Stephanus Gottfried Gerhardt Mueller was born on April 4, 1873. His Mueller family was responsible for establishing an important business that thrived in Frohna for many years…the Frohna Creamery. A photo of the creamery is shown here.
Stephanus Mueller (often called Stephan) was the son of William and Maria (Noennig) Mueller. That qualifies him to be called one of what we call the “Frohna Muellers”. Stephanus was not the first child born into this family. Two previous children had been born, but they died as infants before Stephanus was born. So, Stephanus spent his boyhood days as the oldest child in the Mueller household. Stephanus was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. An image of his baptism record is shown here.
Stephanus is found in his first census in 1880 at the age of 7. His father was an engineer. In those days, someone called an engineer was probably a worker who operated the engines needed in a business. I suspect that William Mueller was involved in operating the machinery at the Frohna Flour Mill operated by two Weinhold brothers. Martin Weinhold, one of the millers, was a sponsor for Stephanus at his baptism.
Twenty years would pass by before we find Stephanus in another census. He was a 27 year-old single man living with his parents in the 1900 census. It still says his father was an engineer, and Stephanus was called a butter maker.
This time, William must have been operating the machinery located at the new Frohna Creamery that he had built in 1895. Stephan was working for his father in this creamery making butter. In the photo below, the man standing in front of the building is said to be Stephan. I have my doubts about that identification. The woman standing above is called Stephan’s mother, Emma. First of all, his mother was Maria, not Emma, although there was another sister named Emma. Secondly, it looks to me like the two in front of the building might be around 50 years old, not in the 20’s. I think those two are William and Maria.
Now we need to take a look at Stephan’s bride, Clara Popp. Clara Dorothea Popp was born on December 14, 1874, the daughter of Martin and Margaretha (Hacker) Popp. She was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.
After Clara was baptized, the later children in her family were baptized at Concordia, Frohna, so this Popp family may have moved to Frohna. We find Clara in her first census in 1880 at the age of 5.
When the 1900 census was taken, we find Clara still living with her parents. Her father was a farmer.
On October 27, 1901, Stephanus Mueller married Clara Popp at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. We can take a look at the church record for this wedding.
The marriage license for this couple is also available for us to view.
Our German Family Tree lists 4 children born to this couple, one who died very early. When the 1910 census was taken, we find this Mueller household. This time, Stephan was called the boss of the creamery.
The plat maps produced in 1915 show a parcel of land owned by Stephan’s father, Wm. Mueller, that also displays where the creamery was located in Frohna. It was quite near both Concordia Lutheran Church and the Frohna Flour Mill.
The last census in which we find Stephanus was the one taken in 1920. He is called the owner of the creamery.
We have this photo that is said to be the home in which the Mueller family lived.
Stephanus Mueller died in 1926 at the age of 53. The informant on his death certificate was Edmund Mueller, his son, who would take over the creamery after his death.
The widow, Clara Mueller, was living in the Edmund Mueller household when the 1930 census was taken. It states that Edmund was the proprietor of the creamery.
Next, we find Clara in the 1940 census still living with Edmund.
Clara Mueller died in 1947 at the age of 71. Her death certificate says she died at the Lutheran Hospital in St. Louis.
Stephanus and Clara Mueller are both buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.
Both Frohna and Altenburg had creameries at one time. As the number of dairy farms in the area declined, these businesses would eventually close. However, since they operated at a time when people could not travel very far to get their necessities, these businesses provided a valuable service to their communities during this time period.