Queen of the Fair and Her Court

A few years back, I was shown a photograph that was included in the Perry County Republican back in 1951.  It was a photograph associated with the East Perry Community Fair, so I thought it would be a good story to put on our blog someday.  I really should have written this story last year for reasons I will explain later, but I didn’t.  I will tell it today.  First, here is the photograph, complete with a very thorough caption.

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As you can see, the date this story was published was September 27, 1951, so it highlights an event that took place at the East Perry Community Fair in that year.  The photo’s caption describes the event as the contest held at the fair to name the Queen of the East Perry Fair.  An astounding 26 contestants had entered this contest, and 25 of them are shown in the photograph.

The person heading up this contest was Jeanette (Vogel) Boehme, who was also a teacher.  It was her daughter, Betty, who is shown in the above photo as being the hostess.  Her son, Charlie Boehme, was the one who carried the crown.

We have some documents in our museum from this event.  The entry forms for the 3 winners can be found here.  I am guessing that they are here because our renowned historian, Vernon Meyr, felt it was important to keep them as artifacts.  One of the things that can be noted on these forms is the fact that each contestant was to have a sponsor.  I will begin by showing the entry form for the third place winner, Myrlis Mueller, who was sponsored by the Mueller Meat Market in Altenburg, which was operated by her uncle.

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Myrlis Mueller entry form

The second place winner was Marjorie Martin.  Here is her entry form.  She was sponsored by a Ruesler business.  This form says it was a trucking company, whereas the photo above says it was a feed store in Old Appleton.

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Marjorie Martin entry form

Finally, here is the entry form for the contestant that was named the Queen, Goldie Weber.  She was sponsored by Bellmann’s Hardware Store in Altenburg.

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Goldie Weber entry form

I was unable to find any kind of photo of a Ruesler business in Old Appleton, but I did find photos of the other two businesses.  First, here is a picture of the building that housed the Mueller’s Meat Market.  This building has a connection to the story I wrote two days ago, Mayor of Birmingham.  Margaret Rall, who was the second wife of Christian Gerler, was the daughter of David Rall, who ran a tavern in this building before it become a butcher shop.  In between the time it was a tavern and it was the Mueller’s Meat Market, it had been the Schmidt Butcher Shop.

ed mueller butcher shop
Mueller Meat Market

Next, we can see the Bellmann’s Hardware Store in the photo below.

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Bellmann’s Hardware Store

Because of the ages of the contestants, we can find them all in the 1940 census.  First, here is that year’s census for Myrlis Mueller, who was 8 years old at the time.  Her father was the postmaster in Altenburg.

Myrlis Mueller 1940 census Altenburg MO
1940 census – Altenburg, MO

Next, we find Marjorie Martin living with her family in the Union Township in 1940.  She was 6 years old, and her father was a laborer on a farm.  His name was found on the previous page of this census.

Marjorie Martin 1940 census Union Township MO
1940 census – Union Township, MO

Queen Goldie can be found in that census for Brazeau Township.  She was 7 years old, and her father was a farmer.

Goldie Weber 1940 census Brazeau Township MO
1940 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Marjorie Martin cannot be found in our German Family Tree, and the beauty contest photographs are the only ones I was able to find which include her.  However, the other two were members of Trinity Lutheran Church, and I was able to find several other photos in which they could be seen.

First, here is a photo of Myrlis Mueller when she was very young.  She is the baby in this family photo.

Albert Myrliss Doris Lewis Susanna Mueller
Albert Mueller family photo

Another photo that we have shows both Myrlis Mueller and Goldie Weber.  It is the class photo of Teacher Beccue’s students taken in front of Trinity Lutheran Church.  Myrlis is in the third row from the bottom with the red arrow, standing right in front of Teacher Beccue.  In the second row, the arrow on the right is Goldie Weber.  Next to her on the left was Betty Boehme, who was described in the beauty contest photo as being the hostess.  If I was to take the time, I imagine I could find several other beauty contestants in this picture.

Mangels school Beccue
Teacher Beccue’s class – Trinity, Altenburg – 1944

Six years after the above photo was taken, and one year before the beauty contest, a photo was taken of the youth group of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg in 1950.  It was taken in front of the Young People’s Society building, which is now the Senior Center located on the fairgrounds.  That building is also where the queen was crowned in 1951.  Once again, several people who were involved in the beauty contest are in this photo.

YPS group 1950

 

Goldie is #6 in the front row toward the left.  Myrlis Mueller is #16.

A few photographs were also taken of the winners.  First, here is Queen Goldie and her court.  Marjorie Martin is on the left, and Myrlis Mueller is on the right.  The boy is Charlie Boehme, and the girl is our own ziontrootsgenealogy.org expert, Kathy (Palisch) Berkbigler.

Queen Goldie Weber and her court 1951
Queen Goldie and her court

We also have a photograph showing just Queen Goldie sitting on her throne.  I might add here that Goldie has stated that she didn’t want to even enter this contest, but pressure was exerted on her to do so.

Queen Goldie Weber
Queen Goldie Weber

After looking at this photo, I was wondering why the Queen of East Perry Fair would have an Altenburg sash.  The picture of her court shown above gives a clue.  Marjorie Martin is wearing an Old Appleton sash.  A closer look at the newspaper article shows each contestant wearing such a sash.  I figure each contestant wore a sash indicating the location of their sponsor.  Marjorie was living in Menfroe according to her entry form, but her sash was from Old Appleton, where her sponsor was located.

Two years after the beauty contest, Goldie Weber married George Ankley.  She is still very much alive and living in Florida.  She visited Altenburg last year at the time of the fair.  That is why I wish I would have been prepared to write this story last year.  When she was here, she posed for this picture with Kim Ponder, who operates Say Grace with Kim.  Coincidentally, Kim’s place of business is what was once the Bellmann Hardware Store that sponsored Goldie in the beauty contest back in 1950.

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Kim Ponder and Goldie (Weber) Ankley

She still has the photo of herself as a queen and the sash that she wore back in 1951.  She also has the crown, but it is rather frail since it basically consisted of cardboard covered with foil.

I have met Goldie, and I must tell you that her choice as Queen of the Fair was a wise one.  She is a wonderful lady.

This beauty contest at the fair only took place once.  I know I have many ideas floating around in my head as to why it only happened once.  However, I will not attempt to write them in this post. Another contest was started years later that continues to be a big draw at the fair today.  That would be the Mule Jumping Contest.  I won’t even dare to compare the beautiful ladies from this post to the Missouri mules that participate in a contest these days.  I will go out on a limb and state that I think a jumping contest with mules will have less “drama” than a beauty contest involving young ladies.

I will confess that I am a big fan of the Andy Griffith Show and couldn’t help but think of the episode in which Sheriff Taylor was placed in the position of being the judge of the Miss Mayberry Beauty Pageant.  I found this segment from that episode.  I wonder if any of this kind of behavior was taking place in East Perry County back in 1951.

 


4 thoughts on “Queen of the Fair and Her Court

  1. Mr. Ruesler also owned some dump trucks and hauled gravel from the quarry in Appleton. My cousin, George Hopfer, ran around with Tex Martin who I believe was Majorie Martin’s younger brother.

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  2. Ruesler feed store was a Wayne feed dealer in Old Appleton. His son Kermit went to Perryville High School. I graduated in 1958 and he was several years ahead of me. Mr Ruesler was called “Bud”.

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