Wittenberg Mail Carrier

Because he was born on March 27, 1872, Martin Grebing would have been 147 years old today.  It is his life story that I will attempt to tell today.  Martin’s parents were John and Anna (Noennig) Grebing.  Martin was the oldest child in his family.  He ended up having just one sister because his father died in 1876 when Martin was just 4 years old.  Martin was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Missouri.  Here is his baptism record.

Martin Grebing baptism record Trinity Altenburg MO
Martin Grebing baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Martin’s future spouse, Emma Richter, was born about 5 months before Martin.  She was born on October 8, 1871.  Emma was the daughter of Ehregott and Elizabeth (Hartung) Richter.  She, too, was baptized at Trinity, Altenburg.  Below is her baptism record.

Emma Richter baptism record Trinity Altenburg
Emma Richter baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

It was on October 20, 1892, that Martin married Emma.  Their marriage record is in the Trinity church records.  At first, I thought this marriage may have taken place in the Wittenberg church/school building, but then I noticed that the wedding party consisted of at least 8 people, so I am thinking a wedding that large would have been held at Trinity in Altenburg.

Grebing Richter marriage record Trinity Altenburg MO
Grebing/Richter marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

It is not a great image, but I do have what is probably a copy of a copy of the original wedding photograph for this couple.  Emma is definitely wearing what I call a black and white wedding dress.  Martin may have his coat buttoned only at the top, but I cannot tell for sure.

Grebing Richter wedding
Grebing/Richter wedding

The 1900 census has this couple living in Wittenberg with 3 children, and Martin is called a farmer.

Martin Grebing 1900 census Wittenberg MO
1900 census – Wittenberg, MO

Another child was born in 1902, and it must not have been long after that birth that the family photo shown below was taken.  Four more children would be born after this photo was taken.

Martin Grebing & family X
Martin Grebing family

A side note (in case someone from my family is reading this):  The oldest girl shown at the right was my Uncle Howard Voss’s grandmother.  Also, the girl standing in the front married my grandmother’s brother, Edwin Mueller.

The above photo must have also been taken at about the time when Martin took a new job.  In 1903, he became the first mail carrier to deliver mail to rural areas out of the Wittenberg post office.  He delivered mail by horse and buggy to folks living on the Ridge and other nearby rural areas.  He held this position from 1903-1912.  We see this picture of Martin with his “mail hack”.

Martin Grebing mail carrier Wittenberg MO
Martin Grebing mail carrier

The document below shows that in the year 1905, Martin made $504 delivering the mail.

Martin Grebing post office service record 1905

The 1910 census indicates that Martin was a mail carrier, and there were five children living in his household.

Martin Grebing 1910 census Wittenberg MO
1910 census – Wittenberg, MO

In 1915, a photograph was taken of the Wittenberg Band.  Martin was a part of that group.  He is indicated by the white arrow and was playing a baritone.

Wittenberg Band enlarged X Martin Grebing
Wittenberg Band

Martin would change occupations before the next census.  In the 1920 census, it says he was working at the swing factory in Wittenberg.

Martin Grebing 1920 census Wittenberg MO
1920 census – Wittenberg, MO

The swing factory closed, and that, along with America going through the Depression, led to Martin moving his family to Cape Girardeau.  We find his family there in the 1930 census.  Martin was then a cabinet worker for a planing mill.

Martin Grebing 1930 census Cape Girardeau MO
1930 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

The 1940 census shows a similar scenerio.  In a 1949 Cape Girardeau city directory, we find several folks with the surname, Grebing, including Martin.

Grebing names Cape Girardeau city directory 1949
1949 Cape Girardeau city directory

Right above Martin, you see Edw. Grebing who was a mail carrier. He was one of Martin’s grandsons, the son of Oscar, who is shown right below Martin.  Theophil is another son of Martin.

Martin died in 1957 at the age of 85.  Here is his death certificate.  Here he was described as a retired cabinet builder.

Martin Grebing death certificate
Martin Grebing death certificate

Emma died in 1959.  We also have her death certificate.  She died of cancer of the pancreas.

Emma Grebing death certificate
Emma Grebing death certificate

I am going to show the death certificate for their son, Theophil, not because it is that important to this story, but because of the fact that it is a death certificate from 1968.  Just a few weeks ago, I heard that the state of Missouri had just released death certificates for 1968.  Prior to that time, you could only view those that occurred between 1910 and 1967.  This is the first such document I have seen for 1968.

Theophil Grebing death certificate
Theophil Grebing death certificate

It also shows that Theophil died of the same cause as his mother.

Martin and Emma are both buried in the Cape County Memorial Park in Cape Girardeau.

Before I quit, let me point out a few other things.  First of all, Martin had one sister, Ida.  Ida married another Martin.  That was Martin Richter.  And yes, Martin was the brother of Emma.  So the only two children in the John Grebing family each married Richter’s who were siblings.

Later in her life, Emma was part of a photo taken of her elderly father and several of her siblings.  She is standing in the back on the left.  The man standing in the back is said to be Martin, but he is not her husband, Martin Grebing, it is her brother, Martin Richter.

Martin Richter family members
Ehregott Richter family

Another photo was taken of both Martin and Emma when they were quite old.  They are seated on the left in this picture.  Their daughter, Edna, and her husband, Herman Thurm, are seated on the right.  The others are in the Thurm family.

Grebing Thurm photo Wittenberg

Like so many other folks that have been the subjects of these blog posts, Martin was yet another man who had several different jobs throughout his life.  He was able to adapt to new challenges that came his way.



3 thoughts on “Wittenberg Mail Carrier

  1. Thank you for this post. It made my day!! Emma and Martin were my grandparents and I have very fond memories of being with them. Grandpa’s wood shop and Grandma’s treadle sewing machine.

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