Eldest Girl Elda

Elda Hemmann is today’s birthday girl.  She was born on December 17, 1890, the daughter of Benjamin and Emma (Sachman) Hemmann.  For many years, her father was a teacher in East Perry County.  He taught at the Lutheran school in Wittenberg from 1892-1902.  Then from 1903-1925, he was the teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Altenburg.  Ben Hemmann was the baby in the J.G. Hemmann family.  He was either the 20th or 21st child in that family.  That makes today’s birthday girl his granddaughter…a granddaughter that he never knew because he died when Ben was a baby.

It appears that Ben Hemmann was a teacher in the Fort Wayne area before he came to Wittenberg in 1892.  His first two children, Hugo and Elda, were born in Indiana.  Therefore, I cannot show you Elda’s baptism record.  The photo shown below of Teacher Hemmann’s class at the Wittenberg school is said to have been taken in 1899 when Elda would have been 9 year old.  She likely would have been in his class that year, but this photo just shows the boys.  If this is just the boys, I cannot imagine how many students he had altogether including the girls.  It is likely that Elda’s younger brother, Otto, is in this photo, but I cannot tell you which one he is.

Witt Lutheran School Hemmann X
Teacher Hemmann’s class – 1899

Elda can be found in the 1900 census for Wittenberg as a 9 year-old.

Elda Hemmann 1900 census Brazeau Township MO
1900 census – Wittenberg, MO

In the 1910 census for Altenburg, we do not find Elda living with her parents.  We find her living in St. Louis and working as a servant for the Holm family.  She was 19 years old.

Elda Hemmann 1910 census St. Louis MO
1910 census – St. Louis, MO

Let’s now take a look at the early life of Elda’s future husband, Arthur Koehrer.  Arthur was born on January 7, 1890, the son of Herman and Anna (Waldman) Koehrer.  We find Arthur in the 1900 census for Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where his father was a carpenter.  Since Arthur was born in January, he was already 10 years old by the time this census was taken.

Arthur Koehrer 1900 census Cape Girardeau MO
1900 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

Like Elda, when the 1910 census rolled around, Arthur was no longer living with his parents.  We find him living in Chaffee, Missouri and working as a machinist with the railroad.  It looks like he was living in a boarding house.

Arthur Koehrer 1910 census Chaffee MO
1910 census – Chaffee, MO

On September 3, 1914, Arthur Koehrer married Elda Hemmann at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  We are having an icy morning in Altenburg, so I am not going to the museum to get images of church records, but I do have the marriage license for this couple.

Koehrer Hemmann marriage license
Koehrer/Hemmann marriage record

In 1917, Arthur had his World War I draft registration completed.  At that point, this couple had one child, but later that year, their daughter, Magdaline, was born.

Arthur Koehrer – WWI draft registration

By the time of the 1920 census, the Koehrer’s had two children and were living in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  Arthur was still a machinist with the railroad.

Arthur Koehrer 1920 census Cape Girardeau MO
1920 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

One more child was born in Cape Girardeau in 1921.  If I was at our research library, I would check to see if any of these Koehrer children were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau.  I am guessing that I would find them.  By 1930, this family had moved to St. Louis where Arthur was a machinist for a tool & die company.

Arthur Koehrer 1930 census St. Louis MO
1930 census – St. Louis, MO

The last census we can view from 1940 shows Arthur still working as a machinist.  Their daughter had married, and her family was part of this Koehrer household.

Arthur Koehrer 1940 census St. Louis MO
1940 census – St. Louis, MO

Arthur had a World War II draft card filled out in 1942.  He was 52 years old.

Arthur Koehrer – WWII draft card

This form says that Arthur was working for General Metal Polish Products.  That company, GMP Metal Products still exists.  In fact, if you go to their website, it says they celebrated their 125th anniversary of being in business in 2014.  It is still located at 3883 Delor St.

GMP Metal Products website
GMP Metal Products website

I have a few Hemmann family photos that probably include Elda, but I do not know for sure which one she is.  In this first one, I think Elda would be the one in the middle on the left.

Benjamin Hemmann family early
Benjamin Hemmann family – early

Next, we see a photo of the Hemmann family that was taken quite a bit later.

Benjamin Hemmann family later
Benjamin Hemmann family

I do not have a photo of Arthur Koehrer (unless he is in the photo above), but I did find a yearbook  photo of their eldest son, Arthur Koehrer, Jr.  He was a student at Soldan High School in 1933.

Arthur Koehrer Jr. High School Yearbook photo 1933
Arthur Koehrer, Jr. – Soldan High School 1933

Elda Koehrer died in 1973 at the age of 82; Edward Koehrer died in 1975 at the age of 85.  They died too recently for us to look at their death certificates.  These two are buried together in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Pevely, Missouri

Arthur and Elda Koehrer gravestone Zion Pevely MO
Arthur and Elda Koehrer gravestone – Zion, Pevely, MO

I did a search through our previous blog posts for the name, Elda.  I found none.  So, today is the first person to be included in this blog with that name.  Probably the biggest question I have about this story is how Elda from Altenburg and St. Louis, would meet Arthur, a young man from Cape Girardeau and Chaffee.  Maybe someone in this branch of the Hemmann family would know the answer and be willing to share.


2 thoughts on “Eldest Girl Elda

  1. In reference to the number of students in a classroom, a total of 40 to 50 students in the classroom does not surprise me. When I was a student in Salem Lutheran in Farrar (late 1940s – early 1950s), we had as many as 100 students in the two classrooms (1-4 and 5-8). There was not a lot of time for individual help for any one student.


    1. At a school in which I taught in Minnesota (a rural school) they had a photo on a wall showing 98 students with one teacher.


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