Florida – Born Beautiful

Our German Family Tree records that Flora Schoenborn (“schoen” means beautiful in German) was born on July 20, 1897, so today would have been her 121st birthday.  However, there is no baptism record for Flora in any church records from Perry County.  Yet we do know from all the census records that include her that she was born in Missouri.  It took me a while to piece together her story, but I think I now have a pretty good idea of some of the major events that took place in her life.  I will attempt to tell her story today.

One of the pieces of the puzzle that needs to be part of her life story is the marraige of her parents.  She was the daughter of Otto and Emma (Schilling) Schoenborn.  Otto and Emma were married in 1894 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri.  Here is the Perry County marriage license for Otto and Emma.

Schoenborn Schilling marriage license
Schoenborn/Schilling marriage license

On this form, it says that Otto was from Marion County, Missouri.  The marriage record from the Concordia church books shows that Otto was from Palmyra, Missouri which is in Marion County.

Schoenborn Schilling marriage record Concordia Frohna MO
Schoenborn/Schilling marriage record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

I think Otto took his new wife back to Marion County after he was married.  I think that is where Flora was born.  One of the reasons for me thinking this comes from a record which can be found here in Perry County, but I did not take the time to pursue.  However, someone else apparently went to the effort of finding this record.  It comes from Flora’s confirmation record from 1911.  She was confirmed at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna.  The records for their confirmations that we have in our museum only go up to 1898.  In order to find Flora’s record, I would have had to find someone at Concordia and have them get out their more recent records to show it to me.  Our museum’s friend, Lori Adams, has a notation on her Ancestry.com page that indicates she must have seen that record.  Here is a note that she has placed on Ancestry.com about Flora’s birth.

Flora Schoenborn confirmation record note Ancestry

First of all, this is the only reference I found that says her name was “Florida”.  Secondly, I have an answer about where this birthplace of “North River” is located.  The answer can be found in this land map from Marion County, Missouri which was produced in 1913.

George Schoenborn land map 1913 North River
George Schoenborn land map – 1913

This map shows the Schoenborn farm with  the North River flowing right through it.  George Schoenborn, by the way, was Otto’s younger brother.  By 1913, when this map was made, Otto was no longer living there.  Another reference about the North River can be found on another Ancestry.com page.  Otto’s father, Gottlieb Schoenborn, died in 1901, and this note is made on that Ancestry.com website.

Gottlieb Schoenborn burial record Ancestry
Gottlieb Schoenborn burial record note

I am very confident that Flora (or Florida) was born on the Schoenborn farm outside Palmyra.  The next important event in her life was the death of her mother, Emma (shown here using her other names, Johanna Sophie).  She died in 1905.  She was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Palmyra.  Here is her gravestone.

Johanna Sophia Schoenborn gravestone Greenwood Palmyra MO
Schoenborn gravestone – Greenwood, Palmyra, MO

The date on her gravestone indicates that she died on her daughter’s 8th birthday.  Please note that there is no death date listed for Otto on this gravestone.  That is because he was not buried there.  By the way, Rudolph and Clara were two of Otto’s younger siblings.  It appears they were twins.  Maybe they were buried here because the space was not used for Otto’s burial.

Otto found his second wife in the same general location where he found his first.  He married Frieda Wilke in Perryville in 1908.  Here is their marriage license.

Schoenborn Wilke marriage license
Schoenborn/Wilke marriage license

The marriage license says Otto was from Marion County, Missouri, but the 1910 census finds this family living in Frohna with Otto being a farmer.

Flora Schoenborn 1910 census Frohna MO
1910 census – Frohna, MO

This census gives the impression that Flora is the daughter of Frieda, but Frieda is actually Flora’s stepmother.  One year after this census, Flora was confirmed at Concordia and the record for that event helps us understand where she was born.  On this land map produced in 1915, we can see where Otto Schoenborn’s farm was located.

Otto Schoenborn land map 1915
Schoenborn land map – 1915

According to my reckoning, this land is about where my cousin’s son lives and where the Schlimpert clan has done some of its annual butchering in past years.

On October 15, 1916, Flora married John Brunkhorst at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna.  Here is their marriage license.

Brunkhorst Schoenborn marriage license
Brunkhorst/Schoenborn marriage license

I may have to do a story someday about John Brunkhorst, but this post is getting too long.  I will show you where his farm was located.

John Brunkhorst land map 1915
John Brunkhorst land map – 1915

The intersection to the right of his land is the location of the Ridge School and the Weber Store.

John and Flora had two children, Elmer and Edna.  Flora died in 1976; John died in 1979.  They are buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.

Let’s return to the grave of Otto Schoenborn…or should I say the two graves of Otto Schoenborn.  Otto was buried in the Concordia Cemetery also.  Here is his gravestone there.

Otto Schoenborn gravestone Concordia Frohna MO
Otto Schoenborn gravestone – Concordia, Frohna, MO

There is a dispute between the two tombstones concerning Otto’s birth.  One indicates September 5, and the other says October 5.

I cannot resist showing you this photo.  It shows George and Kathryn Schoenborn.  George is Otto’s brother.  Therefore, Flora would have called them Uncle George and Aunt Kathryn.

George and Kathryn Schoenborn
George and Kathryn Schoenborn

One more thing.  This morning, when I was discussing this story with Gerard Fiehler, he said another family that came from Palmyra was the Voepel family.  This is the family of Johnny Voepel of “Johnny’s Place” fame.  Not only that, Johnny’s father came from Palmyra to marry a Schilling in Perry County.  Do you see a pattern here?  If you look again at the map the Schoenborn’s farm near Palmyra, you can see they were neighbors of the Voepels.  But it’s a story for another day.



2 thoughts on “Florida – Born Beautiful

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