Johanna (nee Schuler) Jacob

Confederate Civilian

Johanna (nee SCHULER) JACOB - female civilian during the Civil War in St. Louis, MO

(Confederate side)

 

Johanna SCHULER had the misfortune of being born during the turbulent period of the French Revolution in 1792.  Her entrance into this world, was in the village of Eich-Reding, which was located in the northeastern part of France,  in the Moselle wine region in the state, or province, of Lorraine.  This was the infamous area of "Alsace-Lorraine", which Germany and France had fought over for centuries.  The inhabitants of this area had never really known peace, and were always in the midst of feuds and wars.  They spoke (still speak) both French, and the allemanisch dialect of the German language, and hence you will sometimes see their names under both forms of the two languages.  Johanna (or "Jeanne" in the French) was the daughter of Antoin SCHULER and Marie Anne GEOFRAY (GEOFFROY), and at the time of her birth, there were food riots in Paris, and other riots and massacres throughout France.  France was at war with Austria, and would later declare war against Britain, Holland and Spain.  This same year, the French Monarch, King Louis XVI was arrested, tried and executed.   One of Louis' predecessors by the way, the Roman Catholic King Louis IX, was the namesake of our great city of St. Louis.  France was in a horrible disarray, and many people lost their heads under the guillotine, including many well-known personages such as Louis' Queen, Marie Antoinette.  This was also the beginning, seven years later in 1799, of the dictatorial Napoleonic era, "established" under the "Consulate" of France.  This all set the stage incidentally, for the currently popular play, "Les Miserables" (The Miserable Ones).

 

Johanna survived the reign of terror and the hard times in France, and attempted to go on with her life.  On March 5, 1810, at the age of 18, she married 23 year old Jean-Thiebault JACOB in the Catholic Church of the village of Vieux-Lixheim, not far from her home in Eich.  Religion, especially Catholicism, was outlawed for a period of time during this Reign of Terror.  Thiebault ("Theobald" in German, and nicknamed Diebold or Dipold) was supposedly a soldier in Napoleon's army, and might have died of injuries or disease some time before 1838.  Six children (that our family knows about) were born to them....Jeannette (in 1813), Barbara ("Barbe" in 1815), Catherine (in 1818), Marguerithe (in 1821), Antoin (in 1824), and Catherine "Josephine" (in 1825).  At age 46, and considering all of the hard times and struggles of life that Johanna had endured thus far, she finally made a decision to leave France.  And so, around the end of February, 1838, three months after the death of her 19 year old daughter Catherine, she took her five remaining children and they loaded their personal belongings onto a wagon and began travelling across northern France (probably through Paris) to the seaport of LeHavre, where they boarded the ship "Albany".  The Albany arrived in New York on June 7, 1838, and it's believed that the family travelled first to Cleveland, and then made their way downstate to Cincinnati, where daughter Barbe met Felix MAURATH, an immigrant from the Black Forest, Germany, who worked on the riverboats on the Ohio River.  Felix and Barbe fell in love, and the whole family followed him to St. Louis, Missouri, where his steamboat excursions often took him.  Felix and Barbe were married in the Old Cathedral in St. Louis in May, 1839, but they lived across the Mississippi River in Ridge Prairie (now known as O'Fallon, St. Clair County, Illinois).  Johanna and all of her children lived with Felix and Barbe.  Barbe died unexpectedly, as a result of the birth of their first son, Denis MAURATH in 1840.  In 1841, Felix then moved the family to Frenchtown (now known as Soulard) in St. Louis, and their home was right behind St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church (which still stands, as a national historic landmark), of which they were members.  Felix later married Johanna's youngest daughter, 19 year old Josephine JACOB, in 1844. 

 

Johanna and her family left the hard times in France, to come to America the Great, to find peace and live a simple, happy life.  But troubles followed her across the ocean, as America, and especially St. Louis (and particularly Frenchtown) was in turmoil, and she saw little peace in her life ....... as the country headed towards Civil War.   Her son Antoine (Anton)  became a cavalry soldier and went off to fight in the Mexican War.  He survived, but then ran off to California during the infamous "Gold Rush" there, where many died and were never heard from again.  She anguished over the death of several grandchildren, inlcuding Cecelia and Aloysius MAURATH, who died of cholera and scarlet fever.  Her son-in-law Felix was often away on riverboat travels on the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers, leaving her and Josephine alone, to tend to the little children.  This probably prompted Felix though, in 1852 (and after a nationwide economic crash), to leave the river life, and get a job as a drayman (wagon hauler) in St.Louis.  He would later become a civilian wagoner for the Union Army during the Civil War.   But since he was German and the majority of Germans in Frenchtown sided with the Union, the French inhabitants of Frenchtown (who were almost exclusively pro-Confederate), most assuredly held animosities against him ... and Johanna was no doubt harrassed and harangued about it by her French neighbors and friends.  Her grandson Denis also sided with the Union and joined an elite cavalry unit known as General "Fremont's Body Guard" (whose headquarters was located in Frenchtown).  Denis was killed in action, at age 21, in the first cavalry sabre charge of the war on Oct 25, 1861 at Springfield, MO, during the engagement known as "Zagonyi's Charge".  This was all, no doubt, very anguishing for Johanna.  She herself, since she was French and lived in Frenchtown, most probably sympathized with the South.  The horror stories of neighbors fighting and killing each other during the Civil War in Soulard, can be found in John Rodabough's book "Frenchtown" (1980, Christian Board of Publication, St. Louis).  Frenchtown/Soulard was literally, a civil war within the Civil War.

 

During the height of the war in 1864,  Confederate General Sterling Price's threat of invading St. Louis seemed imminent, and so it was only prudent common sense for Union-sympathizer Felix MAURATH and family to get the heck out of Frenchtown, where the majority of the French inhabitants were pro-Confederate.   So, Johanna "might" have left with the family, and they moved to a 200 acre farm just north of Millstadt, St. Clair County, Illinois.  After this time though, nothing further is known about Johanna and her fate is obscure.  She was listed on the 1860 St. Louis census as living with Felix and family,  but she was not listed with them on the 1870 census....and so we presume that she died some time between 1860 and 1870.  If she died in St. Louis, then she would have been buried in St. Vincent's Cemetery, which was then located on the southwest corner of Park and Jefferson.  During the city's expansion in later years, the bodies from this cemetery were removed to other cemeteries, including Calvary in north St. Louis, Sts. Peter & Paul, and others.  If she died in Millstadt, IL, then she would have been buried in St. James Catholic Cemetery.  But, no documentation, no grave...nothing further can be found about her, and her fate is still a mystery.  It is possible, that she was one of those many unfortunate souls, who were killed in a Soulard mugging, or who were "deported" out of Frenchtown to a southern state, for simply giving their allegiance and/or support to the South.  Many people today, just don't realize how horrible of a time this was, not only for the soldiers, but also for the everyday citizens of our country - both North and South.   Our children and descendants need to know this story, need to know their history, in order to realize and appreciate how blessed we have all been since the time of the Civil War, not to have war again on our soil......and to keep it that way.

 

 

Picture Source:  This picture is from an original "carte-de-visite" from the Maurath family collection, belonging to Carmelite (nee MAURATH) TRUEMAN (great-granddaughter of Johanna), and now in the possession of Carme's daughter, Carolyn (nee TRUEMAN) WEBER.  

Date of picture:  some time between 1860 and 1864.  Although this particular picture has not been positively identified, the family strongly believes it to be the picture of ancestor Johanna (nee SCHULER) JACOB.  The weathered countenance of the woman in this picture, clearly exhibits a life of hardship and strain....yet, there is a semblance of peace in her tired eyes, as she holds the Word, and only true source of Peace.

 

Submitted by great-great-great-grandson, John L. MAURATH.  Copyright 2004.  conlaeth@juno.com