buenger, Ernst Eduard’s sister. That transaction took place in 1856. This is the same piece of property that I now own. So, I conclude that there was a time that Dr. and Mrs. Buenger likely lived where I do now.

Buenger/Neumueller land document

The Buenger household in the 1860 census is found living in the Brazeau Township. Amalie’s mother was included in their household.

1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The 1870 census show that the Buenger household had gotten considerably smaller.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The 1880 census was the last one in which we find both Ernst Eduard and Amalie. At the age of 62, Ernst Eduard was still a physician.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Later in the 1880’s and early 1890’s, when Perry County collected birth records, you find the interesting situation where some of these records list Dr. E.E. Buenger as the medical attendant and still others list Magdalena Mueller as the medical attendant. Magdalena was Dr. Buenger’s daughter who had become a midwife, probably being instructed by her father.

One of my favorite photographs of members of Mama Buenger’s family is the one shown here. It includes from left to right, Agnes Fuerbringer, Dr. Ernst Eduard Buenger, Clementine Neumueller, and Herman Buenger. Two were from Altenburg, one from St. Louis, and one from Frankenmuth, Michigan. I’ve come to the conclusion that the most likely event that got these 4 together was the funeral for their sister, Emilie, who was also Mrs. C.F.W. Walther. Emilie died in 1885 in St. Louis.

Buenger siblings

Here is a photo of Dr. Buenger holding one of his grandchildren, along with another one picturing both he and Amalie holding grandchildren.

We can also take a look at Dr. Buenger standing in front of his doctor’s office and drug store in Altenburg.

Dr. Buenger in front of office and apothecary

Also, this photograph was taken of Amalie Buenger. Her daughter, Christiane, had married Rev. Friedrich Wilhelm Stellhorn and lived in Columbus, Ohio. That may explain how Amalie had a picture taken by a photographer in Columbus.

Amalie Buenger

Amalie Buenger died in January of 1892 at the age of 68. Right before the turn of the next century, Dr. Ernst Eduard Buenger died in December of 1899 at the age of 82. We can take a look at his last will and testament in 2 images that can be enlarged by clicking.

There is a bit of mystery here. This document describes how some money from his golden wedding was to be used. If Amalie died in January of 1892, she would have no longer been around for the 50th anniversary which would have been celebrated in November of 1892. Please note that the probate judge, Charles Weber, Amalie’s brother, signed this form.

Ernst Eduard and Amalie Buenger are buried together in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg. They have one of those gravestones that has their two names engraved on two opposite sides. The front of the stone displays a large cross.

I made a trip to the cemetery this morning in hopes of solving the mystery of Amalie’s date of birth. Below is a close up photo of a portion of her side of the gravestone.

Amalie Buenger gravestone enlarged

I think you will agree that the number inside the red circle is 6. Since the birth date included in our German Family Tree is one of those that comes from a death record that gives how many years, months, and days that the person lived, I think a mistake have been made doing that. I put more stock in the baptism record and the date of birth engraved on the tombstone. I think Amalie’s 200th birthday will be celebrated on this coming Monday.

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