A century ago, on September 3, 1917, Louis and Lulu Boehme begat Loretta Natalia Boehme in Wittenberg, Missouri. A while back, I wrote a story about Loretta’s parents called, The Life of Louis and Lulu. In that post, it was stated that Loretta’s father, Louis, ran a store in Wittenberg, so Loretta grew up hanging around her daddy’s store.
Meanwhile, at another store located nearby (after all, Wittenberg was not that big a place), a young boy was hanging around a store where his daddy worked. The boy’s name was Tilden Kieninger. His father, William, was working at his father-in-law’s store which was called the Mueller Store. William had married Esther Mueller, the daughter of the owner Joseph Mueller’s store. In this photo, William is standing on the left in front. The photograph was taken inside the Mueller Store. This photo was the highlight of another previous blog post titled, Wittenberg Wares.
Hanging on the back wall are framed photos of Tilden’s grandparents, Joseph and Mathilda (Buenger) Mueller.
Somewhere along the line, Tilden and his uncle, Arthur Mueller, attempted to start a new business in the Wittenberg area. They decided to dig a pond in what was called the “Mueller Addition” just north of Wittenberg which was next to the Kieninger home. That home can be seen in this photo. It is where you see the #1.
The pond was later located where this tobacco field once stood. Tilden and Arthur were going to raise frogs in that pond. However, after purchasing some giant bullfrogs from Louisiana, they discovered that their pond would not hold water. Their business never got off the ground. That area though became known as Frogtown, an area not far from where St. Paul’s Lutheran Church had constructed their new sanctuary in 1920.
We also have this wonderful photo of Tilden and Gus Wilson tipping a cold beer in front of the Wittenberg Bank building around 1933. They are probably celebrating the repealing of Prohibition.
In the 1940 census we see Tilden living in the same household with his older brother, Willard and his family, and also with his father. His mother had died in 1929.
Tilden enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 2, 1941. Later that year, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and America entered World War II. Tilden would be going to war, but apparently before he left, on January 31, 1942, he married that little girl from the Boehme store who is today’s birthday girl. Here is their wedding photo.
Tilden was not the first of his family to marry a Boehme girl. About 8 years earlier, his older brother, Willard, (the one in the above census record) married Dora Boehme, Loretta’s sister. Dora and Loretta can both be seen in this photo of the Boehme family. Dora and Loretta are standing in the front on the right.
After the war, Tilden and Loretta were living in Greensboro, North Carolina for a while. Here we see them listed in a city directory for that location.
All indications are that this Kieninger couple raised their family in St. Louis. An address given for them over the years can be located in the Lemay area not far from the Mississippi River. Loretta died in 2001; Tilden died in 2009. They are both buried in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis.
One of the daughters of Tilden and Loretta is named Lois. She regularly attends the gathering of the group that calls themselves the Wittenberg Cousins. They meet here twice a year in Altenburg. Lois is sitting on the right with her cousins in this photo.
The Boehme girls marrying the Kieninger boys are another example of a phenomenon that I have seen repeated in past Perry County history. It is another case where a child of one store owner marries the child of another (sometimes competing) store owner. It happened in Altenburg when a Neubeck married a Fischer. It happened in Frohna when a Palisch married a Lueders. And here we see it happening again…..twice.