Tombstone Tuesday: Paulus & Elisabeth (Schmidt) Thoma

July 009

Grave of Paulus Thoma (1801-1882) and Elisabeth Thoma (1804-1862), Garnavillo City Cemetery, Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa; digital image 2007, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2013.

The mid-nineteenth century saw what could be considered a virtual exodus of families who left their home village in Bavaria for the farmland of northeastern Iowa. Paulus and Elisabeth (Schmidt) Thoma of Weißenstadt, Wunsiedel, Bavaria, Germany were among them. Paulus was a weaver by trade,1 and together, he and Elisabeth raised eight children: John Conrad, William Henry, Anna Rosina, Frederick, Anna Sabina, Maria Magdalena, Ursula Pauline, and Anna Margaretha.

In 1852, Paulus and Elisabeth traveled with seven of their children from Bremen to New Orleans, undoubtedly an exhausting journey. They were accompanied on the Uhland by ten others from Weißenstadt, a small sampling of the immigrant families who had likely been linked for generations and chose to resettle together in America.2 Upon arrival in New Orleans, the Thoma family traveled by way of the Mississippi River to reach their destination of northeastern Iowa.3 Several years later, Paulus and Elisabeth were joined by their eldest son and his family.4

Once settled, Paulus apparently put his weaving aside for a farmer’s life in Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa. I thought perhaps he would have raised sheep for wool, but, at least as of 1860, crops of wheat, Indian corn, and oats seem to have been his primary focus. At this time, he farmed over two hundred acres of improved land.5

Elisabeth (Schmidt) Thoma passed away in 1862, after only ten years in Iowa.6 Five years after her death, Paulus, now well into his sixties, remarried to Maria Krueger.7 By 1870, Paulus was declared on the census to be an “invalid” due to “old age.”8 He survived for more than a decade longer, however, although his “old age” was noted again on the 1880 U.S. census.9 Ultimately, he survived his first wife by twenty years; Paulus passed away in 1882, and he and Elisabeth share a headstone at the Garnavillo City Cemetery in Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa.10



SOURCES
1 “New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1945” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 November 2013), manifest, Uhland, Bremen, Germany to New Orleans, arriving 18 June 1852, Paulus Thoma; citing National Archives microfilm M259, roll 36.
2 “New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1945” digital images, Ancestry.com, manifest, Uhland, Bremen, Germany to New Orleans, arriving 18 June 1852, Paulus Thoma.
3Diane Haddad, “Riverboat Migration Records,” Family Tree Magazine (http://www.familytreemagazine.com/article/Whatever-Floats-Your-Riverboat : accessed 1 November 2013).
4 “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 October 2013), manifest, Anna Delano, Bremen, Germany to New York, arriving 23 June 1855, J.C. Thoma; citing National Archives microfilm M237, roll 153.
5 1860 U.S. census, Clayton County, Iowa, agriculture schedule, Garnavillo, p. 5 (penned), line 11, Paul Thoma; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 October 2013), citing “Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880.”
6 Grave of Elisabeth [Schmidt] Thoma, 1804-1862, Garnavillo City Cemetery, Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa; digital image 2007, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2013.
7 “Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 01 Nov 2013), Paulus Thoma and Mary Krueger, 1867.
8 1870 U.S. census, Clayton County, Iowa, population schedule, Garnavillo, p. 17 (penned), dwelling 116, family 114, Paul Toma; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 October 2013), citing National Archives microfilm M593, roll 383.
9 1880 U.S. census, Clayton County, Iowa, population schedule, Garnavillo, Enumeration District (ED) 133, p. 362 (stamped), dwelling 207, family 218, Paul Thoma; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 October 2013), citing National Archives microfilm T9, roll 333.
10 Grave of Paulus Thoma, 1801-1882, Garnavillo City Cemetery, Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa; digital image 2007, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2013.

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