The History of Our Cemetery

You may know we have a grave on our property, with (as far as we can tell) just one person buried there, Heinrich Rentsch (1826-1888). I have tried to learn more about him, but my skills aren’t too great. I do know that we want to repair his headstone, which cattle knocked over in 2012.

My oldest photo of this. I know I wrote a lot about this once…but I sure can’t find it.
Look, I found a crawfish while waiting on Holly.

I was contacted by Holly Jentsch (names are sure similar around here), who is doing official research on cemeteries in the area. She’s working with the Milam County Historical Commission to GPS all graves/cemeteries in Milam County for the Texas Historical Commission Atlas as well as document the sites. She wanted to check out the site on our property. Of course, I said yes, but it took a while to get together, what with all the snow, family stuff, etc.

Yesterday was really windy, so it was a perfect day to stay outside and interact and not breathe on each other. Holly and I got a good look at the part of the headstone we are keeping by the RV, then hiked (along with Vlassic) to the fenced-in area where the rest of the stone is.

We had a great time talking as we walked around our pasture. Holly likes to walk, too, and it turned out we have a ridiculous amount of things in common, plus she lives next door to my friend, Donna. So, now I know who “the neighbor with all the dogs” is. Small counties are really small. Anyway, it sure was fun to talk to someone. It’s such a rare treat (especially since I haven’t even left the ranch since last week).

Here’s Holly getting a photo of the base of the headstone.

When we finally got to the old fence, Holly got excited, seeing depressions near the grave of Mr. Rentsch, because that could have meant she found his son, Otto, for whom there are no records. But no, those are the final resting spots of Rosie, Stella, and Brody. Sniff.

I hope to go out and look at other sites in the with Holly, when she gets permission. I find the history of settlers around here so interesting, and it’s well worth preserving!

History of Our Ranch’s Former Resident

When she got home, Holly was able to send me her findings. She is great at genealogical research, DNA, and all that fun stuff. It was sure fun to talk to a professional. Here’s what she sent:

Thank you so much for letting me come to visit you and Mr. Rentsch today. This is what I have found out so far about Mr. Rentsch. He was born in Dresden, Germany on 20 Jan 1826 and died in Milam County on 17 July 1888. In the 1870 and 1880 census he lived in Precinct 2, Comal County, Texas with his wife Johanna, son Otto and daughter Helena. His occupation was farmer and he owned property.

Johanna Rentsch was born in April 1830 possibly in Sachsen/Saxony and died 9 Nov 1908 in Galveston, Galveston County, Texas. After her husband’s death she was found in Dallas, Texas in 1889 and 1890, address r.322 Hord between Griffin, Magnolia. Her daughter Helena was living with her and working at Eureka Steam Laundry. In the 1900 Census she is living (renting) in Galveston on Avenue 0 1/2, a widow with only 1 of 2 children living. In the 1906 & 1908 Galveston city directory, Johanna was living in the Letitia Rosenberg home. She was buried in the Lakeview Cemetery, Galveston TX.

I have found nothing on the son Otto past him living with the family in the 1880 census but the fact that Mrs. Rentsch states in 1900 that she only has one living child, suggests he died between 1880 and 1900.

The daughter Helena married a Charles Molsburger, a dairy farmer in Galveston about 1896. It was his second marriage. Helena was born in Texas in Dec 1869. Mr. Molsburger had 3 children and may have been divorced. It would appear from the ages of the children in the 1900 Census that only 1 was born to Helena and Charles, Robert Mosburger in 1897. the Molsburger family lives in the part of Galveston that was wiped out by the 1900 Great Hurricane. It appears the whole family was wiped out on 8 Sept 1900 plus many of the extended Molsburger/Malzberger family.

Many thanks to Holly for all this information. Now that I have it blogged, maybe I won’t lose the facts!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

4 thoughts on “The History of Our Cemetery”

  1. Wow. WOW. I have never dabbled in genealogy and never really interested in it, but this is fascinating! Maybe if you checked the newspaper archives, you would find an ad in one of the papers about Otto? Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

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