Maria Mahnken was born on August 14, 1886. She was the daughter of John and Marie (Heitmann) Mahnken. She was born in Germany and is said to have come to America with her family in 1889. The first record we find in our German Family Tree for Maria is her confirmation record at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar.
We find Maria (Mary) in the 1900 census for Salem Township. That year’s census for Salem Township is usually almost impossible to read, but this entry is not that bad. There are also 4 more children on the next page which I will not show. I will point out that the last child recorded to have been born in Germany was born in 1889. The first child born in America was born in 1892.
Maria can also be found in the 1910 census for the same location.
On August 12, 1913, Maria married Peter Perschbacher at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. When she married, Maria was just two days short of her 27th birthday. We have their marriage license.
Peter Peschbacher was born on January 17, 1890 in Marissa Township, Illinois. We find him in the 1900 census for that location. His father was a farmer.
The 1910 census has Peter living in St. Louis. Peter was a packer at a boot and shoe company and living with his brother.
The photo below is said to have been taken sometime around 1912, about a year before his marriage.
If Maria went to St. Louis to be a maid between 1910 and 1913, that would explain how these two people met, but I do not know that is the case.
Here is the church record for the Perschbacher/Mahnken marriage.
I also found this photograph which was taken at this wedding. It is an outdoor picture showing the married couple and their witnesses. I am fascinated by the woman in the window who appears to be watching the photo being taken. In today’s day and age, that part of the photo may have been cropped out of the picture. I’m glad it wasn’t. This wedding party got photo-bombed.
Another photo was taken of Peter Perschbacher after he was married. This picture is said to have been taken in 1915.
Here is another photo that must have been taken in about 1915. It supposedly shows Maria with her son, Walter, who was born in 1914. It appears to have been taken in a city, which would indicate that they were living in St. Louis.
The photo below also is supposed to show Maria with Walter, but also includes her mother, Marie. This photo appears to have been taken in a more rural setting, probably Perry County.
Peter’s World War I draft registration says he was a city forester (I think) working for the city of St. Louis. On the lower right, you can see the address of Maria’s father in Seventy Six, Missouri.
The 1920 census is the first one to show this couple. At this point in his life, Peter was a farmer in the Central Township of Perry County, probably near Perryville.
After this census, we find this family living in St. Louis for the rest of their lives. The 1930 census shows Peter as a carpenter. This entry spread over two pages in the census.
Finally, we find them in the 1940 census. This also spread over two pages.
I find it interesting that the oldest daughter in this census, another Marie, was working as a fountain girl at a Wolff Wilson drug store. That was back in the days when pharmacies were the places you would go to get a “soda” at a “soda fountain”. The photo below is not the Wolff Wilson store, but it gives an idea about what a soda fountain in a drug store looked like.
We also can look at Peter’s World War II draft card.
Peter died in 1952 at the age of 62. Here is his death certificate.
Maria died in 1959 at the age of 72. We also have her death certificate.
Peter and Maria are buried together in the Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis.
All of the addresses I found for this family in St. Louis over the years had them located very near Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Concordia Publishing House, and Lutheran Hospital. Several records from this family can be found in the Holy Cross Lutheran Church books.
I have had the occasion to meet a gentleman named Gerald Perschbacher, who is from St. Louis, and I know has worked for Lutheran Hour Ministries. I know that he has also written articles for the Concordia Historical Institute. I recall him talking about growing up in the Holy Cross neighborhood. I am thinking he is tied to this Perschbacher family somehow, but I do not know exactly how.