Claus and Adelheid

Today’s post was written by our friend, Cal Eggers, who has previously written posts on this blog. He and his brother, Fred, because they grew up in Farrar, are very familiar with families from that area. This post will highlight two such Farrar residents.


When you see “Man and Woman” as the title of a story you may expect to learn about a wedding: the bride’s maiden name; the location; whether this was his first marriage — but that is not the case today. Claus and Adelheid Stueve were not husband and wife but brother and sister, neither of whom ever was blessed to celebrate a marriage. But today Claus could celebrate his 145th birthday, as he was born on February 6, 1877. I don’t have access to an image of church records so that date, along with other facts in this story, is based on census records, the museum’s German Family Tree, and several family trees, sometimes without attribution. But his birthday, per se, was not the reason for this post.

Growing up in Farrar, we sometimes wandered the hills north and east of downtown and climbed the limestone cliffs along the creek that flows through town. On other occasions we stayed on the road toward Seventy-Six, at least as far as the one-room public Swan School (long closed but still standing). For the last 100 yards or so we would cross the road and break into a trot because we were afraid to go near the home of Claus and Adelheid. I am not aware of them harming anyone, but because they were reclusive and sometimes would sit on their porch in old-fashioned attire and watch children walk by, they seemed scary. We seldom saw them in town or in church but when Claus did come to town he wore a white shirt, which led to people calling him “Sunday” and the road past their house “Sunday’s hill.” Recently I had memories of those times and began to wonder: Who were they? What was their ancestry? What ever happened to them? And that led me to write their story.

I started by finding their record in the 1940 census.

1940 Census of Salem Township Missouri

The above image includes some items of interest in addition to the names of Claus and Adelheid. In records and family histories I have seen her name transcribed both as Adelheid and Adelheit. A current internet list of traditional German girl’s names includes the entry: “Adelheid – meaning royalty” so that’s good enough for me. As expected, the column for “Married” shows “no” for both of them. The entry in the last column of the image is “same house”. This is a useful field that appeared only in the 1940 census and asks: “Where did you live in 1935?” Note that the next resident, Fred Mahnken, was what Warren calls a boomerang, having returned from Winfield, Kansas. Finally along the left margin for the street name is described as “Farrar to Red Rock Road” because if you would turn left at the Swan School, you would end up at the old Red Rock landing on the Mississippi, rather than in Seventy Six. As for Claus and Adelheid, their ages of 63 and 69 confirm their years of birth as approximately 1877 and 1871.

That means that the earliest available census where we might find Claus is that of 1900. Here is an image of the census that includes Adelheid, their parents Claus and Margaret, and two brothers, Henry J., and Gerd — but not Claus. Note that our birthday boy was actually “Claus Jr.” joining other Claus Stueve Junior/Senior pairs in East Perry that Warren has pointed out in previous stories.

1900 Census of Salem Township Missouri

Their parents, pictured below, are reported to have been born in Lamstedt, Hanover.

Claus & Margaretha (von Glahn) Stueve

After a little searching I found Claus Jr. elsewhere in Salem Township in the following image where he is listed as a Boarder and a Farm Hand in the household of Frank Kassel, who had six children, none of them old enough to be much help with the heavy lifting of running a farm.

1900 Census of Salem Township, Missouri #2

Going back in time, Adelheid was born in 1870 but did not make it into the 1870 census, having been born on New Year’s Eve. However, she and her brothers Henry and Johan (elsewhere also known as Karsten) are found in the special 1876 census of Missouri.

1876 Missouri Census of Salem Township, Missouri

Moving forward to the 1880 census, the image below of the Stueve family includes one daughter and four sons, Henry, John, Claus, and Hermann. The daughter is listed as Margaret, but the age of this person is 9, the right age for Adelheid, and from other sources I learned that Margaretha was Adelheid’s middle name.

1880 Census of Salem Township, Missouri

Thirty years later, in 1910, only Claus and Adelheid are living with the parents and Claus, Sr. is still listed as the head of household. Near the right edge of the image we see that both Claus and Margaret immigrated in 1866. After Margaret’s name we see that she bore 7 children and that 7 are still living, although census records I have displayed so far have only captured 6 of them. Consulting I found that another son, Peter, was born in 1880 after the census and apparently moved out of the family home before the 1900 census. To remind us that rural census records are not always in the same order as residences, just before the Stueve family is the family of A. G. Rauschelbach who was the teacher at Salem from 1910 to 1919 and most likely lived near the church. I assume the census enumerator had to catch up with them out of the house-by-house sequence.  

1910 Census of Salem Township, Missouri

From about that time we also have this 1915 land map showing the land of Claus Stueve a short distance north of Farrar and near the (Swan) School.

1915 Land Map

That map led me to digress and wonder if the Jos. E. Stueve on the adjacent farm was related to Claus. From I learned that Carsten (or Karsten) Stüve (German spelling) who lived and died in Lamstedt (1810-1848) had three sons who immigrated in the 1860s: Claus Henry (Sr.), the father of Claus Jr.,  Peter Herman the father of Joseph, and Johann Claus. That makes Claus Jr. a first cousin of his neighbor Joseph. It appears from Carsten’s lineage on Ancestry that he was related to other Stueve lines that came to Perry County (and comprise about 40 pages in the museum’s German Family Tree) but I won’t try to sort out the specifics.

About this time Claus Jr. registered for the draft for World War I as shown in the image below. As he was already over 40 years old and the war ended two months later, it is not likely that he served.

Draft Registration Sept 17, 1918

Going back to the main characters of the story, in the 1920 census we find Claus and Adelheid at the same place and still living with the parents, but Claus, Jr. is now listed as the head of household.

1920 Census of Salem Township, Missouri

At this point I wondered what had happened to the other five brothers. Following are 1920 census records of each of them and I will let the the captions below the images speak for themselves.

Henry Stueve 1920 Salem Township – Red Rock area
Karsten John Stueve 1920 Union Twp Perry County
Emanuel and Peter Herman Stueve 1920 Plum Creek Twp., Wayne County Nebraska
Gerd August Stueve 1920 Lodge Pole Precinct, Cheyenne County Nebraska

By the time of the 1930 census (enumerated by our father Walter Eggers) Claus Sr. had passed away (in 1924) but Margaritha was still living with Claus Jr. and Adelheid. The surprise in this census image is that they now have a Boarder, 30 year old Katharine Luehrs, who, as we see from the second image is shown as working in a store (which would have been Eggers & Co.) The Stueve home was a convenient location for Katharine to get to work and there was also a familial connection in that Katherina’s aunt — also named Katherine Luehrs — was married to Martin Stueve, a cousin of Claus and Adelheid. Katherine, like Adelheid, never married and she later lived with her unmarred brother, Emanuel, until she died in 1958.

1930 Census of Salem Township, Missouri image 1
1930 Census of Salem Township, Missouri image 2.JPG

Margaritha, the mother of Adelheid and Claus, died soon after the 1930 census (in 1931), which brings us to the 1940 census where this story started. After that there are no records of either of them until their Death certificates pictured below. From those certificates we learn Claus died on January 17, 1957, at the age of 79, after a two-day stay in Perry County Memorial Hospital. Adelheid died less than six months later on June 10, 1957, at the age of 86, after she had been in the Pine Lawn Nursing Home for three months. The usual residence for each of them is listed as rural Salem Township. My assumption is that they had still lived on “Sunday’s hill” until Claus was hospitalized and that after his death Adelheid was not able to get along by herself for very long. The informant on both certificates is Edwin Stueve who is identified as a son of Henry Stueve in the 1920 census and thus a nephew of Claus Jr. My brother Fred tells me that descendants of Edwin now live on Claus’s old farm. (You can click on these images to enlarge them.)

Per the death certificate and the German Family Tree Adelheid was buried at Salem Cemetery in Farrar while Claus was buried in the Perryville Home Cemetery. Their gravestones are shown below.

The history of the Claus Senior/Claus Junior family mirrors that of other Perry County farmers of that generation. The immigrant father was able to obtain a decent tract of land on which to farm and raise a family. However, in no way was that land able to support the family of more than one of his sons. One by one they moved on: Henry around the corner, Karsten John to Union Township, and the three younger sons west to Nebraska.

Claus, Jr and Adelheid drew the “short straw” and ended up staying on the home farm. On the one hand they did not have to relocate and obtain the capital to acquire another piece of land. But they had to care for their aged parents and for each other as they lived relatively long lives for that era. Perhaps we can understand their seeming a bit “grumpy” to passing school children.

One thought on “Claus and Adelheid

  1. As soon as I saw the name Adelheid I knew I had to read the rest of the story and also the name Struve as they both sounded familiar. With further reading of your post I understood why. The connection was the town where her parents came from, Lamstedt. That is the same town where my family also came from. The names are Spreckelsen, Katt, and Rudolph to mention a few.

    Thank you for making my day a bit brighter. I look forward to more of your articles.


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