Sometimes I run across stories that send me down a whole lot of rabbit holes. Today is one of those. By the time I was done searching, and believe me, there are even more rabbit holes I could have gone down, I think I tied together some Perry County families that had a common characteristic. Their business was cigars.
It all starts with the marriage of Joseph Schuessler and Elizabeth Theiss on March 26, 1883. Before I move on with the story, let me caution you not to confuse this Joseph Schuessler with another one that was subject of the post, Joe’s Wives. The marriage between Joseph and Elizabeth took place at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Let me tell a little about each of the individuals in this marriage. I will start with Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Theiss was born on January 10, 1860. She was the daughter of John and Wilhelmine (Rabold) Theiss. Elizabeth was baptized at Trinity, Altenburg. Here is her baptism record.
Joseph Schuessler was born later that same year on September 15, 1860. He was the son of Gottlob and Dorothea (Harnagel) Schuessler. Like his future wife, he was baptized at Trinity, Altenburg. Below is his baptism record.
We do not have the church record for it, but I suspect that Joseph and Elizabeth attended confirmation classes together at some time along the way.
Here is where it gets kind of interesting. I think I have Joseph identified as living in St. Louis in 1880. I could not find him in the 1880 St. Louis census, but I did find three different Joseph Schuessler entries in an 1880 St. Louis city directory. I have included all the Schuessler entries on this image of that directory.
Based on later information, I think the Joseph Schuessler we are talking about was the one who was in the cigar business living at 1012 N. 13th.
It was 3 years later that Joseph married Elizabeth back in Altenburg. We have their marriage license.
We also can show this church record for this wedding that is found in the Trinity church books.
At this point, let me just say that in 1880, Rev. C.F.W. Walther was still alive and living in St. Louis. We know that he was a pipe and cigar smoker. I like to think that Rev. Walther might have bought some cigars from this Joseph Schuessler. I would have more confidence in this presumption if I knew when Joseph moved to the next known address for him. The 1900 St. Louis census shown below shows him and Elizabeth and a daughter named Matilda, who I believe was their only child.
Here we see that Joseph is now a proprietor of a cigar store. You cannot see this in the image, but their address was 2722 Miami Street. It was about this moment in my research that I remembered that I had done a story about Gustav Lueders who was another Perry County native who lived in St. Louis for a while selling cigars. I found him in this same 1900 census. Here is that entry.
Gustav’s address is shown as 3540 Ohio Ave. I have placed both Joseph and Gustav’s addresses on this map shown below. You can see that they lived only about a block away from each other, and they were both in the neighborhood around Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Concordia Publishing House, and in those days, Concordia Seminary was near there also.
Joseph’s cigar store must have been located somewhere near this location. If he had his store there before 1887, there is a good likelihood that Rev. Walther may have been a customer. He would have also been a neighbor.
It is important to note that Gustav Lueders had a wife named Clara, and her maiden name was Schuessler. Indeed Clara was Joseph’s sister. It is my guess that it was Joseph who may have talked Gustav into bringing his family to St. Louis to be employed in the cigar business. Gustav’s story was told in the post, Forth and Back.
At this point, I once again remembered another cigar story that I had done in the past, and I found that it was the story titled, Concordia’s Cigar Maker. Lo, and behold, the Concordia in the title was Concordia Harnagel. Joseph Schuessler’s mother’s maiden name was Harnagel. We have two Harnagel families in our German Family Tree. Joseph’s mother was from one of the Harnagel’s and Concordia was from the other one. I have not found a connection between the two Harnagel families, but I have now identified three families attached to the cigar business….Schuessler, Harnagel, and Lueders.
The 1910 census shows Joseph and Elizabeth still living at the same address. Elizabeth’s mother, Wilhelmine, was living with them, and this time, it says Joseph was a cigar maker.
This was the last census in which we find Elizabeth. She died in 1916, but she did not die in St. Louis. She is buried in Santa Ana, California. We find Joseph in the 1920 census for Santa Ana as a widower. He was living with his daughter’s family.
Joseph was still in the business of selling cigars in California. He probably worked for his son-in-law, Fred Grote, who was a grocer according to this census. I found that there was a department store in Santa Ana called the Ehlen Grote Store. The building that housed this business is still standing. It can be seen in a recent photo shown below.
That store sold groceries, shoes, household items, and apparently cigars. Look at the left side of the building. You will see an old painting (sometimes paintings like this are called ghost paintings) that advertises Owl Cigars for 5 cents. I found that Owl Cigars were made in New York and sold all over the country, and signs like the one on the side of this building were painted in many places. Here are a few other examples of those paintings.
When I wrote the story about Concordia Harnagel, I included this vintage photo from St. Louis.
It really tickled me to see another Owl Cigar sign showing up in today’s story which ended up all the way out in California.
Joseph died in 1926. Both he and his wife are buried in the Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana, California.
In closing, I will mention that while I was surfing the internet, I noticed another Schuessler name popping up in Belleville, Illinois. Apparently there was a Spencer Store there that also housed a business called Schuessler Cigars. That may have to be another rabbit hole for me to go down someday.