Elmer and Ada Putz

Elmer Putz would have been celebrating his 125th birthday today. He was born on January 20, 1896, the son of Henry and Christiane (Ruehling) Putz. Elmer was baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas, Missouri. We have transcriptions of the records from that congregation, but I cannot display actual church records. Below is the information found in the St. John’s, Pocahontas binder that we have in our research library for Elmer Putz.

Elmer Putz information – St. John’s, Pocahontas, MO

Elmer and his family should be found in the 1900 census for Shawnee Township, but I was unable to find them. The first census in which I found Elmer was the one taken in 1910. Elmer was 14 years old, and his father was a mail carrier. His mother was a telephone switchboard operator.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Now, we will take a look at Elmer’s future wife, Ada Ruppel. Ada was born on March 8, 1895, the daughter of George and Katherine (Clemens) Ruppel. It is reported that Ada was born in the village of Leemon, Missouri. We can see how close Pocahontas and Leemon are located on the map below.

Pocahontas and Leemon map

Ada Ruppel can be found in the 1900 census for Shawnee Township at the age of 5. Her father was a farmer.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Once again, this Ruppel household can be found in the 1910 census for the same location. Ada was then 15 years of age.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

That leads us up to the marriage of Elmer Putz and Ada Ruppel. These two were married on December 17, 1916 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. Below is their marriage license.

Rutz/Ruppel marriage license

Elmer Putz had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917. This form states that he was a part owner in a store and called a merchant.

According to our German Family Tree, Elmer and Ada had just one child, a boy named Truman Putz, born in 1918. We find this small family in the 1920 census for Shawnee Township. Elmer was a carpenter.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

There are some interesting changes that took place for this Putz family before we see them in their next census. We find them in a different location and Elmer having quite a different occupation in 1930. This couple was living in Redford, Michigan. As you can see in the map below, Redford is located in the Detroit, Michigan area.

Redford, Michigan map

The automobile industry had taken off in the Detroit area, and we find Elmer working as an inspector in an auto factory in the 1930 census.

1930 census – Redford, MI

Apparently, the Putz family did not remain in Michigan for very long. Although I was not able to find them in the 1940 census, we know that when Elmer completed his World War II draft card in 1942, he was back living in the Shawnee Township again. His occupation was said to be with the Highway Department.

Elmer Putz – WWII draft card

Elmer Putz died in 1961 at the age of 65. His death certificate says he had kidney cancer. We find yet another occupation listed on his death certificate. It says he was a salesman for a lumber yard.

Elmer Putz death certificate

Ada Putz died in 1978 at the age of 83. She died too recently to be able to view her death certificate. Elmer and Ada Putz are buried together in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas.

Elmer and Ada Putz gravestone – St. John’s, Pocahontas, MO

Elmer was another one of those men who had a variety of jobs over the years. A merchant, a carpenter, an auto inspector, a highway department worker, and a lumber salesman. I often see men from this area adapt to different situations during their lifetimes. These men always seem to successfully take on new tasks.


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