I looked for a Valentines Day story. I looked for a story that had some of the typical Valentine themes: hearts, flowers, cards, chocolate, jewelry, etc. I think I found one. If you read this blog regularly, you already know that I sometimes really have to stretch the meanings of people’s names to come up with a clever title. I realize that they can often be put in the category that my former students used to describe my jokes…real groaners. Today’s title may or may not be one of those.
We start with a Valentines Day birthday. Flora Marie Louise Ochs was born on February 14, 1899, the daughter of Henry and Josephine (Rauh) Ochs. Her father could also be referred to as Judge Ochs because he served in that position in Perry County for many years. The judge’s story was told by Clayton Erdmann in the post titled, Junior, Judge, and Representative. Flora was actually a twin. Her twin brother was Ernst Johann Theodore Ochs who would later marry Irma Luvere Dambach. I guess you could say there’s a little Valentine Luve-re story there also. Maybe I’ll tell Ernst’s story next year. These twins were baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg, so I cannot show their baptism records.
The Ochs family had a photograph taken in the early 1900’s that shows all 9 of their children. There were two boys born after Flora and Ernst, so I think Flora is the girl standing to the left of her mother, and Ernst is the one standing to the right of his father with his arm over his leg.
Before I move on, I would like to point out that the name, Flora, has Valentines Day significance. In Roman mythology, Flora was the goddess of flowers and of the season of spring. The famous artist, Rembrandt, painted this portrait of Flora.
Since ochs means “ox” in German, I gave just a moment’s thought to calling Flora a “flowery ox”, but I know better than that. Flora can be found in the 1900 census for Central Township in Perry County. She and Ernst were one year old.
Flora can be found in both the 1910 census and the 1920 census before she was married. Here we find her in the 1910 census.
Next, we take a look at the 1920 census. In this entry, you will see that there is a Rev. R.H. Freche living in their household. He was the pastor at Peace, Friedenberg from 1919-1920 according to the Friedenberg book we have in our library.
Here is a photo of Pastor Freche. If he would have stayed in Friedenberg for another year, he might have performed Flora’s wedding ceremony.
Let’s turn our attention to Flora’s future Valentine. His name was Leonard Michael Bergmann, the son of Michael and Maria (Bergmann) Bergmann. Yes, Leonard’s parents were the result of a Bergmann marrying a Bergmann. Leonard was born on December 16, 1895 and baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg. Leonard was the baby in the Bergmann family. He was born when his mother was 47 years old and his father was 52. Since the word, berg, means mountain in German, I will call Leonard Flora’s Mountain Man. We find Leonard in the 1900 census at the age of 4.
The 1910 census has the Bergmann household living in Perryville where Leonard’s father worked at a farm implement company.
In 1917, Leonard had his World War I draft registration completed. He was living in Perryville and working at the Berkmann & Stuebner Store, which sold hardware.
We find Leonard living with his sister and her husband in St. Louis in the 1920 census. Leonard was a salesman for a hardware company.
That leads us up to the wedding between Leonard Bergmann and Flora Ochs which took place on April 3, 1921. Here is this couple’s marriage license.
Leonard and Flora would have just one child. Her name was Ruby Bergmann. This is where the jewelry enters the Valentines story. What better gem could you have for Valentines Day than a Ruby. We see the Bergmann household in the 1930 census shown below. Flora’s father was still living with them. This census says Leonard was a merchant in a variety store.
The 1940 census says Leonard was involved in a hardware store in Perryville.
Leonard’s World War II draft card gives us more detail about the hardware business where Leonard was working. It states that there was a store called Stuebner & Bergman in Perryville. I am no expert in old businesses located in Perryville, but I have run across some evidence that said this was a hardware store.
Sometime along the line, Leonard’s last name became transformed from Bergmann to Bergman. Flora died in 1953 at the age of 54. Leonard died in 1986 at the age of 90. These two are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.
Feel welcome to groan at my goofy jokes. I am used to it. I hope you all have a wonderful Valentines Day. Even if it’s not filled with flowers, jewelry, and all the trappings of the day, may it at least be filled with love. I know that I love writing these stories.