I have a soft spot for civil-war era fashions, so when I saw this carte de visite photograph, dated 1862 on an online auction, I had to purchase it. The fact that the woman in the photograph was identified with both her married and maiden name made the item all the more irresistible.
I set out to learn more about “Grandma Schlens,” formerly known as “Clementina Spilker.” Unfortunately, the photo lacked a photographer’s imprint that might point me in the right geographic direction.
Nevertheless, I began with search of the 1850 US Federal Census for “Clementina Spilker” and limited that search to a female born between the years 1832 to 1850. I chose this range because I knew the photograph was taken in 1862 and the woman appeared to be in her late teens or early 20’s. There was only one hit: three-year-old Clementine Spilker, born about 1847, living in Baltimore, Maryland with her parents Charles and Veronica Spilker and 2 siblings, Charles, 8 and Mary, 6. Also part of the family was Mary Enck, aged 761. Charles and Veronica Spilker had been married for 14 years2.
Clementina was still part of the Charles Spilker family in 1860. Her brother, William H., born about 1852, makes his first appearance in the census records that year. Additionally, Charles’ wife is now listed with the given named “Jane.”3 By 1870, Clementina Spilker is no longer living in the Charles Spilker household4.
In 1834, at age 24, Clementina’s father, Charles Spilker, came to Baltimore from Bremen, Germany. He accompanied his future wife, Veronica Enck, age 24, and Veronica’s mother, Anna Maria Enck, 54, as well as the family of Drin.[?] Schultze5. Charles formed Charles Spilker & Co: Importers of French & English Fancy Goods which operated at 10 Hanover Street until his death in 18686. Clementina and her family likely enjoyed a comfortable life. Charles employed two or three household servants during the years he raised a family and made trips back to Germany7. In 1866, Charles’ income was listed as $11,223. He also owned a pianoforte, gold watch, a carriage and plate of silver, all subject to tax8.
But was this child of Charles Spilker named Clementina, the woman of my photograph? I have not found a marriage record for Clementina and someone with the surname Schlens, but I did find a 25-year-old Clementina Schlens in the 1870 US Census in Baltimore. Her husband is Frederick Schlens, age 29, born in Prussia. At this point, they have one child, Caroline Schlens, five months old9.
In the 1880 Census, Fred and Clementina have added two more children to their family: Fred, age 7, and Ella, 10 months10. In 1910, Clementina is widowed and living with her daughter Carrie and husband, Charles Buick’s family in Baltimore11.
I haven’t been able to find out when Clementina’s husband died, or locate an obituary for him. Nor have I found any record of Clementina’s death. If you can provide additional information about Clementina Spilker Schlens, I would love to hear from you. Clementina's family, and that of her husband seem to have been quite prominent ones in Baltimore and I expect there is quite a lot of local information out there about them.
1 1850 U.S. census, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, population schedule, p. 83 (stamped), dwelling 987, family 1257, Charles Spilker, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012); citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 286.↩
2 Maryland, Marriages, 1666-1970, index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F4JY-FL7 : accessed 25 May 2012), Veronica Enck, 1836.↩
3 1860 U.S. census, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, population schedule, p. 196, dwelling 1074, family 1245, Charles Spilker, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012); citing National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 464.↩
4 1870 U.S. census, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, population schedule, p. 268 (penned), dwelling 1572, family 2007, Charles Spilker, digital image, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012); citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 578.↩
5 Manifest,S.S. Johannes, 17 March 1834, stamped p. 1, line 11, Charles Spilker, age 24; “Passenger Record,” digital images, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com :accessed 30 May 2012).↩
6 E. M. Cross, compiler, Baltimore City Business Directory, (Baltimore: E.M. Cross & Co., 1863-64) , 375; Woods’ Baltimore City Directory (Baltimore: John W. Woods, 1865), 397; also subsequent years by the same title: (1868), 496; (1870), 561, subscription database,
7 1850 U.S Census, Baltimore, Baltimore Co., Maryland, pop. sch., p. 83 (stamped) dwell. 987, fam. 1257, . Charles Spilker; 1860 U.S. Census, Baltimore, Baltimore Co., Maryland. pop. sch., p. 196, dwell. 1074, fam. 1245, Charles Spilker; 1870 U.S. census, Baltimore, Baltimore Co., Maryland, pop. sch., p. 268 (penned), dwell. 1572, fam. 2007; Baltimore, Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1820-1872, (Online: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004), Manifest, Ship Copernicus, 22 July 1842, for Charles Spilker (age 33), subscription database,
8 Charles Spilker entry, U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918, District 3, Annual Lists, 1866, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, [digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database,
9 1870 U.S. census, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, population schedule, p. 228 (penned), Dwelling 1496, Family 1722, Frederick Schlens, digital image, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com :accessed 30 May 2012); citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 579.↩
10 "United States Census, 1880," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MNQD-ZVQ : accessed 23 Sep 2012), Clementine Schlens in household of Fred Schlens, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States; citing sheet 650D, family 1, NARA microfilm publication T9-0504.↩
11 "United States Census, 1910," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M2X2-QL2 : accessed 23 Sep 2012), Clementine Schlens in household of Charles Buick, Election District 1, Baltimore, Maryland; citing sheet 3A, family 41, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1374563.↩