Finding a Florist in St. Louis

Lydia Gaebler is our birthday girl.  She would have been 135 years old today.  She was born in Wittenberg and raised in this area, but her family moved to St. Louis when she was relatively young and lived there the rest of her life.  Just two records of her show up in our German Family Tree…her baptism record and her confirmation record.  I had to find all the rest of the information about her life by looking at other sources that we do not have in our museum.

First of all, we have Lydia’s baptism record found in the Trinity Lutheran, Altenburg church books.

Lydia Gaebler baptism record Trinity Altenburg MO
Lydia Gaebler baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg

Lydia was the daughter of Samuel and Magdalena (Schilling) Gaebler.  The story of this couple was told in a previous post, Gaebler the Grocer.  In that post, it stated that Samuel Gaebler was one of the charter members of Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.  We find the confirmation record for Lydia in the church books of that congregation.  Hers was only the second confirmation class for that church.  Her brother, Herman, was in the first class.  Here is Lydia’s confirmation record.

Lydia Gaebler confirmation record Zion Pocahontas MO
Lydia Gaebler confirmation record – Zion, Pocahontas, MO

It is in this record that we see evidence that Lydia was born in Wittenberg.

By 1900, the Gaeblers were living in St. Louis, and it was there that Lydia found a husband.  She didn’t just find a husband, she found a florist.  In fact, she found a florist who was the son of a florist.  His name was Frances (Frank) Fillmore.  Actually, it turns out to be important that he was Frances George Fillmore.  His father was Frances James Fillmore.  His mother was Christina (Hoerman) Fillmore.  Lydia’s husband was born in 1881, one year after this census was taken in St. Louis.  His father’s occupation is listed as “flowerist”.

Frances James Fillmore 1880 census St. Louis MO
1880 census – St. Louis, MO

Frances James was born in England and his wife, Christina, was born in Germany.  His son, Frances George, found himself a German wife also.  For some unknown reason, Frances and Lydia were married in St. Clair County, Illinois, across the river from St. Louis.  Here is an image showing some of the facts concerning their Illinois wedding.

Fillmore Gaebler marriage record
Fillmore/Gaebler marriage record

On August 13, 1908, just two days after Lydia’s 25th birthday, she gave birth to what I think was their only child.  It was a boy, and maybe you can guess what they named this boy.  Yes, he was named Frances Albert Fillmore.  Here is photo of that smiling boy when he was quite young.

Frances Albert Fillmore
Frances Albert Fillmore

This boy grew up to be this dapper young gentleman.

Frances Albert Fillmore 2
Frances Albert Fillmore

During his career as a florist, Lydia’s husband, Frances George, was in business with his father for a while.  Here is a photo of Frances James Fillmore.

Frances James Fillmore
Frances James Fillmore

This record from Gould’s St. Louis Red Book in 1914 reflects the fact that father and son were in business together.  The business was called F.J. Fillmore & Son Florists.

F J & Son Fillmore Florists Gould's St. Louis
Gould’s Red Book – St. Louis, MO 1914

This 1920 listing from the St. Louis city directory describes the Fillmore’s business.

Fillmore Florists 1920 city directory St. Louis MO
Fillmore & Son Florists – 1920 St. Louis directory

In the above record, you can see the address of this business was 4222 Nebraska Ave.  There are several other documents that indicate this was not just the business address, but also the place where the Fillmores lived.  A street-side online map shows this building to exist at that address now.

4222 Nebraska Ave. St. Louis MO Fillmore
4222 Nebraska Ave. – St. Louis, MO

This building has all the looks of a residence with a storefront attached to it.  I believe this was the location of the F.J. Fillmore & Son Florists.  That address is also just five blocks away from the Gaebler Grocery, where Lydia’s parents lived and had their business.  This map shows those two locations.

Gaebler homes St. Louis MO map
Enter a caption

These addresses are also close to Holy Cross Lutheran Church. I did check some of their church records to see if I could find any Fillmores, but I did not find any, even though there were plenty of Gaeblers.

Later in their lives, Frances George and Lydia sat down for a photograph.  Here they are.

Frances and Lydia Fillmore
Frances George and Lydia Fillmore

If you look at this other photograph of Frances George, you can begin to understand where his son, Frances Albert, got his sense of style.

Frances George Fillmore
Frances George Fillmore

In 1960, Lydia died.  Here is her death certificate.

Lydia Fillmore death certificate
Lydia Fillmore death certificate

This form indicates that Lydia was also a florist.  Her husband died in 1963.  Here is his death certificate.

Frances G Fillmore death certificate
Frances George Fillmore death certificate

There are several Fillmores buried in the Park Lawn Cemetery in Lemay, Missouri.  All of them are shown using this gravestone.

Fillmore gravestone Park Lawn St. Louis MO

Yes, Frau Lydia found Frank Fillmore the Florist, son of Frank Fillmore the Florist, and had a son, Frank Fillmore.  Such a fantastic fable, huh?






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