Fashion Statement: 1897

The focal point of today’s story will be a wedding photograph.  The groom is today’s birthday boy, so that is why this photograph got my attention today.  First, let’s take a look at the photo.

Ben and Rosa Oswald wedding
Oswald/Hemmann wedding

About a year ago, we posted a story that displayed a gallery of photographs of weddings in which the brides are wearing what I describe as black and white wedding dresses.  These dresses basically consist of a dark wedding gown with a white veil.  That post was titled Another Black and White Wedding – Revisited (With Pi for Dessert). That gallery happens to include a groom by the name Doering, which was the highlighted surname in yesterday’s post.

Another post that was published back in 2017 had a gallery of photographs illustrating grooms that were wearing suit coats that had just one button that was “buttoned” at the top.  That post was titled, Buttoned at the Top (Updated).  One of the photos in that gallery was the brother of the groom in today’s photo.

The photo of the Oswald/Hemmann wedding shown above is an example of a photograph that illustrates both of these styles….a black and white bride with a one button at the top groom.  The wedding shown in this photo took place in 1897, which was within the time period when both of these styles were popular.  I might once again add that I have been told that the tradition of a white wedding gown did not come into widespread use until after the turn of the 20th century.

Now let me tell you the stories of the two people in today’s post.  I will start with today’s birthday boy, Bernhard Oswald.  Bernhard was born on March 1, 1868 in Chester, Illinois.  Because he was born there, I am unable to show his baptism record. His parents were Christian and Margaretha (Droege) Oswald.

The first census in which we find Bernhard was the one taken in 1870 in Chester, Illinois.  His father is shown on this form as being a brewer.

Bernhard Oswald 1870 census Chester IL
1870 census – Chester, IL

Sometime in the 1870’s, the Oswald’s moved to Perry County.  We find them living in the Salem Township in the 1880 census where his father is called a farmer.

Bernhard Oswald 1880 census Salem Township MO
1880 census – Salem Township, MO

The first record we find in the local church records is his confirmation record which can be found in the Concordia Lutheran Church books from Frohna.  He was confirmed in 1883.

Bernhard Oswald confirmation record Concordia Frohna MO
Bernhard Oswald confirmation record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

On October 13, 1877, Rosa Hemmann was born.  She was the daughter of Julius and Christina (Mueller) Hemmann.  Rosa was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown.  Below is her baptism record.

Rosa Hemmann baptism record Grace Uniontown MO
Rosa Hemmann – Grace, Uniontown, MO

The wedding of Bernhard and Rosa took place at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar, Missouri on May 23, 1897.  Below is their marriage license.

Oswald Hemmann marriage license
Oswald/Hemmann marriage license

The image below is the church record from Salem Lutheran Church.

Oswald Hemmann marriage record Salem Farrar MO
Oswald/Hemmann marriage record – Salem, Farrar, MO

I also have another photo showing just Bernhard.  I do not know why we do not have a similar photo of Rosa.  Bernhard was apparently a fan of a mustache.

Bernhard Oswald
Bernhard Oswald

Bernhard and Rosa have 7 children listed in our German Family Tree.  The first two children were baptized at Salem, Farrar, but starting with Edwin Oswald who was born in 1901, the remaining children were baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Crosstown, Missouri.  In fact, Bernhard is listed as one of the founding members of that congregation which was orgainized in 1901.  I think Edwin was the first recorded baptism at that church.

Their second child, Hilda Oswald, is the only child that died at a young age.  She died when she was just a little over 3 years of age.  The death record at Zion, Crosstown does not give a cause of death.  Death certificates did not begin until 1910, so we do not have such a form to help us determine the cause of her death either.  What I find interesting is that a photo of young Hilda was taken.  It makes me wonder if the family knew she was ill and might die, so they had a photograph taken.

Hilda Oswald
Hilda Oswald

Hilda’s gravestone can be found in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Crosstown.

Hilda Oswald gravestone Zion Crosstown MO
Hilda Oswald gravestone – Zion, Crosstown, MO

The 1900 census did include Hilda.  It is in that notorious census which is very difficult to read.  Living in this household was Paul G. Hemmann who was Rosa’s brother.

Bernhard Oswald 1900 census Salem Township MO
1900 census – Salem Township, MO

The Oswald family had a farm located between Farrar and Crosstown.  You can find their land in the map below indicated by the red arrows.  The blue arrow indicates a parcel of land next to the Oswald’s that belonged to Rosa’s brother, P.G. Hemmann.

Bernhard Oswald land map 1915

Bernhard died on February 28, 1925 at the age of 56.  He was one day short of 57 because he died the day before his birthday.  His death certificate below states that he died of cancer at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.

Benjamin Oswald death certificate
Bernhard Oswald death certificate

Rosa died on December 21, 1930 at the age of 53.  The record in the Zion, Crosstown books say she died of a stroke.  Her death certificate below calls this apoplexy.

Rosa Oswald death certificate
Rosa Oswald death certificate

Bernhard and Rosa are both buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Crosstown.

I lived (and taught) through the era in our history when girls and ladies had what is referred to as “high hair”.  That fad occurred in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  I recall teenage girls in my classes getting out rulers to measure how high their hair stood.  Rosa Oswald has what I refer to as a “high veil” in her wedding photo.  Maybe someday I will have to write a post including a gallery of brides that had veils like the one in today’s story.


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