Man of Few Letters

I think it’s safe to say that German names are sometimes famous for being rather long.  I know that some of the ones that have been found around here over the years required plenty of letters to write.  Examples might include Lichtenegger, Bodenschatz, Bingenheimer, and my personal favorite…..Schimmelpfennig.  During the years when I was a Lutheran teacher, some of my students had long names, and some of them got really frustrated having to write such names as Schwichtenberg on each of their homework papers and tests.  These names are the kind that are difficult to place on the back of athletic jerseys to indicate the name of the player.  On the contrary, I had some students who were blessed with very short names, such as Amy Hitt.  I had a neighbor when I lived in Florida who probably had the shortest name I have run across.  His name was Al Ott.  Only five letters and he was done writing his name.  Today’s birthday boy was a man of few letters.  His name was Otto Katt.  Not only was his name short, but it was made up of only 4 different letters of the alphabet.

Otto Katt was born on November 17, 1892, the son of Barthold and Anna Maria (Sticht) Katt.  He was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri.  Here is his baptism record.

Otto Katt baptism record Concordia Frohna MO
Otto Katt baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

We also can look at a Perry County birth record for Otto.  It is in two images.

Otto Katt birth record Perry County MO

Otto Katt birth record 1 Perry County MO
Otto Katt birth record – Perry County, MO

We find Otto in three different censuses before he gets married.  First, here is the one taken in 1900.  Otto’s parents were shown on the previous page which I chose not to display.  Otto was the sixth of nine children born into his family.

Otto Katt 1900 census Union Township MO
1900 census – Union Township, MO

Next, we see Otto in the 1910 census.  It says Otto was 16 years old at that time, but I think it should have said he was 17 or 18 years old.

Otto Katt 1910 census Union Township MO
1910 census – Union Township, MO

Otto had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917.

Otto Katt – WWI draft registration

When the 1920 census came out, Otto was no longer living with his parents.  His household consisted of just himself and one of his sisters, Ella Katt, who was 22 years old.

Otto Katt 1920 census Union Township MO
1920 census – Union Township, MO

When the Perry County plat maps were produced in 1915, we find a parcel of land owned by B. Katt not far from the town of Brazeau, Missouri.  That was probably the land owned by Otto’s father, Barthold Katt, and was likely where Otto spent his childhood.

B. Katt land map 1915
B. Katt land map – 1915

Otto’s wife was Emilie Bock, another person with a rather short surname.  Emilie was born on April 9, 1894, the daughter of Benjamin and Sulamith (Hopfer) Bock.  She was the 11th child out of twelve that were born into her family.  She was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, Missouri.  Here is her baptism record.

Emilie Bock baptism record Grace Uniontown MO
Emilie Bock baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Like her husband, we find her in three different census entries before she got married.  First, here is the one from 1900.  The rest of her family was shown on the previous page which I did not show.

Emilie Bock 1900 census Union Township MO
1900 census – Union Township, MO

Next, we find Emilie in the 1910 census.  She was 16 years old.

Emilie Bock 1910 census Union Township MO
1910 census – Union Township, MO

Here we find Emilie Bock in the 1920 census.  Her father had died in 1919, so her brother, another Benjamin, was the head of the household.  Emilie’s mother, Sulamith, was also in that household.

Emilie Bock 1920 census Union Township MO
1920 census – Union Township, MO

A family history on says that Otto Katt married Emilie Bock on August 5, 1928.  Another family history found on that website says these two were married in 1927.  It is not often that I cannot find either a church record or a civil record for a marriage that most likely took place at either Concordia, Frohna or Grace, Uniontown.  However, that is the case with Otto and Emilie.  I suppose there is an outside chance that these two were married at Brazeau Presbyterian Church, but I doubt it.

The first of only two children born to this couple arrived on the scene in 1930, and we find this family of three in the census taken for that year.

Otto Katt 1930 census Union Township MO
1930 census – Union Township, MO

We can find this couple in one more census, the one taken in 1940.

Otto Katt 1940 census Union Township MO
1940 census – Union Township, MO

I think the Ernst Bock shown living in this household in 1940 was a nephew of Emilie’s.

I found one more document for Otto.  That was his World War II draft card filled out in 1942.

Otto Katt – WWII draft card

Otto died in 1950 at the age of 58.  We have his death certificate.

Otto Katt death certificate
Otto Katt death certificate

Emilie would not die until 1976 at the age of 82.  Both Otto and Emilie are buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.


Otto was likely a student of Teacher Welp and Teacher Wukasch, who each taught at Concordia Lutheran School for about 50 years, including the years in which Otto would have been attending school.  Those two men probably did not have as much work to do to teach Otto how to write his name.  I am also pretty sure that Otto didn’t mind having such a short name.

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