Back in the days right before the turn of the 20th century, a boy was born in Pocahontas, Missouri, just south of the Apple Creek in north Cape Girardeau County. Ferdinand Friedrick (Fred) Schirmer was born on May 24, 1896. He was the son of Wilhelm and Anna Marie (Putz) Schirmer. Fred was baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. Here is a record of information about Fred from a binder we have from St. John’s.
We find Fred in his first census in 1900, living in Shawnee Township. Fred was the youngest child in that family.
We find him living in the same place ten years later in the 1910 census.
We have evidence that Fred served in the military during World War I. However, the soldiers’ records for the state of Missouri do not include him. In fact, I was unable to locate a World War I draft registration form for Fred. That is usually not a hard thing to do, but in Fred’s case, he just doesn’t seem to have such a record. I am thinking that Fred may possibly have enlisted in the military before the draft was issued for World War I. If he was already in the military, he may not have been required to fill out a draft registration form. I normally show gravestones at the end of a post, but I am going to show Fred’s now because it shows his World War I service.
There is reference here to the state of Nebraska. That may or may not indicate that Fred spent some of his life living in Nebraska. Also, this shows that he was a private in Company 1 – 34 Engineers. I was not very successful at finding information about that unit and where they might have served during the war.
After the war was over, we find Fred back in Shawnee Township living with his parents and working as a farmer with his father and brother.
There are quite a few unanswered questions that I have concerning Fred’s life. Another one has to do with the fact that the next record I found for him was his marriage that took place in Colorado in 1928. I do not know what led him (or his wife) there. We see the Colorado marriage record below.
Laura Constable was born on January 30, 1899 somewhere in Kansas. She was the daughter of William and Elizabeth (Butler) Constable. I was only able to find her in one census during her early years. In 1910, she was living with her family in Lincoln, Nebraska. Although it is very difficult to read, here is that census entry.
I guess you could say that this is another connection Fred Schirmer had to the state of Nebraska. However, it comes nowhere close to explaining how Fred found Laura. Nor could I find any evidence for either Laura or Fred living in the state of Colorado other than their marriage record.
Another mystery is where Fred and Laura were found around 1930 because I could not find them in that year’s federal census. I did find them in the 1940 census where it says they were living in Clearview, Washington. This was in the Seattle vicinity. Fred was working as a road builder.
There is no evidence that Fred and Laura had any children. Not long after the 1940 census, Fred had to fill out a World War II draft card. He was still living in the same area.
The Nels Mortensen mentioned as Fred’s employer was a commercial building contractor in Seattle.
Fred and Laura can be found living in Nampa, Idaho in several city directories during several years in the 1940’s and 1950’s. I will show just one entry.
These directories all showed Fred as an attendant at Earl’s Service Station. I assume that was a gas station.
At the end of the lives of Fred and Laura Schirmer, we find them both buried in the Dry Creek Cemetery in Boise, Idaho. Fred died in 1972 at the age of 76; Laura died in 1987 at the age of 87. I showed Fred’s gravestone earlier. Here is the one for Laura.
There are some days when you know there is a good story to tell, but the story has all sorts of holes in it. Fred’s tale has many unanswered questions. Maybe someone with more knowledge of the Schirmer family can fill in some holes. By the way, our research library has a hole in it that should be filled by a Schirmer Family Binder.