Tragedy struck the family in 1861. Both the sister Elisabeth and the baby Frederick died in the month of August (9 days apart - she from typhoid fever and he from dysentery). The following year Julianne (the mother) died of chest fever. Carl was left with two small sons, Charles, 8½ years and William, almost 4 years old.
The word spread in New Bremen that Carl Conradi was left a widower and needed a wife and mother for his two small children. Just about that time Gertrude Bruetsch and her brother Ambrose Bruetsch had arrived in New Bremen from Neulussheim, Baden, Germany and a marriage was arranged. Carl and Gertrude married in 1863.