Winters on Route 66

One hundred thirty-five years ago, a set of twin boys was born in Altenburg, Missouri.  Their story, along with their mother and siblings, will take us on quite a trip, and also connect with another old post with an unexplained mystery.

Ernst Rudolph and Johannes Friedrich Winter were born on July 2, 1885, the sons of Ernst and Elizabeth (Hesse) Winter.  They were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Missouri.  Below are their baptism records.

Rudolph and John Winter baptism record Trinity Altenburg MO
Rudolph and John Winter baptism records – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

We would never see these twins in a Perry County census.  The parents of the twins had been married in 1884 and had four children.  That included this set of twins plus two girls, Dorothy and Clara.  Then, in 1890, their father died.  Sometime before the 1900 census, their mother, Elizabeth, must have moved her family back to live with her parents in Rock Township in Jefferson County, Missouri.  Below is a map of that township.

Rock Township Jefferson County MO map
Rock Township, Jefferson Township, MO

The 1900 census for the Hesse household shows quite a collection of family members.  All of the surnames in this list have connections to Perry County.  John is called Joseph on this form.  The twins are both involved in farm labor at the age of 14.

Elizabeth Winter 1900 census Rock Township MO
1900 census – Rock Township, MO

We find Elizabeth and her family once again living in the same location in the 1910 census.  John was listed as the head of the household.

Rudolph Winter 1910 census Rock Township MO
1910 census – Rock Township, MO

Several things happened before the next census.  I am not sure about the date, but sometime before 1913, Rudolph married Lydia Dauterhahn.  Lydia was born on October 29, 1877 somewhere in Indiana.  However, when we find her in the 1880 census, her family was living in St. Louis where her father was a cigar manufacturer.

Lydia Dautenhahn 1880 census St. Louis MO
1880 census – St. Louis, MO

Here’s where things get more interesting.  Sometime between 1880 and 1900, Lydia’s father became a Lutheran pastor.  We find the Dauterhahn’s living in Rock Township, the same  place we found the Winter’s, and Charles Dauterhahn is a minister.

Lydia Dautenhahn 1900 census Rock Township Jefferson County MO
1900 census – Rock Township, MO

A similar situation is shown in the 1910 census.  Lydia is still single.

Lydia Dautenhahn 1910 census Rock Township Jefferson County MO
1910 census – Rock Township, MO

I figure Rudolph Winter married Lydia Dauterhahn in the early 1910’s because a son was born into this family in 1913.  Their next child was born in 1916 in Oklahoma.  Meanwhile, Rudolph’s sister, Dora, married George Rubin in Antonia, Missouri (in Rock Township) on February 4, 1917.  Even though they were married in Missouri, George Rubin was living in Afton, Oklahoma at the time of their marriage.  We also find Rudolph living in Afton in 1918 because that is his residence on his World War I draft registration completed in that year.

Rudolph Winter – WWI draft registration

I’m not sure of the whole timetable, but the end result is that the whole family of Elizabeth Winter was living in Afton, Oklahoma in the 1920 census.  Below is a map showing the Afton area in Northeast Oklahoma near Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas.

Ottawa County Oklahoma
Ottawa County, OK

I’ll show 3 census records.  All of the men in the families were said to be farmers.  First, here is the family of Rudolph Winter.  Their second child, Arnold, is said to have been born in Missouri, but the rest of his census records say he was born in Oklahoma.

Rudolph Winter 1920 census Afton OK
1920 census – Afton, OK

Next, we find Elizabeth’s household which included John and Clara.  Neither one of these two ever married.

John Winter 1920 census Afton OK
1920 census – Afton, OK

Finally, here is the entry for the Rubin family.

George Rubin 1920 census Afton OK
1920 census – Afton, OK

The photo below is said to be the Winter-Dauterhahn family taken in Oklahoma.  None of the people are identified, and I cannot even explain the number of people in the photo.

Winter Dauterhahn family Oklahoma
Winter-Dauterhahn family in Oklahoma

While I’m at it, I will show a Rubin family photo which includes George.  He is the one standing in the back on the far left.  Perhaps George is in both photos.

August Rubin family
Rubin family

It would be in 1926 that US Route 66 would be built through Afton, thus bringing more business and traffic to town.  The Winter story splits up at this point, and I will first tell the part involving the ones who remained in Afton for the rest of their lives.

We find both Elizabeth and her single children as well as Rudolph’s family in the 1930 census for Afton.

John Winter 1930 census Afton OK
1930 census – Afton, OK

Rudolph Winter 1930 census Afton OK

Rudolph Winter 1930 census 2 Afton OK
1930 census – Afton, OK

Once more, we see both of these households in the 1940 census.

John Winter 1940 census Afton OK
1940 census – Afton, OK
Rudolph Winter 1940 census Afton OK
1940 census – Afton, OK

Elizabeth Winter died in 1952 at the age of 91; Clara Winter died in 1965 at the age of 76; John Winter died in 1968 at the age of 82.  These three are buried together in the Fairland Cemetery in Fairland, Oklahoma.

Elizabeth Clara and John Winter gravestone Fairland OK
Elizabeth, John, and Clara Winter gravestone – Fairland, OK

Rudolph Winter died in 1962 at the age of 76; his wife, Lydia, died in 1964 at the age of 87.  These two are also buried together in the Fairland Cemetery.

Rudolph and Lydia Winter gravestone – Fairland, OK

Now, let’s return to George and Dora Rubin.  They did not remain in Afton long after the 1920 census shown earlier.  We find evidence of them living in Altenburg in 1923 when a child named Alvin was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church.  Here is that baptism record.

Alvin Rubin baptism record Trinity Altenburg MO
Alvin Rubin baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Two more children were baptized at Trinity in the 1920’s, and we find the Rubin’s in the 1930 census living in Altenburg where George was a carpenter.  All of their children’s names began with an “A”.

George Rubin 1930 census Brazeau Township MO
1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

It’s at this point in my research of this story that I noticed a connection between this Rubin and another one that appeared in a previous post titled, Born, Married, and Buried in Perry County.  In that story, there was a Martin Rubin who married Marie Poppitz in Perry County.  Martin was George Rubin’s brother, and in the 1920 census, he was also found living in Afton, Oklahoma.  Martin and Marie were married in 1928.  Then, in the 1940 census, we find the George Rubin family living in St. Peter, Illinois.  George drove a truck delivering milk.

George Rubin 1940 census St. Peter IL
1940 census – St. Peter, IL

His brother was also living in the same county in Illinois in 1940.  He was a member of a Lutheran Church in Augsburg, Illinois and George was probably a member of St. Peter Lutheran Church in St. Peter, Illinois.  They were neighboring congregations.

George Rubin died in 1953 at the age of 67; Dorothy Rubin died in 1969 at the age of 83.  These two are buried together in the St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery in St. Peter, Illinois.

George and Dorothy Rubin gravestone St. Peter St. Peter IL
George and Dorothy Rubin gravestone – St. Peter, IL

This story certainly takes us on an interesting ride.  Also, although I don’t know all the details, I at least now know how a Rubin from Illinois might have gotten to know a Poppitz girl from Perry County.

Two more things.  Our museum director, Carla Jordan, grew up about 30 miles away from Afton, Oklahoma in Baxter Springs, Kansas.  She has memories of traveling with her family through Afton when they took trips to a nearby lake.  She remembers a rather famous Afton attraction called the Buffalo Ranch.

Buffalo Ranch – Afton, OK

The downtown in Afton, Oklahoma looks more like a ghost town nowadays.  Below is a photo of some buildings there that bring back memories of the old days when Route 66 ran through town.

Downtown Afton Oklahoma
Afton, Oklahoma buildings

Sometimes, when I write these stories, I get goosebumps.  Today is one of those days.  The red building in the above photo was once the Palmer Hotel.  I discovered that just yesterday, that building suffered a devastating fire.  You can read about it here and watch a short video.


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