From Johnny’s Place to Johnny’s Place

Today will be a story that illustrates the old saying, “What goes around, comes around.”  Quite a while back, I wrote a post about Johann Gruenhagen, one of the few persons that was part of what we call the “St. Louis Additions”.  It was a group of Lutherans already living in St. Louis when the Gesellschaft arrived in 1839 and wanted to join them.  The previous post was titled, An Old Lutheran’s Odyssey.  I encourage you to read it because it is a good starting point for today’s story, and I will have plenty to write without having to repeat details that were in that post.  Let me say that Johann Gruenhagen was very instrumental in the history of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Let me also state that during the short time that Johann Gruenhagen was in this area, he was part of the Johannisberg settlement just across the Apple Creek in north Cape Girardeau County.  Today, I am going to call that the original “Johnny’s Place”.  In fact, I have a new theory trickling through my brain that maybe Johannisberg was named after Johann Gruenhagen back in the early days of settlement.  The other settlements were named after places in Germany, but when I looked for Johannisberg in Germany today, it is not near the Saxon area where most of the immigrants originated.

I am going to move directly to the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin to discuss a son of Johann.  His name was Henry Ferdinand Gruenhagen who was born on June 14, 1829.  We find him called Ferdinand in the 1860 census for Oshkosh.

Ferdinand Gruenhagen 1860 census Oshkosh WI
1860 census – Oshkosh, WI

Next we find him called Henry in the 1870 census for Nekimi, Wisconsin, which is not far from Oshkosh.

Henry Gruenhagen 1870 census Nekimi WI
1870 census – Nekimi, WI

It is hard to read, but in that census we find Matilda Gruenhagen, who was born on December 12, 1867.  The Gruenhagen’s moved again before the 1880 census where we find them living in Marion County, Missouri near the city of Palmyra.  The census record is shown in two images.

Henry Gruenhagen 1880 census South River Marion County MO

Henry Gruenhagen 1880 census 2 South River Marion County MO
1880 census – South River, Marion County, MO

Later in his life, Henry would be living in Wentworth, South Dakota with one of his sons.  It would be in Wentworth that Matilda would marry a man by the name of Karl George Frankenbach.  Her husband traveled to Wentworth to get married because he was from back in Marion County, Missouri where he must have met Matilda.  They were married in 1893, and they moved back to South River, Missouri.  We have this photo of Matilda and Karl George Frankenbach.

Matilda and Karl George Frankenbach
Karl George and Matilda Frankenbach

We find them in the 1900 census for that location.

Mathilda Frankenbach 1900 census South River MO
1900 census – South River, MO

This Frankenbach household had two children along with Matilda’s in-laws and one her husband’s brothers.  One of those children was a girl named Minnie in this census.  Elizabeth Wilhelmina Frankenbach was born on October 29, 1894, so we finally have gotten to today’s birthday girl.  It is thanks to Kathy Birkbigler’s website that I found this name.  Without that, I would have never found this story and its connection to Perry County.  We do not find any Frankenbach’s in our German Family Tree.

On April 12, 1917, Minnie Frankenbach and her sister, Anna, had a double wedding.  Minnie married Jacob Daniel Voepel and Anna married Fredrick Herman Schluckebier.  We have a wedding photograph showing all four of these folks.  The Voepel’s are on the left and the Schluckebier’s are on the right.  By the way, around these parts, the surname Voepel is pronounced “Fable”.

Double Frankenbach wedding Voepel Schluckebier
Frankenbach sisters double wedding

I found a plat map for Marion County that includes several names from this story…Frankenbach (red box), Voepel (blue box), and Schluckebier (green box).

Voepel Frankenbach land map 1913 Marion County MO

We have some other photographs from this Frankenbach family that I am going to put in a clickable gallery.

Now, we need to connect the dots in order to get us back to Perry County.  Dan Voepel had an Uncle John Voepel who married Emilie Schilling.  John and Emilie Voepel moved to Perry County and had a son who became known as Johnny.  There was a brief mention of this Voepel marrying a Schilling in the story titled, Florida – Born Beautiful.  The bottom line is that Dan Voepel and Johnny Voepel were cousins, which also means that today’s birthday girl was married to Johnny’s cousin.

Many of the old-timer’s from around here probably already know where this story is going to end….at Johnny’s Place.  Johnny Voepel ran a tavern in Altenburg for many years.  Even though it was located in a few different locations, it was always called Johnny’s Place.  Below is a photo of Johnny and his father, John, in that place of business.

Johnny & father

Later, we see Johnny standing outside Johnny’s Place with another gentleman.

Johnny's Place Ruehling
Johnny’s Place

Many of you will recognize that this building is the one now called Grayson’s Bar & Grill.

So now we have come full circle.  We started at Johnny’s Place (Johannisberg) and ended up at Johnny’s Place.  I would like to go back in time to patronize the original Johnny’s Place in Altenburg.  I have heard so many stories that center around that watering hole.  I guess I’ll just have to settle for finding my way into Grayson’s for a Lutheran adult beverage.

I have to tell one more quick story.  When I was researching this story last night and I ran across the Schluckebier surname, I had to wonder if the Schluckebier’s from Marion County were connected to Dr. Lee Schluckebier, who at one time was my principal when I taught in Memphis.  I sent him a Facebook message and asked him if had any kin in Marion County.  He later responded by saying that was where he was born and raised.  It’s a small Lutheran world.  I have learned that I never know where a story is going to lead me.


7 thoughts on “From Johnny’s Place to Johnny’s Place

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:

    Here is another blog from the past. It was published on this day two years ago. We had a tremendous first day at our immigration conference yesterday, highlighted by the ribbon-cutting at our new museum addition that we are now calling our South Gallery.


  2. Johann F. Gruenhagen is my 3 Great Grandfather. A historical note for the Lutheran Heritage of Perry County – Johann was a witness to the Stephan Martin trial. His signature in on the Disposition of Sentence document dated 30 May 1839, The printed transcribed document has his last name spelled incorrectly as “Gruenhayen”. He was the burgermeieter (mayor) of Polchow Pomerania prior to his immigration to the US. The Lutheran Church he attended in Pomerania was organized by Pastor Johannes Bugenhagen. Pastor Bugenhagen gave the sermon at Martin Luther’s funeral. Johann Gruenhagen was an “Altlutheraner” That is he was a confessional Lutheran who emegrated because did not condone King Friedrich Wilhelm III merger of the Lutheran church with the Reformed (Calvanist) church.


  3. I stand corrected. My sister-in-law’s Grandma was a Frankenbach who was a cousin to Lois Lohman. A great grandma was a Schluckebier.


  4. The name Schluckebier is familiar to me – my cousin, Hilmar Lohmann (son of Dorothea Mueller and Paul Lohmann, my aunt and uncle) married Lois Schluckebier. She was a school teacher at a Lutheran school in North St. Louis and lived with Dora and Paul. Hilmar came home on leave from the service in the 1940’s and met this girl who was living with his parents and the rest is history. I think she had family in Hannibal, MO and I think Oregon or Washington.


    1. It is a small Lutheran world. My sister-in-law’s Grandma was a Schluckebier, I believe, and a cousin to Lois Lohman. There are still Frankenbachs in the West Ely area west of Hannibal.

      Liked by 1 person

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