My Favorite Census Taker

The birthday girl for today is Emma Weinhold, who was born on May 15, 1874.  One of the most notable facts about Emma was that she was the firstborn child in a family into which were born 14 children.  Her parents were Martin and Magdalena (Noennig) Weinhold.  Her father was one of the three Weinhold brothers who were flour millers in Perry County.  I have already written quite a few stories about the children of these 3 millers.  Actually, I have already included Emma in a previous story, but I have yet to focus a story on her and her husband like I will today.

All 14 of the Weinhold children in this family were baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna.  Here is Emma’s baptism record.

Emma Weinhold baptism record Concordia Frohna MO
Emma Weinhold baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Emma is found in only one census before she was married.  That was the one taken in 1880.

Emma Weinhold 1880 census Brazeau Township MO
1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The census taker in 1880 was Gottwerth Schmidt, my great grandfather.  His signature on the above 1880 census page is shown below.  However, Great Grandpa Schmidt is only my second-favorite census taker, not the one mentioned in today’s title.

Gottwerth Schmidt census signature 1880
Gottwerth Schmidt – census signature

Now, we need to look at the early life of Theodore Goehring, Emma’s future husband.  He was born on September 29, 1873.  His father had been born in Altenburg, but he got married in St. Louis in 1871 and lived in that city for a while.  That was where Theodore was born.  His parents were Ferdinand and Bertha (Dellit) Goehring.  We find the Goehring family living in St. Louis when the 1880 census was taken.

Theodore Goehring 1880 census St. Louis MO
1880 census – St. Louis, MO

Although I am not sure exactly when, the Goehring family moved back to Perry County later in that decade.  In October of 1897, a short article appeared in a local newspaper about Theodore.

Theodore Goehring newspaper article 1897

As the image above states, the “dove” became part of Theodore’s house on October 9, 1898 when he married Emma Weinhold at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna.  Although I was unable to find a civil marriage license for this couple, we do find their marriage record in the books of Concordia Lutheran Church.

Goehring Weinhold marriage record Concordia Frohna MO
Goehring/Weinhold marriage record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

We have this photo of Theodore and Emma.

Theodore and Emma Goehring

The first child born to this couple was a son, Waldemar, who was born on Valentine’s Day of 1900.  He was born early enough in that year to appear in the 1900 census for Brazeau Township.  You can see they were living quite near Theodore’s parents, and Theodore was a salesman.

Ferdinand Goehring 1900 census Frohna
1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Before I proceed any further, let me say that several of the documents I have for this story come from a wonderful family book that we have in our research library on the Weinhold family.  Credit for this publication is given on one of the first pages in this book which is shown below.

Michael Barden and Heather Euler book credit for Weinhold book

In that book, it states that Theodore began working for his father’s store at about the time that he got married.  So, when the 1900 census says Theodore was a salesman, he must have been a salesman in this store (which was located where the West End Tavern is now).

F.E. Goehring Store 1898 Frohna

Five children of this couple were baptized at Concordia, Frohna.  Four of them had been born by the time of the 1910 census.

Theodore Goehring 1910 census Brazeau Township MO
1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The Goehring Store was successful enough that another store was opened in Crosstown by them along with a furniture store in Frohna.  Those stores were mentioned in the advertisement shown here.

Goehring and Son Stores Ad
Enter a caption

The Frohna Furniture Store was located in the building next to the Lueders Store, right where the Highway A and Highway C intersection is.  Later, the post office was operated in that building.

This story also gets into local politics.  A document I located states that Theodore Goehring was an official in the Perry County Republican Party.

Theodore Goehring political document

Here is what I find interesting.  Emma’s uncle, Joseph Weinhold, from Wittenberg had served time as a State Representative, and he was a staunch Democrat.  If Emma’s father was also a Democrat, this Goehring/Weinhold marriage would have been one which involved families from different political parties.  I know I have had a little fun dealing with the situation of Lydia Weinhold, Joseph’s daughter, and Otto Lueders, whose father was a Republican, and their romance in my book, Wittenberg ’03.  It was a couple from opposite political parties also.

We find the Goehring family once again in the 1920 census.  This entry says Theodore was a merchant and was a partner with his father.

Theodore Goehring 1920 census Brazeau Township MO
1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

I figure this photo taken of the Goehring family must have been taken around this time.  All 5 of their children are in the photo.

Theodore and Emma Goehring family

The last census in which we find Theodore and Emma was the one taken in 1930.  Theodore’s mother had died in 1929, so his father, as a widower, was living in Theodore’s household.  At 81 years old, his father is still said to be one of the proprietors, along with Theodore, of a retail store.

Theodore Goehring 1930 census Brazeau Township MO
1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Emma Goehring died in 1935 at the age of 60.  Her death certificate states that she died of breast cancer.

Emma Goehring death certificate
Emma Goehring death certificate

Theodore died in 1936 at the age of 62.  An obituary for him says he died in Geneva, Nebraska where his daughter, Ruth, and her husband, Walter Weber, were living.

Theodore Goehring obituary
Theodore Goehring obituary

Emma and Theodore are buried together in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.

Theodore and Emma Goehring gravestone Concordia Frohna
Theodore and Emma Goehring gravestone – Concordia, Frohna, MO

I must take some time to explain my reason for calling Theodore my favorite census taker.  First of all, Theodore was the census taker for Brazeau Township for both the 1900 and 1910 censuses.  So, those two census entries shown earlier were recorded by Theodore himself.  You can see his signature below on the 1910 census.

Theodore Goehring 1910 census signature

I never have trouble reading Theodore’s handwriting on the two census years he recorded.  Not only is his penmanship very legible, the pen and ink he used must have been of high quality.  The ink he used has stood the test of time.

I have often complained about the 1900 census for Salem Township.  Below is a page from the Salem Township 1900 census which I consider almost impossible to decipher.

1900 census page Salem Township MO
1900 census – Salem Township, MO

Compare that to a page from Theodore’s 1900 census.

Theodore Goehring 1900 census Brazeau Township MO
1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Even after Theodore recorded the 1910 census, he took another job which required filling out forms.  He completed many World War I draft registrations during 1917-1918.  In fact, he had to complete his own form that I waited until now to display.

005151891_04374
Theodore Goehring – WWI draft registration

I confess that I have been looking for the opportunity to write about my favorite census taker.  I now realize that I have enjoyed writing Theodore’s story for another reason.  As it turns out, Theodore was a person who was raised in St. Louis, where he must have learned his writing skills.  He would later move back to where his father had been raised in Perry County, where he would utilize his writing skills.  I, too, was raised in St. Louis where I gained skills in the Lutheran schools that I attended.  Much later in my life, I returned to the place where my father had been raised…Perry County.  And now I am using writing skills to help preserve the local history.  I can relate to Theodore.


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