We keep a digital file that contains a folder for each surname that is connected to the history of East Perry County. That file has become quite large, and now that we have been adding to that file for quite a few years, it is not often that a new surname has to be added to this file. While researching for today’s story, I had to add a new folder to this file for the surname, Doernhoefer. From what I can tell, this name did not enter this area until 1885, which is pretty late compared to most names.
Clemens Doernhoefer was born on February 19, 1857 in Germany. That makes today his 164th birthday. The only clue about his parents would come later on his death certificate where it states that his father was named John Doernhoefer, but gives no name for his mother. It is on another later document, the 1900 census, that we discover that Clemens arrived in America in 1885. He must have settled in Perry County after his arrival. His marriage took place in 1893, so the first census in which we find Clemens, he is already married. So, let’s take a look at his bride’s history.
Maria Kirmse was born on February 7, 1868, the daughter of Julius and Barbara (Kraus) Kirmse. Below is a picture of Maria’s parents. I will add at this point that much of the information I gathered for this post, including photos, comes from the Ancestry page of our museum’s friend, Dale Kirmse.
Maria was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. Her baptism record is displayed below.
We find Maria Kirmse in the 1870 census at the age of 2. Her father was a farmer.
Next, we find Maria in the 1880 census at the age of 11. Maria was the oldest child in this family. One more daughter would be born into this family during 1880 that is not included in this entry.
Later plat maps for Perry County showed two parcels of land owned by Julius Kirmse. This is likely where Maria was born and raised. You can see that this farm was located just north of the village of Farrar.
That leads us up to the wedding of Clemens Doernhoefer and Maria Kirmse that took place in 1893. The marriage took place on February 9th. That means that Clemens and Maria each had birthdays in February as well as their anniversary. This couple was married at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. The church record for this event says that Clemens was from Wittenberg, Missouri.
The marriage license for this wedding can also be viewed. I find it interesting that this document states that Julius Kirmse gave his consent to this marriage. I don’t know why his consent was necessary when Maria was 25 years old at the time of her wedding.
A wedding photograph for this couple is also available for us to look at. Maria is wearing what I describe as a black and white wedding dress, in which she has a dark dress with a white veil. It is also one of those wedding photographs where the bride is standing with her hand on the shoulder of her seated groom.
The German Family Tree lists 3 children born to this couple. The first son born to this couple, Edward Julius, was born in St. Louis for some unknown reason. Here is a birth record from that city.
Several years would pass by before a set of twins was born in 1908. One of twins, a boy, survived, and the other one died right away. So, this couple would end up raising two boys. These children were possibly baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg. We find some biographies of the Doernhoefer’s in the book, Friedenberg Remembrances.
We find the Doernhoefer’s in the 1900 census for Salem Township. It is that census that is so difficult to read, so I enlarged a portion to make it as easy as possible to see the names and ages. Maria’s younger brother, Charles Kirmse, was also part of this household.
The photo shown below of Clemens, Maria, and their son, Edward was probably taken sometime around 1902.
When the 1910 census was taken, we find the Doernhoefer family living in the Central Township of Perry County. Both of their sons are now found in this entry.
The 1920 census shows the Doernhoefer household. Clemens was called a farmer.
Next, we find the Doernhoefer household in the 1930 census. Both sons still lived with their parents.
The last census we can view for the Doernhoefer’s is the one taken in 1940. The Doernhoefer couple had an empty nest.
Clemens Dornhoefer died in 1942 at the age of 85. His death certificate is where we find that Clemens’s father was named John.
Maria Doernhoefer died in 1947 at the age of 79. Her death certificate comes from Scott County, Missouri.
We can also view the obituary for Maria, which indicates that she died at the home of her son, Edward, who lived in Ancell, Missouri. That town is now part of Scott City.
Clemens and Maria Doernhoefer are buried together in the Peace Lutheran Cemetery in Friedenberg.
The Doernhoefer surname doesn’t seem to have survived. Clemens and Maria had two sons. One of them never married. The other married, and it appears that he had two children, one of which I know was a girl. The only possible way the Doernhoefer name was passed to the next generation would be if that other child was a boy.