The blog post today got started yesterday when I found that there was a Fred Eggers who was born on this day. I contacted our own Fred Eggers to see how he was related. By the time all was said and done, Fred Eggers decided to write this story about Fred Eggers. My thanks go out to Fred for taking on this task. He is much more qualified to tell this story than I am.
Many people around the East Perry County area know me as “Uncle Fred”. I owe this all to my sister Martha Haertling’s kids Jen, James, and Dan. When they were young children visiting our home they were full of wonder and were always asking, “Uncle Fred this?” or “Uncle Fred that?” My cousin, Glen Brueckner picked up on this and started calling me “Uncle Fred”. Of course, in those days everyone in the Farrar area had nicknames and Glen was known as “Rooster” or “Chick”. The nickname was mostly known among close friends and family until television personality “Uncle Briggs” visited the Old Timers Day held by the East Perry County Jaycees. After that it seems like everyone that knew me tagged me as “Uncle Fred”.
This blog is not about me, it is about my “Uncle Fred”, Friedrich Karl Eggers who was born on this date – May 7, 1883. He was the son of Henry Friedrich and Katherine Anna Soehl Eggers. Friedrich was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church on May 14, 1883 by Reverend C. L. Janzow, who was the Pastor of the Frohna Congregation. W. G. Polack of the Paitzdorf Congregation was serving as Salem’s Pastor at that time but there is history that he had health problems and Salem’s records include baptisms by Pastor Janzow, Pastor Andreas Baepler, the Missouri Synod missionary to the English speaking Lutherans of Southeast Missouri, and a couple of laymen who may have been serving as Elders, during the period from 1881 through August of 1883 when Reverend Heinrich Albrecht became Salem’s first resident Pastor.
Friedrich Karl Eggers was confirmed on March 29, 1896 at Salem by Reverend Friedrich Schriefer who was the next Pastor of the Congregation after Albrecht.
This early photo may be from that confirmation.
The next record we have of him is this family photo at the Eggers home believed to be taken in 1898 when he would have been 15 years old. This photo was given to me by Larry Lohmann of Uniontown who is the current owner of this property which passed from the Eggers family to their Lohmann cousins on the Soehl side in 1920.
In the 1900 census, Friedrich is listed as a farm laborer in his father’s home. The copy of that census available on Ancestry.com is difficult to read so I have not included it.
We know from family history that he attended Salem Lutheran School, Schalls Public School, likely Perryville High School, and college in Cape Girardeau. Some of his history from 1900 through 1919 we can find in the great communion records for Salem that were kept by Reverend Johann Krueger from 1900 through 1924.
We do know that he taught in the rural public schools in Perry County during the period from 1902 to 1910. The Public Schools of Perry County booklet by the Perry County Historical Society lists him as the teacher at the Rock Spring School near Friedenberg in 1911. This is a photo of the school from that booklet.
From newspaper articles in the Fort Wayne Sentinel we know that he visited in Fort Wayne in August 1909 where his sister Johanna (Jane) and her husband Dr. Albert Lueders and his brother Emmanuel were living. He ran for the position of Superintendent of Schools for Perry County in April of 1910 and lost to a Mr. Reddick by a vote of 999 to 886. Reportedly one of the issues in that election was universal education in the English language. He took a job with the Wabash Railroad in Fort Wayne in May of 1910, where his brother Emmanuel already worked and my father, Walter later worked, only to return to Missouri in September of that year to accept another teaching position.
We do not know how long he stayed in Perry County this time, but we know that when he was married to Minnie Kiel in Fort Wayne on December 8, 1912 he listed his occupation as Ticket Agent on his marriage license. By this time he entered his name as Fred C. Eggers which he went by the remainder of his life.
We also have a newspaper article from the Fort Wayne Sentinel for this wedding.
Among our family photographs is one of all of the Henry Eggers sons and daughters from sometime in the 1910’s. It may have been taken on the occasion of Henry’s funeral in 1914 or Martin’s wedding in 1915.
In May of 1913 he was promoted to the position of Day Ticket Agent and remained with the Wabash Railroad until he took an accounting position with S. F. Bowser and Company in August of 1917. In September of 1917 he declined an offer to become a federal rate clerk for the federal government in Washington D. C., because he did not wish to relocate there and expressed “entire satisfaction” with his job at the Bowser plant.
His employer, Sylvanus Freelove Bowser (8 August 1854 – 3 October 1938), was the inventor of the automobile gas pump which was able to measure the gallons pumped.
His September 1918 draft registration shows him as being employed by S. F. Bowser Co. at that time.
The 1920 U S Census lists him as an Accountant with an Oil Pump Works and living at 807 Cottage Avenue where he would live the remainder of his life. Here is a photo of that home as it appears on Google Maps.
The 1930 U S Census also lists him as employed by a Pump and Tank Factory but in the 1931 city directory he is listed as a Salesman. In a book about his son Melvin, it is mentioned that Fred lost his job during the great depression and the family was on the dole. It is possible that was due to setbacks suffered by the Bowser Company. The 1930 census includes all three of the sons of Fred and Minnie Eggers.
The 1933 Fort Wayne City Directory lists him as a salesman for Lupke & O’Brien, which was an insurance agency. The 1940 census also lists him as an Insurance Agent. He remained with the Lupke Insurance Agency until his death.
Fred C. Eggers died on October 30, 1955 at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, which was located less than a block from his home. Fred’s wife Minnie died June 16, 1977, also at Lutheran Hospital. They are buried at Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Fort Wayne.
Fred started his career as a school teacher and it is interesting to know that his three sons all worked in education. Delmar Milton Eggers (1913 – 1983) worked in various jobs but later received a degree from Purdue University and taught at the Logansport, Indiana High School. Melvin Arnold Eggers (1916 – 1994) received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Economics from Indiana University in 1940 and 1941 respectively. He served in the Navy during World War II as a Japanese language translator and an economic analyst. Melvin received a PhD from Yale in 1950 and joined the Economics Department at Syracuse University and later became its Chairman. In 1971 he was promoted to the position of Chancellor and served in that position until his retirement in 1991. Oscar Raymond (Ozzie) Eggers (1920 – 2004) earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Chicago in 1942. He served in the Army during World War II where he learned to read, write, and speak Chinese and worked in the Counter Intelligence Corp. He then returned to the University of Chicago and earned a Master’s Degree in Sociology and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree. He taught Sociology at several universities including 35 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he retired in 1991.
The Syracuse University Press published a book of over 300 pages on Melvin Eggers entitled “The Eggers Years” which covered his twenty years as Chancellor which included ending a financial crisis at the university, the Vietnam War demonstrations, racial unrest in the football program, the building of the Carrier Dome, the hiring of Jim Boeheim as head basketball coach, and the crash of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 with 35 Syracuse students on board.
Besides being named after my Uncle Fred Eggers, the other legacy that comes from him was that he wrote my father after my birth on September 29, 1945, that my name was significant because I was born on “Michealmas in Friedensjahr”, that is, on St. Micheal’s Day (my middle name, Michael) in the year of Peace in World War II, and was named Frederick (Peaceful Ruler). I am sure that some of my teachers would not agree that being named after an angel or anything peaceful was appropriate for me, but what do teachers know anyway. (Sorry, Warren)
Much of the information in this blog comes from the Henry Eggers of Altenburg and Farrar Perry County, Missouri 1856 to 1914 family book compiled by my brother, Cal Eggers, in 2005 which is available in the Research Library at the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum in Altenburg and his family tree Eggers Family – Lamstedt, Germany to Perry County, Missouri, which contains information found since 2005 and is available on Ancestry.com.