Adolf the Blacksmith

There was a time around here when the name, Adolf, was pretty common.  Not anymore.  World War II and Adolf Hitler put an end to that name in America.  However, today’s main character was born before that time, and he is today’s birthday boy.  His name was Adolf Meyr.

Adolf Meyr was the son of Amos and Maria (Mirly) Meyr of New Wells, Missouri.  He was born on March 12, 1883 and baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells.  Depending on the document, his name was either spelled Adolf or Adolph.  I choose to go with Adolf today, mainly because I found his signature on a few documents, and he used Adolf.  Here is his baptism record.

Adolph Meyr baptism record Immanuel New Wells MO
Adolf Meyr baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

It would not be until 1900 before we find Adolf in a U.S. census.  We find his family living in the Shawnee Township in northern Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.  His father was a stone mason.

Adolph Meyr 1900 census Shawnee Township MO
1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Let’s take a look at Adolf’s future wife.  Her name was Lucie Mueller.  She was born on November 13, 1883, the daughter of Martin and Amalia (Naumann) Mueller.  She was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri.  Right before she was was baptized, Rev. Janzow took a call, and this congregation was without a pastor.  Another pastor, Rev. Baepler, performed Lucie’s baptism.  Below is her baptism record.

Lucie Mueller baptism record Concordia Frohna MO
Lucie Mueller baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Lucie, like Adolf, can first be found in the 1900 census.  Her family was living in the Brazeau Township where her father was a farmer.  It looks like Lucie is the oldest child, but a few older siblings had already gotten married by 1900.

Lucie Mueller 1900 census Brazeau Township MO
1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

On September 17, 1905, Adolf Meyr married Lucie Mueller at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna.  Rev. Zschoche, the pastor that replaced Rev. Janzow in 1883 was still there to perform this wedding.  Here is this couple’s marriage license.

Meyr Mueller marriage license
Meyr/Mueller marriage license

There is a fact on the church marriage record that I find interesting.  It says that Adolf Meyr was a blacksmith (written in German) from Wittenberg, Missouri.  Here is that church record.

Meyr Mueller marriage record Concordia Frohna MO
Meyr/Mueller marriage record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

I did quite a bit of research when writing my book, Wittenberg ’03.  I found two men who were said to be blacksmiths around the time period of that book.  They were Henry Birner and Theodore Militzer.  I know that Henry Birner was getting up there in years in 1903 and I figured Theodore Militzer took over his blacksmith business at about that time.  After finding this marriage record, I have to conclude that Adolf Meyr must have shown up in Wittenberg at about that time to also be a blacksmith.  He would have been in his early 20’s.  I suppose it is possible that he learned the blacksmith trade from one or both of the two men I just mentioned.  We do not find a census record that places Adolph in Wittenberg.

The next census taken in 1910 has this couple in a new location.  They were living in Union Township, and Adolf was a blacksmith with his own shop.  That shop was located in Uniontown.  Adolf and Lucie had the first two of their children by then.

Adolph Meyr 1910 census Union Township MO
1910 census – Union Township, MO

Our German Family Tree lists 10 children in this family, and they were all baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown.  It appears that all of them lived into adulthood.  The next document we find for Adolf was his World War I draft registration.

005151891_05143
Adolph Meyr – WWI draft registration

Next, we find a larger family in the 1920 census.

Adolph Meyr 1920 census Union Township MO
1920 census – Union Township, MO

Lucie Meyr died in 1929, about 2 years after giving birth to her 10th and final child, at the age of 45.  We have her death certificate.

Lucie Meyr death certificate
Lucie Meyr death certificate

I found no record of Adolf marrying again, so it looks like he remained a widower for the remainder of his life.  We find him and his remaining children in the 1930 census.

Adolph Meyr 1930 census Union Township MO
1930 census – Union Township, MO

The photograph shown below is said to be the Uniontown blacksmith shop, and the narration that goes with this picture says at one time, Adolf operated this shop.  However, the men shown in the photo are not identified.  I suppose it is possible that Adolf is one of them, but I cannot say for sure.  It’s a great picture of an old-time blacksmith shop, complete with horses.

Uniontown blacksmith shop
Uniontown blacksmith shop

I was unable to find Adolf in the 1940 census.  What I do have is his World War II draft card which was filled out in 1942, and it says he was still a blacksmith in Uniontown.

44479_04_00029-01088
Adolph Meyr – WWII draft card

Adolf would not die until 1970 at the age of 87.  In a few years, we may be able to view his death certificate, but they are not available for that year yet.  According to a Social Security death index, Adolf died in St. Louis.

One of the mysteries for this story is where we find the gravestones for Lucie and Adolf.  According to Lucie’s death certificate, she was buried in Uniontown.  A death record for Grace Lutheran even says in which row Lucie is buried.  However, Findagrave.com does not have an entry for anyone with the name Meyr.  I suppose someday I could go out and walk the cemeteries at Grace, but I choose not to trudge through the rain and mud today.

In closing, let me tell you that I considered doing another Meyr story today.  It was about another Meyr boy who was born on March 12, 1914 in New Wells.  I rarely do stories for people born that recently because I cannot find enough documentation for them.  I focus on people that go further back than that.  However, that other Meyr attracted my attention because his name was Oscar Meyr.

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I leave you today with another short video.  Mike Mulligan and his Modern-day Steam Shovel were back here today despite it being a wet, foggy morning.  We now have a digging behind our museum.  I cannot call it an archeological dig.  Maybe we can call it an architectural dig.

 


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