Frohna Shipbuilder

Otto Winter was born on November 17, 1884 in Frohna, Missouri.  He was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church and later confirmed there in 1898.  He was the son of August and Maria (Mangelsdorf) Winter.  He was also a brother of a character in another past post on this blog.  His brother was Emanuel Winter whose story was told in Molly and Manuel.  When 1900 rolled around, both Otto and Emanuel are shown as living with their older sister, Anna, in Frohna.  All three of them were still single.

Otto Winter 1900 census Frohna
1900 census – Frohna, MO

Otto’s mother had died when he was just 5 years old.  Then one year before this 1900 census was taken, his father died in 1899.  Thus, you see these 3 single Winter siblings living together in 1900.  That is the last indication we have of Otto Winter living in East Perry County.

I found an Otto Winter listed in a 1910 census from Saline County, Missouri.  If this is him, and I think it is, he was living with Fred Bergfrede’s family and working for them.  This location is not far from Concordia, Missouri, where there was quite a large German Lutheran population.

Otto Winter 1910 census Saline County MO
1910 census – Saline County, MO

That brings us to the time period of World War I.  Otto filled out this draft registration form.


I have no idea how he got there, but in 1918, Otto was living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and working as a machinist at the Navy Yard there.  Otto is still single, and in fact, he never married.  The 1920 census for Philadelphia shows this interesting entry.

Otto Winter 1920 census Philadelphia
1920 census – Philadelphia, PA

A whole bunch of male lodgers were living in a boarding house run by Louise Hiresger.  Otto is described as a machinist in the shipbuilding industry.  The address given in the WWI draft registration is 236 S. 11th St.  There is still an old building at that location.  Here is a picture of it.  I think this is likely the place where that boarding house was located.

Otto Winter residence Philadelphia
236 S. 11th St., Philadelphia, PA

The Philadelphia Navy Yard is shown in this photo as it looked in 1955.

Philadelphia Navy Yard

I found Otto in St. Louis in the 1930 census.  He was once again living in a boarding house, and this time he was working in the lead works. Finally, we discover Otto back closer to his old home.  Otto’s World War II draft card is seen below.

Otto Winter – WWII draft card

Otto was living in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  The Lydia Winter shown is not his wife; it is his older sister who was also still single.  Otto was working for the Leming Lumber Company.  That lumber company was doing booming business in the 1940’s.  It was located along the Mississippi River just south of the bridge across the river.  Here is a link to a blog by Fred Lynch that gives some background on the Leming Lumber Company.

This photo of that lumber company is part of that article.

Leming Lumber Company

Sometime along the line, Otto sent a postcard photo of himself to his brother, Emanuel.  Here is that photo of Otto.

Otto Winter
Otto Winter

Otto died on February 2, 1955.  He is buried in the Cape County Memorial Park Cemetery in Cape Girardeau.  Here is his grave marker.

Otto Winter grave marker

Otto Winter really got to experience a lot of places and occupations during his lifetime.  It appears he spent his lifetime working with his hands.  He also wasn’t the only one in the Winter family to remain single.  At least two of his sisters, Anna and Lydia, also remained unmarried for their lifetimes.  I must admit that I do not often tell stories of men or women who remained single.  It always seems easier for me to have a married couple to write about than those who were unmarried.



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