Baking Up a Good German Lutheran Pi

For old Math teachers like me, March 14 (3.14) is Pi Day or π Day.  So I was hoping to find some sort of evidence of Pi in the German Family Tree.  I think I have found the ingredients for baking up the almost perfect Pi, except for the fact that I had to cross over the Apple Creek to find the needed ingredients in Cape Girardeau County, not Perry County.

We start with two main ingredients:  the Mirly twins, both born on…..you guessed it……March 14th in 1875.  By the way, 1875 is divisible by 3.  And when you divide 1875 by 3, you get 625.  And when you divide 625 by 2, you get 312.5.  When you move the decimal point two places to the left, and you round it off, you get 3.13, which is very close to Pi (3.14).  But I digress, and need to get back on the road to Pi.

The twins were named Herman and Mathilde.  They were the ninth and tenth children of Joseph and Wilhelmine (Schimmelpfennig) Mirly who lived in New Wells, Missouri and were members of Immanuel Lutheran Church.  Quite a while back we posted a story about this family titled, Another Irresistible Name…..Schimmelpfennig.  Schimmelpfennig means “moldy penny”, so even though we might find that amusing, we don’t want to put any schimmelpfennig into our Pi.

We will start with Mathilde.  In 1904, she married Julius Hoffmann, a farmer in New Wells.  And what was his birthday?  Well, it was March 14th of course.  He was born on Pi Day in 1865.  So that brings us to three people who have Pi Day as their birthday, and two of them are married to each other.

We now have the main ingredients for the Mirly/Hoffmann Pi….three Pi birthdays.  Now all we need is a little extra to go along with the three…..to get us the extra 0.14.  Well, I think I have two quite interesting facts that will add the right spices to the basic ingredients of the Pi to make it just perfect.

First of all, we have the fact that when when Julius married Mathilde in 1904, he had previously been married to Mathilde’s older sister, Wilhelmine.  Wilhelmine had died in 1900.  However, in case you are wondering, Wilhelmine’s birthday was not on March 14th.  But nonetheless, we do have an extra Mirly to throw into the Pi.

Second of all, we have yet discuss what happened to Mathilde’s twin brother, Herman.  As near as I can tell, Herman never married, and we find him enlisted in the military as early as 1898.

Herman Mirly enlistment

In the 1920 census, we find Herman at Camp Lewis in the state of Washington.  Camp Lewis was named after the explorer Merriwether Lewis, and at the time of World War I, it was the largest military post in the United States.

800px-Scene_at_Camp_Lewis,_Washington
Camp Lewis – Washington

It’s main mission was to train draftees to fight in that war.

Herman Mirly 1920 census
1920 census – Camp Lewis, Washington

Now for the interesting fact.  Herman Mirly was a cook.  What could be better than to have a cook bake up a good Pi?  And I think we have completed our perfect Pi for Pi Day….one that has three Pi birthdays with a few extra Mirly tidbits to add to it.  In other words we have 3.14 Pi’s…that is, Pi Pi’s….put together for that perfect Mirly/Hoffmann Pi.  A Good old-fashioned German Lutheran Pi.  Yummy.

Now, I’m sure some of you may think that all of this just doesn’t make sense, but my response to that sentiment is this:  Pi has always been irrational.

Finally, I leave you today with what we in Perry County think of when we hear the word “Pi”.

IMG_2357


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