The Best Parents with the Best Kids

The Best family from Marienhagen, Germany arrived in America in 1850. This family traveled to America aboard the President Smidt which landed in New Orleans, Louisiana. We see this family on the passenger list below. We can see the parents along with 7 sons and 2 daughters on this list.

Best family – President Smidt passenger list – 1850

The person I will highlight in today’s post descends from this family, and, more specifically, descends from the son named Wilhelm Best. Today’s main character was the grandson of Wilhelm.

William Frederick Best was born on September 21, 1877, the son of Charles and Annette (Wilke) Best. I have a suspicion that William was baptized at the Arnsberg Lutheran Church. This photo and other information about his father’s family was found in the Arnsberg binder we have in our research library.

A later plat map made in 1901 shows a parcel of land owned by Charles Best which is not far from the Arnsberg community and church.

Charles Best land map – 1901

We find William in his first census in 1880. It is also the only one in which we find William as a single man. William is shown as being 2 years old on this entry. He was the firstborn child in his family.

1880 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

William’s wife would be a girl by the name of Martha Magdelene Scholl. Martha was born on November 21, 1875, so she is today’s birthday girl. She would be celebrating her 145th birthday today. Martha was the daughter of Herman and Alvina (Danz) Scholl. She was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Below is her baptism record.

Martha Scholl baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Martha Scholl can be found in the 1880 census for Brazeau Township in Perry County at the age of 4. We can see Martha’s grandparents, Conrad and Elizabeth Scholl, on this entry. This is also the only census in which we find Martha as a single girl.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

On April 9, 1899, William Best married Martha Scholl. We can view this couple’s marriage license.

Best/Scholl marriage license

We find William and Martha in the 1900 census with a 1 month-old baby named Theodore. They were living in the Apple Creek Township of Cape Girardeau County.

1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

An interesting thing happened in 1906. Martha’s father, Herman, had died in 1889 when she was a teenager. She then married Henry Suhr, who died in 1903. Meanwhile, William’s mother, Annette, died in 1904. On September 16, 1906, Martha’s mother married William’s father. Here is the marriage license for that wedding. Another way of putting this is that William and Martha’s children would be able to say their Grandpa Best married Grandma Scholl.

Best/Suhr marriage license

The next census in which we find the Best family was the one taken in 1910. This time, they were living in the Shawnee Township.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

According to our German Family Tree, this couple had five children. All five can be seen in the above census entry.

William Best had his World War I draft registration completed in 1918.

William Best – WWI draft registration

The Best family can be found in the 1920 census. Here is that entry.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Martha Best died later in September of that year at the age of 44. Her death certificate states that she died of tuberculosis.

Martha Best death certificate

We still find William Best in the 1930 census as a widower. One of his sons, Edwin, had married Rosa Braeuner and was living in this household. Also, a niece of William, Vera Best, was living with them.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

A plat map produced in 1930 for Cape Girardeau County shows a parcel of land in William Best’s name not far from Shawneetown and New Wells.

William Best land map – 1915

William was still alive for the 1940 census, but I was unable to locate him. William died in 1942 at the age of 65. His death certificate states that he was living in Perry County, and his son, Theodore, who lived in Frohna, was the informant. However, William could not be found in the Perry County 1940 census either. I know he wasn’t listed in the entry for Theodore Best in that year’s census.

William Best death certificate

William and Martha Best are each buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Shawneetown, Missouri.

I think this is the first time I have included the surname Best in a post on this blog. After looking at how many Best’s arrived in America, especially how many were sons, I am surprised I haven’t run across this surname before. It’s likely to show up again someday. Then that story will tell about the Best parents with the Best kids.

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