The Jolley Boys

As I usually do, I did start today by finding an event that occurred on this date, but in the process, I ran across the following photo.  It shows the Jolley Boys Band of Pocahontas, Missouri.  To me, this picture was just irresistible.  I just had to do this story just so I could post this picture.

Jolley Boy's Band Pocahontas

First of all, let me point out that the young man who is standing in the back, second from the left, is Theodore Leimer, and on this day, September 20th, in 1908, he married Bertha Pfeiffer at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri.  New Wells and Pocahontas are four miles from each other in North Cape Girardeau County.

I don’t have time or space to discuss in detail the family histories of every person in this photo today.  Now, I might get around to doing that someday, but not today.  However, I did notice that there were three Leimers in this photo.  I had to find out how they were related, and it is indeed the fact that these three are brothers.  Theodore is the oldest brother in the photo, born in 1884.  Charles was born one year later in 1885, and Joseph was born in 1887.  These three were sons of Johann Michael and Emilie (Petzoldt) Leimer, and all nine of the children in this family were baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.  Here is a present-day photo of that church.

By Markkaempfer – From my camera, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Here are very brief bios of the three Leimers in the photo:

  • Theodore, who we said married Bertha Pfeiffer, was a farmer and later operated a grocery store in Pocahontas.
  • Charles married Mary Grosse and was a blacksmith in the Pocahontas area.
  • Joseph moved to Buchanan, North Dakota, married Ollie Somsen, and was a farmer there.

There are also two Lichteneggers in the Jolley Boys Band.  Here are some short bios on those two.  They were brothers in the family of Joseph and Anna Maria (Pilz) Lichtenegger.

  • August was the older brother, born in 1889.  He married Ottilie Meyr and became the proprietor of a grocery store in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
  • Henry, born in 1892, married Mabel Swan and was a farmer in the Pocahontas area.  After Mabel died, he married the widow, Frieda (Thurm) Schade.

One more set of brothers in the band are the Ruehlings.  They were sons of Herman and Paulina (Petzoldt) Ruehling.

  • Rudolph, born in 1879, married Eutha Childs and became a painter in Pocahontas.
  • Eberhart, born in 1888, married Edna Schoen and was a carpenter in Pocahontas.

Here are a few of my observations about this photo:

  • From the information that I have gleaned so far about the people in this photo, most, if not all, of them were connected at one time or another to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.
  • The members of this band must have been a fun-loving group.  I hope everyone noticed the cat in the horn.
  • A newspaper article published in 2013 gives more information about the town of Pocahontas and the Jolley Boys Band.  You can find it here:

The two people who are interviewed in this article are Tilman Leimer and Barbara Rauh Powell.  Tilman was the son of Theodore Leimer, so when he talks about his father doing something in this story, that is Theodore.  And by the way, Tilman married a Lichtenegger.  Barbara Rauh Powell is one of our faithful docents here at the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum.

  • I keep running across photos taken of community bands back in the old days.  Small towns and even rural communities like The Ridge had their own bands.  That aspect of this local culture has pretty much died out.  I think Jackson, which is a pretty big town nearby, still has a band, and up until recently, it played during the East Perry Community Fair.  I wish these musical groups still existed.  I know elementary and high schools around here have good band programs, but for some reason, once people are out of school, these trained musicians no longer seem to have much interest in forming or joining a band when they are adults.  It amazes me that back in the day when people did not have as much leisure time as they do now, they were still able to find the time for this type of activity.
  • While doing the preparation for this post, I kept thinking of an episode about the Mayberry Community Band on the old Andy Griffith Show.  I found a video showing highlights of that episode.  It is about five minutes long.

Finally, I am going to use this story as an opportunity to follow up on a previous one.  Not long ago, we posted a story about Otto Burroughs which was titled, A Band of Burroughs…..And Burroughs in the Band.  In that story, we requested some possible help from Dale Burroughs in identifying other people in a photo of the Frohna Band that was published in that post.  He did just that, bringing in a copy of a photograph that was published in a local paper which indicated who all the band members were.  Here is that photo.

Frohna Band labeled

It would sure be helpful to me if all pictures that we use would have everybody identified.  And while I’m on the subject, let me say this.  If you can ever identify someone in a photograph on this site that we have not identified, please help us out by leaving a comment indicating someone’s identity either at the bottom of this blog or on our Facebook page.

I think all of us would really love to hear the music played by bands like the Jolley Boys of Pocahontas.  They must have brought many smiles to their listeners.

3 thoughts on “The Jolley Boys

  1. Great article! It impresses and amazes me that these band members must have sacrificed to buy instruments during those times of very poor financial times.
    A very nice copy of the Frohna band photo is in Mary Beth Mueller Dillon’s book “Altenburg Missouri And The Surrounding Parishes Plus Old Appleton”, page 322. I count 5 relatives in the band.


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