If Benjamin Oswin Bock and Alma Brandes would be alive today, they would be celebrating 100 years of wedded bliss. These two were married at Grace Lutheran Church on October 12, 1919. I can just imagine some initials carved into an old oak tree somewhere in Union Township stating B.B.+A.B with a heart surrounding them. Today I’ll begin by looking at the bride.
Alma Brandes was born on April 18, 1895. She was the daughter of Conrad and Anna (Franke) Brandes. Alma was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, Missouri. Here is her baptism record.
The first census in which we find Alma was the one taken in 1900. Her family was living in the same household as her Brandes grandparents.
Alma’s mother died in 1906, and her father died in 1907 when she was just 12 years old. Alma and two siblings went to live with her aunt and uncle, Ernst and Martha Rudert. The story of Alma’s parents was told in the post, A Uniontown Family Copes with Tragedy.
Now let’s turn to the groom’s beginnings. Benjamin Oswin Bock was born on October 13, 1891, so when he was married later, the wedding would take place on the day before his 28th birthday. So on the first morning after being married, Alma would wake up and say, “Happy Birthday, dear.” Benjamin was the son of another Benjamin Bock, but I do not know his father’s middle name. His parents were Benjamin and Sulamith (Hopfer) Bock, and Benjamin O. was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church. Below is his baptism record.
We find Benjamin in the 1900 census. I did not include the previous page of the census which showed the rest of his family.
We find Benjamin once again in the 1910 census. The census specifically calls him Benjamin O.
A very significant event took place not long before these two got married in 1919. Benjamin became a soldier and was sent overseas to fight in World War I. Here is his World War I draft registration that was completed in 1917.
On the line which asks, “Do you claim exemption from draft?”, Benjamin replied, “Help parents, no drafting.” It didn’t work. The military record shown below says he was inducted into the U.S. Army on May 29, 1918 in Perryville.
The photo below shows the Perry County boys that were inducted on that day and headed toward Camp Dodge in Iowa. Good luck picking out Benjamin, especially since I have no other photograph of him to show.
As the record above says, Benjamin became a part of Company B of the 313th Engineers. I found this description of the tasks of engineers during World War I.
“The Engineers were in charge of repairing the devastation of the war to expedite troop movements such as surveying, bridge and road repair, constructing buildings, maintaining communication lines, removal of land mines and “booby” traps, digging trenches and constructing shell, gas and splinter-proof shelters, providing clean water and constructing or removing barbed wire. They also launched gas attacks, built hospitals, barracks, mess halls, stables, target ranges, and repaired miles of train tracks. Their extensive and time consuming duties left them little time for rifle practice and drills and they were not relied upon for frontline combat, but the success of the Allied forces depended upon the support of the Engineer Corps”
In a previous post the story was told about another Perry County boy who was in the 313th Ammunition Train that also started at Camp Dodge. That man was Rudolph Palisch, and the post was titled, From Frohna to France – A WWI Wagoner.
I found some photos of a WWI uniform which was worn by a soldier who served in Company D of the 313th Engineers. Benjamin must have worn a uniform like this.
When Benjamin was sent overseas, he sailed on the ship Plassy on August 16, 1918. Below we see his name on a transport list for that ship. It is in two images.
Benjamin would later return to America aboard the Santa Clara which arrived on May 30, 1919. Here is a portion of that passenger list showing Benjamin. This time, it was his mother that was listed on the form. That is because Benjamin’s father died about two months earlier. In other words, when Benjamin left for war, it would be the last that he would see of his father.
It was just 5 months after Benjamin returned from war that he and Alma were married. I have to think that there must have been letters written between these two during that war. Wouldn’t it be interesting if letters like that were preserved over the years, and we could read them? Below is the marriage license for Benjamin and Alma.
We also have the church record for this wedding.
We find this married couple in the 1920 census. Benjamin was the head of the household, but it included several other Bock family members, including his mother. It looks like Alma would have had plenty of help in the kitchen, and Benjamin had a brother to help with the farming. It would be 1921 when these two would have their first child.
This couple would have four children, two boys and two girls. We find this family in the 1930 census. Their last child would be born later during 1930, so she is not included here.
The last census we can view was taken in 1940. This one was a little harder to find on Ancestry.com because they transcribed his name as Benjamin Back.
In the maps produced for Perry County in 1915, we find Benjamin Bock having a parcel of land outside of Uniontown.
Benjamin had to have a draft card filled out for World War II.
Benjamin Bock died in 1965 at the age of 74. We have his death certificate.
Alma died in 1978 at the age of 82. She died too recently to be able to view her death certificate. Both Alma and Benjamin are buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown, Missouri. Benjamin’s marker denotes his military service.
This post contains several surnames that I would put in the “Uniontown Hall of Fame” of names. Bock, Brandes, Franke, and Hopfer. It is a story in which all of the church records from cradle to grave are found at one congregation, Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. All of the census records are from the same township, the Union Township, of Perry County. Yet one of the characters traveled all the way to Europe. In his case, it was a trip he may not have wanted to make, but he went to serve his country. Happy 100th Anniversary A.B. and B.B!