Businessperson and the Green Forest

East Perry County, Missouri is the home of several lumber companies.  They are the largest employers in this area.  Having said that, today’s story has nothing to do with those businesses.  I chose today’s title because of the surnames of the man and woman whose stories I tell today.  First, according to Google Translate, the German word, kaufmann, means businessman.  Also, the term gruen wald means green forest.  The marriage highlighted today was the union of a Kaufmann and a Gruenwald.

Joseph Gruenwald is today’s birthday boy.  He was born on July 10, 1881.  He was the son of Charles and Johanna (Schmidt) Gruenwald.  Joseph was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Missouri.  Below is his baptism record.

Joseph Gruenwald baptism record Trinity Altenburg MO
Joseph Gruenwald baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

When people were born in the early 1880’s, they ended up being quite old before they show up in their first census.  The 1900 census shows Joseph as 18 years old.  His father and he were farmers.

Joseph Gruenwald 1900 census Brazeau Township MO
1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Lydia Kaufmann was born on April 24, 1885.  She was the daughter of Joseph and Emma (Boehme) Kaufmann.  She was also baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church.  Here is her baptism record.

Lydia Kaufmann baptism record Trinity Altenburg MO
Lydia Kaufmann baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Lydia is found living with her family in the 1900 census where she was 15 years old.  Her father was a farmer.

Lydia Kaufmann 1900 census Brazeau Township MO
1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

On October 11, 1903, Joseph Gruenwald married Lydia Kaufmann.  As you would expect, they were married at Trinity.  Below is their marriage license.

Gruenwald Kaufmann marriage license
Gruenwald/Kaufmann marriage license

We also have the marriage record from Trinity.

Gruenwald Kaufmann marriage record Trinity Altenburg MO
Gruenwald/Kaufmann marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

The first census in which we find this married couple was the one taken in 1910.  By that year, they had 3 sons.

Joseph Gruenwald 1910 census Brazeau Township MO
1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

One more child, a daughter, was born at the end of 1910.  When the 1915 plat map for Perry County was produced, we find the land owned by J.E. Gruenwald.  It was found on the banks of the Apple Creek south of both Altenburg and Frohna.

Joseph Gruenwald land map
J.E. Gruenwald – 1915 land map

Joseph had his World War I draft registration filled out in 1918.  It is shown below.


The 1920 census shows all four children.

Joseph Gruenwald 1920 census Brazeau Township MO
1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Even though Lydia was included in the above census, she died in May of 1920.  The church record says she died of asthma, but her death certificate indicates tuberculosis.  She was just 35 years old.

Lydia Gruenwald death certificate
Lydia Gruenwald death certificate

The 1930 and 1940 censuses show Joseph as a widower, and he was living in his son, Theodore’s, household.  Theodore had married Alma Schuessler.  Here is the census entry for 1930.

Joseph Gruenwald 1930 census Brazeau Township MO
1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we see the 1940 census.  Theodore’s son, Edward went on to become a Lutheran pastor who retired to live in Altenburg with his wife, Florence (Hecht) Gruenwald, who once was one of our museum’s volunteers.  Also, Roy Gruenwald was the husband of Helen Gruenwald, who still lives in Altenburg.

Joseph Gruenwald 1940 census Brazeau Township MO
1940 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Joseph died in 1948 at the age of 67.  Here is his death certificate.

Joseph Gruenwald death certificate
Joseph Gruenwald death certificate

Both Joseph and Lydia are buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.

I did find another fact related to this couple.  When Lydia’s father died in 1908, we find the segment in his last will and testament which is shown below.

Joseph Kaufmann will Gruenwald
Joseph Kaufmann last will and testament

It says that Lydia and her younger sister, Esther, were to receive $5.00 each.  There were only two girls who lived to adulthood in that family.  That may seem to be rather minuscule.  However, one year later, Lydia’s mother died.  Take a look at this portion of her last will and testament.

Emma Kaufmann will Gruenwald

It stipulated that Lydia and Esther would divide all the real estate and other property equally, with the exception of Esther getting their organ.  It also states that Joseph Emanuel Gruenwald would be the executor.

In closing, let me state that Lydia Gruenwald was also the granddaughter of Charles and Ernestine (Schlimpert) Boehme, whose portraits still stare at me when I’m writing these posts in our museum’s research library.

I hope I got everything right.

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