Another Story Ends Up in Arkansas

November 23 was the birthday of Henry Goecke.  Henry was born in Wittenberg in 1876.  There are several times when Henry’s last name is documented as being spelled Goeke, but there are also several, including his gravestone, which is spelled Goecke.  Henry would marry Bertha Mueller sometime before 1918.  Bertha was the daughter of Wilhelm and Louise (Hartung) Mueller.  Louise was another of the Hartungs that moved to Perry County from Pennsylvania that were part of the story, From Muddy Creek to Brazeau Creek.

Here is a wedding picture of Henry and Bertha Goecke.


This is Henry’s World War I draft registration form.  You can see that he was employed at the Perfection Furniture Manufacturing Company.  That is often referred to as the swing factory which was located in Wittenberg and was the subject of the story, Frogtown Furniture.


Here is a portion of a page from the 1920 census that includes Henry’s family (which is highlighted).  You can see all the people on this page that were employed by the swing factory.

1920 census – Wittenberg


Here we see another photo of Henry’s wife, Bertha.


In 1935, Henry fell ill and died.  Here is a newspaper obituary for Henry.


Henry is buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg.  There seems to be a discrepancy concerning his birth year.  Since I am out of town, I cannot check the church records in our research library to settle this issue.


Bertha did not remain a widow for very long.  In February of 1936, she married William H. Skaggs in Perryville, Missouri.  Here is their marriage certificate.

Goecke/Skaggs marriage certificate

I have this sneaking suspicion that William Skaggs may have been working with the railroad in Wittenberg at this time.  In 1923, there is a record of William working for the Missouri Pacific Railroad in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Sometime after this marriage took place, we find this couple living in Altheimer, Arkansas which was a small railroad town on the Union Pacific Railroad.  Interestingly, Altheimer was also located in the same neck of the woods where the Voerster brothers lived around the turn of the century.  Their story was written two days ago and was titled, Orphan Marries Orphan.

Bertha died in 1949 and is buried in the Flat Bayou Cemetery in Altheimer.  Here is her newspaper obituary.  I would once again argue with an obituary’s facts.  Bertha was not a lifelong resident of Arkansas.



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