I am going to tell the story of a man who may have been born on this day back in 1838. Or maybe he wasn’t. This is another one of those situations where there are different birthdays recorded for a person from different sources. In this case, there appears to be a dispute between the dates September 5th and September 9th.
The main character of today’s tale is Louis Doerr. He was the son of Andrew and Christina (Doerr) Doerr. Yes, it appears that his parents could have been a marriage between a Doerr and a Doerr. By the way, if you trace this surname back to Germany, you would likely find it spelled as Dӧrr. I think I may have found this family on a passenger list for the Ernest Gustav that arrived in New Orleans in 1834. The initials and ages for the individuals on this list mostly correspond with names I found on Ancestry for this family.
An older brother of Louis was born in Missouri in 1835, and then came Louis, who was likely the baby of the family. It also appears that all of the Doerr children were boys. This Doerr family can be found in the 1840 census for Perry County.
Both of Louis’s parents died when he was very young. We see their gravestone which can be found on what was once the Doerr Farm.
When the 1850 census was taken, Louis was living with his older brother, Philip Doerr. The four boys on the bottom of this entry were all brothers of Philip.
We find Louis Doerr living in Perryville in the 1860 census. It looks like he was working as a clerk in a store operated by C.C. Brown. One thing that makes this entry more interesting is the fact that Chloe Doerr, one of Louis’s children, would later marry Charles C. Brown’s younger brother, Robert Varner Brown. The story of Chloe and Robert was told in the post, Death of a Doughboy.
Next, we will look at the early life of Louis’s wife, Rosa Pfeiffer. She was the daughter of Joseph and Rosella (Fath) Pfeiffer. She was born on April 10, 1846 in St. Louis. We find Rosa in the 1850 census at the age of 4 years and 6 months. Her father was a jeweler. I could not resist showing the household above their family. I have never seen this occupation on a census before. Francois Pereger was called a gentleman.
I found Rosa boarding as a student at the Ursuline Academy, a Catholic girls school, in the 1860 census for St. Louis.
Here is a photo of the Ursuline Academy building that was constructed in 1850.
On April 9, 1868, Louis Doerr married Rosa Pfeiffer in St. Louis. Below is a marriage record for this couple.
This couple’s first of three children was born before the 1870 census. Both Louis and his brother, August, are on this entry, and both of them are said to be working at a retail dry goods store.
The 1880 census shows this household with all 3 of their children. They were all baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. This is the only census in which you see all 3 children. Their oldest child, Arthur, died in 1890.
Louis Doerr had a store located across the street from the county courthouse on the east side of the square in Perryville. His home was also located not far from there. On the map below, his store is indicated by the red arrow and his home by the blue arrow.
Here is a photo that shows the Doerr Store as seen from an upper floor of the county courthouse. The porch roof partially obstructs the name, Louis Doerr.
We next find the Doerr household in the 1900 census. By that time, Louis was in his 60’s, and in his household was their daughter, Ida, and her husband, Samuel Bond, a lawyer.
Louis and Rosa can once again be found in the 1910 census. Even though their household consisted of just the two of them, they spilled over two census pages.
The last census in which we find Rosa Doerr along with Louis was the one in 1920. You can see the Bond household above that of the Doerr’s. Their son, Arthur Bond, would be the father of a boy who would later become the Governor of Missouri.
Rosa Doerr died in 1921 at the age of 74. We can view her death certificate.
The photo of Louis Doerr shown below is said to have been taken when he was 82 years old. If so, that was about the time Rosa died.
Louis is found in one more census in 1930 at the age of 91. He may just have set a record for this blog. This is the 9th census record for him in this post.
Louis Doerr died in 1934 at the age of 96. His death certificate says he died at St. Francis Hospital in Cape Girardeau. He died of a combination of a broken leg and pneumonia. It is this document that gives September 9th as his birthday.
Louis and Rosa are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville. Louis’s birthday is September 5th on his gravestone.
Louis and Rosa’s great grandson was Christopher Samuel Bond, who was mostly known as Kit Bond. He was not only the Missouri Governor, but also went on to become a United States Senator and was even on a short list to be nominated to run for Vice President of the United States.
There is even more gubernatorial politics attached to this story. While looking into Ursuline Academy, I discovered that one of their notable graduates is Nicole Gallaway, who is presently on the upcoming ballot for Missouri Governor.
In 1980, what became known as the Doerr-Brown home was designated as an historical landmark. It must have been around that time that this building was used as the Perry County Museum because this photo was used in the application for that landmark designation. You can see the name, Museum, on the front porch.
I sometimes think God directs me to stories for this blog. This is one of those times. After doing most of the research for this story, I received word this morning that an influential member of the Perry County Historical Society throughout the years, Lou Hudson Pellican, died yesterday. She was a friend of our museum and a fan of this blog. She would occasionally leave comments on posts like this one about Perryville, and I trust that she could have added much information to this story. I don’t know if it is the case, but I am guessing that Lou had plenty to do with the Doerr-Brown House getting named as an historic landmark. Rest in peace, Lou.