Boettner the Blacksmith

It is the bride of Boettner the Blacksmith that is today’s birthday girl. Elizabeth Kropf was born on November 21, 1857, the daughter of Johann George and Margaretha Barbara (Poehner) Kropf. Elizabeth was baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg, so we cannot view her baptism record. She is found in her first census entry in 1860 at the age of 3. Her father was a farmer.

1860 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

Next, we find Elizabeth in the 1870 census. At that time, she was 12 years old.

1870 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

The last census in which we find Elizabeth as a single person was the one taken in 1880. She was still living with her parents.

1880 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

Now, we will take a look at Elizabeth’s future husband. His name was Johann William Boettner, who was born on June 6, 1859. John was the son of Heinrich and Barbara (Lang) Boettner. John was probably baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg. We find him in his first census in 1860 living in Perryville. John was 1 year old at the time.

1860 census – Perryville, MO

John’s mother died in 1866, and his father then married Elizabeth Hoch. In 1870, we find John, and this time he is said to be 8 years old, which I think is incorrect. I figure he should have been 11 years old. His father was a blacksmith. Two other young men were living in this household who were also blacksmiths.

1870 census – Perryville, MO

I was unable to find John in the 1880 census, but I know he was not living with his parents. That leads us up to the marriage between John Boettner and Elizabeth Kropf. They were married on October 14, 1888. We can look at this application for their marriage license.

Boettner/Kropf marriage license

Our German Family Tree lists 6 children born to this couple. When the 1900 census was taken, we find this family living in Perryville with 5 children. John was a blacksmith, and there was a 17 year-old who is called a stepson. That cannot be correct. His name was Theodore Hoke. John’s stepmother was Elizabeth (Hoch) Boettner, so Theodore is probably related to her somehow. Theodore was also called a blacksmith, so he was probably learning that trade.

1900 census – Perryville, MO

Elizabeth Boettner died in 1905 at the age of 47. A transcription of her death record in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville says that she died of consumption, which was another name for tuberculosis back then. An obituary was published in the Perry County Republican.

Elizabeth Boettner obituary – PCR

Elizabeth was buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.

Elizabeth Boettner gravestone – Immanuel, Perryville, MO

In 1910, we find the widower, John Boettner, with the following household, still living in Perryville.

1910 census – Perryville, MO

An article about John and his blacksmith shop appeared in the Perry County Republican in 1915. He sold that shop to Ruben Klemp.

John Boettner – PCR article 1915

Another article described his move to St. Louis that same year.

John Boettner article – PCR 1915

The 1920 census shows John Boettner living in St. Louis. If I am reading it correctly, it says he was a shipping clerk for a dry goods company.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

I was not able to locate John in a 1930 census, but I did find him living in St. Louis when the 1940 census was taken. He was living in the household of his son, Oscar Boettner, who was an electrician for a meat packing company. John, at the age of 80, had no occupation.

1940 census – St. Louis, MO

John Boettner died in 1943 at the age of 84. His death certificate is displayed below.

John Boettner death certificate

Even though he had lived in St. Louis for more than 25 years, an article was printed in the Perry County Republican announcing his death.

John Boettner – PCR article 1943

John Boettner was buried in the Mount Lebanon Cemetery in St. Louis.

John Boettner gravestone – Mt. Lebanon, St. Louis, MO

According to other articles found in the newspaper over the years, it sounds as if John Boettner was not only a blacksmith, but one who developed new technology that established his reputation as one of the best.


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