Paul Fiehler – Blacksmith and Salesman

We begin with the birth of a girl in Altenburg ,but the story ends in St. Louis. Christiane Augusta Grosse was born on August 28, 1876, making today her 145th birthday. This girl went by the name Augusta. Her parents were John and Magdalena (Petzoldt) Grosse. She was the second of 10 children born into this family, and the first 4 of them were girls. Augusta was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Below is an image of her baptism record from that congregation’s books.

Augusta Grosse baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

The only census in which Augusta was included as a single person was the one taken in 1880. She was 3 years old, and her father was a carpenter, or as the above baptism record says, a tischler.

1880 census – Altenburg, MO

A family photo of the John Grosse family was taken. In the back row of daughters wearing darker dresses, Augusta is the second one from the left. The baby in his mother’s lap was born in 1897, the same year that Augusta was married, so this photo was taken not long after that wedding.

John Grosse family

Now, we will take a look at Augusta’s husband, Paul Traugott Fiehler, who was born on August 13, 1874. His parents were Robert and Magdalena (Naumann) Fiehler. Paul was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. His baptism record is pictured here.

Paul Fiehler baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Paul’s father died in 1877 when Paul was just 3 years old, so when the 1880 census was taken, we see his mother as the head of the household. Paul was 5 years old at the time.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Since that is the only census in which we find Paul as a single person, that leads us up to his marriage. Paul Fiehler married Augusta Grosse on June 18, 1897. The wedding took place at Augusta’s church, Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. The church record for this event has to be displayed in two images. The pastor must have begun writing a different name in the church books and crossed it out before continuing with Paul and Augusta’s record. Paul is called a blacksmith from Shawneetown, so he must have moved there before his wedding.

Fiehler/Grosse marriage record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

Paul and Augusta Fiehler had two children, a boy and a girl. Their first child, Theobald, was born before the 1900 census. This entry shows this family living in the Shawnee Township where Paul was a blacksmith.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The Fiehler family moved to another location before the next census. This time they were living in the Hubble Township, and Paul was still a blacksmith. Both children are now included.

1910 census – Hubble Township, MO

After that census, we not only find Paul and his family in yet another location, but Paul had also changed his occupation. I suppose when the advent of the automobile came about, the vocation of blacksmithing began diminishing. In the 1920 census, we find the Fiehler’s living in Maplewood, Missouri, which is one the municipalities in the metropolitan St. Louis area. This time Paul was called a comm trav (I assume traveling salesman) for harvesting machinery.

1920 census – Maplewood, MO

Perhaps Paul was in the business of selling harvester/threshers like the one pictured below. Self-propelled machines were just being developed at about this time.

Threshing machine

The last census in which we find Paul Fiehler was the one taken in 1930. The Fiehler’s were in the same location, but this time Paul was selling refrigerators. His daughter had married William Reimer, and that couple was also living in their household. Their son, Theobald, was a prescription clerk for a drug business.

1930 census – Maplewood, MO

Ancestry.com enables you to search old Sears catalogs. I have used this resource often in the writing of my latest books to find out what products were for sale in 1903 and 1904. I searched a 1930 catalog for refrigerators and found the listing shown below.

Refrigerator listing – Sears catalog 1930

Paul Fiehler died in 1935 at the age of 60. The cause of death given on his death certificate was a cerebral hemorrhage.

Paul Fiehler death certificate

In 1937, their son, Theobald died at the age of 38. His cause of death was a fractured skull. He died at the Lutheran Hospital in St. Louis. Apparently, Theobald had gotten married to a woman named Beulah, but I was unable to find any documentation for that marriage. I don’t believe Theobald had any children.

Theobald Fiehler death certificate

Augusta Fiehler can be still found in the 1940 census, in which she was still living with her daughter, Monica, and her family. William Riemer was a salesman for a commercial glue company.

1940 census – Maplewood, MO

Augusta Fiehler died in 1968 at the age of 91. Lung cancer is given as her cause of death on her death certificate. She died at Incarnate Word Hospital in St. Louis.

Augusta Fiehler death certificate

Paul, Augusta, and Thebald Fiehler are buried together in the Sunset Memorial Park in St. Louis.

Paul, Augusta, and Theobald Fiehler gravestone – Sunset, St. Louis, MO

Since Paul and Augusta’s only son likely had no children, this branch of the Fiehler family tree containing the Fiehler surname comes to an end here. Our museum’s archivist, Gerard Fiehler, is distantly related to Paul. Gerard claims to be the only living person carrying the Fiehler surname left in Perry County.

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The tile floor has now been installed in our new gallery. I took a photo of the floor in the present gallery (on the right) and the new gallery (on the left). Different lighting in the two rooms makes them look a little different, but the color of the tile is the same. Before long, we will no longer see a construction crew working around the museum anymore.


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