Margaretta Simon arrived in the United States around 1853. The daughter of Johann Simon and Anna Ripp, Margaretta was born in Germany in December of 1840. On 18 August 1856, in St. Louis, at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Biddle Street, Margaretta married Anton Soehngen (1827–1873), who was also from Germany. By 1860, two children had been born to the couple––Anna Maria “Annie” (1857–1928) and George Fredrick (1858–1882). The family found themselves in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1861 where a third child, William Anton (1861–1917), was born. During this time, Anton served in the Louisiana Infantry of the Union Army.

After a few years, the family returned home to Missouri. The 1870 census shows the family living in Hermann, Missouri, where Anton died in 1873. According to Anton’s Civil War pension, he contracted “swamp fever” during his time in service. Knowing that she would have to support the family after his death, Margaretta acquired a midwife certification from the Midwife Institute of Madame Carpentier in St. Louis shortly before he died. By 1875, the family was back in St. Louis on Carr Street and all three children were employed––Anna as a dressmaker, George as a laborer, and William as a cigar maker. Margaretta is listed as a midwife in St. Louis city directories from 1876–1889.

In December 1876, Margaretta married George Tearbach/Thierbach (1833–1889), who had three small children. The United States census was taken twice in St. Louis in 1880, in June and again in November. The listings are quite different, raising questions about the family’s situation. The first census shows the Thierbach family—George, Margaretta “Martha,” three Thierbach children (George’s)—and a niece and nephew living in the household. By November, both George and one son were absent. A St. Louis Globe-Democrat article dated 28 November 1887 illuminates the situation: “Martha Thierbach was granted a divorce from Geo. Thierbach on the ground of desertion and was also awarded alimony at the rate of $10 per month. She married him on December 3, 1876, and he left her three months afterward and has since failed to contribute anything to her support.”

Heartbreak again befell Margaretta in 1882. Her son George, having contracted tuberculosis as a young man, died in April, leaving a wife and small son under the age of two. Margaretta continued practicing as a midwife until 1889, when she married Joseph Jantzen (1844–1921). Joseph, a shoemaker, ran a shop down the street from Margaretta’s home. United States censuses from 1900 and 1910 both show the couple living on Manchester Avenue. During this time, she served as midwife in the birth of at least two of her great-grandchildren. Margaretta died on 24 November 1910. Bronchitis is listed as her cause of death with burial at Calvary Cemetery in a plot owned by the estate of her mother, Anna Simon. Upon his death in 1921, Joseph was buried beside her.

Margaretta Jantzen
Margaretta Jantzen
Photo in the collection of Jane (Soehngen) Theissen
Used with permission

(Based on, census reports, Civil War pension file, newspaper articles, St. Louis City Directories, and vital records.)

Written by Jane (Soehngen) Theissen
March 2017

© 2017, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 26-Oct-2018 11:54