Clara Magdalena Hopfer was born on May 13, 1878, so she is today’s birthday girl. She would become the first female to enter the life of Phillip Kassel, but she certainly would not be the last.
Magdalena was the daughter of Gotthold and Amelia (Kasten) Hopfer. She was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. Below is her baptism record.
Magdalena can be found in the 1880 census, but you have to look in the “Lost 1880 Union Township Records” to find her. It is the only census in which we find her as a single girl. She was just 2 years old.
Now let’s take a look at the early days of Phillip Kassel. He was born on October 28, 1864, the son of another Phillip Kassel and his wife, Wilhelmina (Bultmann sp?) Kassel. Family history says he was born in Egypt Mills, Missouri, but a baptism record cannot be found in the records we have here in our museum. We do not have a Kassel family binder in our museum, but we do have one for the Hopfer family. It is a monumental piece of genealogical work.
In this family book, there is a short excerpt that gives some information about Phillip’s early life.
Phillip shows up later living in the Farrar vicinity of Perry County. This, plus the fact that his older brother, Christian Kassel, had married Sulamith Hopfer, must have been a factor in Phillip meeting Magdalena Hopfer, Sulamith’s sister. Sulamith can be seen in the above 1880 census, and once again, we have a girl being identified as being a son.
On February 10, 1895, Magdalena married Phillip at her church, Grace Lutheran in Uniontown. We have their marriage license from Perry County.
Also, here is the church record for this wedding.
The 1900 census is the first one that shows this Kassel/Hopfer couple. By that year, they had two children, both girls, and they were living in the Salem Township. Phillip was a farmer.
The 1910 census shows that this family had grown larger. Now this family had 6 daughters.
The 1920 census finally shows a son in this family, but he was the only one. That son”s name was William.
After William was born in 1911, Magdalena had three straight stillborn children, followed by a child that lived for just 2 hours. That was the end of her bearing children, so William was the youngest child in that household from then on.
It was at this time period that the 1915 land atlas for Perry County was produced, and we find the parcels of land owned by Phillip Kassel. As was stated in the above story of Phillip’s early life, after Phillip and his brother, Frank, were married, they split up their land, making them neighbors not far from the village of Farrar.
The 1930 census shows the family getting smaller. Only their son, William, remains.
The last census we can look at is the one made in 1940. We see that Phillip and Magdalena would be almost described as living in William’s household. Phillip no longer has a listed occupation and William is the farmer.
Phillip died in 1955 at the age of 90. We have his death certificate.
It is difficult to read, but the church death record for Phillip states that he was completely blind and deaf when he died. The death certificate just mentions blindness.
Magdalena died in 1973 at the age of 95. She died too recently. The public cannot see her death certificate yet. Phillip and Margaretha are both buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar.
There was apparently a tragic death that took place in this family. After Phillip died, but before Magdalena died, their daughter, Emilie, who had married a Schmidt from St. Louis, died as a result of a mini-train which went off its tracks in San Antonio, Texas. During that year, San Antonio hosted a world’s fair known as the Hemisfair. That is where this tragedy occurred. Here is her Texas death certificate.
A story about the derailment of the monorail at the Hemisfair can be found at this link:
Phillip is one of those characters from Perry County history that lived a life full of females. It is only those descendants from William that carry the Kassel name from this Kassel branch now.
I am almost certain that the woman who put together the monumental Hopfer Family Binder that we have in our research library is part of this branch of the Hopfer family. I will put out an appeal for someone in the Kassel family to produce a family binder and donate one to our museum. We could use one, especially if it includes photographs. You may notice that I was not able to put any photos in this post.