Several mysteries shroud my second great grandparents’ story. One is the circumstances of their first meeting. Here he was Amos Howell Boultinghouse, farmer boy from Illinois. Here she was Maria Magdalina Kramer, French immigrant living in Manhattan, New York. In 1843, they were married when he was 25 years old, and she was 15 years old…a man, seasoned by hard work and survival, and a teenager, seasoned by lessons in a convent school. When I first met them, I wondered if she were a mail order bride. Now that would be a mystery to solve!
Then, I discovered that Amos had been in the U.S. Army when he enlisted at the age of 19. In perusing his records, I noted that he had been stationed at Fort Columbus, New York, at the time of the marriage. This fort was the major defender of New York harbor. It was located about six miles from Manhattan. Yet how did they meet?
They were married in the Church of Saint Nicholas, the first German-speaking Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan by Father Gabriel Rumpler. Their marriage certificate was found among Amos’ Civil War pension records. I decided to do more investigation. If she was 15, who signed for her to marry? I had never found her parents’ names or immigration records. Would other facts come to light if the church archives were consulted?
Since this parish no longer exists, I did locate the church where its records are stored. The parish secretary told me that the records from 1843 were there. Because of their age, these could not be scanned…they could be transcribed if they were readable. (I prayed they could be read.) A few weeks later, the transcription arrived in the mail. Well, here comes the bride…Maria had lied about her age and stated she was 22 years old. Another discovery on the record was Amos’ surname…it is Boultinghouse, and it was recorded as Boardinghouse.
Going to the chapel, I discovered that Maria was not a mail order bride…she claimed to be seven years older…the two witnesses at the ceremony were other priests who resided in that parish. Time would bring Amos and Maria many hard decisions, many devastating losses, and, perhaps, many joys.