This is the tombstone of Maria R. Muller, the oldest child of my great-grandparents, Jacob & Christina Muller/Miller. Muller is inscribed on the base of the tombstone in large letters. The stone itself is inscribed Maria R., tochter [daughter] of J. und C. Muller, Gest [died] Mar 10, 1905, aged 21 years, 17 days. Maria was born 23 February 1884 according to her baptism record. Her gravestone is located in row 7 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. Only one tombstone separates it from those of her brother and half-brother, Jacob Jr. and Christian Miller. I featured the order form for Maria’s monument in last week’s blog.
There are several records of Maria Regina Muller’s death. Zion’s church records tell us that she died on 10 March 1905 and that she was 21 years and 16 days old. This record indicates that she died of consumption and was buried on 12 March. (source: records of Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga, Book II:341) Her Mercer County probate death record also shows that she died on 10 March 1905 and that she was 21 years and 18 days old. This record states that she was a house keeper and that she died of consumption. (source: Mercer County, Ohio Probate Court Death Records, Book II) Her tombstone agrees with the death date of the other two records but shows that she was 21 years and 17 days old.
Just how old was Maria Muller when she died? The three different sources give three different ages. All the sources show that she was 21 years old but the number of days differs. One source says that that she was 16 days old, another says 17 days, and the third says she was 18 days old. According to my Roots Magic genealogy program Maria was actually 21 years and 15 days old! It appears that none of the records were correct.
Two records state that Maria died of consumption. Consumption was any disease accompanied by great weight loss or loss of muscular tissue and associated with racking coughs, pleurisy, fever and cancers. Consumption is now usually considered to be tuberculosis, defined as a rapid and severe deterioration of the body and also known as quick consumption. (source: What Did They Mean by That? A Dictionary of Historical & Genealogical Terms Old & New, Paul Drake, 2000:68)
According to Maria’s baptism record, Maria Regina Mueller was born 23 February 1884 and was baptized 14 March 1884 at Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga. She was the daughter of Jacob Mueller & his wife Christina, nee Rueck. Her baptism record also goes on to give the birthplace of her father as Bierbach in the Rheinpfalz, Bavaria, and her mother’s birthplace as Steinbach, Oberamt [district governing office] Brailsheim, Wurttemberg. Witnesses at Maria Regina’s baptism were her mother’s parents, Jacob and Regina Rueck. (source: Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga, Book I:150) What wonderful information from her baptism record! It not only gives the place of birth of Maria’s parents, but it also gives the names of her maternal grandparents. Maria was confirmed at Zion by Pastor August Affeld on 6 June 1897. This record gives her date of birth as 23 February 1884. (source: Zion Lutheran, Chattanooga, Book I:208)
The 1900 US census was the only census in which Maria was enumerated. She was 16 years old at that time and living with her parents in Black Creek Township, Mercer County, Ohio. She did not attend school that year but she could read, write and speak English.
It is also interesting to note that the name changed from Muller to Miller sometime between 1905 and 1911. Maria’s name is “Muller” on her tombstone and Jakob signed his name “Muller” (with an umlaut) in 1905. When Christian and Jacob Miller Jr. died in 1911 and 1913 respectively, their tombstones were engraved “Miller.”