Thirty years ago, I woke up on a New Year’s Day, remembering that the night before I had asked my wife to marry me. I was a 38 year old bachelor at the time. I guess you could say that I needed a woman, and Sandi was the woman for me. I cannot help but post this music video which not only speaks to me today, but I think it could also have spoken to today’s birthday boy back in 1930.
Adolph Martin Hemmann was born on January 1, 1895 and baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar, Missouri. Martin was the son of Julius and Gesche (Hesse) Hemmann. Below is Martin’s baptism record. I included the record for Alma Schlichting because she was baptized on the day that Martin was born.
Before I move on to talk about Martin’s life, let me first say a few things about his Hemmann ancestors. His father, Julius, who was a Civil War veteran, married twice. His first wife, Justina Christina Mueller, bore to him 6 children. Julius than married Gesche Hesse, and she bore to him 8 more children, plus it looks like they adopted a 9th one. Martin was the 6th child in the second marriage. I guess it is safe to say that Martin grew up in a household full of people. If you go back one Hemmann generation earlier, you get to Johann Gottfried Hemmann, who also was married twice and altogether had 20 children.
The first census in which we find Martin was in 1900, but that census is notorious for being almost impossible to read. Next we find him in the 1910 census. It spills over two pages, so I have to show two images.
In 1920, we find Martin still living with his parents, but now his older widowed sister and her family were living in that household. Julius was still living, but he was 77 years old and probably no longer able to do a lot of farm work. Martin was probably doing most of the farm labor.
Julius Hemmann’s land can be seen on this plat map from 1915.
The 1930 census shows Martin’s aging parents had moved into the Rudy Koenig household. Rudy had married another of Martin’s sisters.
In that same 1930 census, we find this entry for Martin Hemmann. It is one of the sadder census entries you will see.
Martin was a 35 year old bachelor living all by himself. I cannot help thinking about his situation. He had always been surrounded by plenty of people. Those people would have certainly helped him with certain chores to make his life easier. Now he is living alone, not only doing his farm chores, but also having to cook for himself, do his own laundry, etc. Not only that, but that farmhouse must have been a lonely place for one man to spend his time, with no one to talk to. I’d say Martin was a man that needed a woman.
Martin found one. In that same year, on November 6, 1930, Martin married Anna Maria Steffens. Actually, she was Anna Maria Versemann. She was previously married to Louis Steffens, but he had died in 1924. The 1920 census shows Louis and Anna living in the same household with Louis’s parents, Henry and Martha (Hesse) Steffens.
Louis’s mother was a Hesse, and if she was the sister of Martin’s mother (and I think she was), then Martin and Louis would have been cousins. It is very likely that Martin married his cousin’s widow. Also, if you look on the land map above, you will see the close proximity of Henry Steffens’s land to the Hemmann land.
Anna Maria Versemann was born on April 1, 1892, so she was about 3 years older than Martin. Her parents were Henry and Emma (Koenig) Versemann, and she was also baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. This is her baptism record.
She married Louis Steffens in 1913, and they had four children, two boys and two girls. So when Henry died in 1924, Anna Maria was likely trying to raise four children by herself not far from the lonely Hemmann bachelor. I guess you could say that she was a woman who needed a man. And when Martin and Anna Maria were married in 1930, Martin became an instant father of four. Below is the marriage record we find in the Salem Lutheran church books.
Martin and Anna Maria had two children of their own, a boy and a girl. The last census we can see is one taken in 1940. Here is the listing for this Hemmann family.
Martin died in 1965; Anna Maria died in 1985. They are both buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar.
After November 6, 1930, Martin Hemmann’s life must have been turned up-side-down. His peaceful, empty house became full again. He also must have greatly appreciated better food on the table, cleaner clothes, and pleasant conversation with a spouse. Meanwhile, Anna Maria must have been grateful to have the male influence in her life and the lives of her children.
There is so much in this story that runs parallel with mine. When I married almost 30 years ago, I was a 39 year old bachelor marrying a woman who had previously been married. All of a sudden, my house was filled with a wife and her three daughters. The fight over the bathroom had begun. I imagine in 1930, Martin had to fight over the outhouse.