The following article was published in the San Jose Mercury Newspaper on May 16, 1915: ANDERSON, May 15 – Theodore von Moltke, first cousin of Count von Moltke, German general at the beginning of the present European war, died here in poverty at the age of 83 years. He was a veteran of the Franco-Prussian War, and fought under the greater von Moltke in that conflict, participating in the siege of Metz. Theodore von Moltke, wearing medals and bearing undisputed testimony of service in the German Army, came here from Los Angeles six months ago.
Another article in the Idaho Statesman stated that Theodore served under the “elder” von Moltke in the Franco-Prussian War but that he was now poor and being taken care of by an Anderson farmer. A Grand Forks Herald article stated a farmer had been caring for him for several years. No other articles could be found to answer the question of who was caring for Theodore and why.
In doing some background there was a George Theodore von Moltke born in 1834 who married an Emma Jane Schmidt in Tacoma, Washington in 1891. He turned out to be a nephew of the “elder” von Moltke but he died in Idaho in 1914. He would have been a cousin to our Theodore so the search went back to the basics, starting with Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von Moltke who in 1915 was Chief of Staff of the German Army. Helmuth (known as von Moltke the younger) was the son of Adolf von Moltke and our Theodore would have been a son of one of Adolf’s brothers since he carried the von Moltke name. The von Moltke family held land in Holstein that was a duchy of Denmark when Theodore was born about 1832. Adolf’s father was Danish Lt. General Friedrich Phillipp Victor von Moltke who married Henriette Sophie Paschen and had six sons: Wilhelm 1798, Fredrich Joachim 1799, Helmuth Karl Bernard 1800, Bernard Adolf 1804, Ludwig Carl 1805 and Victor 1812. After the Schleswig-Holstein War of 1864 the duchy was ceded to Prussia thus the family came to serve Germany.
All that was found, was Wilhelm died in 1834, Fredrich Joachim died in 1874, Helmuth Karl died in 1891, and Victor died in 1853 and no record of children was found for any of them. Ludwig Carl died in 1834 and had three children: Johanna Rosa, Friedericke Auguste and Rosa Victorine. That leaves four potential fathers and a story left untold. Why did Theodore leave Germany? Why was he poor? Who helped him in Anderson? If any of the readers have any information that will help us close this story please send an email.