Theodore and Emily Bach

The story I tell today is one that involves a special birthday, and those often attract my attention. However, today’s character hardly shows up in our German Family Tree. I also was attracted to the surname, Bach, a famous German Lutheran name of musical fame. This will not be a story of a German Lutheran from Perry County. In fact, you will find that Theodore Bach was a German Catholic. His only connection to our German Family Tree is a daughter who was married at Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown.

Theodore Bach was born on January 23, 1871, making today his 150th birthday. He was the son of John and Wilhelmina (Bangemann) Bach. That means his father could have carried the famous name of Johann Bach. It is reported that Theodore was born in St. Mary, Missouri, which is a Catholic area in Ste. Genevieve County. The parish located in St. Mary is Immaculate Conception Catholic Church which is shown below.

Theodore Bach can be found in his first census in 1880 at the age of 9 in the Beauvais Township of Ste. Genevieve County. Theodore’s father was a farmer.

1880 census – Beauvais Township, MO

The 1900 census finds the Bach family living in Perry County. They are found living in the Saline Township, which is located not far from St. Mary. Theodore’s father had died in 1892, so Theodore was the head of his household in 1900, living with his mother.

1900 census – Saline Township, MO

Theodore Beck’s bride was going to be Emily Graff. She was the daughter of Simon and Maria (Fitzkam) Graff. She was born on June 25, 1881, which made her about 10 years younger than Theodore. Like her future husband, Emily is said to have been born in St. Mary, Missouri, and was likely baptized at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

We do not find Emily in a census until the one taken in 1900. The Graff family was living in the Beauvais Township of Ste. Genevieve County.

1900 census – Beauvais Township, MO

Theodore Bach married Emily Graff on June 9, 1902. The marriage license for this couple can be found in the civil records of Perry County although I think the marriage took place at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in St. Mary.

Bach/Graff marriage license

We can view this early photograph for this couple.

Theodore and Emily Bach

As near as I can tell, Theodore and Emily had 4 children. We find this Bach household living in the Saline Township of Perry County in the 1910 census with their first child, a daughter named Mabel.

1910 census – Saline Township, MO

When the plat maps were produced for Perry County in 1915, we find a parcel of land farmed by Theodore Bach in the Saline Township, not far from the boundary with Ste. Genevieve County.

T.C. Bach land map – 1915

I was unable to find an entry for the Bach household in the 1920 census. The next census in which we see them is the one taken in 1930. Prior to this census, their oldest daughter, Mabel, had married Edward Ochs. That was the marriage that we find in our German Family Tree taking place at Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown. So, in this 1930 census, we find just 3 Bach children.

1930 census – Saline Township, MO

Sometime along the line, some photos were taken of Theodore and Emily Bach. They are shown below.

The last census in which we can view the Bach household was the one taken in 1940. The entry for this household spills over two pages of the census. Theodore was farming along with his 29 year-old son, John.

1940 census – Saline Township, MO

Theodore Bach died in 1947 at the age of 76. His death certificate mentions diabetes as a cause of death.

Theodore Bach death certificate

Emily Bach died in 1967 at the age of 88. We can also view her death certificate.

Emily Bach death certificate

Theodore and Emily are buried together in the St. Mary Cemetery in St. Mary, Missouri.

Theodore and Emily Bach gravestone – St. Mary, St. Mary, MO

So, today we wish Theodore Bach a Happy Birthday on a day on which he would have had to blow out 150 candles on his birthday cake. The story of him and his wife is not the kind you often find on this blog, but he is a local character from this area with just a brief mention in our German Family Tree.


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