Oscar Vogel Goes to Washington

The main character of today’s post began his life in this area, but ended up in our nation’s capital city. Therefore, we find very few local documents for this person. It also became a challenge to find information about his wives, but I eventually made some progress in that effort. I will share what I found with you today.

Oscar Benjamin Vogel was born on October 14, 1893, so today would have been his 128th birthday. Oscar was the son of Theodore and Emilie (Happel) Vogel. His baptism record from Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells spells his first name as Oskar.

Oscar Vogel baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Oscar is found in the 1900 census for the Shawnee Township at the age of 6. His father was a blacksmith. Oscar was the youngest child in his family.

1900 cnesus – Shawnee Township, MO

Oscar’s mother, Emilie, died in 1905 at the age of 46 when Oscar was just 11 years old. The only other church record that is included in the German Family Tree for Oscar is his confirmation record. That record is found in the books of Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. He was confirmed in 1907. His birth date on this entry is incorrect. It says he was born on October 22nd, not October 14th. Perhaps the pastor somehow got his date of birth confused with his date of baptism, which was October 22nd.

Oscar Vogel confirmation record – Zion, Pocahontas, MO

The last census in which we find Oscar in Missouri is the one taken in 1910. He was 16 years old. His father was still a blacksmith, but also his older brother was now following in his father’s footsteps. However, Oscar is given no occupation.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Oscar had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917. The form states that he was still living in Pocahontas and was working in the Vogel Store in that town.

Oscar Vogel – WWI draft registration

I have no idea what precipitated the move, but when the 1920 census was taken, we find Oscar living in Washington, D.C., and that is where he spent the rest of his life. Oscar was living in the Alexander Ramsay household and working as an accountant for a brokerage company.

1920 census – Washington, D.C.

Now, we need to turn our attention to the woman that Oscar would marry. Her name was Emma Lina Keller, who was born on June 22, 1897. She was the daughter of Charles and Barbara (Klier) Keller and born in Washington, D.C. Emma is found in her first census in 1900. She was 2 years old, and her father was a florist. Emma’s grandmother, Margaret Klier, was living with them.

1900 census – Washington, D.C.

Next, we find Emma in the 1910 census at the age of 12. Her father is called a gardener for the agricultural department. I have to display this entry in two images.

1910 census – Washington, D.C.

Emma was still single and living with her parents in 1920. Emma was called a clerk for the railroad at the age of 22.

1920 census – Washington, D.C.

In the year after the above census was taken, Oscar Vogel and Emma Keller were married on June 8, 1921. I found this transcription of a marriage record from the District of Columbia.

Vogel/Keller marriage record – Washington, D.C.

Based on census records, I think this couple had 3 children, a girl, followed by 2 boys. When the 1930 census was taken, we find this Vogel household. It included 2 children as well as Emma’s parents and one of her brothers. Oscar was called a comptroller for a new store. Charles Keller was a gardener for the U.S. government.

1930 census – Washington, D.C.

A 1931 city directory for Washington, D.C. says Oscar was working for Saks and Company, the forerunner of what is now called Saks Fifth Avenue.

Oscar Vogel – 1931 Washington, D.C. city directory

The last census we can view is the one taken in 1940. Oscar was then called an accountant for a maritime commission. Now there were 3 children in the household. Barbara Keller, his mother-in-law, was still living with his family.

1940 census – Washington, D.C.

Oscar Vogel had his World War II draft card completed in 1942. This also says he was part of the U.S. Maritime Commission.

Oscar Vogel – WWII draft card

I found this house when I did a search on the address shown on the form above.

lOscar Vogel home – Washington, D.C.

I was able to locate these two photos of Oscar and Emma Vogel.

Emma Vogel died in 1953 at about the age of 56. Oscar must have married a woman by the name of Hazel after Emma died. All I know about her is that she was born on May 8, 1896. Oscar Vogel died in 1965 at the age of 72. Hazel died in 1992 at the age of 96.

There is a Vogel family marker in the Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Vogel family marker – Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

If you look at the family stone behind the Vogel marker, you will see the one for the Keller/Umhau family. One of Emma’s sisters married an Umhau. So, the Keller and Vogel families are buried close to one another. Below, you can see the markers for Emma, Oscar, and Hazel.

It isn’t every day I get to write a story that ends in our nation’s capital. There has to be a story about how and why Oscar moved from Pocahontas to Washington, D.C. There also has to be a story about how Oscar met his wives in Washington. However, I do not know the stories. I wish I did.

Not long, I wrote a post about a Steiner and mentioned a friend of mine named Mark Steiner, whose wife was a colleague of mine when I taught in Memphis. Rev. Steiner was the head chaplain in the military at the Pentagon until he retired recently. His is another story in which a boy from Pocahontas made it to Washington, D.C.


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