Concordia’s Cigar Maker

Today’s birthday girl happens to be the missing person in a photograph that I have used on this blog before.  It is a picture of the 5 Harnagel brothers.

Harnagel brothers
The Harnagel brothers

In addition to these brothers, there was also one sister by the name Concordia (or Cordie) in this family.  She was the second born child of Gotthold and Rosalie (Palisch) Harnagel, and she was born on this day, March 7th, in 1885.  She was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  In this 1900 census, we see Concordia as being the oldest child living in this household.  The oldest, David Harnagel, the main character of the post, Herr Harnagel, was already away at college studying to be a teacher.

Gotthold Harnagel 1900 census Wittenberg MO
1900 census – Wittenberg, MO

The Harnagel family lived closer to Wittenberg than they did to Altenburg (where they attended church), so Wittenberg was the “stomping ground” for these Harnagel children.  I am just speculating on this, but I think Concordia may have gone to live and work in St. Louis when she got nearer to her 20th birthday.  I say that because in 1908, she married a man from St. Louis by the name of Curt Lemmel.  Here is their marriage license.

Lemmel Harnagel marriage license
Lemmel/Hueschen marriage license.

As a math teacher, I would often bring up the topic of palindromes….numbers that can be written the same forwards and backwards.  The surname Lemmel is a palindromic name…..not that it matters.

We find Curt and Concordia living in St. Louis in the 1910 census.

Curt Lemmel 1910 census St. Louis MO
1910 census – St. Louis, MO

Curt is shown as being a traveling salesman who sold cigars.  I suppose another theory about how Curt met Concordia is that he may have traveled to Wittenberg to sell his wares at some establishments here.  Later census records indicate that this couple had two children, a boy and a girl.  The girl was another Concordia, and the boy was named Bernhardt after Curt’s father who also had that name.  We have two photos that show Concordia with her children.  First, we see this three generation photo showing Concordia with her mother, Rosalie, and her daughter, Concordia.

Concordia Harnagel with mother and her daughter

We also have this photo which includes Concordia and her son, Bernhardt (Bennie).

Harnagel women

All the way up to 1919, we see evidence in city directories for St. Louis that Curt was in the cigar business in some way.  This St. Louis city directory listing for 1919 shows him in a list of people in the cigar manufacturing business.

Curt Lemmel city directory St. Louis 1919 cigar mfg
City directory – St. Louis, MO 1919

In fact, I found evidence that Curt was working for the company in the red box at the top of this image called the George Fehl Blue Ribbon Cigar Company.   I also located this image of a post card containing information about that company.

George Fehl Blue Ribbon Cigar Co.

Curt’s World War I draft registration also indicates that he was working in the cigar trade.


While researching this story, I discovered a fact that I had not known.  The cigar industry relied heavily on marketing their product in drinking establishments.  You can see that fact in this photo taken in St. Louis in the early 1900’s.  A large advertisement for cigars can be seen outside a tavern.


When Prohibition was passed in 1919, it not only impacted establishments selling liquor.  It also impacted the sale of cigars.  It also appears that this may have had an effect on Curt Lemmel.  In the 1920 and 1930 censuses, we see him no longer in the cigar business, but he is listed as a carpenter.

Curt Lemmel 1930 census St. Louis MO
1930 census – St. Louis, MO

I find it interesting that after Prohibition was repealed in 1933, we find Curt Lemmel back in the cigar trade.  In fact, the 1940 census says he had his own cigar manufacturing business.

Curt Lemmel 1940 census St. Louis MO
1940 census – St. Louis, MO

In 1928, when Concordia’s mother had died, this family photo was taken in Perry County.

Harnagel family at mother's funeral

It is likely that Curt and Concordia, as well as their two children, are in this photo, but I will let you decide which ones they are.

I managed to find a high school yearbook photo of Curt and Concordia’s son, Bernhardt Lemmel.  It comes from his time as a student at Roosevelt High School in St. Louis.

Bernhardt Lemmel yearbook photo 1934

Concordia died in 1951.  Here is her death certificate.

Concordia Lemmel death certificate
Concordia Lemmel death certificate

In all the records I found of Curt and Concordia in St. Louis, their address was always 4228 Juniata.

Curt died in 1961.  Here is his death certificate.

Curt Lemmel death certificate
Curt Lemmel death certificate

This form indicates that Curt was a cigar maker with the Lambert Cigar Company.  Curt and Concordia are buried in the New Saint Marcus Cemetery in St. Louis.

I cannot resist discussing cigars a bit more today.  As I look at old photographs from the history of Perry County, I discover that there was a time when the men around here had a love affair with cigars.  In this photo of a Mueller/Fiehler wedding from 1913, we see a young man holding a box of cigars.

Mueller Fiehler wedding party

It must have been a time when people involved in a wedding must have been given cigars to commemorate the event.

In this photo of the 50th anniversary of Christoph and Caroline Mueller taken in 1907, we see plenty of men holding a stogie (and/or a beer) in their hands during that celebration, including the pastor, Rev. Hueschen, who is indicated by the arrow.

Mueller 50th anniversary with Rev. Hueschen

It is also a documented fact that the first president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Dr. C.F.W. Walther was a pipe and cigar smoker.  This paragraph I found online tells a few facts about him that may or may not be true.

C.F.W. Walther cigar smoking

This short video done by Concordia Historical Institute’s former archivist, Rev. Marvin Huggins, also illustrates Dr. Walther’s propensity for smoking.

I also happen to know that our present LCMS president, Dr. Matthew Harrison, is known to smoke an occasional cigar.  So cigar smoking has a long history in Lutheran circles.  It is also, in my opinion, a good and more healthy thing that cigar smoking has fallen out of popularity in America nowadays.

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