Herman and Maria – A Versemann/Koenig Pair

You will read another one of those stories today in which the husband and wife were each born, baptized, confirmed, married, raised their family, died, and buried while attending the same church. It’s a story that takes place entirely at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. The sad part of the story is that the husband spent more that 50 years of his life as a widower as a result of the early death of his wife. Yet, before her death, she blessed him with 8 children. I will begin with the wife because she is today’s birthday girl.

Maria Hanna Koenig was born on January 28, 1880, so today would have been her 142nd birthday. Maria was the 9th of 11 children born to her parents, Herman and Maria (Jacob) Koenig. That means Maria, who would marry a man named Herman, was the daughter of another Herman and Maria couple. Maria’s baptism record from the books of Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar is pictured here.

Maria Koenig baptism record – Salem, Farrar, MO

Because she was born so early in the year, Maria managed to make it into the 1880 census as an infant. She is shown to be 6/12 years old. Her father was a farmer.

1880 census – Salem Township, MO

Maria snuck into the 1880 census, and then, in a way, would sneak into the 1900 census as well. She would appear in that census as a single woman right before her marriage which would take place in that same year. Her mother had died in 1897 at the relatively young age of 55, so her father is listed as a widower. Maria’s father would spend 23 years as a widower. In 1900, Maria was 20 years old.

1900 census – Salem Township, MO

We will now take a look at the man that would become Maria’s husband. His name was Herman Versemann, who was born on January 31, 1874. Herman was mentioned somewhat in a previous post about two Versemann brothers, Heinrich and Hermann, who shared the January 31st birthday. That post was titled, Brothers Henry and Herman. Herman’s birthday was just 3 days after Maria’s January 28th birthday. Herman was the 8th and last child of Johann and Engel (Hollmann) Versemann. There is a mystery concerning Herman’s baptism. Although the two previous children born into his family have baptism records in the Salem, Farrar books, Herman’s is not to be found. I have reason to believe that he was baptized there, but it was not recorded.

Herman shows up in the 1880 census at the age of 6. His father was also a farmer.

1880 census – Salem Township, MO

Even though Maria and Herman’s entries are in the 1880 census for the Salem Township, they were enumerated by different census takers. You should be able to see that the handwriting is different on each form. However, you may also notice that on Herman’s entry, the sons are listed first, followed by the daughter. That system was not used on Maria’s form.

Like Maria, Herman sneaks into the 1900 census as a single man in the year of his marriage. This is an example of one of those census pages in the Salem Township 1900 census records that are so difficult to decipher. At the age of 26, Herman was called a farmer living in his brother, another Johann Versemann’s, household.

1900 census – Salem Township, MO

Herman Versemann married Maria Koenig on October 25, 1900. The church record from Salem Lutheran Church is displayed below.

Versemann/Koenig marriage record – Salem, Farrar, MO

We can also view this couple’s marriage license.

Versemann/Koenig marriage license

The German Family Tree lists 8 children born to Herman and Maria. When the 1910 census was taken, we find 3 children in their household. As it turns out, this would be the last census in which Maria appears.

1910 census – Salem Township, MO

Four more children were born in the 1910’s. One was stillborn and another died not long after birth. Then, not long after her last child was born, Maria Versemann died in 1917 at the age of 37. Her death certificate is pictured here.

Maria Versemann death certificate

In 1918, Herman had a World War I draft registration completed. Herman listed his oldest daughter, Rosa, as his nearest relative. She would have been around 16 years of age.

Herman Versemann – WWI draft registration

This left Herman as a widower with some very young children, including an infant. He never married again. We find his family in the 1920 census. Herman’s daughter, Rosa, had married Ernst Steffens, and they were also living in the household. Rosa must have helped raise her younger siblings, and Ernst helped Herman on the farm.

1920 census – Salem Township, MO

Next, we find Herman’s household in the 1930 census. Just 2 children remained living with him, and his son, Edgar was old enough to be helping on the farm.

1930 census – Salem Township, MO

The last census we can view was taken in 1940. At the age of 66, Herman was back living in the household of his son-in-law, Ernst Steffens, who was an auto mechanic.

1940 census – Salem Township, MO

Herman Versemann died in 1968 at the age of 93. He died 11 days before his 94th birthday.

Herman Versemann death certificate

Both Maria and Herman were buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar.

The Versemann’s from Farrar take up a lot of pages in our German Family Tree. You could say the same thing about the Koenig’s from Farrar. When you see a Versemann marrying a Koenig, it certainly makes you think this was a Farrar family, and indeed it was.


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