I will attempt to tell yet another story about a Lutheran pastor who came out of a Grosse family. Since grosse means “large”, I guess you could say it was a large family. And it was. This Grosse family had a whole bunch of children. This pastor I will highlight today was a half-brother of two Grosse pastors whose stories were told in the posts, Grosse Kirchen – Part 1 and Grosse Kirchen – Part 2. Both of those Grosse’s were children of Ernst Moritz Grosse and his first wife, Christiane Hahn. Today’s Grosse child was born to Ernst Moritz and his second wife, Wilhelmina Schuessler. Before I go on, let me say that there are practically no records for today’s character in the church or census records found referenced in our German Family Tree. All the records that I will illustrate came from elsewhere.
The reason I am doing the life story of Friedrich Moritz Grosse today is that his birthday was on June 17, 1859. Today would have been his 160th birthday. He was born in St. Louis, where his father, Ernst Moritz Grosse, was a teacher at Immanuel Lutheran Church. This is the Immanuel Lutheran Church where Rev. J.F. Buenger was the pastor, beginning in 1847. The image below shows evidence that today’s birthday boy was baptized at that congregation.
Before I continue, let me say a few things about names. I quickly discovered when researching for this story that I had to be careful about names. First of all, when three Grosse brothers came to America aboard the Johann Georg in 1839, one of the brothers went by the name Friedrich. Here we see those three brothers listed on the Johann Georg passenger list.
In the posts mentioned earlier, there was a Rev. Frederick Grosse who was another son of Ernst Moritz by his first marriage. Today’s character, for most of his life, went by the name Moritz Grosse, but for some reason, toward the end of his life, you see records which indicate he is Frederick Grosse. I choose to use the name Moritz for this article.
I found Moritz Grosse in all the available census records from 1870 until 1940. The first one from 1870 is shown below. Moritz was 11 years old.
In the 1880 census, Moritz was still living with his mother in St. Louis (his father died in 1880), but at that time he was a student in college. The college he was attending at age 21 was Concordia Seminary.
On February 2, 1882, Moritz married Katherine Zapf of Springfield, Illinois. Here is a transcription of their marriage record.
As early as 1889, we find Moritz and his family living in St. Joseph, Missouri where Moritz was the pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
The Grosse family can be found in the 1900 census for St. Joseph. Six children are listed in their family along with three boarders.
The 1900 census was the last census in which we find Moritz living in St. Joseph, and also the last one in which we see him being a pastor. We find this unusual entry in the 1907 St. Joseph city directory where it says he moved to St. Louis.
The 1910 census shows this family living in St. Louis with Moritz having no occupation at the age of 50.
We find Moritz with a new occupation in the 1920 census. He was then a shipping clerk for a tobacco company.
Several census entries list the Grosse’s living at 3305 Nebraska Ave. An internet map shows this home at that address. I would suspect that they lived in either the upper or the lower floor.
The only change we see in the 1930 census is that Moritz used the name Frederick, not Moritz. He was then 71 years old and Katherine was 69. Even at 71, Moritz still held down the job as a shipping clerk for a tobacco company.
The last census in which we find Moritz was the one taken in 1940. At the age of 81, he had no occupation. He is back to being called Moritz.
Moritz died in 1945 at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis at the age of 85. His death certificate shows him as Frederick.
The death certificate shows Moritz’s employer as Peter Hauptmann Tobacco. I found this photo of a Hauptmann’s cigar can. As soon as I saw it, I had a recollection of having such a can in our house when I was a child, even though no one in my family smoked.
Katherine Grosse died at Lutheran Hospital in 1950. We also have her death certificate.
Moritz and Katherine were buried in the Our Redeemer Cemetery in Afton, Missouri.
Since the address of the Grosse home was so close to Holy Cross Lutheran Church, I looked in an anniversary book for that congregation that we have in our museum. I found confirmation records for their children who were confirmed after the family moved back to St. Louis.
I also found the death records for both Moritz and Katherine at Holy Cross.
When Moritz’s father, Ernst Moritz Grosse, came to America, he was a shoemaker. Later in his life, he became a Lutheran teacher. Contrary to his father, Moritz started his life as a Lutheran pastor but later changed to become a shipping clerk.