I am going to describe today’s post as a short story. It may not necessarily turn out to be so short in terms of words, but it does involve the lives of several individuals whose life stories were tragically short. It all begins with a birth that took place on this day back in 1883.
Carl Bernhard Demetrio was born on September 22, 1883, the son of Rev. Carl Hermann and Emma (Kruse) Demetrio. The baptism of this son took place at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville, where Rev. Demetrio was the pastor. Rev. Demetrio had come to Perryville right out of Concordia Seminary to become the first called pastor at Immanuel in 1869. He would serve this congregation until 1886.
We see a list of children that were born to Pastor Demetrio’s family in the list shown below.
One thing I noticed is that the sponsors listed for the Demetrio children includes a lot of very prominent Perryville residents. Carl’s sponsors include the name of Charles Weber, who was famous for his Civil War service and then became a famous local judge in Perryville. If you look at Rev. Demetrio in the 1880 census, you will even see that Charles Weber was his neighbor.
In 1886, when Carl was about 3 years old, Rev. Demetrio accepted a call to Holy Cross Lutheran Church in what would become known as Emma, Missouri. The story about how that town became named after Rev. Demetrio’s daughter, Emma, was told in the post, The Emmas from Emma. The map below shows the proximity of Emma to Concordia, Missouri, where St. Paul’s Lutheran College was located.
Because we cannot view the 1890 Federal census, the first census in which we find Carl B. Demetrio is the one taken in 1900. He was a student at St. Paul’s College in Concordia at the age of 16. It would turn out to be the only census in which we find Carl (Charles).
Carl would go on to attend Concordia College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and then Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He graduated from the Seminary in 1907 and was called to a dual parish in Kansas. Those congregations were in Wallula and Bonner Springs, located not far west of Kansas City, Kansas. He really was not that far from his home in Emma, Missouri.
On February 18, 1908, Carl Demetrio married Ida Stark. Carl traveled back to Milwaukee where he had once been a student to get married. Let’s take a look at Ida’s early life for a moment.
Ida Stark was born on April 2, 1880, the daughter of August and Emma Stark. She was born in Elyria, Ohio, not far from Cleveland. Ida managed to barely sneak into the 1880 census for that city as a baby.
By the time of the 1900 census, we find the August Stark family living in Milwaukee. Ida was not in this household. I did not find Ida in a 1900 census.
I find the marriage registration for Carl and Ida to be quite interesting.
The pastor listed on this form was Rev. G.H.A. Loeber, who was the son of Christoph Heinrich Loeber and the grandson of Gotthold Loeber, who were both original immigrants who were part of the Gesellschaft. There is also an Edward Lohmann listed as a witness here, which sounds like a Perry County name, but I could find no connection.
I will also point out that this form says Carl’s mother, Emma, was born in Virginia. The previous censuses say she was from Georgia. And if that isn’t enough, I will show a few more census records later that say she was born in South Carolina. It certainly is puzzling.
Carl and Ida had a child named Esther who was born on December 3, 1908 in Wallula, Kansas. Here is a record of her birth.
Sadly, this is where the story becomes a short story. Within 9 days of each other in February of 1910, both Carl and Ida Demetrio died in Kansas. Typhoid fever is mentioned when each of their deaths are described. Several articles have been printed about these tragic deaths. First, here are two articles printed in a Leavenworth, Kansas newspaper about Carl and Ida’s deaths.
An obituary was also published later in Der Lutheraner, which in those days was written in German.
Fortunately, we also have an English translation of this obituary.
The pastor who conducted the English service for his funeral was Rev. Theodore Bundenthal. The story of Rev. Bundenthal’s son dying in Wittenberg in 1904 was told just a few days ago in the post, 3 Infants, 3 Graves, 10 Days.
I do have this grainy photo of Pastor Demetrio.
The bodies of Carl and Ida were transported to Emma, Missouri where they were buried together in the Holy Cross Lutheran Cemetery.
Their daughter, Esther, also returned to Emma, Missouri, where she is found in the household of her grandparents, Rev. Carl and Emma Demetrio in the 1910 census.
We have this photo of Esther that was said to be taken around 1918 when she would have been around 10 years old.
Esther is found once again in the 1920 census for Emma, Missouri at the age of 11.
In 1923, Esther Demetrio died at the age of 14. Her death certificate states that she died as a result of meningitis.
By the way, the informant on this form was Emma (Demetrio) Oetting, the person for whom the town of Emma was named.
Esther is buried in the same cemetery as her parents, but her name is included on the gravestone of her grandparents.
There are certainly a lot of Emma’s in this story. In addition to the Emma’s in the Demetrio family, Ida Stark’s mother was also an Emma. Carl had a younger brother named Edward who also became a Lutheran minister, and his wife was named Emma. Also, Esther’s middle name was Emma.
I may have called this a short story, but I just checked how many words make up this story, and it is larger than the average number of words for posts that have been published on this blog. So, I guess you could say it’s a long, short story.
One thought on “A Demetrio Short Story”
I have additional information on C.H. Demetrio that I will send you for your records. (C. H. Demetrio was my great-grandfather–his daughter Hedwig was my grandmother). I also will send you some scans of family pictures that we got from my grandmother.