1855-65: The first two wives of Andrew Stoutner Sr.

Sepia Saturday 510. Fourth in a series on my maternal German ancestors, the Stoutners, of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

My maternal great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner Sr. was successful in business after immigrating from Germany and establishing a brick works near Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y.

Yet his personal life was punctuated by unimaginable loss — making him a widower twice over before the age of 35. This post will chronicle what little I know about his first two wives.

https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-e1fe-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Women and bonnets (1860). My German immigrant great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner Sr. married three times. Sadly, his first two wives Catherine and Elizabeth died young. I am descended from his third wife, Christina. Image: NYPL Digital Collection

Andrew’s first wife Catherine

When I started researching my family, I was focused on accumulating as much information as I could — but I was not so careful about citing my sources. So the only information I have about Andrew’s first wife, Catherine, is an unsourced note in my files that says:

Catherine A. Stoutner – Nov. 4, 1839 – Mar. 25, 1858, at age 19 – died in childbirth – came with him from Germany?

I believe my mother spoke with an aunt and a cousin on the Stoutner line and may have gotten the information from them. But how to verify the details?

A tragic first marriage

Andrew immigrated to the U.S. circa 1855 at about age 22. So I checked the 1855 NYS Census1and found an Andrew Stoutner, 22, in Johnstown, Fulton County, N.Y. He had lived in town for two months when the census-taker called in June, according the census image.

Andrew, a laborer born in Germany, was the “head” of a household of seven other male German immigrant “boarders” around the same age, who had also been in town two months. If this is my Andrew, then he did not have a wife with him — so he either met Catherine in the U.S. or sent for her to join him.

The family story of her tragic 1858 death in childbirth also supports their marrying after 1855. Yet I have not found a grave for her and there was no New York statewide register of deaths at that time — so I know no more about Catherine than what is contained in my file note.

Andrew’s second wife Elizabeth

My files contain a similar unsourced note about Andrew’s second wife Elizabeth that reads:

Elizabeth D. Stoutner – April 20, 1844 – June 15, 1865 at age 21 – mother of William Stoutner (b. 1862) and Mary Stoutner (b. 1864).

I have also not found a grave or death certificate for Elizabeth. However, there is a record of Elizabeth living with Andrew in the 1860 U.S. census of Johnstown, Fulton County, N.Y.2

Her children William and Mary also appear with Andrew, a widower, in the 1865 NYS census of Johnstown3 enumerated on the nineteenth of June — just four days after Elizabeth’s death (if my dates are accurate).

Andrew Stoutner Sr.  Family – Census Enumerations – Source: FamilySearch
Census Name Age Occupation Born
1860 US Census Andrew Stoutner 26 Mechanic – Brick Maker Germany
Elizabeth Stoutner 19 New York
1865 NYS Census Andrew Stoutner (as Stouten) 34 Brickmaker, widowed, married twice Germany
William Stoutner (as Stouten) 4 Child Fulton
Mary Stoutner (as Stouten) 1 Child Fulton
Margaret Baker 35 Housekeeper, widow, married once, mother of 4 Fulton

A heartbreaking second marriage

The 1865 census implies that Elizabeth may have been ill for a while — perhaps since the birth of her daughter Mary the year before — because the family already had a live-in housekeeper, Margaret Baker, at the time of Elizabeth’s death.

It’s hard to imagine how devastated Andrew must have been after the heartbreaking loss of his second wife Elizabeth — leaving him a twice-widowed father of two young, grieving children. Yet he was not alone at a time when many had lost loved ones during the U.S. Civil War.

https://pixabay.com/photos/roses-plants-flowers-nature-woman-316749/
Muted rose. My German immigrant great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner Sr. was a twice widowed father of two toddlers when he met and married his third wife — my great-great grandmother Christina Albeitz, also from Germany. She brought love to help heal their loss, and became the matriarch of the blended Stoutner family. Photo: pixabay/PublicDomainPictures

Love heals the loss

Fortunately for Andrew and his children, a young woman arrived from Germany circa 1865 who would change all of their lives — my great-great grandmother Christina Albeitz.

When and how she and Andrew met is a mystery — but Christina agreed to marry the handsome widower, who was 12 years her senior, and become a loving stepmother to his children. Her story begins with the next post.

Up next: Introducing Christina (Albeitz) StoutnerPlease stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

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4 thoughts on “1855-65: The first two wives of Andrew Stoutner Sr.”

  1. Sad but true. Childbirth was a major health event for women, and particularly difficult without the advantages of modern medical interventions. Many children died young, also, who today might live to adulthood.

  2. Life in the olden days was indeed a struggle very different from our modern time. So many families were on their own when it came to childbirth and other illnesses. I know how frustrating research gets when the intervals between censuses are so wide that there are no answers to our questions. Have you looked into church records?

    1. I do need to delve into church records. One of my goals in writing what I know about my maternal ancestors is to see where the research gaps are, and that is one of them.

  3. It was a tough time for women, who had always had childbirth as a crisis even if they had many children, since so many became ill following the birth. Many of my ancestresses died after giving birth.

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