The birthday girl in today’s story will lead us to Herman the haircutter. This birthday girl was born in Germany on May 8, 1888. Alma Marie Fritsche was the last child born into the family of Heinrich and Bertha (Boehme) Fritsche. According to our German Family Tree, she was the last of 7 children in this family. However, several family histories on Ancestry list 11 children, with Alma being the last. Four consecutive children were born into this family between 1876 and 1880, and each of them died as infants. In fact, one of those babies was named Alma Marie, so when today’s Alma Marie was born, her parents gave that name a second try. I have photos of Alma’s parents.
When Alma was 3 years old, most of her family made the voyage to America aboard the Oldenburg, which landed in Baltimore in June of 1891. An image of that family on the passenger list for that ship is shown below.
Two older brothers, Max and Richard, both in their 20’s, arrived in America a year later. This family would settle in the Farrar area after arriving in this country. Alma is found in her first American census in 1900. Henry Fritsche, the father, had died in 1896, so we see Bertha as the head of the family. Only Max, Frieda, and Alma were living with their mother.
We find Alma in the 1910 census living in the household of her older brother, Max Fritsche. Her mother, Bertha, had died in 1904. Alma, at the age of 22, was called a house servant.
Next, we will take a look at Alma’s future husband, Herman Fred Voss. Herman was born on September 18, 1888, the son of Henry and Juliane (Eifert) Voss. A family history on Ancestry says Herman was born in Gordonville, Missouri. He is found n his first census living in the Hubble Township of Cape Girardeau County at the age of 11. His father was a farmer.
Herman is found in the 1910 census working as a hired hand in the Herman Gereke household. They were also located in the Hubble Township. Herman was 22 years old at the time.
An interesting fact about the above census is that the 17 year-old son, Henry Gereke would be rather famous for becoming a chaplain to Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg trials. An interesting article about Rev. Gereke’s life can be found by clicking on the link below.
Herman Voss married Alma Fritsche at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar on October 18, 1914. We can first look at the church record for this wedding. This is the first indication that I found where it says Herman was a barber. It is in German, but it says he was a barber in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Next, we can view the marriage license for this couple.
Our German Family Tree doesn’t list children for Herman and Alma, but evidence points to the fact that they had two children, Armund and Hazel. Each of these two were born before the 1920 census, where we find this family living in Cape Girardeau where Herman had a barber shop.
The last census in which we find Herman Voss was the one taken in 1930. This time, the Voss household was living in the Byrd Township in Cape Girardeau County, and Herman was called a farmer.
Herman Voss died in 1934 at the young age of 45. His death certificate says he was living in St. Louis, and his occupation is given as barber.
Herman Voss was buried in the Fairmount Cemetery in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Alma is still found in the 1940 census living in St. Louis with her son, Armund, and one of her nephews named Edgar Fritsche. Armund didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps. Instead of cutting hair, he was cutting grass.
Alma Voss died in 1944 at the age of 53. Her death certificate is displayed below.
Alma was buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in St. Louis. Yesterday was the death date of Dr. C.F.W. Walther. He, too, is buried in this cemetery.
I have a personal connection to this story. My father’s sister, Hildegard Schmidt, married Howard Voss. Howard was the son of Herman’s brother, Edwin. Therefore, my Uncle Howard would have called today’s character, Uncle Herman.