Before I begin with today’s story, let me say that for the next several days, I will not be in Perry County. When a granddaughter is having her 5th birthday, and Grandma says she refuses to miss the celebration, I say, “Yes, dear.” and head to Minnesota. So, I will not be able to display church records in the posts while I am away from the museum in Altenburg.
I have written quite a few posts mentioning J.G. Hemmann, a man who had two wives and fathered 21 children who was part of the original immigration to Perry County in 1839. In fact, the last post I wrote two days ago was about a grandson of J.G. Hemmann. I even wrote a post a while ago titled, Another J.G. Hemmann. Today, I will tell the tale of another grandson of J.G. Hemmann whose name was Johann Benjamin Gottfried Hemmann, who might be called J.B.G. Hemmann. During his life, he was called Gottfried. He was born on December 16, 1878, the son of August and Paulina (Fiehler) Hemmann. Gottfried was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. He is found in his first census in the long-lost pages of the 1880 Union Township at the age of 1.
Gottfried was the firstborn child in his family, but there would be another child older than he was who was raised in this family. His name was Albert Fuehler. Albert was married in 1899, so there is no census that we can view that shows Albert living with the Hemmann’s.
We cannot look at another census including Gottfried until the one taken in 1900. At the age of 21, Gottfried was working on his father’s farm.
Gottfried’s story is a rather usual one with one major exception. He would travel all the way out to Pueblo, Colorado to get married. Let’s look at his bride.
Emma Louisa Katherine Kanke was born on November 6, 1884, the daughter of Ludwig and Wilhelmine (Thormann) Kanke. Family histories on Ancestry.com say that Emma was born in Mount Olive, Illinois. There are a few records in our German Family Tree for Kanke’s. Emma Kanke was confirmed at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, and so was her brother, Otto, in 1906. For a while, I was puzzled about this Kanke family until I discovered Emma’s father’s name, Louis Kanke, in a list of men who were once teachers at Grace Lutheran School in Uniontown. He taught at that school from 1898-1907.
I also had difficulty finding the Kanke family in the 1900 census. That’s because Ancestry.com transposes his surname as Kuke. Eventually, I did find their family’s entry. Emma was 15 years old at the time.
It appears that Teacher Kanke took his family to Pueblo, Colorado after his time at Grace, Uniontown. And Gottfried must have gone out there in 1908 to marry his sweetheart. Gottfried Hemmann married Emma Kanke on October 27, 1908. I managed to find a Colorado record for that wedding.
I also was able to confirm that Rev. George Mieger was a Lutheran pastor who was serving at a congregation in Pueblo at this time. After this wedding, Gottfried brought his bride back to Uniontown where they lived the rest of their lives. We find Gottfried and Emma in the 1910 census with no children. One child was born and died in 1909. These two were living in the household with Gottfried’s parents.
At this point, let me say that one has to be careful when researching the name Gottfried Hemmann. There was another man by the name of Gottfried Johann Hemmann, born in 1891, who lived in this area. What makes this situation even more interesting is that he married a woman by the name of Emma also. And her maiden name was Emma Franke. So one Gottfried Hemman married Emma Kanke, and the other one married Emma Franke. By the way, that Gottfried Hemmann was the brother of Louis Hemmann who was highlighted in the story written two days ago.
The Hemmann land likely farmed by Gottfried, along with his father, was the one shown on the plat map below that was produced in 1915.
Johann Benjamin Gottfried Hemmann had his World War I draft registration completed in 1918.
Next, we find today’s Hemmann family in the 1920 census. There were 5 children in their household along with Gottfried’s parents. Gottfried was a farmer all his life.
The 1930 census shows the following Hemmann household. There were 7 children at this time. Our German Family Tree lists 10 children born to this couple. Not all of them lived to adulthood.
The above census would be the last one in which we find Emma. She died in 1939 at the age of 55. Her death certificate says she died at Southeast Missouri Hospital in Cape Girardeau.
Gottfried is still found in the 1940 census with just 2 children remaining in his household.
Gottfried Hemmann died in 1959 at the age of 80. His death certificate is pictured here.
Gottfried and Emma Hemmann are both said to be buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown, but only Gottfried has a gravestone photo on Findagrave.com.
In retrospect, I should have known better. When I saw a surname like Kanke that was unfamiliar to me, and after I discovered that the Kanke family moved around often, I should have concluded that I might have been looking at the surname of a church worker. It took me longer than it should to figure out this part of the story. Perhaps 11 hours of driving yesterday put me off my game.
This story does have some similarity to the life of my wife and me. We are visiting Minnesota right now because one of our daughters married a young Minnesota man, and we are returning to an area not far from where we were teachers at a Lutheran school during our careers. I wonder if Teacher Kanke ever returned to Uniontown to visit his daughter.