The Degenhardts’ Grandma

Dora Bertha Friederika Grossheider was born on December 8, 1892, so we will name her today’s birthday girl. Dora was the daughter of Henry and Friederika (Isenberg) Grossheider. I am going to backtrack into the Grossheider family before moving on. Dora’s grandparents were discussed in a previous post titled, Two Succumb to the Flu. In that article, I displayed this photo of Friedrich and Theresa (Mehner) Grossheider.

Friedrich and Theresa Grossheider

Their oldest son was Henry Grossheider. We also have a rather early photo of Henry Grossheider, Dora’s father.

Henry Grossheider

Dora Grossheider was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim, Missouri. She had a very special baptism birthday. Her baptism record shows that she was baptized on Christmas Day.

Dora Grossheider baptism record – Trinity, Friedheim, MO

A photograph of the Henry Grossheider family was taken when Dora was rather young. She is the middle girl in the back row.

Henry Grossheider family

The youngest child in this photo being held by her mother, Alvina, was born in 1897, so this photo must have been taken not long before the 1900 census was taken. We see this Grossheider family in that census entry below. Dora was 7 years old.

1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

The Grossheider’s must have moved from the Friedheim vicinity to the area around Gordonville between the 1900 and 1910 censuses. We find this family living in the Hubble Township. Dora was said to be 16 years old.

1910 census – Hubble Township, MO

Now, we need to take a look at Dora’s future groom. His name was Arthur Koch, the son of Jacob and Mina (Hellwege) Koch. I will insert here the fact that Mina Hellwege was the first child of Heinrich Hellwege with his 4th wife. Heinrich Hellwege was the man discussed just two days ago in the post, Hopfer Hesse Hellwege – The 3H Club. Arthur was born on July 8, 1890 and baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. Here is his baptism record.

Arthur Koch baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Arthur can be found in his first census in 1900 at the age of 9. His family was quite large by then and spilled over two census pages.

1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

When the 1910 census was taken, we find Arthur Koch living in Brazeau Township in Perry County. He was a farm laborer in the household of Ferdinand Hellwege. Ferdinand was Arthur’s uncle.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

That leads us up to the marriage between Arthur Koch and Dora Grossheider which took place on February 13, 1916. We can take a look at this couple’s marriage license.

Koch/Grossheider marriage license

The license states that the pastor who performed the wedding was Valentine Hennig. Rev. Hennig was the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Gordonville. In a binder we have for that congregation, we find this list of couples who were married in 1916.

1916 marriages – Zion, Gordonville, MO

You can see that Dora’s sister, Anna, got married about two months later at the same church. Arthur had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917. I must admit that it made me smile when I read his excuse for not wanting to be drafted. “My wife and farm need me.”

Arthur Koch – WWI draft registration

This Koch couple had 5 children, 4 girls followed by their only son. All of these children were baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Gordonville. Their first child, a girl by the name of Thekla Koch, was born in 1919. We can see her baptism listed with other children baptized in 1919 on the image below. I will say more about Thekla shortly.

1919 baptisms – Zion, Gordonville, MO

We find the Koch family in the 1920 census for Hubble Township.

1920 census – Hubble Township, MO

Next, we find the Koch household in the 1930 census. All 4 of the Koch girls are found in this entry.

1930 census – Hubble Township, MO

The last child, a boy born in 1932, finally shows up in the 1940 census.

1940 census – Hubble Township, MO

The last document I found for Arthur Koch was his World War II draft card completed in 1942.

Arthur Koch – WWII draft card

When their son, Arvin Koch, was confirmed in 1946, this photo of him along with his parents was taken.

Arvin Koch confirmation – 1946

Arthur Koch raised sheep on his farm in Gordonville. That farm is shown in the photo below.

Arthur Koch farm in Gordonville

In 1949, a tornado struck the Koch farm, causing the damage shown in the two photos below.

Arthur Koch died in 1962 at the age of 71. Here is his death certificate.

Arthur Koch death certificate

Dora Koch died a year later in 1963 at the age of 70. Her death certificate says she died at Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau.

Dora Koch death certificate

Arthur and Dora are each buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Gordonville.

Let’s return to Thekla Koch. She would marry a man by the name of Reinhold “Dixie” Degenhardt. That couple would raise a family of five, four boys and a girl. The youngest is a girl named Connie. The four boys are seen in the photo below. The Degenhardt farmhouse in which they were raised is shown in the background. That farm is located in Seelitz.

Left to right: Dean, Lynn, Dewey, and Larry

Lynn lives in Altenburg and is the creator of our German Family Tree. He also provided me with some of the photos shown in this post. The other 3 boys live elsewhere, but they all are fairly regular visitors to Altenburg and are great friends of our museum. And all of them would call today’s birthday girl, “Grandma”.


I took a few photos of our museum addition yesterday. Preparations were being made to pour concrete for the rear stairs and the ramp leading up to the new entryway.

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