Wood Sisters

The Life and Times of Gottlieb and Mary Stahlhuth

The Story of Their Journey Through Life in America

Compiled by Gary Wayne Stahlhuth


Have you ever wondered what your ancestors were like? I never knew my great grand- parents, and have always wondered what kind of people they were. So I began to research my "Stahlhuth roots", and the information I've discovered about my family has enabled me to get to know them better than I ever thought possible. My purpose for writing this family history it is to provide my fellow descendents with a window into the lives of Gottlieb and Mary Stahlhuth; where they lived, how they lived and the circumstances they faced along the way. Presented chronologically in the context of what was going on in the world around them, it includes their triumphs and tragedies, and clues as to why they made some of the decisions that they did. It covers approximately 100 years, begin- ning with their arrival in America with their parents in the mid 1800s, and ending with the events surrounding the lives of each of their ten children in the mid 1900s. My hope is to give readers a better understanding of our ancestors and the world in which they lived.

The inspiration for this research project began primarily from a single source: letters written to me in the summer of 1990 from Dorothy Luckett, a granddaughter of Gottlieb and Mary Stahlhuth. I had met "Dora" in 1989 on a trip to Warrenton Missouri to visit my dad's sister. I learned that Dora was my second cousin and had personal recollections of Gottlieb and Mary, who were my great grandparents. When I told her that I was interested in family history, she was determined to pass along all of the information that she could remember about our common ancestry. She began researching the family and writing letters to me every few weeks, documenting what she had learned and remembered. I was too busy with a career and raising a family to pay much attention at the time. Dora passed away five years later, but thankfully I had kept all of her letters. And one day, 24 years later, my sister and I found them along with some old family photos and letters we had saved over the years. As I reread Dora's letters, I decided to go online to see what else I could learn. When I searched "Gottlieb Stahlhuth", the first item on the list was Doug Wood's detailed family website, tangledwood.com. I logged on and was amazed to find a wealth of information about the Stahlhuth family. And that started the ball rolling. It turned out that Doug is a great-great grandson of Gottlieb and Mary, and great grandson of Tillie Stahlhuth Bredenkamp. I then began checking family records using ancestry.com. With the information from Dora's letters and the internet, everything began to fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. My father, Robert Stahlhuth, never volunteered much information about our family, and now that valuable resource, like so many others, is gone. As I got deeper and deeper into my family's history, I became fascinated by what I found, and soon realized that, as time passed, it could be lost to future generations forever.

This is the story of two families from Germany who joined together and became a microcosm of nineteenth century American immigrants. By European standards, America was a young country with opportunities only dreamed of in their homeland. The reader will learn how Gottlieb, Mary and their children overcame the many obstacles on their journey to successfully assimilate into American society. Their descendents are who they are today because of the efforts of their hard working ancestors.

Countless hours have been spent following leads and making contact with scattered cousins I'd never met. The most rewarding part of this project has been meeting, emailing and talking on the phone with people so willing to contribute information. This includes photographs, letters, documents, and personal accounts of people and events, most of which are contained in this narrative. They provide an amazing insight into how the families interacted with each other so long ago. The author gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following family members representing each branch of living descendents of Gottlieb and Mary Stahlhuth. They are listed alphabetically below, together with their lineage:

1) Deborah (Grebe) Stahlhuth (related by marriage) - Gottlieb & Mary > John F. & Emma (Kinderman) Stahlhuth > Walter F. & Sally (Koebel) Stahlhuth > John H. & Virginia (Ray) Stahlhuth > Richard J. Stahlhuth & Deborah

2) Diane (Stahlhuth) Goodloe - Gottlieb & Mary > Sam & Lydia (Kraft) Stahlhuth > Robert & Juanita (Whitesides) Stahlhuth > Diane

3) Doug E. Wood - Gottlieb & Mary > Tillie (Stahlhuth) & William Bredenkamp > Myrtle (Bredenkamp) & Chesteen Wood > Mervel & Margaret (Ritts) Wood > Doug

4) LaVerne (Jobe) Williams - Gottlieb & Mary > William & Clara (Herzog) Stahlhuth > Arthur W. & Jessie (Thornton) Stahlhuth > Pearl Ellen (Stahlhuth) & Russell Jobe > LaVerne

5) Linda (Lang) Rogan - Gottlieb & Mary > Lillian (Stahlhuth) & Claude Lang > Claude Jr. & Emma (Walton) Lang > Linda

6) Mark W. Stahlhuth - Gottlieb & Mary > Arthur A. & Mary (Sterr) Stahlhuth > Fred A. & Ruby (Myers) Stahlhuth > Ted & Norma (Davis) Stahlhuth > Mark

7) Phyllis (Lang) Norton - Gottlieb & Mary > Lillian (Stahlhuth) & Claude Lang > Harry & Dorothy (Hohrein) Lang > Phyllis

8) Sandi (Stahlhuth) Bohler - Gottlieb & Mary > William & Clara (Herzog) Stahlhuth > Clarence A. & Edna (Terry) Stahlhuth > Sandi

9) William Roger Stahlhuth - Gottlieb & Mary > Benjamin F. & Frieda (Mohr) Stahlhuth > Edgar F. & Catherine (Pausch) Stahlhuth > Roger E. & Polly (Mays) Stahlhuth > William

All of the quotes from Merle Lang Baker and Mervel Eugene Wood in this history are taken from the tangledwood.com website. Doug Wood informed me that they both shared a common interest in genealogy, and that most of the information he gathered came from them. He says that his dad and Merle would share information through letters and conversations that they had with each other. Mervel also stayed close to his aunt, Pearl (Bredenkamp) Beasley, who in turn, stayed close to Merle over the years. And all three shared their genealogy work with each other. Like Dora Luckett, these relatives have now all passed away. But their conscious effort to preserve their ancestry for future generations is something we can all be thankful for.

- Gary W. Stahlhuth, 2016

Gary Stahlhuth Gary at his home in Lafayette Louisiana where he retired with Janet, his wife and soul mate for the past 50 years.

Gottlieb and Mary Stahlhuth

Gottlieb and Mary Stahlhuth on their 50th wedding anniversary - 12 October 1905
Photo Courtesy of Gary Stahlhuth

Their Christian names were Heinrich Ernst Gottlieb and Marie Engel nee Boellner. Their families always called them: Gottlieb and Mary.

Births - Gottlieb, 2 June 1833, and Mary, 5 Dec 1838, were both born in Germany in the state of Lower Saxony, called Niedersachsen in Germany. Mary was born in the city of Hanover (or Hannover), the state capital of Lower Saxony; while Gottlieb was born about 30 miles to the east, in the small town of Pollhagen in what is today the district of Schaumburg. (tangledwood.com), (findagrave.com)

Prussia from early 1800 to late 1800's

The Parents of Gottlieb and Mary

Gottlieb's father, Ernst Heinrich Gottlieb Stahlhuth (Ernst), was born 16 June 1799 in Meerbeck, Germany. He died 23 Feb 1889 at the age of 89 and is buried in the Westenkuehler Cemetery on Boone's Lick Road in St. Charles, Missouri. Today this cemetery is known as the United Methodist (Wesleyan) Cemetery. Ernst is buried in Section B, Lot 10, Space C, adjacent to his youngest daughter, Philippine Stahlhuth Tieman, and her husband Friedrich Tieman. (Cemetery records of First United Methodist Church, St. Charles, Missouri).


Obituary of Ernst Stahlhuth
Died on: 23 Feb 1889
Taken from the
St. Charles Cosmos (Weekly)
St. Charles, Missouri

on file at the:
St. Charles County Historical Society

German Obituary

Obituary of Ernst Stahlhuth
Taken from the
St. Charles Demokrat 1889
on file at the:
St. Charles County Historical Society

Partial translation by Doug Wood 01 Apr 2016

"Father Ernst Stahlhuth died on the evening of 23rd at 11 pm at the old age of 89 years, 8 months and 7 days. His wife, 1 son and 1 daughter died of Cholera in St. Louis in 1849. He lived long enough, for his 5 living children to become Grandfathers and Grandmothers. For about 40 years he had his home and good life at his oldest daughter Marie and his son-in-law H. Borgmann. His other children are: Gottl. Stahlhut in St. Louis; Dorathea, wife of Rev. H. Lahrmann, Keota, Iowa; Ernestine, widow of Rev. G. Timken, Peoria, Ill.; Philippine, wife of Fr. Tiemann..."

Ernst Stahlhuth Headstone Philipine Stahlhuth Tieman Headstone

Ernst Stahlhuth headstone and daughter Philipine Stahlhuth Tiemann headstone
Westenkuehler Cemetery now named United Methodist (Wesleyan) Cemetery
Boone's Lick Road, St. Charles, Missouri

Gottlieb's Mother, Johanne Sophie Eleonore Guesewelle (Sophie), was born 23 March 1794 in Pollhagen, Germany. The date of death found in the above obituary for Ernst was sometime in 1849 (Cholera epidemic) in St. Louis, Missouri.

Ernst and Sophie, were married on 28 April 1820 in Meerbeck, Germany, at the ages of 20 and 26 respectively. Twenty seven years later, on 29 Oct 1847, they left their home country from the Port of Bremen, located on the North Sea about 50 miles from their home in Pollhagen. They sailed for America aboard the passenger ship John Campbell, arriving at the Port of New Orleans on 4 Jan 1848. (tangledwood.com)

Mary's father - Mary's father's name was William Frederick Boellner. He was born on 28 Jan 1797 in Hanover, Germany. He was naturalized a U.S. citizen on 16 May 1854, and died on 3 June 1868 at the age of 71. William Boellner is buried in the Westenkueh- ler (Methodist) Cemetery in St. Charles, Missouri. (tangledwood.com)

Mary's mother - Mary's mother's name was Marie Elizabeth Mayers. She was born about 1805, but no definitive death information for her was found. Mary's parents were married in Germany around 1826, and they had six children, all born in Germany. The Boellner family immigrated to America in early 1844. It is noted by Merle Baker that Mary's mother died in 1844, very soon after arriving in America when Mary was only 6 years old. (tangledwood.com)

German Emigration - There is little wonder that the Stahlhuth and Boellner families decided to leave their native country to begin a new life elsewhere. From 1845 to 1855 nearly 1 million Germans fled to the U.S. to escape economic hardship and political unrest at home. Actually there was no official country named "Germany" at the time. Instead there was a loosely joined group of states called Prussia, ruled by fluid rival nobility that had existed for centuries. The political situation in Europe was in crisis, and headed for the failed Revolutions of 1848. Using the French Revolution 50 years earlier as an example, Prussia became the epicenter of unrest among the working class in Europe. But unlike the American and French Revolutions before it, the Revolutions of 1848 in Europe were a failure. Farmers were virtually serfs of their overlords, and the disastrous crop failures (potato blight) beginning in 1846 conspired to produce an army of dispossessed farmers. Gottlieb's father, Ernst, was a Farmer in Prussia, as listed on the manifest of the ship John Campbell. Thus the glowing accounts coming out of America at the time, describing freedom and opportunity for immigrant farmers (e.g. Gottfried Duden's popular book on the subject) probably became irresistible to him and many others. (German Immigration to the U.S. in the 1800s).

Gottfried Duden - This popular author may have had a direct influence on Ernst Stahlhuth's decision to immigrate to the lower Missouri River valley in America. Duden, himself a German emigrant, established a farm near Dutzow in St. Charles County, Missouri in the early 1820s. This was around the time Missouri became the 24th state. He would go on a high hill on his farm, study the area, and write letters back to Germany. After several years, Gottfried Duden returned home where he published a book in 1829 proclaiming the many virtues of life in Missouri. The book, Report of a Journey to the Western States of North America, became a best seller. In it, Duden compared the Missouri River favorably to the Rhine in Germany, and described it as a place where ambition was the only thing standing in the way of success. What followed was a flood of German immigrants seeking new opportunities for themselves and their families. By 1860, approximately 38,000 Germans had taken the advice of Gottfried Duden and followed their dreams to the state of Missouri. Ernst Stahlhuth was among them. And his own son, Gottlieb, would eventually bring his family to live in New Melle, Missouri, just a few miles from where the famous farmer and author had settled. (Boone-Duden Historical Society).

Still, the decision for Ernst and Sophie to leave their home behind and join thousands of other emigrants to set sail across the Atlantic, must have been heart-rending. Their voyage was to last 67 days and span from one year into another. They knew very well what they were getting into. Conditions on board transatlantic sailing ships of the day were notoriously miserable, and included poor food, sea sickness, disease, and crowded sleeping quarters. 204 passengers were on board the ship John Campbell, and 2 did not survive that voyage to America. (olivetreegeneology.com)

John Campbell ship's manifest - Gottlieb and his mother and father arrived in New Orleans on 4 Jan 1848. The following information is found on the Olive Tree Genealogy website:

Ship: John Campbell
Departed: Bremen, 29 Oct 1847
Arrived: New Orleans, 4 Jan 1848


I, Thos. I. TOBIN, Master or Commander of the JOHN CAMPBELL do solemnly, sincerely, and truly swear, that the within list signed by me and now delivered to the Collector of this District, contains the names of all the Passengers, taken on board, the said ship at the Port of Bremen or at any time since, and that all matters therein set forth, are, according to the best of my knowledge and belief, just and true. I do further swear, that two of the said Passengers have died on the voyage.

Sworn before me this 4 day of January 1848, Collector, Thos. I. TOBIN

No.              Name                          From                Business      Age
133. Ernst. Hch. STAHLHUT      Stadthagen (?)      Farmer       49
134. Sophie STAHLHUT            Stadthagen (?)                         53
135. Friedr. STAHLHUT             Stadthagen (?)                         23
136. Gott. STAHLHUT                Stadthagen (?)                         17
137. Heinr. STAHLHUT              Stadthagen (?)                         13
138. Dina STAHLHUT                Stadthagen (?)                           9

Courtesy of Olive Tree Genealogy website

John Campbell ship list John Campbell ship list John Campbell ship list
Source: The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1820-1902; NAI Number: 2824927; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Record Group Number: 85
Ancestry.com. New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006.

Note the German spelling of the name "STAHLHUT". The city of Stadthagen is just 2 miles from where Ernst and Sophie were married in Meerbeck, Germany. The question is: "who were the others associated with Gottlieb and his parents on the ship's manifest?" In order to identify them, we can use their birth dates and compare their ages to the date the John Campbell arrived in New Orleans in January 1848. Ernst and Sophie both match well, although Ernst was actually 48 and not quite 49 as indicated. Sophie was indeed 53. Friedr. STAHLHUT was likely Gottlieb's older brother, Friedrich Christian, who would have been nearly 25 and not 23. Gottlieb's age is also incorrect, as he was only 14, not 17. The other two children from Stadthagen, Heinr. and Dina, ages 13 and 9, do not match any of Gottlieb's known siblings.

The Journey to Missouri - After nearly ten weeks at sea, Gottlieb and his father, Ernst, still had not reached their final destination. (From this point forward, there is no record of Gottlieb's mother, Sophie). Most German immigrants trying to get to Missouri at the time came through the port city of New Orleans and up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. By the mid 1800s, the most common mode of river travel was by steam powered paddle-wheelers. The journey took about ten days, and accidents along the way were quite common. Boiler explosions on steamboats from that period were known to have killed hundreds of German immigrants on the Mississippi River. Ernst had little choice, and ultimately he and Gottlieb survived the notoriously dangerous river journey to Missouri. (Burnett, Robyn and Luebbering, Ken. German Settlement in Missouri, Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1996. Chapter 6)

The Siblings of Gottlieb and Mary

Gottlieb's siblings - Gottlieb is known to have had four sisters, all born in Germany, and all immigrated to America around the time Gottlieb came over with their parents in 1848. They each married fellow German immigrants and settled in the St. Louis area to raise their families. They are in order of their birth:

1) Engel Marie Stahlhuth (called Mary) (not to be confused with Gottlieb's wife, Marie Engel Boellner ) - born 2 Aug 1820, was 12 years older than Gottlieb. In 1847, she married Henry Borgman, who owned a successful brick making business in St. Charles, Missouri for many years. According to the 1850, '60, '70 and '80 U.S. censuses, Mary and Henry had 5 children: John-1850, Sophia-1851, Helena-1857, Edward-1859 and Samuel-1861. Gottlieb's father, Ernst, lived in their household on all four census reports from 1850 to 1880. Although Mary preceded him in death, Ernst remained living in his daughter's home in St. Charles, Missouri until his death in 1889.

2) Sophia Dorothea Stahlhuth - born 27 Jun 1827, was 6 years older than Gottlieb. In 1849, she married Rev. Henry Lahrman, a Methodist Circuit Rider Preacher, who con- ducted the marriage ceremony for Gottlieb and Mary in 1855. According to the 1860, '70 and '80 U.S. censuses, Dorothea and Henry had 7 children: Ernstine-1852, Amelia-1854, Philipine-1857, Elisa-1859, Melinda-1862, Samuel-1866 and Edward-1868.

3) Ernestine Caroline Stahlhuth - born 22 Feb 1830, was 3 years older than Gottlieb. In 1851, she married Rev. Gerhard Timken, and from the 1870 U.S. census, they had 4 children: Mary-1853, John-1854, Louisa-1857 and Frank-1866. Ernestine and Gerhard lived with their family in Alton, Illinois. They are both buried in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, Illinois. Note: Rev. Gerhard Timken was the brother of Henry Timken, founder of the Timken Roller Bearing Axle Company in 1899.

4) Philippine Stahlhuth - born 23 Dec 1835, was 2 years younger than Gottlieb. As teens, they both lived together with their father in St. Charles in 1850. Then in 1855, Philippine married Friedrich Tieman, who was a brick maker by trade in St. Charles, and possibly associated with his brother-in-law, Henry Borgman. According to the 1860, '70 and '80 U.S. Censuses, Philippine and Fred had 6 children: John-1858, Gustov-1860, Emil-1864, Martha-1868, Talitha-1870 and Fred Jr.-1873.

Gottlieb's brother - Gottlieb also had an older brother named Friedrich Christian. He was born 29 Jan 1829, and immigrated to America together with Gottlieb and their parents on the ship John Campbell. All above siblings: (ancestry.com), (findagrave.com), (tangledwood.com)

Mary's siblings - Mary is known to have had five siblings, 3 sisters and 2 brothers. All were born in Germany and all immigrated to America where they married and raised their families. They are in order of their birth:

1) Maria Elizabeth Boellner: 1828 - ?; married Jacob Hausam in 1847, St. Charles, Missouri; five children.

2) Clara Elizabeth Boellner: 1833-1909; married Peter Hausam in 1851, St. Charles, Missouri; eleven children (note - sisters: Maria Elizabeth and Clara Elizabeth Boellner married brothers: Jacob and Peter Hausam).

3) John Henry Christoff Boellner: 1834-1901; married Mary Ann Wagle in 1855, Beardstown, Illinois; thirteen children.

4) Adam Boellner: 1836-1874; married Friedrica Marggrander in 1858, St. Charles, Missouri; five children. Adam is buried in the Westenkuehler (Methodist) Cemetery in St. Charles along with his son, Rev. Guido Boellner, and family.

5) Charlotta Dorothea Boellner (called "Lottie"): 1843-1912; married Johan F. Schumann in 1863, St Charles, Missouri; two children. 2nd marriage to James S. Mittelberger in 1875, St. Charles, Missouri; one child (James Jr.). Lottie came to America as an infant in 1844, and her mother died a few months later. As a result, Mary, who was 5 years older, helped raise her baby sister. Merle Baker writes: "She took old curtains and cut them up to make clothes for her sister, Lottie. Mary also made many quilts". The 1880 Census shows Lottie and James living in Portage Des Souix, Missouri together with Lottie's 3 children and 2 step children. Of note: Mary and Gottlieb lived in this small farming community at the same time. Merle documents that they lived on a farm near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The land was very rich but prone to flooding. They would raise crops for about 2 years, then skip a year due to the floods. Charlotta and James are buried together in the Westenkuehler (Methodist) Cemetery in St. Charles. All above siblings: (ancestry.com), (findagrave.com), (tangledwood.com).

Lottie Mittelberger's Story - Mary's younger sister seemed to experience tragedy all her life. Lottie never knew her mother who died when she was a baby. Her first husband died at an early age, leaving her with 2 children. Her second husband, James, also had 2 children from a previous marriage. Their only son together, James Jr., had mental issues and eventually committed suicide. Merle Baker remembers her Aunt Lottie this way: She "had a son, Jim, who was mentally insecure, who married a very lovely school teacher, but when she found out about his very peculiar ways, she thought to leave him. He threatened suicide, and she stayed as long as she could stand it, and then left. He did kill himself leaving her with a young son. My saintly father (Claude Lang) was left to clean up the mess and had the remains cremated. The widow went to Texas with the son who also had a mental problem. There they both died. This tragedy happened when I was a little girl about 8 or 9 years old, probably in 1915 or 16, but I remember it well". (notes by Merle Baker on tangledwood.com).

Gottlieb and Mary in St. Charles

1850 U.S. Census - Like thousands of other German immigrants of the time, Ernst Stahlhuth brought his family to settle in the lower Missouri River Valley in eastern Missouri. Sadly, Sophie apparently did not live long to experience her new home in America, as no records of her living past the age of 53 were found. She is conspicuously missing from the 1850 U.S. Federal Census taken on 20 July. Ernst never remarried. He and three of his children, Gottlieb, Philippine, and Mary Borgman and her husband are listed together in a household in the city of St. Charles, county of St. Charles, state of Missouri in 1850. At that time, Ernst was 51 years old, Gottlieb 17, Philippine 15 and Mary 29. Occupations for Ernst and Gottlieb were both listed as Laborer, and Gottlieb's brother-in-law, Henry Borgman, was a Brick Maker. Henry owned the house. Interestingly, the first of Ernst's many grandchildren, John Borgman, was also listed there with the family. Baby John was just 3 months old. (ancestry.com)

Naturalization - Gottlieb Stahlhuth became a U.S. citizen on 22 May 1855; five months before his marriage to Mary. A copy of the original document is shown on the next page. It is witnessed by two of Gottlieb's brothers-in-law: Peter Hausam - husband of Mary's sister, Clara Elizabeth; and Henry Borgman - husband of Gottlieb's sister, Engel Marie. Gottlieb certified that he was a native of Prussia, had lived in the U.S. for five years preceding the application, and had "conducted himself as a man of good moral character". He was required under oath to "support the CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES", and renounce his allegiance to every foreign state, and in particular to "the King of Prussia (Frederick William IV) of whom he was last a subject". Prussia was known for its militaristic culture in Europe at that time, which Gottlieb probably rejected without hesitation. He would not live to see the ultimate decline of his homeland after World War I. Prussia lost its identity as a free state under Nazi rule in 1934. Then, after World War II, it was officially dissolved by the Western Allies on 25 Feb 1947. (Gottlieb's naturalization document), (Prussia, wikipedia.org)

Gottlieb Stahlhuth Naturalization Record

Naturalization document of Gottlieb Stahlhuth from 22 May 1855
Document Courtesy of Phyllis Norton

Under Construction