Many of the stories I tell on this blog have described large families. That is not the case today. Today’s family consists of just a father, a mother, and a son. To add to that, the son was not a biological son. It makes for quite an tantalizing tale. I found this story because May 21st is the wedding anniversary for the mother and father.
Martha Sophie Weber was born on August 8, 1859, the daughter of Charles and Martha (Hellwege) Weber. Her father has been described on this blog on several occasions. He became quite famous for being a captain in the Civil War and later a judge and political leader in Perry County. Martha was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Missouri. Her baptism record says her father was a merchant in Wittenberg.
Charles Weber was in business with Emmanuel Estel. For a while, these two were operating a general store in Wittenberg. Three years prior to Martha’s birth, on October 23, 1856, Charles and Emmanuel were united in marriage to their brides in a double ceremony at Trinity. Eventually, these two men were prominent persons in Perryville, Missouri. However, when the 1860 census was taken, the Weber family was still living in Wittenberg. Martha was still a baby.
After her father served in the Union Army in the Civil War, we find Matha’s Weber family living in Perryville when the 1870 census was taken. Living in the Weber household was Rev. Charles Demetrio, the first full-time pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. Martha’s father was called a clerk of the county court.
Martha is in one more census before her marriage. The one taken in 1880 shows her at the age of 20. Her family was living on Spring Street.
Now, we must turn our attention to Martha’s future husband. His name was August Beckmann who was born on March 15, 1860 in Germany, although his later obituary says he was born in 1861. August was the son of Christian and Johanna (Jancke) Beckmann. At the age of 16, he came to America. He spent some time in New York City and Chicago. Then, on a trip to visit friends in Perryville, he got to know Martha Weber.
On May 21, 1888, August Beckmann married Martha Weber at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. That makes today the 133rd anniversary for these two. A transcription of their church record is shown here.
We can also view the marriage license for this couple. Both of these marriage documents say that August was from Chicago.
August and Martha Beckmann had no children of their own, but when we see the 1900 census, there is an adopted son by the name of Otto Stuebner living with them. August’s later obituary states that Otto was not only his adopted son, but also his nephew. August was called a hardware dealer.
Early in his career, August was in the hardware business with Martha’s brother, Adolph Weber. Adolph is famous in Altenburg for establishing a hardware store in that village and constructing a building that still stands on Main St. Many local residents will recognize this building, first called the Weber Hardware Store.
In 1906, Martha’s parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and had a family photo taken. I have noted August and Martha with a red arrow in the back row. The other red arrow points at a young Ott Stuebner who is kneeling.
Next, we find the Beckmann family in the 1910 census. August was the proprietor of a hardware store, and Otto was a salesman in that store.
There came a time when Otto moved to St. Louis, where he continued to work in the hardware business. Then, in 1915, when his father decided to get out of the business, Otto returned to Perryville to take over that hardware store. He changed the name from Beckmann Hardware to Beckmann-Stuebner Hardware. Otto also married prior to the 1920 census and was not living with his parents. We find August and Martha with an empty nest in that census.
August Beckmann died in early 1930 at the age of 68. His death certificate says he was born in 1861, but his gravestone would be inscribed with 1860.
August’s obituary printed in the Perry County Republican describes his death and includes many facts about his life.
Martha is still found in the 1930 census living with a maid by the name of Adela Heimbecher.
In 1938, Martha moved to the Lutheran Altenheim in St. Louis where she lived until she died in 1947 at the age of 87. Her death certificate is displayed below.
August and Martha Beckmann were buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.
Yesterday, I mentioned that some historic newspapers from throughout the state of Missouri are now available and searchable online. I had way too much fun and spent way too much time searching for old Perry County Republican articles that mentioned August Beckmann and Otto Stuebner. I am going to display some of the articles and advertisements that I found. They should help explain some of the events mentioned in today’s story. You should be able to click on individual images to enlarge them. I was unable to organize them in the order that I preferred. I guess I still have things to learn about using this WordPress site.
I will once again put the link to the Missouri Secretary of State page that enables you to search these old Missouri newspapers.