Gustav and Frieda

I am going to write a story about Gustav Wagner today. This is not the first time that I have written about a man named Gustav Wagner. Today’s Gustav was the grandson of the man I have written about before. That Gustav Wagner had married Theresa Palisch, and those two ran what was once called the Wagner Hotel that was located in Altenburg. If you do a search on the term “Wagner” or “Wagner Hotel” on this website, you will find quite a few posts that have already been written about this Wagner family. Here is a photo of the Wagner Hotel, which no longer stands.

Wagner Hotel

Gustav Ferdinand Wagner is today’s birthday boy. He was born on November 20, 1891. Yesterday, I wrote about the marriage between Theodore Kramer and Matilda Burfeind that took place on November 19, 1891, so Gustav was born the day after that wedding. Gustav was the son of Samuel and Margaretha (Sommer) Wagner. We can take a look at the Perry County birth record for Gustav.

Gustav Wagner birth record – Perry County, MO

Gustav was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. His baptism record is displayed below.

Gustav Wagner baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

In 1900, Gustav shows up in a census entry for the Brazeau Township at the age of 8, although he and all of his siblings had their ages crossed out and given younger ones. In Gustav’s case, 8 seems to be the correct age. However, his year of birth is given as 1893, which is incorrect. Gustav’s father was a farmer.

1900 census – Brazeau Townshiop, MO

The photo below was taken of Gustav. I am thinking it may have been his confirmation photo.

Gustav Wagner

The 1900 census entry would be the only one in which we find Gustav living in Perry County, Missouri. By the time of the 1910 census, he had moved across the Mississippi River to the Fountain Bluff Township in Jackson County, Illinois. Gustav and Otto Guth were working on the farm of August Fick.

1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Fairly early in his life, a photo was taken of Gustav and one of his brothers. The brother is not identified.

Gustave Wagner and brother

Gustav would find his bride in Illinois. Her name was Frieda Margaretha Rathjen, who was born on June 9, 1891. She was the daughter of Joachim and Catharina (Korte) Rathjen. Frieda was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. The baptism record from that congregation’s books is pictured below in two images.

Frieda Rathjen baptism record – Christ, Jacob, IL

Frieda is found in the 1900 census at the age of 9. Her father was a farmer.

1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Next, we find Frieda in the 1910 census at the age of 19. They had a farm laborer named Adolph Holschen who was born in Missouri in their household which gives more evidence that young men from Perry County would often find work across the river in Illinois back in those days.

1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

On April 25, 1915, Gustav Wagner married Frieda Rathjen at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. We can take a look at this couple’s marriage record from that congregation’s books.

Wagner/Rathjen marriage record – Christ, Jacob, IL

We have a wedding photo that we can view for this pair.

Gustav and Frieda Wagner wedding

Gustav had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917. Gustav had a Gorham, Illinois address, which is close to Jacob, and he was called a carpenter for the first time.

Gustav Wagner – WWI draft registration

Gustav and his family were living with Frieda’s parents when the 1920 census was taken. The Wagner’s had just one child at the time. Gustav is called a house carpenter.

1920 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

That census would be the last document showing the Wagner’s living in Illinois. The 1930 census has this couple living in Festus, Missouri where Gustav was a carpenter at the plate glass company. For some reason, after moving to Missouri, he is called August in the next few census records. This Wagner couple had 6 children by this time, 4 daughters, followed by 2 sons.

1930 census – Festus, MO

I will mention at this point that Gustav was not the first Wagner who showed up working at the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company in Crystal City (appropriately named), Missouri. Gustav’s sister, Edna, had married Henry Wagner (a Wagner/Wagner wedding), and Henry is shown as working for the plate glass company in the 1920 census. Edna’s story was told in the post, Italian Glass.

The last census we can view is the one taken in 1940. It once again shows the Wagner’s living in Festus. Once again, Gustav is called a carpenter at the plate glass company. I must admit that I do not know what a carpenter would do at a glass making company.

1940 census – Festus, MO

Gustav Wagner died in April of 1969 at the age of 77. His death certificate says he died at the Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Festus.

Gustav Wagner death certificate

Two months later, Frieda died in June. She had just recently celebrated her 78th birthday. Frieda died at the Lutheran Hospital in St. Louis.

Frieda Wagner death certificate

Gustav and Frieda were buried in the Rose Lawn Cemetery in Festus. They are 2 of 16 gravesites in that cemetery with the surname Wagner. However, for some unknown reason, there are no gravestone photos for these two.

There is another rather rare fact about Gustav and Frieda. I don’t think I’ve ever run across a married couple that were not only born during the same year, but also died during the same year.

4 thoughts on “Gustav and Frieda

  1. Hi Gus, please call me when you have time, there’s so much I don’t know about my dads family. I was only 5 when my dad passed away. If you can please call 636-448-2860, if I don’t answer, please leave a message.


  2. I am Penny Theodoro (Wagner), my dad was Herbert Wagner, he died when I was 5 and I am so thrilled to have found all this information. I would love to know more, anything you can share would be great.


  3. I thoroughly enjoyed your article on Gus and Frieda Wagner. I am their grandson, Gus. There was a lot of demand for carpenters at the glass plant. The plant may have been a bigger deal than you imagine, it basically was the whole town. They had their own hospital, bank and many of the homes were built for the higher management. Aside from that the plant had a box shop to build all sorts of various crates in which to ship the glass. If you need a grave photo I can provide one next time I go up there. We live south of Farmington. My father Raymond was the elder son. He passed away about 13 years ago. Mom is still living in Farmington at age 86. Thanks again!


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