Fritz and Elise Mehner

Not long ago, I published a post, Mehner Merchants, that told the story of Henry Mehner. Today, you will read the story of Henry’s parents. His father, often called Fritz Mehner, is today’s birthday boy, so I will begin with him.

Friedrich August Mehner was born on April 19, 1843 in the Saxony region of Germany. As near as I can tell, Friedrich’s family arrived in America in the 1850’s. His parents were Johann and Juliana (Lintner) Mehner. We find Friedrich in his first census in 1860 when he was 17 years old and working on his father’s farm. This family’s first child born in America was 5 years old, so that would indicate that they arrived in this country in about 1855.

1860 census – Cinque Hommes Township, MO

When the Civil War broke out, Friedrich went to serve in the Union Army. I found 3 different documents that described the service of a Frederick Mehner. I will let you determine if you think all 3 of these describe the Friedrich Mehner that is the subject of today’s post.

Also, I can display a later Civil War pension record that describes his service.

Friedrich Mehner – Civil War pension record

Not long after the war, Fritz got married, so we will take a look at his bride’s early life. Her name was Elizabeth Amelia Hilleman, who was born on April 7, 1849 in the Hanover region in Germany. Her parents were Christian and Caroline (Roth) Hillemann. Records for the Hillemann family start showing up in the books of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown in the late 1850’s, so they must have arrived in America at about that time. Elizabeth was often called Elise, so I will use that name for her. She shows up in the 1860 census at the age of 12.

1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Fritz Mehner married Elise Hillemann on October 22, 1867 at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. The church record for this marriage is displayed below. Their record is difficult to read because it is in German script. It is record #12.

Mehner/Hillemann marriage record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

There is also a Perry County record for this wedding, but I was unable to find the actual image. Here is a transcription of it in an index of Perry County marriages that we have in our research library.

Mehner/Hillemann marriage record – Perry County, MO

Our German Family Tree lists 11 children born to Fritz and Elise. Other Mehner descendants from this couple take up 8 pages of the GFT. We find the Mehner household living in the Cinque Hommes Township with their first 2 children in the 1870 census. In the same household were Fritz’s mother and two of his younger siblings. Fritz’s father had died earlier in 1870 before the census was taken.

1870 census – Cinque Hommes Township, MO

The 1880 census finds the Mehner family living in a different location. This time, they can be found in the Apple Creek Township of northern Cape Girardeau County. This is the census that states that Fritz was both a farmer and a merchant. This time we see 4 children.

1880 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

The next census we can view is the one taken in 1900, and we find the Mehner’s living in the Salem Township of Perry County. That is the notoriously bad census record that is so difficult to read. I enlarged it to make it more readable, but that left our the occupation column. Fritz was a farmer.

1900 census – Salem Township, MO

That census would be the last one in which we find Elise Mehner. She died in 1909 at the age of 59. Her death record is found in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. She died one year before Missouri started issuing death certificates. Fritz would marry again in 1910. His second wife was Barbara (Springer) Vogt. Barbara was the widow of George Gottlieb Vogt, who had died in 1903. That marriage took place at Immanuel, Perryville. Below is the marriage license for this couple.

Mehner/Vogt marriage license

The 1910 census is a bit puzzling. It shows that Fritz’s wife was named Eliza, not Barbara, even though Elise died in 1909. This family was now living in Perryville where it appears that at age 66, Fritz was no longer working.

1910 census – Perryville, MO

The last census in which we find Fritz was the one taken in 1920. Fritz and Barbara had an empty nest.

1920 census – Perryville, MO

A photo was taken of Fritz Mehner and his wife later in his life. I will let you decide if the woman in the picture is Elise or Barbara.

Fritz Mehner and wife

Fritz Mehner died in 1925 at the age of 81. His death certificate says he was a retired farmer.

Friedrich Mehner death certificate

Barbara Mehner is still found in the 1930 census living with one of her daughters from her previous marriage.

1930 census – Central Township, MO

Barbara Mehner died in 1932 at the age of 78. Here is her death certificate.

Barbara Mehner death certificate

Fritz and his two wives are all buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.

Fritz and Elise Mehner were a couple that showed up in the early history of Perry County Lutheranism. They were responsible for so many Mehner descendants thanks to the fact that several of their children were boys. As discussed in the previous blog post, several Mehner’s were merchants. After I posted that story a while back, one of our regular readers, Kenneth Hadler, commented that he remembered a Mehner Store located in Crosstown that was operated by Paul Mehner. Paul was a grandson of Fritz and Elise.

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