Magdalena Jacobs, 1840–1929
The birth register for the Schlosskirche (castle church) at Bad Dürkheim, Rhein-Pfalz, Bayern (the castle church) records the birth of Magdalena Jacobs on 23 October 1840 and her christening four days later, on the 27th. Her godparents were her maternal grandparents, Johan Valentin and Catherina Magdalena (Lück) Walter. She was the older of two children born to Jacob Jacobs and his first wife, Anna Katharina Walter. The birth register also indicates that Jacob’s occupation was a stocking weaver. Bad Dürkheim tax records from the 1840s indicate the Jacobs family lived in a house located across the street from the castle church. Magdalena’s mother, Anna, and her sister, Elisabetha, died a week apart in 1843.
Magdalena must have had a close relationship with her maternal grandmother. Records are found at the Landesarchiv at Speyer and in a June 1981 genealogy article in the Bad Dürkheimer Woche newspaper that reflect the 1860/61 emigration of the widow Catherina Walter (then age eighty-three) and her granddaughter to North America. When questioned about the possible reason(s) for an eighty-three-year old woman to set out for North America, the Bad Dürkheim town historian expressed the opinion that the 1848/49 revolution had been deadly in their area and there were probably no eligible young men available for Magdalena to marry. It appears that Catharina took her granddaughter to America to find a husband. No record of their arrival in North America or of the death of Catherina has ever been found.
August 1863 finds Magdalena getting married to Severin Seiler in Illion, Herkimer County, New York. It is unknown when, where, or how Magdalena and Severin met. However, the 1860 census for Herkimer County shows Severin living in a boarding house that was operated by a David Walters. There is some suspicion that David might have been somehow related to Magdalena’s maternal (Walter) family.
A front-page article in the 8 August 1913 edition of the St. Louis County, Missouri, Watchman-Advocate reports on the golden wedding anniversary of Severin and Magdalena Seiler. The article states they moved to St. Louis County in July 1865 “to engage in farming.” Plat maps show their farm on Conway Road, just west of Mason. The article goes on to say they had nine sons and a daughter, with six of their sons (William, Ferdinand, Frederick, Henry, Gustav, and Edward) still living at that time. All of their children (except New York born William) were christened at Zion Evangelical (now Parkway UCC) Church on Ballas Road in Town and Country.
Magdalena’s death certificate shows she died of pneumonia on 10 March 1929, at the age of eighty-eight years, four months, and seventeen days. She was buried next to her husband, who preceded her in death seven years earlier, in the Zion Evangelical Church (now Elm Lawn) Cemetery.
Written by Richard Seiler, her great-grandson
Magdalena (Jacobs) Seiler
Photo in the collection of Richard Seiler
Used with permission
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Last Modified: 17-May-2019 13:04