Martin Walter Mirly was born on December 19, 1892, making today his 128th birthday. Martin was the son of Wilhelm and Marie (Steiner) Mirly. He was also the grandson of Matthias Mirly whose wife was yet another one of those Lehner girls, one who was a daughter of the Matthias Lehner who was born in 1795 and whose wife was Maria Jungmeyer. Martin Mirly was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri. He was baptized on Christmas Day which happened to be a Sunday that year. Below is an image of his baptism record from that congregation’s books.
The 1900 census for Shawnee Township is the first census in which Martin Mirly is found. At that time, it said he was 7 years old, and his father was a farmer.
Next, we find Martin in the 1910 census when he was a teenager. Martin’s mother died in 1903, and her father married Lina Marie Koch in 1904.
In 1917, Martin had his World War I draft registration completed.
I am going to take a few moments to make some comments about signatures. Having been a teacher for quite a few years in elementary school, I had the occasion to teach cursive handwriting. Over the years, I was an eye witness to the differences between the penmanship of boys as opposed to girls. Girls usually took more pride in making their cursive writing look “artistic” than did the boys. World War I draft registration forms had a line on the bottom of the first page for the person’s signature. I have looked at a lot of these World War I forms and seen plenty of evidence of men’s handwriting that did not even come close to being “artistic”. I found that Walter Mirly’s signature was an exception. His capital M’s and W are magnificent, and in general, I would give him an “A” in his penmanship on the above form.
Martin Mirly did get called into military service for World War I. He was inducted on September 27, 1917, and, according to his military record shown here, that induction took place in Jackson, Missouri. Compared to other men who I’ve written about on this blog, many of which spent just a matter of a few months overseas, Martin spent almost an entire year in Europe.
When Martin’s time of service was over, he was transported aboard the U.S.S. Harrisburg to Camp Upton, which is located on Long Island, New York before heading back home to New Wells. We see his name on the transport document shown below.
As the above forms indicate, Martin’s rank in the military was “Wagoner”. In a previous post about Rudolph Palisch titled, From Frohna to France – A WWI Wagoner, the following description was used to describe the job of being a wagoner. Farmers from this area would certainly head into this war with plenty of experience dealing with wagons as well as working with draft horses and mules.
The Wagoner must have a thorough knowledge of the following:
1. The adjustment of the harness, driving, and the methods of receiving, stowing, and caring for cargo, and of securing loads on the wagon.
2. The nomenclature of vehicles (wagons), harness, spare parts, and accessories, and where they are carried on the vehicle.
3. How to groom, water, feed, and care for animals.
4. How to clean and care for vehicles, harness, and equipment
5. How to harness and unharness animals
6. How to hitch and unhitch animals
7. How to lash loads
8. How to repair his vehicle if need be
9. How to handle animals effectively
In that previous post, I also published this photo of WWI wagoners in action.
We find Martin in one more census record before he got married. Here we find him in the 1920 census.
Now, we will take a look at the wife of Martin Mirly. Her name was Phoebe Christine Winter, the daughter of Gotthold and Anna (Popp) Winter. Phoebe was born on September 10, 1901 and baptized at the same congregation as Martin, Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. Here is her baptism record.
Phoebe can be found in her first census in 1910 when she was 8 years old.
Next, we find Phoebe in the 1920 census.
On April 10, 1921, Martin Mirly married Phoebe Winter at Immanuel, New Wells. We can view this couple’s marriage license below.
We can also take a look at the church record for this wedding.
Martin and Phoebe had four children, two of which were born in the 1920’s. We find the Mirly household in the 1930 census. Right above Martin’s household, you will see his brother, Arthur’s, household which included his father and his stepmother.
During that year, 1930, Cape Girardeau produced a set of plat maps. We find a parcel of land not far from New Wells in the name of William Mirly. You might notice that the Mirly land was located very near the property owned by J.G. Winter, Phoebe’s father.
The last census we can view, the one taken in 1940, shows all four of the Mirly children. We also see once again that Martin and his household was near that of his father and brother.
Although he had already served in the military and he was already 49 years old, Martin was required to fill out a World War II draft card in 1942.
The World War II draft card was another form that required a signature. This time, I would say that Martin’s penmanship had deteriorated somewhat. I confess that the older I get, the shakier my signature becomes.
Both Phoebe and Martin died in the 1980’s. Phoebe died in 1982 at the age of 80; Martin died in 1983 at the age of 90. The died too recently for me to display their death certificates. They are each buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells. Martin’s gravestone also includes a plaque honoring his military service.
Martin and Phoebe are another one of those special couples in which each person was born, baptized, confirmed, married, and buried at the same congregation. There was a time in the past when there were more of these kind of couples than you find in today’s more mobile culture.