Mother of the 19th Century
Antonia Nathelia (Baumgaertner) Appleby
Who makes a winning candidate for The Mother of the 19th Century?
For whatever reasons, this Mother snagged my interest over ten years ago. I ran across the names of the
Mother, Father, and one of their daughters in 1994. The other day, their file surfaced, again, since
then and within a few days, I knew this family as if they belonged to me. We aren't related, as far as I know,
but I would be proud and pleased to be related to them in any way.
Of course, Mrs. Antonia Appleby was not born an Appleby, but was married to an Appleby. She, respectfully,
carried the Appleby name for more years than her husband and bore three Appleby daughters. She was born in
Texas, yet, she married and followed her husband to the mining country of Colorado. When he died, she picked
up the pieces and, remaining in Poncha Springs, she carried on with the family business and the responsibility of
raising her three young daughters.
The parents of Antonia Nathelia were J. G. Baumgaertner, born in 1825, in Prussia and his wife, Anna, born in
1835 in Westenberg. Antonia had one sibling, an older sister, Anna, born in 1857. Both Antonia and her sister,
were born in Anderson, Grimes County, Texas.
There are minor conflicts in information between the obituary of Antonia and more recent research. Unless it
was an 1860 census error, sister Anna was called Amelia by 1870, but her name is given as Annie, Antonia's
surviving sister in 1923. The Baumgaertner name appears with a variety of spellings.
It seems both parents of Antonia and Amelia were deceased by 1870 but the sisters, still carried their birth
surname, although they lived in the household of Thomas and Augusta Reiling. In the obituary, Augusta is
referred to as Antonia's surviving step-mother. It is probably less confusing, just to follow the family chart,
instead of detailed text. The research was intriguing because of the discrepancies and searching for the
The rugged Colorado portion of the Rocky Mountains of that era was not for sissies. Nor, is it today. If, on
some occasion, you fly east out of the Salt Lake City, Utah Airport to the Denver, Colorado Airport, (or
vice-versa,) press your face to the passenger window and look down upon the Rocky Mountains, you will never
forget the sight. In the air or on the ground, the entire length and breadth of the mighty mountains breathtaking.
As for Poncha Springs, there are several interesting web sites for the area, for yesteryears and present day.
The Appleby Grocery Store building still exists, but is occupied by an Italian Restaurant.
There are countless Mothers overly-qualified to be the winning candidate for The Appleby Mother of the 19th
Century, so don't take this too seriously. It was a fun idea and I had only recently delved into this lady's life
and found it to be an interesting and unusual one. I hope you will, too.
Below, Picture courtesy of Salida, Colorado Library
03 May 2005
revised: 06 May 2005