Brandes the Builder and His Beauties

August William Brandes is today’s birthday boy. He was born on October 12, 1853, so today would be his 168th birthday. August was the son of Wilhelm and Marie (Hemmann) Brandes. That qualifies August to be one of a multitude of grandchildren of J.G. Hemmann, one of the most prolific men in East Perry County history. August was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, Missouri. His baptism record can be found in the books of that congregation.

August Brandes baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

August is found in his first census in 1860, where we find the Brandes family living in the Cinque Hommes Township. August was 6 years old, and his father was a carpenter.

1860 census – Cinque Hommes Township, MO

I was unable to locate the Brandes family in the 1870 census, and August got married before the 1880 census. So, we will turn our attention to his future wife. Her name was Ernestine Maria Sophia Thauwald, who was born on November 10, 1858. Ernestine was the daughter of Peter and Ernestine (Moeckel) Thauwald. She was born in Germany. According to the 1900 census, the Thauwald’s arrived in America in 1868. We find the Thauwald household in the 1870 census living in the Brazeau Township when Ernestine was 12 years old.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

We run into difficulty in determining the exact date for the marriage of August Brandes and Ernestine Thauwald. I found an Ancestry.com family tree that says they were married on December 24, 1878. I not only did not find documentation for that date, but it would certainly be unlikely for a Christmas Eve wedding back when marriages during Advent were discouraged or not allowed in Lutheran churches. In the process of looking for a wedding that likely occurred sometime around 1878-1879, I discovered that there is another apparent “hole”, this time in the Grace Lutheran church records. There are no marriage records listed for weddings between 1874 and 1880. I found this note placed in the digitized records we have of these church books. I can tell it is in the handwriting of Ken Craft, the person responsible for establishing the Zion Roots Research Library at our museum. It says the next records are restarted in 1880 after the previous records ended in 1874. The Brandes/Thauwald wedding took place in this hole, so I think the marriage took place at this church. I was unable to find a civil marriage record either.

The first child born to this couple came in August of 1879. Our German Family Tree lists 7 children all together. They were all baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. There are some amazing facts about these Brandes children. First of all, they were all girls, so the odds of that happening was 1 out of 128, Second, when these girls were named by August and Ernestine, every one of them was given the middle name of Ernestine, the same name as their mother and their Thauwald grandmother. Here is a list found on Ancestry showing these Brandes daughters.

Brandes daughters

The Brandes household is found in the 1880 lost pages of the Union Township census when this was a very small family. I included the Peter Thauwald household that was listed right above that of the Brandes family. August and Ernestine had just one child at the time, and they were living quite near or on the same land as Ernestine’s parents. August followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a carpenter.

1880 census – Union Township, MO

The 1900 census is the last one in which we find this Brandes family living in Perry County. August was called a house carpenter.

1900 census – Union Township, MO

During the next decade, August and Ernestine moved their family to Cape Girardeau. Ernestine died in 1909, and her death record can be found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau. She was just 50 years old when she died. Her death took place one year before Missouri began keeping death certificates, so we cannot look at one of those for a cause of death. The death record from Trinity, though, says she died of a heart attack. I think it mistakenly gives her age at death as 51 years. That record is displayed below.

Ernestine Brandes death record – Trinity, Cape Girardeau, MO

The 1910 census shows August as a widower with two daughters still living with him. Also, right above his household, you will see the William Pott household. Willam had married Elizabeth Brandes, one of August’s daughters. A previous blog post was written about that couple titled, Pott Heads.

1910 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

A 1912 Cape Girardeau city directory calls August a contractor.

August Brandes – 1912 Cape Girardeau city directory

The last census in which we find August Brandes is the one taken in 1920. August is still called a house carpenter at the age of 66. He was living in the household of Ben McLain who had married Antonie Brandes.

1920 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

The census taker got his job done quickly in 1920, submitting this portion of that census on January 5th of that year. That is the only reason August made it into that enumeration because he died at the end of January in 1920. We can take a look at his death certificate which says he died as a result of a rupture of his gall bladder. This form mistakenly gives the birth date of October 8, 1853 for August.

August Brandes death certificate

August’s death record is found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau.

August Brandes death record – Trinity, Cape Girardeau, MO

We can also take a look at August’s obituary from a local newspaper.

August Brandes obituary

August and Ernestine Brandes are buried together in the Fairmount Cemetery in Cape Girardeau. This time, the gravestone has a different year of birth for August, saying he was born in 1854, not 1853.

August and Ernestine Brandes gravestone – Fairmount, Cape Girardeau, MO

In closing, I would say that I would love to see a family photograph of August and all of those Brandes beauties.


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