Monday, July 31, 2017

This article below was in the February 2, 1975 edition of "The Gleaner" from  Henderson Kentucky. It featured my dear grandparents who were both 81 years old at the time. My dad, also named Maurice after my grandfather, was their oldest out of seven children. My grandmother died 11 months after this article was published at age 81. They missed their 62nd wedding anniversary by 11 days. My grandfather lived to be 91 years old. All of their 7 children are now also deceased.


 Formula for happy marriage is 'give and take' says couple with 61 years of experience

by Judy Jenkins

The Maurice Konslers are definitely out of step with the times. In an era when divorce is as common as marriage and sociologists gloomily predict the total decay of the institution, the Konslers have the audacity to be happily married. What's more, they've been that way for 61 years now.
They have no idea why men and women can't seem to keep the knot tied anymore. "I guess it must be the times we're living in," Konsler says. "I recall back in '37 - the year of the big water - my father remarked that the world was just getting too fast. I think he was right. People don't take the time to get to know each other and enjoy each other nowadays."
"Giving it a little thought, Mrs. Konsler adds "Kids don't seem to know what they want. They get married without realizing what it means. So many want the world and everything with it."
What is their own formula for a happy marriage? "Give and take," they chorus. "That's the essential. You got to give a little and take a little and never let marriage become one-sided."
While love's old sweet song has never turned sour for them, the Konslers have had a few spats through the years. "That's natural," they say, "but you can't let them get to be more than spats. If you stay mad too long, it becomes that much harder to make up." Konsler, a tall, still-handsome 80-year old, maintains that he doesn't like "that fussing and fighting. I like to have fun and enjoy life."
Waco Frances Konsler admits she used to become irritated with her husband more often than she now does. "I hate to tell you this," she says, ducking her head guiltily, "but I used to have quite a temper. I'd let off a little steam about something that didn't amount to a hill of peanuts and Maurice would be so good to me, I'd get ashamed of myself. He has a wonderful disposition - better than mine and he's helped me overcome that temper." The few times she became provoked with her husband, never involved major offenses. "He wasn't a man to drink much or run around," she said. "I guess if he has a fault at all it's that he's TOO neat. I've often said if a fat leaf fell in the front yard he'd rush right out to pick it up. He can't stand anything out of place."
The Konslers have had lots of time to get used to each other's mannerisms. "We met in grade school at the old Posey Chapel School near my home on Konsler-Lockett Lane," Konsler said. "I always thought she was the prettiest girl in school. As a matter of fact, I don't think I ever really looked at another girl." "If he didn't, it's not because they didn't look at him," Mrs. Konsler says, still bristling a little with jealousy. "You remember Sue Belle?" She can't resist reminding him of the dashing out-of-towner who was going to buy her a diamond ring and join the Catholic Church if she'd forget about Maurice and marry him instead.
It's apparent there was never much possibility that Frances Mattingly and Maurice Konsler would end up with anyone but each other. For instance, she was the only girl who ever shared the small seat of his bright red cart that was hitched to the "finest horse flesh in Henderson County," a pretty bay mare named Cecilia May. Mrs. Konsler still smiles a little smugly at the recollection of the other girls' envying glances as the couple rode by. Both were so fond of the horse and the part she played in their courtship, that they named their first daughter after her. Slapping her knee, Mrs. Konsler laughs, "Imagine her humiliation when she was told that we'd named her after a horse!"
Horses also played a prominent part in the Konslers' wedding day, January 27, 1914. Dressed in her long hobble skirt (daringly split to the knee at the sides) and jacket with huge veil draped hat and white ruffled gloves, the brand new Mrs. Konsler proudly rode beside her dapper husband in a buggy drawn by four white horses. "We left in  it from St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Evansville, where we were married, to go to the studio to have our wedding picture made," Mrs. Konsler reminisced. That picture has a place of honor in a large "memory box" hanging on the wall of their living room at 307 Rettig Road. "We didn't have a honeymoon," Konsler said. "We just went home to the farm where our little house was ready and waiting for us."
During those years on the farm, the Konslers' seven children - five boys and two girls - were born. "Those were the days," Konsler said. "I was a husky, strong man and I could work in the fields all day with a wheat thrasher with a steam engine and never get tired. Food tasted wonderful and most of it was grown on our own farm. When the family did go to the little country store, it was just for coffee, sugar and other staples not produced on their acreage. "Shopping was done on credit, and you went in about once an month to settle up your bill," Konsler said "At that time the store owner would fix up a bag of candy and chewing gum for the young'uns. That's about the only time they got sweets, and they really appreciated them. Children today generally have too much of everything and they don't really appreciate it."
Six years after their marriage, the Konslers got their very first automobile, a Model T Ford. "We had a darn goat that insisted on sleeping on the roof of it and the roofs of the cars in those days were just cloth, you know. We finally had to give that goat away.
In 1926, the first black cloud settled on the Konslers and it appeared for awhile their marriage was doomed. "We didn't have any trouble between us," Mrs. Konsler said, "but it looked as if Maurice might die. He developed a serious stomach complaint and just became skin and bones. He got so he couldn't even drink cold water without breaking into a cold sweat." They credit "old Doctor Neel" of Henderson with pulling him through.
That period did have one bonus - it brought the Konslers even closer. "We've been so lucky," Mrs. Konsler beams. "Oh, we've had our dark times, like during World War II, when three of our boys were overseas, but somehow the Lord has always seen us through. Our boys made it back home and one of them was even decorated for bravery."
Three of the couple's seven children, Louis, Cecilia (Mrs. James Benson) and Ann (Mrs. Forwood Hargis) live in Henderson. Maurice Jr. and James Anthony reside in Evansville, and Eugene and Carl live in Chicago.
The Konslers announce, tongue-in-cheek that they intend to stay together, even though Mrs. Konsler is "an older woman." "She's older than I am you know," he laughs. "My birthday is in October and hers is in June. "And they say that marriages like that don't work out!"

Johann Rupprecht and Elizabeth Eisenhut

Johann Rupprecht was born in Troschenreuth, Bavaria on March 9, 1828. Elizabeth Eisenhut was born in the same place on September 4, 1829. This is all the information I have about their lives in Germany. On October 16, 1847 Johann and Elizabeth left Germany for a new life. They departed from Bremen, Germany on the ship Henriette and arrived in the United States at the port of New Orleans in January, 1848. Johann was 20 years old and Elizabeth was just 19 when they began this journey to a foreign country. Johann’s brother George, age 23, also made the trip, as well other companions.

Elizabeth Eisenhut was unmarried and pregnant with her first child when she boarded the ship to America with Johann Rupprecht. Their daughter, Kunigunda Rupprecht, was born at sea, one of two children born on the ship during the journey. The last page of the manifest lists the two children born including a daughter born to John Rupprecht on Dec. 14, 1847.

According to St. Ferdinand Church records, Kunigunda was baptized on January 29, 1848 in Ferdinand, Indiana. Her sponsors were listed as John Brendel and Kunigunda. It was normal practice for a child to be given the name of their sponsor when they were baptized. I believe Kunigunda is the sister or another close relative of Johann and George Rupprecht. She and John Brendel arrived together in America on the same boat with a small child, or so it appears from the manifest.
On May 8, 1848, three weddings took place at St. Ferdinand Church. Johann Rupprecht and Elizabeth Eisenhut, Johann Brendel and Kunigunda Rupprecht, Wolf Lauber and Catharine Weis. On May 10 another couple, Franciscus Paulus and Anna Buninder were married and Elisabeth Eisenhut is listed as sponsor. (Although she was married to Johann Rupprecht two days prior). These eight people were obviously all friends as some of them were witnesses to each other’s wedding. I am not certain when the Paulus or Lauber couples immigrated.

I found it interesting that these couples were not married in Germany before they traveled to this country. Apparently in Bavaria in the mid 1800’s only the wealthy were permitted to marry in some areas. In the book “Thru the Years, Fulda” it is speculated that Johann and his brother George were of noble birth because they were well educated. This perhaps could be disputed then if they were not wealthy enough to be married in their homeland.

Johann and Elizabeth Rupprecht were one of the first families to settle in Fulda, Indiana. John was able to buy 40 acres of government land at $1.25 per acre.  At the time of this sale, Millard Fillmore was president of the U.S.  The Rupprechts raised a large family of 9 children who were born over a span of 22 years. Their son George never married and died at the age of 24. Two of their other children, Andrew and Elizabeth also never married and both lived on the family farm their entire lives. Andrew lived to be 80 years old and Elizabeth lived to be 74.  
Johann and his brother George renounced their allegiance to Ludwig, Prince of Byrne in Spencer County, Indiana on August 6, 1852. For some reason, which will forever remain a mystery, their official documents state that they immigrated on January 12, 1852. But ship manifests, church marriage and baptismal records prove that they were here and well established in 1848.
Johann Rupprecht was drafted to serve in the 44th Indiana Infantry during the Civil War.  He was enrolled in Evansville on November 12, 1864 and was mustered out at Chattanooga, Tennessee on July 25, 1865. It is unlikely Johann saw any combat. The last battle recorded for the 44th Indiana infantry was on July 13, 1864 in Chattanooga. Johann filed for a pension as an invalid in July of 1890. Elizabeth filed for a widows pension on Dec. 16, 1895.

After 47 years of marriage to Elizabeth, Johann died on December 4, 1895 at the age of 67. Elizabeth lived on the farm with Andrew and Elizabeth for another 10 years until her death on Feb 26, 1906 at the age of 76. Johann and Elizabeth are buried in the St. Boniface church cemetery in Fulda, along with all of their children and many other descendants.

The following is from the last will and testament of John (Johann) Rupprecht. 

"I John Rupprecht of Spencer County, State of Indiana, being sound in mind and memory, and knowing the uncertainty of life do herby make and publish this my last will and testament as follows to wit:

I will and bequeath to my son Andrew Rupprecht all my real estate which I own and am possessed of at the time of my death, lying in sections 4 and 9 in township 5, south of Range 4 West in the state of Indiana under the following conditions to wit: That he pays to my beloved wife, Elizabeth Rupprecht, the sum of two hundred dollars and give her the third of all crops raised on the farm, and two cows, and the use of a dwelling room with all its furniture, the use of a team and buggy at her wishes and free fire wood ready to put in the stove; also the third of the garden and of all fruit and grapes and the third of all eggs laying by the hens.

Further, he my son Andrew shall pay to my daughter Elizabeth the sum of four hundred dollars, to my son Peter Rupprecht, the sum of one hundred dollars, to my two sons John and Joseph, to each twenty five dollars and to my three daughters, Mary, Kunigunde and Margarethe to each ten dollars.

I appoint my son Andrew Rupprecht to be the sole executor of this my last will and testament and give him full power to settle my estate without the interference of the courts and without giving bond.  In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 8th day of November, 1894.                    John Rupprecht

The Children of Johann Rupprecht and Elizabeth Eisenhut are as follows
Kunigunda                Born at sea December 13, 1847
John G                      Born February 14, 1850
Mary Anna               Born December 19, 1851              
Joseph John              Born January 18, 1854                   
George                      Born November 4, 1856
Andrew                     Born November 30, 1860              
Margaretha               Born February 11, 1862                 
Elizabeth J.               Born April 19, 1865                         
Peter John                Born January 10, 1869                   

There is very little information to be found about Johann’s brother George. In the book “Thru the years, Fulda” it states that a schoolhouse was built in 1852 and “Professor” George Rupprecht was the first teacher there. George was well educated in both German and English and he had a great resemblance to the white-bearded American poet, Henry W. Longfellow. Mr. Rupprecht taught in Fulda only a few years because by 1860 two other teachers were employed in Fulda and in 1860 he himself was teaching near Bretzville. Rupprecht is reported to have been very fond of small, preschool age children and liked to have them in his school. He did not expect them to study much, and he allowed them to rest on the bed that he had in the school. He taught what was called a subscription school: the parents could pay him a certain amount for each child, either in money or produce, or else give him room and board for a certain length of time. When he did not live with a family, Rupprecht cooked and slept in the schoolhouse. There are a couple of interesting details known about the first teacher of Fulda. Under no condition would he teach in a public school, although he was qualified as well as or better than the average teacher of his time. According to an old newspaper account, he bought stock in the Louisville Air Line Railroad. The last information known about him is that he did similar school work in Illinois, died and was buried there.

John Brendel and Kunigunda Rupprecht could have lived in another state after they were married.  It will remain a mystery how exactly Kunigunda was related to our family. She was clearly closely connected to Johann due to his first born daughter being sponsored by and named after her. The ship manifest from their arrival was very difficult to figure out. Like I have found on so many other documents, I believe there are some major clerical errors on this manifest. Listed directly above Johann, Elizabeth and George are John Brendel, Kunigunda Rupprecht and a Rupprecht child. It shows Kundigunda as a male and the child as a female. I now believe that this was switched around. I believe the child was a boy and the first born child of Kunigunda about 1 ½ yrs. old named George. I have never found George and Kunigunda on the 1850 census in Spencer County. John and their children are listed on the 1860 Census. The youngest child is 3 years old so Kunigunda must have died between 1857 and 1860.