last updated 11 Jul 2014

Reuther-Klobe-Baldwin Mystery Letter

Below is a transcription of a letter written in 1982 and addressed to "The Reuthers, Loganton, PA". At that time there were no Reuthers living in that area of Clinton County, Pennsylvania. The letter happened to be left in the mailbox of a family who did have a Reuther descendant as an in-law. They tried to contact the letter writer at the time by phone, but the phone number was not valid.

A Reuther descendant living at the time said this family had been in the area several times in the past looking for the same thing, but no one who talked to them knew what they were talking about.

When I first received a copy of this letter in 2004, I knew who Henriette Klobe was (but not what happened to her after she immigrated) and could explain her connection to the Reuther's through her sister Emilie and brother Charles. But Mary Anna Baldwin remained a mystery until 2012, as did her grandaughter Bertha Schmid (or Schmidt) who I finally found in 2014. There is more below on resolving the mystery.

Regarding the people in the letter:

The letter was addressed to Sophia Reuther and Jesse Reuther. Sophia and Jesse were mother and son. Both had passed away by 1950, long before the letter was written. By 1982 no one with the Reuther name lived in Sugar Valley.

Sophia's husband Herman John "Nick" Reuther was the nephew of Adam Reuther (Herman & his father Nicholas immigrated in 1870). Adam immigrated from Germany about 1850 and was in Sugar Valley by 1857.

Henriette Klobe immigrated in 1854 with her sister Emilie. Emilie married Christian Reuther, son of Adam Reuther. They lived for a time in Sugar Valley, but mostly lived in Philadelphia. Henriette and Emilie's brother Charles Klobe had a child out-of-wedlock with Hannah Reuther, also daughter of Adam. Their son Herman Klobe lived in Sugar Valley.

I have transcribed the letter as written, including the spacing and spelling. It was typed on a typewriter. There was no signature.

The Mystery Letter

4237 North 9TH Street

Philadelphia Pa. 19140

August 3 1982

To Sophia Reuther and Jessie Reuther

Loganton Pa, Sugar Valley Pa 17747

Dear Mr and Mrs Reuther:

Iam writing you this letter, to ask you this question? What did you do with those papers written in German belonging to the daughter of Matthias W. Baldwin? I knew that Mary annie Baldwin was Baldwin's daughter and her mother was Henreitta Klobe. And she had nothing to do with the Reuthers. Her real name was Mary anna Baldwin and was born to Baldwin with twelve fingers on her hands. Now when her mother died you people was to take care of her when Baldwin her father brought her to you, you treated like a slave and never left her go anywhere or talk to anyone because you were afraid she would find out the truth about her father. To hide her idenity you blindfolded her then cut off her fingers. Then you Stoled all of those papers that belonged to her. You even destroyed all the letters she received. Then you sent Some German man over to Germany to steal all of her money out of the bank. Now all because of you the Baldwin family and heirs have to suffer. Baldwin has a granddaughter, a Great Granddaughter, and Great Grand sons which are all living now and have to go through all this trouble. This thing and those papers were turned back to Baldwin's daughter full control of everything and you did not do it. Now the estate will never be settled and looks like it never will be all on account of you, who Lied, Cheated, stoled and other things. You knew those papers did not belong to you, They belonged to Baldwin's daughter and he left them to her. You people are a disgrace to the name of Reuther. And you should be ashamed to face anyone after what you have done to Baldwin's child. She was the only Baldwin. There was no other And what is that girls body doing in Baldwins Grave she don't belong there. You people shure made certain the the Baldwin's Grand Children and Great Gran children did not get the things that belonged to them. You are nothing but common low thiving stealing conneiving people and selfish for you selves. That is all I will say now. I would like and answere from you soon and without delay. I want to know what you did with those papers that did not belong to you? The Baldwin family are looking for them and want them now. We are not fooling. If you do not tell me where these papers are you are going to regret it.

Sincerely yours,

Mrs Rudolph Schmid (Bertha E.H.B. Schmidt)

The Great Granddaughter


Matthias W. Baldwin

Ps You can come down to see me ,my address is up top of this letter or you can call me at 1- 215- 223 o755. Iwill be waiting to hear from you soon.

Resolving the Mystery

In 2012 I was tracking down one of my elusive Reuthers, Anna Reuther, born about 1862 to my great-great grandparents Christian and Emilie (Klobe) Reuther. I found her marriage to Gottfried (John) Schaber in Philadelphia in 1887. Her siblings Henry and Ida Reuther were the witnesses. I followed the baptism of her children - all showed their mother as Anna Reuther.

Until I got to the death of daughter Henrietta (Schaber) Bitler in 1914. Henrietta Bilter's father John Schaber was the informant on her death certificate, and he reported that Henrietta's mother was Anna Baldwin.

WHAT! Anna Baldwin?

Looking closer, Anna Reuther/Baldwin's birth was July 1862 (per the 1900 Census). Her next sibling was born about October 1862, so if July 1862 was correct then Anna could not be a biological daughter of Christian and Emilie.

I do believe that Anna Reuther is the Anna Mary Baldwin of the mystery letter, daughter of Henriette Klobe and Matthias Baldwin. Records show her as either a Reuther or a Baldwin. So far, the death certificate for daughter Henrietta Bitler and the Social Security application for daughter Anna (Schaber) Jarvis both show their mother as Anna Baldwin. Son William's Social Security application shows his mother as Anna Reuther.

Regardless, I have always believed the mystery letter was correct that Henriette Klobe had a daughter named Anna Mary Baldwin. Henriette's sister Emilie and her husband Christian Reuther were the most likely couple to raise her daughter.

What happened to Henriette Klobe? While it is plausible that Henriette died when Anna was young, as Bertha reported, as additional records become available, I have now found that Henriette married Ferdinand Günther in 1866. As happened with Henriette's nephew Herman Klobe, Henriette's new husband probably did not want her child from an earlier relationship in his home, so Anna was raised by the Reuthers. Henriette (Klobe) Günther had a candy store on Fairmount avenue, just as her great-niece Lotta (Reuther) Longstreet reported. Henriette died in 1901.

Who was the letter writer? Initially I thought Bertha was the daughter of Henrietta Schaber and Harry Bitler, but I now know that Bertha Bitler died in 1927. I believe the letterwriter was Bertha Jarvis, born about 1928 to William L Jarvis and Anna Schaber (daughter of Anna (Baldwin) and Gottfried (John) Schaber). Using the address on the letter I was able to link Bertha Jarvis to Rudolph Schmidt (1931-2004). Bertha reportedly died about 1989 (tree on Ancestry).

What about the claims in the mystery letter about the Reuthers stealing Anna's inheritance? It is most likely there was no inheritance. More research is needed on Matthias Baldwin, but he may have been already married and wealthy. And probably did not make provision for Anna in his will. We do know that the father of our immigrant Klobes was a goldsmith. Perhaps young Bertha thought that meant he was wealthy and there was an inheritance. No stories have surfaced in the Klobe and Reuther descendants of an inheritance.