Perry County Waser Women

I actually started writing this post, thinking I had this family figured out, but I had to restart after I found all kinds of confusing records.  So I have decided begin with a different starting point and disregard the previous generation, and this led me to do a restart of this post.  Suffice it to say that there was a Joseph Walter Waser who lived in St. Louis, was born in Switzerland in 1869, and immigrated to America in 1889.  There were other Wasers who lived in St. Louis prior to this time, even some other men with the name Joseph Waser, but I gave up trying to connect them conclusively to this Waser family.  The first census I will show is the 1900 census for St. Louis.  By this time, Joseph is a married man with two children.

Joseph Waser 1900 census St. Louis MO
1900 census – St. Louis, MO

Joseph Waser probably was married sometime around 1895 or 1896 because his first child was born in on this day, December 28th, in 1896.  Below is a birth record from St. Louis for Joseph, Jr.

Joseph Waser Jr. birth record St. Louis MO
Joseph Waser, Jr. birth record – St. Louis, MO

Before we discuss Joseph, Jr.’s life, let’s take a longer look at Joseph, Sr.

This story attracted me because both of these men named Joseph Waser found their brides who had origins in Perry County.  Joseph, Sr. married Anna Roth who was born in Frohna, Missouri on March 30, 1872, and baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church.  However, by the time of her confirmation, she was living in New Wells.  Her confirmation record is in the church books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells.  Anna was the daughter of Peter and Christiane (Schumann) Roth.  Christiane was the subject of a fairly recent post written by Lynn Degenhardt titled, The Trail of Christiane Theilig’s Out of Wedlock Child.  We do not have a church record for the marriage of Joseph and Anna, nor could I find any other type of marriage record.  It remains a mystery to me how this Swiss man managed to connect with a girl from the little village of New Wells.

Before I continue, let me say that there are so many Anna Roth’s in our German Family Tree that I may just have to do a story about all the local Anna Roth’s, including Lindy Roth’s daughter, who occasionally works in the Old Bank Coffee Shop with her mother these days.

After their marriage, Joseph and Anna lived the rest of their lives in St. Louis.  In the 1900 census shown above, Joseph is said to be working at a dairy.  One year earlier, in 1899, we find these entries in the St. Louis city directory.

Joseph Waser in 1899 St. Louis city directory
1899 St. Louis city directory

Now you may understand my confusion when trying to figure out which Joseph Waser I was trying to research.  Our Joseph is the one working at a dairy.  The 1910 census shows that this couple had two more children, bringing their total to four.

Joseph Waser 1910 census St. Louis MO
1910 census – St. Louis, MO

Joseph is still reported as working at a dairy.  The two boarders are milkers for a dairy, almost certainly the one Joseph operated.  Their address is given as 3959 California Ave.  The entry shown below from a 1918 St. Louis city directory indicates a Meadow Gold Dairy located at this same address.

Meadow Gold 1918 Dairy St. Louis city directory
1918 St. Louis city directory

In 1918, Joseph, Jr. filled out this World War I draft registration.

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Joseph Waser, Jr. – WWI draft registration

The 1920 census does not include Joseph, Jr., and I was not able to find him in a census.

Joseph Waser 1920 census St. Louis MO
1920 census – St. Louis, MO

One year later, on July 24, 1921, Joseph was married.  Once again, for some unknown reason, he found his bride, and in this case, was even married, in Perry County.  Joseph married Lydia Grebing at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  Lydia was the daughter of Jacob and Louise (Andermann) Grebing.  I do have a theory about how Lydia managed to find a husband in St. Louis.  In a previous post about Lydia’s sister, Clara, titled, The Replica, it was stated that Clara was living in St. Louis and working as a maid according to the 1920 census.  Maybe Lydia visited her sister and got to know Joseph, Jr. while she was there.  Below is the marriage license for Joseph and Lydia.

Waser Grebing marriage license
Waser/Grebing marriage license

What I find interesting is that Joseph was listed on this form as living at his parents’ address in St. Louis, but he had not shown up there in the 1920 census as living there.

Joseph and Lydia are found in the 1930 census with two of their three children.  Joseph was a tool maker at an electric company.

Joseph Waser 1930 census St. Louis MO
1930 census – St. Louis, MO

I got a really good chuckle out of the fact that there is a boarder in this household by the name of Gerard Fiehler.  He is 19 years old in this census and is even working in a garage, just like the Gerard Fiehler living presently in Altenburg.  I knew my buddy, Gerard, was old, but this indicates he’s much older than me.

In addition to the two sons in the Waser family, Clarence and Ralph, there was a daughter born in 1932 named Dorothea.

Anna (Roth) Waser died in 1937.  We have her death certificate.

Anna Waser death certificate
Anna Waser death certificate

Joseph, Sr. died in 1954.  We also have his death certificate.

Joseph Waser Sr. death certificate
Joseph Waser, Sr. death certificate

Joseph and Anna are buried together in the Sunset Memorial Park in St. Louis.

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Joseph and Anna Waser gravestone – Sunset Memorial, St. Louis, MO

Joseph, Jr. filled out this World War II draft card in 1942.

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Joseph Waser, Jr. – WWII draft card

He was working at Wagner Electric Company, which may have been the company he was working as a tool maker in the earlier census.

Joseph, Jr. died in 1971; Lydia died in 1983.  They are buried together in the St. Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in St. Louis.

Joseph and Lydia Waser gravestone St. Trinity St. Louis MO
Joseph and Lydia Waser gravestone – St. Trinity, St. Louis, MO

I want to also say a few things about the next generation of Waser’s.  Their two sons, Clarence and Ralph, both served in the Navy in World War II.  They are both buried in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis.

This obituary for Clarence was found on Findagrave.com.

Clarence Waser obituary
Clarence Waser obituary

It appears that Clarence followed in his father’s footsteps and became a tool and die maker.  I cannot help but think of the fine reputation the Swiss have for their detailed craftsmanship.  The Waser daughter, Dorothea married and moved to Rockford, Illinois.  I found her obituary, too, and it demonstrates that she remained a Lutheran all her life.

Dorothea Waser Roeh obituary
Dorothea Roeh obituary

This is a story in which a father and son, with Swiss roots, despite living in the big city, manage to find their mates in the tiny little German towns of East Perry County.  It amazes me.  But then again, I grew up in the same big city, and I found a wife who grew up on a farm in southwestern Minnesota.  God very often has interesting plans.


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