Coming Home to Die

Two previous stories published on this blog will be tied into the one I tell today. A few years ago, I wrote the story of an unmarried woman who spent her life taking care of other people’s children. That post was titled, Kindermädchen Emilie. The main character of that tale was Emilie Weinhold. Then, earlier this year, I wrote a story about Emilie’s father titled, The Two Lives of Paul Weinhold. That post told how Paul Weinhold had a wife and family while living in Perry County in the late 1880’s, but then after his wife died, he moved to St. Louis and found a second wife there. That began his second “life” that took place in the early 1900’s in the big city of St. Louis. Today, I ran across the story of another of Paul Weinhold’s children who also happened to spend his entire life unmarried. This son, too, spent his early life in Perry County, but left to live most of his life elsewhere. The amazing thing has to do with his death. But you’ll find out about that only if you read to the end.

Gottfried Adolph Weinhold was born on December 4, 1882, so if he was celebrating his birthday today, he would have to blow out 139 candles. He was the son of Paul and Louise (Hermann) Weinhold and baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. His baptism record is displayed below.

Adolph Weinhold baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

It would be helpful to have an 1890 census to look at to get some clues as to what happened to Adolph during his upbringing. His mother died in 1887 when Adolph was just 5 years old. When she died, Adolph was not the youngest child either. He had a two year-old brother and an infant sister whose birth was a cause for the mother’s death. I have suspicions that some, if not all, of these Weinhold children were farmed out to other families after their mother’s death. A record in the Christ Lutheran Church books in Jacob, Illinois says that Paul Weinhold was a member there in 1893, but he would later move to St. Louis.

Confirmation records from Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna indicate that some Weinhold children, including Adolph, were confirmed at that church after 1893, indicating that those children likely were living with other families in Perry County. Here is Adolph’s confirmation record from 1896.

Adolph Weinhold confirmation record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

The 1900 census does not really help us either. Not only could I not find Paul Weinhold in that census, either in Perry County, Jackson County, Illinois, or St. Louis, but I was only able to find one of his children in that year’s census. That was the oldest child, the Kindermädchen Emilie, who was a servant in another Weinhold family (one of the “Miller Weinhold’s”). The youngest child was confirmed at Concordia in 1901, but I could not even find her in the 1900 census for Perry County. Adolph would have been around 18 years old in 1900, but I was unable to find him anywhere in the 1900 census.

I think Adolph Weinhold showed up living in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1904 when he would have been 22 years old. I will display a document that indicates that move later. He is found in the 1910 census living in that location. Council Bluffs is located just across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska. Adolph was living in the Ellen Jeffers household and was a laborer at a grain elevator. Ellen Jeffers was a widow with one son.

1910 census – Council Bluffs, Iowa

An interesting Iowa state census form is found for Adolph in 1915. I have never seen a form like this before. It looks like every person had their own separate form for this census, not just included on a page with several other people like Federal census records. This is the form that says in the bottom left corner that Adolph had lived in Iowa for 11 years. That would mean he arrived in that state in 1904. The father’s birthplace is impossible to decipher, but perhaps it was an effort to write, Frohna.

Adolph Weinhold – 1915 Iowa state census – Council Bluffs, IA

In 1918, Adolph had his World War I draft registration completed. He was called a weighmaster for the Trans-Mississippi Grain Company.

Adolph Weinhold – WWI draft registration

I located this article from the Missouri Valley Times that was published in 1904, the year that Adolph likely moved to Council Bluffs, that mentions the Trans-Mississippi Grain Company. It also mentions the Updike Elevator which will be seen in a later document.

Trans-Mississippi Grain Co. – MVT article 1904

Adolph would remain in Council Bluffs, Iowa until the year of his death. We find him again in the 1920 census. He was still a laborer at an elevator.

1920 census – Council Bluffs, IA

Next, we find Adolph in the 1930 census. At the age of 46, he was still working at a grain elevator and living in the Ellen Jeffers household.

1930 census – Council Bluffs, IA

A 1933 city directory for Council Bluffs includes Adolph. This is where we see the name, Updike Grain Corporation.

Another Council Bluffs city directory from 1939 shows Adolph as a foreman of this grain corporation.

Adolph Weinhold – 1939 Council Bluffs city directory

The last census in which we find Adolph was the one taken in 1940. He was still living in Council Bluffs, but this time he was living in the Obbie Allen household and is called a farm laborer.

1940 census – Council Bluffs, IA

The above census was submitted on April 2nd of that year. I point that out because we find that Adolph died that year on December 6th, two days after his 58th birthday. What is surprising is that Adolph died in Perry County. His Missouri death certificate is pictured here. It says he died of stomach cancer. This document says he was 57 years old, but it also says he was born in 1883, not 1882.

Adolph Weinhold death certificate

We find the church death record in the books of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. This document also says he was only 57 years when he died, but I consider that incorrect.

Adolph Weinhold death record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

I decided to look up the Scripture passage that was used at Adolph’s funeral, Mark 13:35-37. Those verses are shown here.

Mark 13:35-37

Adolph was buried during the Advent season. This passage is definitely one that has an Advent theme. Perhaps the pastor chose this passage because it could both be used at a funeral and during Advent.

The fact that Adolph was included in the Grace Lutheran Church books can be explained by the fact that his brother, Otto, who is also the informant on his death certificate, was a member of that church. Also, when Adolph’s father died in 1929, even though he spent many years in St. Louis, he also was buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery, where Adolph’s grave is also found.

Adolph Weinhold gravestone – Grace, Uniontown, MO

I cannot help but ask why Adolph, as well as his father, came to Perry County not long before they died. I really don’t know the reason. These Weinhold’s were what we affectionately call the “Dirt Weinhold’s” because that clan was made up mostly of farmers. It just seems to me that these Dirt Weinhold’s wanted to be buried in Perry County dirt.


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