Martha Katharine Mahnken is today’s birthday girl, being born on March 21, 1889. She would have to blow out 133 candles on her birthday cake if she was still alive today. Katharine was the daughter of Johann and Maria (Versemann) Mahnken, the 6th of 9 children in this family. She was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. Her baptism record is pictured here.
At the age of 11, Katharine is found in the 1900 census for the Salem Township of Perry County. Compared to other entries from those census pages, this one is actually fairly legible. This is the only document I found that called her Martha.
Katharine was not living with her parents when the 1910 census was taken. I think I found her living in St. Louis. There was a Kate Mahnken who was the right age that was a servant in the Otto Oehler household. Plenty of East Perry ladies about this age went to St. Louis to find work during that era.
It was not long after this census that Katharine would get married, so we will turn our attention to the man that would become her husband. His name was Joseph Friedrich Meier, who was born on July 13, 1887. Joseph was the son of Johann and Maria (Eggers) Meier. That means both Joseph and his future wife, Katharine were children of parents named Johann and Maria. In the case of Joseph, a Perry County birth record is available to view.
Joseph was the 5th child of 7 in his family. The baptism record for Joseph is found in the books of Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. It is displayed here.
Joseph is found in his first census in 1900. He was a 12 year old student, and his father was a farmer.
Ten years later, we find Joseph in the 1910 census at the age of 23. He was working with his father on his farm.
The John H. Meier farm is located near the place called Schalls. It was northwest of Brazeau. We can see it in the 1915 plat maps for Perry County.
On August 20, 1911, Joseph Meier married Katharine Mahnken at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. The church record for this event is shown below.
The marriage license for this pair is also available to view.
The German Family Tree lists 6 children born to this pair. All of them were baptized at Salem, Farrar. In 1917, Joseph was required to complete a World War I draft registration form.
The first census in which we find this couple and their first children was the one taken in 1920. Joseph was a farmer with 3 sons.
The next census shows the following Meier household. After having 4 consecutive sons, the final two children were daughters. Joseph’s mother was also living with them.
The final census entry we can view is the one taken in 1940. All 4 sons and one remaining daughter made up the Meier household. One son was a garage mechanic, one was a blacksmith, and the other 2 were helping on the farm.
A photo was taken of the Joseph and Katharine Meier family. I suspect it was taken on the occasion of their 40th wedding anniversary in 1951. The children in the back row (from left to right) are Melvin, Irma (Meier) Steffens, Raymond, Wilbert, Helen (Meier) Guth, and Norbert.
Joseph Meier died in 1958 at the age of 70, five days before his 71st birthday. His death certificate says he died at the Southeast Missouri Hospital in Cape Girardeau.
Katharine Meier died in 1974 at the age of 85. She died too recently in order to view her death certificate. Her death record in the Salem, Farrar books simply says that she died of old age. Joseph and Katharine Meier are each buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar.
The Meier-Mahnken Match is another case in which both the bride and groom spent their whole lives living in the same area, being members of the same church, raising their children at that congregation, and were buried in that church’s cemetery.