Gus Was A Storekeeper, But It Is Tillie’s Birthday Today

Written by Fred Eggers:


Yesterday I received a couple of Facebook messages from our regular blogger, Warren Schmidt, who is on vacation at an undisclosed location.  However, the photo that he posted reveals that he is at a beach or at a very big sand box somewhere.

First, “GFT (German Family Tree) says August Klaus was a storekeeper in Farrar. Was that the Eggers Store? Is he related to Jason?”.  Second, “I may do a story tomorrow. I think it’s August’s wife…a Mahnken …that has a birthday tomorrow.” Finally, “I don’t suppose you’d want to write it. I’m on vacation. LOL”  I told him that I would be happy to write a blog on this subject, but I did not tell him that I have been researching the Klaus/Eggers connections and have a head start on the subject.  My brother Cal in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has been corresponding with a cousin, Nancy Schmalzried Maylath in West Lafayette, Indiana regarding the Klaus and Eggers families.

We can get back to that later, but first we need to discuss the birthday girl for October 10.  Emma Mathilde “Tillie” Mahnken was born on this date in 1891 to Johann and Maria Versemann Mahnken.  This is her baptism record from the Salem church book.


Mathilde Mahnken baptism record – Salem, Farrar

Tillie’s parents had both came to Missouri from the Scheeßel area of what was until 1866 the Kingdom of Hanover.  There were a large number of people from Scheeßel that settled in the area that is now Farrar and also across the Mississippi River in the Fountain Bluff/Neunert/Jacob area.  Johann Mahnken arrived in New Orleans with his parents and a sister on the Ship Uhland on November 4, 1867.  This is the immigration list for that passage.  Note that their surname was listed as Mahncke.  Warren addressed the Mahnke/Mahnken question a week or so ago, and this is just one more variation.


Johann Mahnken – passenger list

Maria Versemann arrived with her grandmother, father, stepmother, two brothers, a sister, a half-brother, and her stepmother’s sister in New Orleans on August 19, 1868 on the Steamer Berlin.  Also note that the Versemann family is followed by the Johann Heeszel family that settled in the Jacob, Illinois area.  I only mention this because many years later my cousin, Helen “Lucy” Versemann married Bobby Heeszel from that family.  These pages show that passenger list.

Steamer Berlin – passenger list
Steamer Berlin – passenger list

Tillie’s husband, August Heinrich “Gus” Klaus was born in what is now the Friedheim area in northwestern Cape Girardeau County on August 17, 1895 to Johann Heinrich “Henry” and Anna Marie Sophie Arning Klaus.  Gus’s father was born in the Friedheim area in 1850.  His grandfather Casper was among the founders of the Trinity congregation in what was then called Dissen which was a town located near his birthplace in Borgholzhausen.  The Dissen immigrants arrived in the area in the 1830’s and were served by Pastor Gruber of the Paitzdorf, now Uniontown, Congregation until Trinity was organized in 1848.

In 1902 Henry Klaus and his family moved to Farrar after he purchased the Fred Bueckmann Store, which had been opened in 1894.  He operated the store as Henry Klaus & Sons Store with his sons Herman, Herbert, and Gus.  The Klaus’s would have quickly become familiar with the Eggers family since Henry F. Eggers, who became the second Postmaster of Farrar in 1900, had moved the post office from the R. P. Farrar Store down the hill to the Buckmann Store.  In 1904 Henry Klaus became the third Postmaster of Farrar.

Klaus Store around 1910 – Farrar, MO

Tillie and Gus were married at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar on September 16, 1917 by Rev. Johann Krueger.  Below is that marriage record.  They were likely very familiar with each other since Gus’s sister Sidonia had married Henry Eggers’s son Emanuel in 1908 and Tillie’s brother Gottlieb had married Henry Eggers’s daughter Maria in 1911.  Also, the Eggers farm was located only a short distance from the store.  In fact, the ground on which the store was built and where the Klaus family built a house were both purchased from the Eggers farm.

Klaus/Mahnken marriage record – Salem, Farrar

So, to answer one of Warren’s questions, no Gus Klaus did not work in the Eggers Store; however, in 1920 the Henry Klaus family sold their store to the Eggers family.  As my father Walter related to me, Henry Klaus was losing his eyesight and could no longer work in the store and Herman and Gus were not happy being cooped up in the store.  My uncle Martin “Tom” had been operating the farm after his father’s death in 1914 and did not like farming.  My father had been working for the Wabash Railroad in Fort Wayne and other places in Indiana and finally in Defiance, Ohio, and was ready to return to Missouri.  As it turned out, I think everyone was happy.  Henry Klaus became Farrar’s first telephone operator because, even with his limited sight, he could put the plugs in the correct outlets by touch.  Herman Klaus lived in the house just up the street from the store with his parents and family and operated a small farm and orchard.  He later became a county judge, what are now Commissioners (as did his grandson Karl) and for a time drove a school bus to transport area students to Perryville High School.  Gus and Tillie purchased a farm in the Shiloh area from the Schlichting family and like Herman had an orchard.  Gus died in 1959 and Tillie in 1985.  They are buried in the Salem Cemetery in Farrar.


Back to another question, is August Klaus related to Jason?  That would be Detective Corporal Jason Klaus of the Perry County Sheriff’s Department, who is also a volunteer at the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum.  Yes, Jason is a great grandson of Herbert, the other son of Henry Klaus.  Again, the Klaus/Eggers plot thickens.  I assume that Herbert worked in his father’s store for a while, but at some point he became the assistant cashier at the Bank of Appleton where, in this 1917 American Bank Reporter document, the cashier was his brother-in-law Emanuel Eggers.  Emmanuel served as cashier from the bank’s founding in 1912 until sometime in 1917 when he returned to Fort Wayne where he had previously lived from 1907 to 1910.

Appleton Bank document

Herbert Klaus remained the cashier at the Bank of Appleton until October 1925 when the bank closed because of embezzlement and fraud committed by the cashier of the Perry County Bank in Perryville, which owed the Appleton Bank $20,000, that was most of its value.  This crime caused the closing of those two banks plus the Bank of Frohna and some other banks in the area.

As Warren mentioned a few blogs ago,  we often have very little information on the woman who has the anniversary date, but there is usually plenty to learn when we research the husband and the family genealogy and history.  I also know that I will be in trouble if I do not mention that another member of the museum staff, Joy Peetz, is a granddaughter of Tillie and Gus Klaus.  The Klaus and Mahnken families are still in the area in fairly large numbers.  Writing this blog brought back a lot of memories of Tillie and Gus and also of Herman and his wife, Mattie, who was the telephone operator for Farrar when I was growing up.  It was a pleasure to “pinch hit” for Warren while he enjoys his vacation.


Thanks, Fred.  Because of your generous offer to write this post, I was able to take a relaxing walk with my wife and friends last evening and got to see this unusual sunset at this undisclosed location.


8 thoughts on “Gus Was A Storekeeper, But It Is Tillie’s Birthday Today

  1. Sheriff departments seem to run in the family, as my son, Joshua, Jason’s second cousin, is a Captain in the Johnson County, Kansas, sheriff’s department.


  2. I am Herman and Maggie’s oldest grandson. Just saw this blog, and the words brought back so many memories! My dad, “Jimmy Klaus” was born in the house attached to the store, in 1915. Herman’s family moved into the house the built on 1917. Not sure when Tom and Ella Eggers bought the store, but I spent many happy hours with them, and “Hubbie” Lorenz. Lots of stories to tell, from Gus, Tillie, Tom, Ella, my grandparents, Mr Nedemeyer (sp) and others. The old store is now a B&B, and I am anxious one day to see it. Sadly, my “little brother,” Karl Klaus, died a short while ago, age 71. I now live in Pagosa Springs, CO.


  3. These are also my grandparents. Mom used to share stories of working in the store with / for her Uncle Herman. I think she lived there (at least off and on) for a while. If I remember right Grandpa was the youngest of 13 and Grandma one of 11 siblings. I had the “honour” of preaching my first sermon (at the age of 3 or so) to a gaggle of siblings and Roth cousins -yes you, too, Joy- in the old Shiloh church.


  4. Fred – Your research is great and especially loved by us relatives of Klaus, Eggers, and Mahnken. I will print this for my mom, Bernita Eggers Schmalzried, granddaughter of Henry Klaus and Henry Eggers. Mom remembers visiting her Klaus grandparents’ home and seeing Grandfather Henry and later Aunt Mattie working the phone switchboard. A few years ago, we visited the Klaus home in Farrar and could see, still there, the tiny holes in the wood wall that held the lines. Thanks for a very interesting blog post!
    Nancy Maylath
    West Lafayette, IN


  5. Thanks Fred! I will show this post to mom on Friday. Gus and Tillie are her mom and dad (My grandparents). My guess is she will have a lot of memories regarding this post. Thanks for all you do at the museum!!


  6. This is a great article – and I was pleased to see the store outline remains the same today. My family also stems from the Klaus/Mahnken family so this is wonderful history from my perspective. Thanks, Fred!


  7. Thoroughly enjoyed this. But it gives me the creeps, Fred when you start getting into the livelihood of our generation. I remember lots of those folks. But that’s not possible, I’m simply not old enough


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s