Montana Barber

Frederick Peter Hoehn was born in Perry County, but he certainly did not spend much of his life here. Frederick, who is also called Fritz in our German Family Tree, is today’s birthday boy. He was born on January 11, 1874, making today his 148th birthday. Frederick was the son of Adam and Louise (Hoehn) Hoehn. Just last December, I wrote the story of Fred’s parents in a post titled, A Hoehn-Hoehn Duo. That post contained this image of Adam and Louise.

Adam and Louise Hoehn

Fred was child #9 out of 11 born into this Hoehn family. He was baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg, so we cannot view his baptism record. Fred is found in the 1880 census in which his family was living in the Central Township of Perry County.

1880 census – Central Township, MO

That would be the only census in which we find Fred living in Missouri. None of the family trees on for Fred that I looked at listed a 1900 census entry for him. When I did my own search, I was amazed to find a Fred Hoehn living in Alva, Oklahoma. I am certain this is the correct Fred Hoehn because he is called a barber in this entry, and that was his occupation throughout his life. The birth month and year are also correct, as well as his middle initial and the state in which he was born. I seem to be finding a lot of Alva, Oklahoma references lately, including the Miesner story I wrote yesterday. Fred was a boarder in the household of a widow named Louise Lewis.

1900 census – Alva, OK

Fred did not remain in Oklahoma. We find him in another state when the next census was taken in 1910. This time, he is found living in Jerome, Idaho. Jerome is not far from Twin Falls, Idaho, where we have found several Perry County natives living in previous posts. He remained a barber and remained single at the age of 36.

1910 census – Jerome, ID

Now, we need to take a look at the woman who would become Fred’s bride. Her name was Sadie Lawett Wessos, who was likely born on August 21, 1884 in Minnesota. She was the daughter of Halvor and Nettie (Thorson) Wessos. Finding the Wessos family in Federal census records proved to be difficult. I did find some evidence that Sadie’s family was part of Christiana Lutheran Church in Lakeville and St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield. A Minnesota state census for the year 1905 shows the Wessos family living in Rice County, Minnesota. Sadie’s father had died in 1899. Her mother had Norwegian roots. In this entry, Sadie was 19 years old.

1905 Minnesota state census – Rice County, MN

In 1911, a city directory for Northfield, Minnesota (which is located in Rice County) listed several members of the Wessos family. Sadie was called a cook. Since their address was on St. Olaf Ave., perhaps Sadie was a cook at St. Olaf College which is located in that town.

1911 Northfield city directory

I have no idea how Sadie Wessos managed to make her way to Montana, nor do I know how Fred got to that state, but on September 30, 1918, Fred Hoehn married Sadie Wessos in a church located in Roundup, Montana. Both Fred and Sadie are shown to be from the town of Forsyth.

Hoehn/Wessos Montana marriage license

Forsyth, Montana is shown on the map below. It is located on the banks of the Yellowstone River.

Forsyth, Montana map

Fred and Sadie spent the rest of their lives in Forsyth. We find them in the 1920 census. Fred was 46 years old, and Sadie was 34.

1920 census – Forsyth, MT

Next, we find this couple in the 1930 census. Throughout all these census records, we see Fred as a barber.

1930 census – Forsyth, MT

The last census we can view is the one taken in 1940. The Hoehn’s had no children.

1940 census – Forsyth, MT

Fred Hoehn died in 1948 at the age of 74. We can look at his Montana death certificate. This document says Fred lived in Forsyth for 32 years, so he must have moved there in 1916, a few years before he married.

Fred Hoehn – Montana death certificate

Sadie Hoehn did not die until 1978 at the age of 94. Her death certificate is where we find her date of birth. She died at the Rosebud Community Nursing Home.

Sadie Hoehn – Montana death certificate

Fred and Sadie Hoehn are buried together in the Forsyth Cemetery in Forsyth, Montana. When this gravestone photo was taken, there was no death year engraved on it for Sadie. It also says she was born in 1885, which is in disagreement with her death certificate.

Fred and Sadie Hoehn gravestone – Forsyth Cemetery, MT

It is not often that I get to write a story that includes its characters living in so many different states…Missouri, Oklahoma, Idaho, Minnesota, and Montana.

Fred Hoehn was a barber back in the days when its customers were just men. Women might have only entered a barber shop accompanying a young son. Barbers have gotten the reputation over the years as storytellers. A barber shop was a place for men to keep up on what was happening in the world, and especially what was happening in their local community. I imagine Fred not only told a lot of stories, but also heard them. I also imagine that Sadie heard plenty of those stories when Fred got home. I like to think of myself as a storyteller. Almost all of the stories I tell these days are about people who are now located in graveyards.

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