Joining the Herm Thurm Firm

Today would have been the 121st birthday of Paula Grebing who was born on August 19, 1896.  She was the daughter of Martin and Emma (Richter) Grebing.  Martin delivered mail in the Wittenberg area for a while.  This is a photo of the Martin Grebing family when Paula was a child.  Paula is the girl standing on the far left.

Martin Grebing & family X
Martin and Emma Grebing family

Here is another photo taken of Paula when she was quite young.  She is standing with Lydia Noennig.  Paula is on the right in this photo which was probably taken in Wittenberg where the Grebing family lived.

Paula Grebing Thurm
Lydia Noennig and Paula Grebing

On April 18, 1915, Paula married Herman Thurm at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg.  By doing so, as stated in the title, she joined the Herm Thurm Firm.  What I call the Herm Thurm Firm can be described with five “F” words…..Family, Factory, Frisco, Frogtown, and Faith.  Here is the marriage license for Herman and Paula.

Thurm Grebing marriage license
Thurm/Grebing marriage license

Herman Thurm was actually the second Herm Thurm.  He was the son of Herman and Anna (Jungclaus) Thurm.  That family lived on The Ridge north of Altenburg.  Herman, Jr. was born on June 11, 1887 and baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.

**I feel I must also mention that Herman Thurm, Sr. was born on August 21st, which is the day of the upcoming total solar eclipse.

When Herman Jr. filled out his World War I draft registration form in 1917, it stated that he was working at the Miesner Lumber & Manufacturing Company, a business that was often simply referred to as the swing factory in Wittenberg.  Here is that form.

Herman Thurm – WWI draft registration

The swing factory was probably the largest employer in Wittenberg for a while.   A previous post, titled Frogtown Furniture, told the story of this business.  Here is a photo of some of the machinery that was present inside that factory where Herman worked.  So in the early part of his married life, Herman was a factory man.

Perfection machines inside X
Swing Factory interior – Wittenberg, MO

This factory was closed in the 1920’s, so Herman needed to find other employment.  The 1930 census shows Herman as a section hand for the Frisco railroad that went through Wittenberg.  By 1930, he also had five children, making him quite a family man.

Herman Thurm 1930 census Wittenberg
1930 census – Wittenberg, MO

Here we see Herman on the job working with a crew on the railroad.  Downtown Wittenberg can be seen in the background.  Herman is the man on the far right.


When Herman filled out his draft card for World War II, it states he was still working for the railroad, so he was a Frisco man for quite a while.


The swing factory that Herman had worked at was in an area just north of Wittenberg in an place that became known as Frogtown.  Not only did he work there, it is my understanding that some Thurms lived in Frogtown, making Herman a Frogtown man.  Later in his life, Herman is pictured with a few others who were part of the Thurm family, and it appears that this photo was taken in Frogtown.

Grebing Thurm photo Wittenberg

The couple in the back are Edna (Thurm) and Norman Galnore.  All the children are theirs.  In the middle row, left to right are Emma and Martin Grebing, then Paula and Herman Thurm.

The last of the “F” words is faith.  Herman and Paula were members of St. Paul Lutheran Church all or most of their lives.  All indications are that they and their family remained firm in their faith until the day of their death.  Herman died in 1959; Paula died in 1999 at the age of 96.  They are both buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg.

One of Herman and Paula’s sons, George Thurm, is still alive and comes to visit us in the museum on occasion.  George is one who is able to regale us with plenty of stories about Perry County, specializing in Wittenberg tales.

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