I have a fascinating tale to tell today. Most of the story does not take place around here. It takes place in Nebraska. In several previous posts, I have written about several local characters who moved to an area of northeast Nebraska that included the several adjacent counties shown in the map below.
I began today’s search by looking at a birthday boy from Perry County, but his story led me to another one. Paul Martin Dreyer was born on October 24, 1894 so today would have been his 125th birthday. He was the son of Henry and Emma (Hesse) Dreyer. Below is the wedding photo of Paul’s parents.
Paul was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Here is his baptism record.
We find Paul in the 1900 census for Brazeau Township.
We still find Paul in Perry County in the 1910 census, but I have determined that it’s not readable enough to display here. The next document I found for Paul was his World War draft registration which was completed in 1917. This form states that Paul was living in Wisner, Nebraska and working on the farm of Carl W. Splittgerber. It says that farm was south of Wayne, Nebraska. Paul was still single at the time.
Paul ended up serving in the military during World War I. Here is a passenger list for a transport ship called the Madawasca carrying Paul. This ship was transporting troops back to America when their fighting was finished in Europe. It arrived in America in June of 1919.
Henry was part of Company A of the 313th Engineers. Recently, I wrote a story about Benjamin O. Bock who served in Company B of the 313th Engineers.
In our German Family Tree, it says in the Dreyer family book that Paul Martin Dreyer married Augusta Splittgerber on March 25, 1920. Augusta was the daughter of Emil and Marie (Woockmann) Splittgerber. We find Augusta in the 1910 census for Plum Creek Township in Wayne County, Nebraska.
I found this 1898 map for some farmland in Plum Creek Township owned by some Splittgerber’s.
The fact that this couple was married in 1920 set me off to look for Paul in the 1920 census. I was completely unsuccessful in finding him in that census, but I did find another name that set me off in another direction. In an entry found in the Plum Creek Township, I found another Splittgerber.
In this entry, I immediately noticed a familiar name, Walter Putz. I had seen that Putz surname in our German Family tree, and Walter is shown as being born in Missouri. Sure enough, Walter A. Putz was another person from this area. In his case, he came from Pocahontas. Walter was the son of Joseph Frank and Elisabeth (Wunderlich) Putz. He was born on December 3, 1890 and baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. Here is his baptism record.
We find Walter in the 1900 census for Shawnee Township in Cape Girardeau County. He was living in the Mary Wunderlich family. Walter’s mother had died early in 1900, and now the Putz children were living with their grandmother. She had her hands full. She was also a widow.
In the 1910 census, we find Walter living in the Albert Ladreiter household. Albert had married Hulda Wunderlich. We also see Walter’s grandmother, Maria, still living in this household.
We find Walter having his World War I draft registration completed in Nebraska.
This form states that Walter was working on a farm south of Wayne, Nebraska for a farmer by the name of Emil Splittgerber. Believe it or not, that was the name of Paul Dreyer’s wife’s father. Walter also went off to fight in World War I. We find him on a transport ship called the Leviathan leaving for Europe in 1918.
After his wife’s death in 1900, Joseph Putz married again and moved to Canalou, Missouri in New Madrid County, leaving part of his family behind in Pocahontas.
I found three photos of the Leviathan being used as a World War I transport ship, and I cannot resist displaying them. I will put them in a clickable gallery.
Not long after the 1920 census, Walter must have gotten married. I do not know the date, but several family histories on Ancestry.com say that his bride was Hulda Splittgerber. Hulda was the daughter of Carl Wilhelm and Caroline (Ahlvers) Splittgerber. And there you have it. Hulda’s father was the Carl W. Splittgerber that Paul Dreyer was working for when he filled out his WWI draft registration. We find Hulda in the1900 census for Plum Creek Township, Nebraska.
We find her again in the 1910 census. Her father is shown as William G. and Hulda’s brother, Paul, is the head of the household.
So do you have this straight? Walter A. Putz married this Hulda Splittgerber, whose father Paul Dreyer was working for in 1917. And Paul Dreyer married Augusta Splittgerber, whose father Walter Putz worked for during that same year. What are the chances?
Now we get to take a look at another amazing document. The 1930 census has both the Walter Putz household and the Paul Dreyer household on the same census page. They were both living in the Brenna Township in Wayne County, which is located adjacent to the Plum Creek Township.
We also see that a cousin of Paul Dreyer by the name of Richard Dreyer was living in their household, and it says he, too, was born in Missouri. On the very next page of this census, you will find the Elmer Aurich household. That is another name from Perry County, Missouri. I will add at this point that I went through the 1920 census for Plum Creek Township and found the names of Bergt, Stueve, and Rauss, who all had roots in Missouri.
In 1940, Paul Dreyer and his family could be found in Norfolk, Nebraska.
Walter Putz could be found in the 1940 census for Pilger, Nebraska.
Walter Putz died in 1969; his wife, Hulda, died in 1974. They are both buried in the Pilger Cemetery.
Paul Dreyer died in 1979; his wife, Augusta, died in 1988. These two are buried together in the Stanton Cemetery.
One more thing. In 1942, Paul Dreyer’s parents had a 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Paul must have made the trip back to Perry County for that event. He can be found in a photograph taken of the Henry Dreyer family. It is the only photo I have of any of the Nebraska characters in this story.
So now you readers have a new name to add to the ones that have shown up on this blog over the years….Splittgerber.