Death of a Doughboy

The story I tell today has very little connection to our German Family Tree, and today’s birthday boy did not even live till his 25th birthday.  Yet, I’m anxious to tell this tale.  It involves telling the story of some of the very first families to occupy areas of Perry and Ste. Genevieve Counties.  When I saw the surname Brown with today’s birthday in our German Family Tree, I realized that was a name that would be new for this blog and might involve a family that was not German.  I don’t do many stories like that.  When I discovered that this led me to some pretty influential characters in the early history of Missouri, even before it was a state, my interest was piqued.

I am going to start with today’s birthday boy and work my way back.  Louis Arthur Brown was born on November 12, 1893.  He was the son of Robert and Chloe (Doerr) Brown.  His father, Robert Varner Brown, was a junior.  His father was also a Robert Varner Brown.  Louis was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville, but we do not have images of their original records, so I cannot display it here.  Louis was the first child born to these two parents, but his father had previously been married to Louise Coffman before marrying Chloe Doerr in 1892.  Robert and Chloe were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church on November 6, 1892.  Once again, I cannot show a church marriage record, but in this case I can display the marriage license from Perry County.

Brown Doerr marriage license
Brown/Doerr marriage license

This wedding involved children from two powerful Perry County families.  Chloe was the daughter of Louis and Rosa Josephine (Pfeiffer) Doerr.  Louis was the proprietor of a store on Main Street in Perryville.  We have a photo of Louis Doerr.

Louis Doerr
Louis Doerr

I assume it was called the Doerr Store, which has a nice ring to it.  There is an historic home in Perryville called the Doerr-Brown House.  Here is a photo of that house taken when the application was made to designate it to be included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Doerr Brown house Perryville
Doerr/Brown House

The paragraph shown below can be found in that application also.

Doerr Brown house info Historic Site application

The way I have it figured, there is a mistake on this form.  Chloe did not marry Judge Brown.  She married Judge Brown’s son.  This building still stands in Perryville and just so happens to house the office of the lawyer who wrote my will.  She, by the way, has ties to the Lorenz and Bachmann families.

Doerr-Brown House

Robert was the son of Robert and Margaret (Tucker) Brown.  Robert, Sr. was a county court judge for Perry County.  I am going to display the marriage record of the Brown/Tucker wedding which took place in 1857 in Perry County.

Brown Tucker marriage record Perry County MO
Brown/Tucker marriage record – Perry County, MO

Robert Varner Brown was also a veteran of the Civil War.  We have a photo of Judge Robert V. Brown, Sr.

Robert Varner Brown Sr.

I am going back another generation in this Brown family.  He was the son of James and Polly (Varner) Brown, who were married in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri in 1820.  Missouri was still a territory and did not become a state until 1821.  We have a marriage record for this couple as well.  This is probably the oldest Missouri marriage record that I have displayed on this blog.

Brown Turner marriage record Sainte Genevieve MO
Brown/Varner marriage record – Ste. Genevieve, MO

I can even show you images of James and Polly Brown.

James and Mary Brown Ste. Genvieve County MO
James and Polly Brown

James came to Missouri from Virginia; Polly came from Tennessee.  James Brown’s father, William Brown, was a veteran of the American Revolution.  The Brown and Varner families arrived in Missouri not long after the Louisiana Purchase.  I found a photograph of the James Brown home in Ste. Genevieve County.

James and Mary Brown home Ste. Genevieve County MO
James Brown home

I will also tell you that several members of this Brown family are buried in a cemetery in Ste. Genevieve County called the Brown Cemetery.

Now we need to return to Louis Brown.  We might conclude that Louis was named after his grandfather, Louis Doerr.  The first census in which we find Louis was the one taken in 1900 for Beauvais Township in Ste. Genevieve County.  His father was a farmer.

Louis Brown 1900 census Beauvais Township Ste. Genevieve CO MO
1900 census – Beauvais Township, MO

The 1910 census is the only other census in which we find Louis.  He was 16 years old.

Louis Brown 1910 census Beauvais Township Ste. Genevieve CO MO
1910 census – Beauvais Township, MO

In the 1915 plat maps for Perry County, we find a parcel of land right on the border between Perry and Ste. Genevieve Counties and near the city of St. Mary’s, Missouri.  It’s possible that his land may have extended into Ste. Genevieve County.

R.V. Brown land map 1915 Perry County
R.V. Brown land map – 1915

The next document we find for Louis was his World War I draft registration.

Louis Brown – World War I draft registration

Louis was drafted and inducted in the U.S. Army on July 8, 1918.  He trained at Camp McArthur in Texas, and then was sent overseas.  He never made it back.  Louis died of pneumonia on October 14, 1918, not even a month before World War I came to an end and also only about a month before his 25th birthday.  Here is a record of his military service.

Louis A. Brown military record
Louis Brown military record

Louis is buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in France.  No photo of his gravestone is available.  I did find a video that gives a short history of that cemetery.


On this day after Veteran’s Day, we have this story which is full of veterans.  It includes veterans of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War I.  It also includes a casualty of war who could also be remembered on Memorial Day.

I am also going to be looking for an opportunity to once again share another story that comes from the families in this post.  That one will involve a boy who would become a Missouri Governor.



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