Angeline Pi

I know you are quite familiar with Angel Food Cake.  Today, I will tell you about Angeline Pi.  Forgive me.  It’s the Math teacher that’s still in me.  I cannot get rid of it.  Today is Pi Day (3.14), and I just have to sneak a little Pi (π) into today’s post.

Angeline Hopfer was born on March 14, 1885.  She was the daughter of Gotthold and Amalia (Kasten) Hopfer.  Her father was one of the original immigrants, coming with the Gruber Group toward the end of 1839 as a one-year-old.  Angeline was one of the last children born to Gotthold and Amalia.  She was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown.  I am once again out of town doing grandfatherly duties, so I will not be able to show images from church records for the next few days.

Her future husband had a much more tragic beginning.  His name was originally August Steenbock.  August was born on September 25, 1877.  His parents were Joachim and Marie (Wrage) Steenbock.  These two and their family decided to travel to America sometime around 1880.  A family story says that they came here with four children, arriving in New York in 1881.  Then they later were traveling up the Mississippi River when a few members of the family became ill with malaria.  They may have stopped across the river in Jackson County, Illinois after Maria, the mother, died.  She may have been buried somewhere along the river bank.  Another boy named Gustav must have been born in early June of 1881, not long before his mother died.   Gustav was baptized at Christ Lutheran in Jacob, Illinois at the end of June in 1881.  The oldest child died in that area also, because there is a death certificate for him in Jackson County.  Joachim, the father, who was also deathly ill, then brought his remaining family across the river to Wittenberg, where, as the story goes, he managed to get Ehregott Richter to find homes for his other three children (I think the baby, Gustav, died very early on).  Then sometime in 1882, August’s father died.  Joachim was buried at what was called the Cape County poor farm in Cape Girardeau.  That left August and two others as a orphans.

There was a rather well-established colony of Austrian Lutherans who settled around New Wells, Missouri at that time, and in that area, there was a childless couple, Christian and Josepha (Steiner) Mirly.  This couple adopted August into their family, and August took on the Mirly surname.  This Mirly couple also adopted a girl by the name of Pauline Pfisterer, who in a similar way, took on the Mirly surname.  These two adopted children would be the only children in this family.  The 1900 census shows this household.

August Mirly 1900 censuss Apple Creek Township MO
1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

The other two Steenbock children were taken in by a Richter family and a Schoen family.  Those may be stories for another day on this blog.

On October 23, 1904, August Mirly married Angeline Hopfer at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown.  Below is their marriage license.

Mirly Hopfer marriage license
Mirly/Hopfer marriage license

August and Angeline have a dozen children included in our German Family Tree.  The first three children in this family were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells.  After that, the children were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Shawneetown.

August filled out a World War I draft registration in 1918 which indicated that he was living in Oak Ridge, Missouri.

August Mirly – WWI draft registration

In a plat book for Cape Girardeau County produced in 1930, we find the August Mirly farm located near Oak Ridge.

August Mirly land map 1930
August Mirly land map – 1930

The 1930 census for Apple Creek Township shown below indicates what the Mirly household looked like when the above map was produced.  Right above the entry for August and Angeline, you will see Walter Mirly, their oldest child, who also included another brother, Edward, in their household.  Walter had gotten married in 1929.  I guess all of these folks would be the “etal” indicated on the map.

August Mirly 1930 census Apple Creek Township MO
1930 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

August was already quite old when he filled out his draft card for World War II.  This form indicated that his address was in Shawneetown, so he and his family may have moved.

August Mirly – WWII draft card

August died in 1947 at the age of 69.  Here is his death certificate.

August Mirly death certificate
August Mirly death certificate

I find it interesting that Dr. Theodore Fischer from Altenburg signed this death certificate from Cape Girardeau County.  You can also see on this death certificate that August’s father’s name was John Steenbock.  The informant, Angeline, certainly knew the story of August’s roots.

Angeline would not die until 1982 when she 97 years old.  She and her husband, August, are buried together in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Shawneetown.

August and Angelina Mirly gravestone Trinity Shawneetown MO
August and Angeline Mirly gravestone – Trinity, Shawneetown, MO

In the course of researching this story, I called up Gerard at the museum to get some of the details for this tale.  He tells me there is a wonderful family book there that tells this story in detail.  I wish I was there to read it all.  I hear it also has photographs of the Mirly family.  I may have to post them sometime in the future when I get back to Altenburg.

I will end this story with some more Math.  Not only was Angeline born on Pi Day (3.14), but if you look at her gravestone, you will see that she died on April 13th.  That would be 4.13, which is Pi written backwards.  Amazing!



8 thoughts on “Angeline Pi

  1. I don’t know either witch Hopfer Gotthold was from but I do know that we are related to the Kaston’s and that Gotthold was Mike Hopfer’s real name {George and Jimmy’s dad) It could be the Red Hopfer’s Great great grandpa. Marlene P.S. Why were we not close to Red and Verginia??? There was a falling-out between brothers a long time ago but I don’t know anything more about it and can’t ask anyone who would know.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  2. August and Angeline youngest daughter passed away on March 6 and was buried in Shawneetown on Monday. Mildred “Millie” Dost.

  3. Can you tell me Lutheran heritage center , why did the group of Lutherans emigrate to Missouri from Germany in the first place? What led to so many people coming there ? My family is the Birner’s. I just wondered what drove them. Thanks for all the great and interesting content !! Amanda Stein


    1. One of the main reasons these German Lutherans came in 1839 was for religious freedom. They were unhappy with what was happening in the Lutheran church in Germany. They basically felt it was becoming too liberal. They also came for economic reasons. Many were being effected by the Industrial Revolution, which began in the textile industry Many of the immigrants were weavers. You could also make an argument that they were running out of land in Germany, and many were attracted to the large parcels of land that were available in America.

Leave a Reply to Amanda SteinCancel reply