Baby Hemmann’s Christmas Man

I’m going to attempt to post a quick story today. Like most of you, the next few days will be hectic for me. I know there will be no new story tomorrow on Christmas Day. Perhaps I might re-post an old story.

I will eventually get around to a birthday boy today, but I am going to begin with that birthday boy’s future bride. Her name was Hedwig “Hattie” Hemmann. Hattie was born on January 2, 1894, so, like her husband, she had a birthday during what we might consider the Holiday Season. Hattie was the daughter of Gustav and Margaretha (Streit) Hemmann. She was the 13th and last child born into her Hemmann family, and she could claim J.G. Hemmann as her great grandfather. Hattie was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, Missouri. In the image of her baptism record shown below, I have included that of Emilie Ottilie Wunderlich, who was born the day before Hattie and baptized on the same day.

Hedwig Hemmann baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Hattie can be found in her first census in 1900 where she is listed as being 6 years old. You can see that this was quite a large household with Hattie as the “baby” of the family. Grandma Sophia Hemmann was included in this entry.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The Hemmann household had diminished considerably by the time of the 1910 census. Hattie was then a teenager. Her grandma was still living, so Hattie must have had the privilege of growing up with her grandma in the same household.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

At a family reunion, a photograph was taken which included the children of Gustav and Margaretha Hemmann. I have indicated Hattie with a red arrow.

The 1920 census for Shawnee Township was taken very early in the year so Hattie was still single and living with her mother. Her father had died in 1918. Hattie got married later that same year. A cousin, Martin Hoeh, lived in their household and probably did a lot of the farm work.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Let’s take a look at Hattie’s future groom. His name was Otto Reinhold Preusser, and he was born on December 24, 1895, making today a very special birthday, his 125th. Otto was the son of Gustav and Anna (Jahn) Preusser, so both Hattie and Otto had fathers named Gustav. Otto was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Below is his baptism record from that congregation.

Otto Preusser baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

We find Otto in his first census in 1900 at the age of 4. Otto, like Hattie, was one of the youngest children in his rather large family.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1910, we find the Preusser family once again with Otto as a teenager.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Otto had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917. He was living in West Point, Nebraska, an area where a lot of young Perry County men could be found at about that time. I chuckled when I saw that Otto was shown to have been born in Oldenburg, Missouri.

Otto Preusser – WWI draft registration

Otto did end up serving time in the military during World War I. He was likely inducted from Nebraska, so I cannot look at a Missouri record of his service. I do not know if he went overseas to fight. Here is a record of his service that I did find.

Otto Preusser – WWI military service

After the war, Otto returned to Nebraska for a while. We find him once again living in Cuming County in the 1920 census working as a farm laborer in a Wascher family. That, too, was a large family, and it included a lot of daughters.

1930 census – Elkhorn, NE

Later in 1920, Otto must have moved back to northern Cape Girardeau County. It was on August 29, 1920 that Otto Preusser married Hattie Hemmann at Trinity Lutheran Church in Shawneetown. We can view this couple’s marriage license.

Preusser/Hemmann marriage license

We can also take a look at the church marriage record for this wedding. There is a Theo. Best listed as the only male witness to this wedding. I guess that would make him Otto’s Best best man.

Pruesser/Hemmann marriage record – Trinity, Shawneetown, MO

Our German Family Tree says that this couple had 5 children, a girl followed by 4 boys. All 5 children were born before the 1930 census was taken.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The last census we can view is the one taken in 1940. They were still living in the Shawnee Township where Otto was a farmer. At this time, Otto must have had plenty of help with his farming from his teenage boys. One of those boys was named Gustav. I suppose you could say that he was named after both of his grandpa’s.

1940 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Otto and Hattie must have moved to Jackson, Missouri later in their lives. Otto died in 1972 at the age of 76. Hattie outdid him by a bunch. She lived till she was 101 years old. She died in 1995. These two are buried together in the Russell Heights Cemetery in Jackson.

Otto and Hattie Preusser gravestone – Russell Heights, Jackson, MO

Not long ago, I spoke at a Hemmann Reunion held at Trinity Lutheran in Shawneetown. I know there were some Preusser’s at that event who were descendants of this couple.

Hemmann Reunion – Trinity, Shawneetown, MO

With her husband being born on Christmas Eve, I suppose Hattie placed not only Christmas presents under the Christmas tree, but also some birthday presents for Otto.


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