Monday, February 27, 2017

Was Emma Catholic or Lutheran?

L: St. Joseph's Catholic Church
R: St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica
Galveston, Texas
Pics taken Aug 2016; Collage: Feb 2017
© Copyright 2016-17 Caroline M. Pointer

Just like I knew her tombstone was there, I knew my Great Grandmother Emma had lived and died in Galveston, Texas, but other than who she married and the children she birthed, I didn't know much else about her.

But I so desperately wanted to know more.

So, I started digging.

(In records. I didn't dig-up her grave ... Do you think that might help? Just kidding. Sorta. Did I mention 'desperate'? ;) )

Born 14 Feb 1857, Emma's parents were Otto Schleicher and Bertha Schumann and she was baptized a little after her 14th birthday, 30 Mar 1871, at the First Lutheran Church in Galveston. [1]

Original Baptismal Font, St. Joseph's Catholic Church,
© Copyright 2016 Caroline M. Pointer

However, all of her children, including my grandfather Big Paw Paw (Joseph Marschall), were baptized at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. [2] When I toured St. Joseph's last summer, I learned that it served the German community, specifically the German farmers and others in the German working class in Galveston. All of the details on the ceiling in the church were painted to make it look like carved wood detail instead of it being actual carved wood detail.

And it turns out Emma and John were married in St. Mary's Cathedral (Catholic, now a Basilica) in Galveston after obtaining a dispensation from the bishop. [3, 4] Emma was not Catholic and in order to marry John Marschall, who was Catholic, they had to ask for special permission to marry. What's interesting to note here is that Emma did not decide to become Catholic in order to marry John, and that John didn't decide to become Lutheran to marry Emma. (Something to ponder in the wee hours of the night...)

Emma Marschall's tombstone,
Lakeview Cemetery, Galveston, Texas.

After Emma died 30 Jun 1928 in Galveston, she was buried in Lakeview Cemetery. [5, 6] Interestingly, her burial record appears in the First Lutheran Church's records.

I find that curious, especially since her parents — Bertha Schumann and Otto Schleicher (Listed as "Oston" on the marriage record.) — are married 28 Oct 1846 in Galveston by a Methodist Episcopal missionary, Henry P. Young [7] (a.k.a., Heinrich P. Jung, a missionary from the Methodist Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas).

And as mentioned, Bertha has Emma baptized at the First Lutheran Church in 1871. I've not found any other church records for Bertha. (Note: I said "church" records. I've found out quite a bit about her in other records. More to come later!)

However, both Bertha's and Emma's choices in churches seem to have one thing in common — they offered services in the German language. Kind of important considering Bertha immigrated to Texas from Köthen in the Duchy of Anhalt (Prussia) probably arriving 8 days before she married Otto, who emmigrated from Görzig, near Köthen, probably on the same ship. [8] Gee, did they know each other before getting on the ship? Or did they meet during that 3-month voyage? But I digress...

So, it seems Emma was, indeed, Lutheran, and not Catholic. But her mother and her husband John Marschall had been Prussian and, more importantly, they spoke German.

While I don't know if Emma spoke it fluently, it's not a stretch of the imagination to believe Emma probably spoke at least some German, especially since her husband spoke it as well. I wouldn't be surprised if she spoke both German and English fluently.

Not surprisingly, her family's language (and her friends) probably influenced her choices of where she worshiped, and her marriage to a Catholic certainly influenced her to have their children baptized, at least, in the Catholic Church.

Makes me wish I had taken German in high school instead of French. For my senior year of high school, I had registered for French 3, but they put me in German 1 because the pre-requisite of 10 students didn't register for French 3. (No idea why. *snort*) But even though the German teacher begged me to stay in German 1 (I'd made a 100 on our first quiz.), I chose to switch out of it into Sociology because after taking 9 years of Spanish and 2 years of French, I didn't want to start another language right before graduating. I regret that now.

However, I'm thinking of taking a German language class locally. Because why not? (I also love German food. It'd be great if I could find a German language/German cooking class, but I'll settle for a German language class, a German restaurant, a German cookbook, YouTube videos, and some spare time...*snort*)

And I also need to visit the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Galveston to take some pictures. You know, to complete my collection. ;)

Which brings me to an upcoming blog post teaser: Emma had a sister who lived to be an adult and at least two other siblings who didn't. More on them and their parents, my 2nd great grandparents, later. But her sister's place of worship changes too. And it's a different church than any listed above. Oh, these Schleicher women!



1. "Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940," indexed database and digital image, Ancestry ( : accessed 6 May 2016), Texas > Galveston > First, Baptisms, page 118 (image 712 of 1592), Emma Schleicher entry, 1871; citing original data in: Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. ELCA, Birth, Marriage, Deaths. Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Chicago, Illinois.

2. Josephum Marschall baptism entry (1893); certified translation issued 2016 by Lisa May, Archivist, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Archives, Houston, Texas, citing vol 1, p. 252. Privately held by Caroline M. Pointer, address for private use.
3. Marschall-Schleicher marriage entry, (1880); certified photocopy of entry issued 2016 by Lisa May Archivist, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Archives, Houston, Texas, citing St. Mary's Cathedral, volume 7, p. 10, second entry. Privately held by Caroline M. Pointer, address for private use. 
4. Johanneni Von Marschall-Emilium Schleicher, dispensation granted, 13 January 1880, unpaginated entry; "Marriage Dispensations, Galveston," Dispensation Files; Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Archives, Houston, Texas.
5. "Texas Deaths, 1890-1976," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 December 2012), Emma Marschall, 30 Jun 1928; citing certificate number 25815, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2,114,541.
6. "Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940," indexed database and digital image, Ancestry ( : accessed 21 Apr 2016), Texas > Galveston > First, Burials, page 392 (image 1449 of 1592), line 135, Emma Marschel entry, 1928; citing original data in: Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. ELCA, Birth, Marriage, Deaths. Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Chicago, Illinois.
7. Galveston County, Texas, Record of Marriages, vol. A (1838-1850): 79, 1846 entry for Oston Schleicher and Bertha Schumann; County Clerk's Office, Galveston. Texas State Library and Archives microfilm No. 1008865. 
8. Chester W. and Ethel H. Geue, A New Land Beckoned: German Immigration to Texas, 1844-1847 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1982), 141. The authors obtain their information from multiple sources including German Immigration Contracts, passengers lists in various archives, etc. Bertha's mother, brothers, and future husband are all listed in this book as coming to Texas in 1846 on the Margaretha ship. I haven't obtained the passenger lists to ascertain if Bertha or her sisters are listed specifically. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

I Knew Emma Was There

I already knew where my Big Paw Paw's mother was.

Luckily, the Galveston County Genealogical Society had transcribed Lakeview Cemetery's records in 1992 and according to the transcriptions, Big Paw Paw's great grandparents — John and Emma (Schleicher) Marschall — were buried in Block #22, lot # E1/2 of 1. However, their grave numbers are blank. [1]

And when I went looking for them back in March of 2008, they weren't in the section they should be in.

Then Hurricane Ike hit in September of 2008, [2] and I attempted to look for them again in August of 2009 with no luck. [3]

Lakeview Cemetery is a very neglected private cemetery though it still has interments. As blog reader and fellow graver, J. Edward Stark, once commented on my (old) tombstone blog:

"There doesn't seem to be any order or layout to the place, almost as if someone threw a handful of seeds to the wind and tombstones sprung up in whichever direction or angle they landed in." [4]

And he's right.

I've been back a time or two looking for them but after that I'd always been with my family who had become wise to my cemetery and tombstone shenanigans.

(Especially after on the way to Iowa to a Pointer family reunion no one wanted to attend except the only person in the car who hadn't been born a Pointer (me), I may have tricked them into stopping at this old cemetery that was ... ohmigosh what a coincidence ... right off of I-35 in Cameron, Clinton County, Missouri, where my great grandparent's were buried. Good thing this non-Pointer Pointer did that because we haven't been back to a Pointer family reunion since. And then there was that time in San Antonio looking for Daniel and Annie and it was 97 degrees out... Okay. So judge me.)

And I'd been on the island a few times for client work, but not to Lakeview Cemetery.

Then my daughter started attending Texas A&M University at Galveston located on Pelican Island just off of Galveston Island. However, I kept arranging times to go visit on the weekends with family in tow. Who, after grocery shopping at Krogers for my daughter, I might have directed to drive a back way from the Kroger to the dorm knowing that Lakeview Cemetery was behind it. And I might have pointed out to them, "Oh look. There's Lakeview Cemetery where John and Emma are. Somewhere. In there." And they'd not reply but I could feel their nervousness, and their brains were super loud as they wondered if I was going to make them stop and walk the whole cemetery like in Missouri. And in San Antonio. I didn't. But I felt the power I had in that moment and I liked it. (So, judge me.)

Then I noticed a few months ago on Find A Grave that Emma's tombstone had been found and photographed a couple of years ago! [5] I just hadn't checked back. Clearly her tombstone was broken and laying across the foundation in that photograph and it looks like it had been in the ground just a bit on the bottom right hand side. And I decided I'd put her off long enough. It was time to find Emma for myself. And possibly John.

So a few weeks ago, I left for the island to find them and take my daughter to dinner. Unfortunately, I picked a week where it had rained on the island and the cemetery was mostly under water especially the ruts in the ground that meander through the cemetery and act as the "roads" inside of the cemetery. However, I drove around the perimeter of the cemetery noting the pockets of older tombstones that are, as Stark so accurately described, "scattered" every which way throughout the cemetery. [6] I also noticed the signs that marked the different sections were gone.

I did walk the east side of the cemetery which was a bit drier and where John and Emma should have been, but still didn't locate them.

Last Friday, I went back. The skies were blue. It was about 73 degrees with a nice gulf breeze.

And the ground was dry. I had decided to start on the west part of the cemetery where last time I had noted some bigger pockets of older tombstones. I stopped the car every so often to get out and look at the older tombstones.

I uncovered so many stones. And stories...a man who had been born in London, England, whose tombstone was covered with dried grass clippings and two overgrown lilies which were now bushes. (Luckily, there were no snakes in there. *shudder*)

A Scot born in 1818 whose tombstone was along the crumbling back wall.

Eight small tombstones with only last names whose stories were cut short.

All the while, I kept an eye out for a white tombstone with a not-too-sharp point at the top, almost rounded, with no notches on the top corners.

I was worried that since it was broken in the image on Find A Grave that perhaps it might be lost, misplaced, or stolen.

I turned away from the too-small tombstones in the middle of the cemetery back towards the west and spotted a small white tombstone with a not-too-pointed, almost rounded top with no notches on the top corners and it was poking out of the ground.

Was this Emma?

As I got closer, I noticed it was buried in the ground behind its foundation and dried grass clippings were trapped in the space between it and the foundation.

Emma Schleicher Marschall's tombstone,
Lakeview Cemetery, Galveston, Texas.

I quickly cleaned the clippings away and pulled the weeds surrounding it, and...there was Emma!

A quick survey all around her only yielded empty spaces where her husband, the Prussian immigrant who first landed in Galveston on Christmas Day in 1878, is supposed to be, but there are no tombstones. [7] Just empty spots.

Emma Schleicher Marschall's tombstone,
Lakeview Cemetery, Galveston, Texas.

Gee, I hope no new tombstones appear there in the future.

For John is there. Somewhere.

I just know it.


1. Linda Ludgate McBee, Lakeview Cemetery Record, Galveston, Texas, Volume III, 1917-1929, (Galveston: Galveston County Genealogical Society, 1992), not paginated but listed alphabetically by surname.
2. Caroline M. Pointer, Disasters: Not Today, ( : accessed 11 April 2016).
3. Caroline M. Pointer, Tombstone Tuesday: Hanging Out, ( : accessed 11 April 2016).
4. ibid., "J Edward Stark," comment made August 19, 2009.
5. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 11 April 2016, memorial page for Emma Marschall (1856-1928), Find A Grave memorial no. 132,156,623, citing Lakeview Cemetery, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas; the accompanying photograph by Floyd Lanny Martin is clear and informative providing enough data to ascertain this is the correct Emma Marschall.
6. Caroline M. Pointer, Tombstone Tuesday: Hanging Out, ( : accessed 11 April 2016), "J Edward Stark," comment made August 19, 2009.
7. Galveston County, Texas, Index to Naturalization Docket, 1860-1890; Declaration of Intentions, Vol. 1; 1860-1871; Vol. 2, 1871-1879, Vol. 3, 1880-1892, unpaginated, chronologically arranged, 4 Oct 1880, "John Marschall;" Texas State Library and Archives, Austin; TSLAC microfilm no. 1009834, vol. 3, p. 15.


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