Blacksmith to Mechanic

I guess it makes sense.  A blacksmith was a person who worked with metal.  He often worked on pieces of equipment that were involved in transportation, such as wagons.  He worked with his hands.  So, when there was a transformation from horse and buggy days to automobiles and the internal combustion engines, workers were needed to service new types of machinery.  I have run across a few cases while writing for this blog in which a man went from being a blacksmith to being some sort of mechanic.  I can just imagine a blacksmith looking at an automobile engine for the first time…perhaps a Model-T Ford…and immediately thinking, “I want one of those, and I want to work on them.”  It seems like a very reasonable change in occupations.  It was a situation that required men to adjust to new technology, and they did so.  Today is yet another one of those stories.

Ernst Friedrich Wilhelm Vogel was born on July 12, 1882, so he is today’s birthday boy.  He was the son of Wilhelm and Emma (Hoehne) Vogel.  Ernst was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri.  Below is his baptism record.

Ernest Vogel baptism record Immanuel New Wells MO
Ernst Vogel baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Let me point out that once again, there was another boy born not much earlier and not very far away who also carried the name Ernst Vogel.  His full name was Ernst Heinrich Vogel, who was born in Frohna in 1878.  That Vogel story was told in the post, A Bird Lands in Byrd.  Both of these Ernst Vogel’s eventually lived in Cape Girardeau County.  Almost all the documents for today’s character call him Ernest.  In fact, many call him Ernest F.W.  Perhaps this was the case because he knew there was another person with his name, and he didn’t want confusion.  Maybe they got each other’s mail.

Ernest F.W. can be found in his first census in 1900, in which he was already 17 years old.  It says he was a day laborer, but there are no details.

Ernest Vogel 1900 census Shawnee Township MO
1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Now, we turn our attention to Ernest’s future wife.  Her name was Emilie Schuppan, the daughter of Ludwig and Rosina (Lehner) Schuppan.  She was born on August 7, 1874, so she was about 8 years older than Ernest.  Emilie was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells.  Below is her baptism record.

Emilie Schuppan baptism record Immanuel New Wells MO
Emilie Schuppan baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

I did find Emilie in the 1880 census but not the one for 1900.  In 1880, she was just 6 years old.

Emilie Schuppan 1880 census Shawnee Township MO
1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

On November 22, 1903, Ernest Vogel married Emilie Schuppan at Immanuel, New Wells.  Here is the church record for that wedding.

Vogel Schuppan marriage record Immanuel New Wells MO
Vogel/Schuppan marriage record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

We can also take a look at this couple’s marriage license.

Vogel Schuppan marriage license
Vogel/Schuppan marriage license

According to our German Family Tree, this couple had three children.  Two of them were born before the 1910 census was taken.  That entry says that Ernest was a blacksmith in Pocahontas.

Ernest Vogel 1910 census Shawnee Township MO
1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Ernest had his World War I draft registration completed in 1918.  It is another document stating that he was a blacksmith in Pocahontas.

Ernest Vogel – WWI draft registration

The 1920 census shows Ernest with a new occupation.  This time he was called a mechanic in a garage.  By 1920, more people were using automobiles for transportation and were in need of someone to provide service for those vehicles.

Ernest Vogel 1920 census Shawnee Township MO
1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Emilie Vogel’s later obituary would state that the Vogel family moved to Cape Girardeau in 1923.  In the 1930 census, it says that Ernest was a mechanic for a lumber company.

Ernest Vogel 1930 census Cape Girardeau MO
1930 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

A 1932 Cape Girardeau city directory states that Ernest was a foreman for the C.J. Reisenbichler & Company.  That company was operated by Christian John Reisenbichler, who also had his roots in and around Pocahontas.  I may have to tell his story on this blog someday.

Ernest Vogel 1932 Cape Girardeau city directory
Ernest Vogel – 1932 Cape Girardeau city directory

In a past blog post by Fred Lynch in the Southeast Missourian, there was a 1929 photo of the C.J. Reisenbichler Lumber Company building locate on North Main Street.  I don’t want to violate any copyright laws, so I will put a link to that blog post.  By clicking the link below, you can view that old photo.

The last census in which we can view Ernest Vogel was the one taken in 1940.  This entry says Ernest was a mechanic in an automobile shop.

Ernest Vogel 1940 census Cape Girardeau MO
1940 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

When Ernest had his World War II draft card completed in 1942, it said his employer was the Reisenbichler Lumber Company.

Ernest Vogel – WWII draft card

Emilie Vogel died in 1945 at the age of 70.  Her death certificate says she died at St. Francis Hospital in Cape Girardeau.

Emilie Vogel death certificate
Emilie Vogel death certificate

The following obituary was written after Emilie’s death.

Emilie Vogel obituary
Emilie Vogel obituary

Now, things get mighty peculiar.  Take a look at this marriage record from Maplewood, Missouri that is dated August 13, 1950.

Vogel Hetzler marriage record Maplewood MO
Vogel/Hetzler marriage record – Maplewood, MO

It says this Ernest Vogel was born in New Wells and has his correct birthday.  However, when we look at a death certificate for Ruth Hetzler, who died in 1955, it has no indication that she was married to Ernest.  In fact her name was still Hetzler, and it says her husband had been Herman Hetzler.  It makes me wonder if Ernest applied for a marriage license but never followed through with it.

Ruth Hetzler death certificate
Ruth Hetzler death certificate

Then, in 1960, Ernest Vogel married Dora Mehner at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna.  Here is their marriage license.

Vogel Mehner marriage license
Vogel/Mehner marriage license

I thought that Dora Mehner might have been the widow of Henry Mehner who was married to Dorothea Knoll, but that Dora Mehner died in 1947.  Dora Vogel died in 1962, and her death certificate says her father was named Henry Kistner and her mother was Caroline Hengst.

Dora Vogel death certificate
Dora Vogel death certificate

I think the gravestone shown here from Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Crosstown is Dora’s.  She was once married to John Eichhorn.  Findagrave says her maiden name was Kistner, but I found no evidence of the surname Mehner entering her life anywhere along the line.

Dora Vogel Eichorn gravestone Zion Crosstown MO
John and Dora Eichhorn gravestone – Zion, Crosstown, MO

Ernest Vogel died in 1967 at the age of 84.  His death certificate says his residence was in Frohna, but he was at the Deal Nursing Home in Jackson when he died.

Ernest Vogel death certificate
Ernest Vogel death certificate

We can also read an obituary for Ernest.

Ernest Vogel obituary
Ernest Vogel obituary

Ernest and Emilie Vogel are buried in the Cape County Memorial Cemetery in Cape Girardeau.

The life of Ernest Vogel certainly got complicated later in his life after his wife, Emilie had died.  The word, Vogel, is the German term for “bird”.  Ernest did seem to flit around from place to place during his lifetime, especially toward the end.


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