Hemmann, the Kansan

Today’s birthday boy is Paul Hemmann, who was born on August 24, 1880. Paul’s story will lead us to several different locations. You will discover that Paul did get married, but not until he was over 40 years of age, and he had no children. So, this is a branch of the Hemmann family that comes to an end with Paul. Along the way, we will find an interesting census record with several Perry County connections. Hang on.

Paul Gotthilf Hemmann was the son of Julius and Christina (Mueller) Hemmann. Paul was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. The baptism record from that congregation’s books is pictured below. This, along with his confirmation record, are the only church records I located for Paul.

Paul Hemmann baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Although Paul is not found in the 1880 census for the Julius Hemmann family, I am going to display it here to illustrate who was living in that household during the year of Paul’s birth. They were living in the Union Township.

1880 census – Union Township, MO

Rosine Hemmann, the late J.G. Hemmann’s second wife, and Paul’s grandmother, was living in this household. Also, Benjamin Hemmann, Paul’s uncle, who was the last child born to J.G. Hemmann, went on to become Teacher Hemmann, who taught at the schools in Wittenberg and Altenburg.

Paul’s mother died in 1884, and his father remarried. Julius’s second wife was Gesche Hesse, and our German Family Tree shows 9 more children born to this couple. We never do find Paul in a census in which he is living with his father or stepmother. When the 1900 census was taken, Paul was a farm laborer in another household. Ancestry.com transcribes the family as Ossag. This entry is from that miserable 1900 census for Salem Township. Paul was 19 years old.

1900 census – Salem Township, MO

I think the mystery of who that family was is solved by looking at the next census taken in 1910. Paul was living in the Benjamin Oswald household (although his name was actually Bernhard), and the first names of several members of that household are the same as the ones in the 1900 census. Paul was now a 29 year-old farmer who is also called a brother-in-law. Bernhard had married Paul’s sister, Rosa Hemmann.

1910 census – Salem Township, MO

When we look at the World War I draft registration for Paul Hemmann that was completed in 1918, we find some other interesting documents as well. Paul’s form says he was living in Sheridan County, Kansas and working as a farmer.

Paul Hemmann – WWI draft registration

The other interesting documents we find are the World War I draft registrations of two of Paul’s half-brothers, Martin and Louis Hemman, who were also living in Sheridan County, Kansas.

Martin Hemmann – WWI draft registration
Louis Hemmann – WWI draft registration

Then, we find this interesting entry in the 1920 census for Bloomfield Township, Kansas.

1920 census – Bloomfield Township, KS

We do not find Martin Hemmann, but we do find Paul and Louis. Then, we have another name in between them, Theodore Steffens. Theodore was the son of Henry and Martha (Hesse) Steffens. His mother and Paul’s stepmother, Gesche, were sisters. In fact, our German Family Tree doesn’t list these two as sisters, but gives them the same birth date, which indicates the likelihood that they were twin sisters. Martin and Louis Hemmann managed to find their brides in Perry County. So did Theodore Steffens. In fact, Martin Hemmann and Theodore Steffens married two Versemann sisters. Louis Hemmann married Ida Herring in Farrar, but took his bride back to Sheridan County, Kansas where they lived the rest of their lives. Martin Hemmann and Theodore Steffens returned to Perry County where they lived the rest of their lives.

It would be 3 years after the 1920 census that Paul would get married at the age of 42. Let’s take a look at some facts about his bride, Melitta Meuschke, who was born on October 22, 1874 (according to her entry on Findagrave). She was the daughter of Fred (or Fritz) and Ernestine Meuschke. The Meuschke family arrived in America in 1882 aboard the ship, Elbe, which landed in New York. Melitta was just 3 years old when she arrived, which would indicate that she would have been born around 1879.

Meuschke family – Elbe passenger list 1882

We find the Meuschke’s in the 1900 census living in the Capp’s Creek Township of Missouri. Melitta was 21 years old, which would support a birth in 1879.

1900 census – Capp’s Creek Township, MO

I found a Melitta Meuschke working as a servant in St. Louis in the 1910 census. Everything looks like this would be the right Melitta except her age, which is shown as 27 years old. That would put her birth year at 1883, which would not be possible according to the Elbe passenger list.

1910 census – St. Louis, MO

Those are the only documents I was able to find for Melitta before she was married. That marriage took place on April 22, 1923. That would have put both Paul and Melitta in their 40’s before either of them were married. We can take a look at the marriage license for this couple.

Hemmann/Meuschke marriage license

The above document states that Paul was from Sharon Springs, Kansas which is not that close to Sheridan County, where he was living in 1920. So, Paul must have moved. This document also lists Rev. P. Strasen as the minister who performed this marriage. He was the pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Purdy, Missouri which was also close to Capp’s Creek Township. I found this photo of that church as it looks now.

St. John’s Lutheran Church – Purdy, MO

Here is a map of the locations of Purdy, Missouri and Sharon Springs, Kansas.

Purdy, MO and Sharon Springs, KS map

The big, unanswered mystery in this story is how a man from Sharon Springs, Kansas managed to find a bride in Purdy, Missouri. There must be a story there, but I don’t know it.

Paul and Melitta Hemmann are found in the 1930 census living in Sharon Springs where Paul was a farmer.

1930 census – Sharon Springs, KS

The last census we can view for this couple is the one taken in 1940. This time, Liska Meuschke, Melitta’s younger sister, who was a baby on the previously shown passenger list, was living in this household.

1940 census – Sharon Springs, KS

Paul had his World War II draft card completed in 1942.

Paul Hemmann – WWII draft card

Melitta Hemmann died in 1948, and her age at death depends on the year that you think she was born. Paul Hemmann died in 1953 at the age of 72 (almost 73). These two were buried in the Sharon Springs Cemetery, but their graves are not marked.

There you have it. Two Hemmann’s mentioned in this story ended up living most of their lives in Kansas. It is evidence that after many children were born into the families around here, those children often had to move elsewhere to find jobs and livelihoods. Sometimes, they came back (I’ve heard these called “boomerangs”) and others, like Paul, did not.

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