Lena Died on Her Birthday

Today’s main character is not only today’s birthday girl, celebrating her 130th birthday, but she also died on her 77th birthday. Her name is Adeline “Lena” Elizabeth Boxdorfer, born on April 9, 1892. Lena was the daughter of Albert and Barbara (Rodewald) Boxdorfer and baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. We can take a look at a transcription of her baptism record.

Lena Boxdorfer baptism record – Immanuel, Perryville, MO

Lena is found in the 1900 census at the age of 8. She was the 2nd of 13 children listed in our German Family Tree and the oldest daughter. Her father was a farmer.

1900 census – Central Township, MO

In 1910, Lena was 18 years old. I wonder if the census taker put this information in the wrong row, but it says Lena was a laborer on the home farm. That’s not something you see in the census entries back in those days.

1900 census – Central Township, MO

We will now take a look at the man who would become Lena’s husband. He did not have a German name, and he was likely not raised as a Lutheran. His name was John Louis Black, who was born on October 2, 1888. John was the son of Louis and Louisa (Taylor) Black. His later military records say he was born in Yount. The first census in which we find John shows his family living in the St. Mary’s Township. John’s father had died earlier in that year, so we see his mother as the head of the household.

1900 census – St. Mary’s Township, MO

When the 1910 census was taken, John was living in Perryville. His mother had married Archibald Hagar. John was a 21 year-old farm laborer.

1910 census – Perryville, MO

John Black married Lena Boxdorfer on October 19, 1911. This couple did not have a church wedding. Perhaps it was because Lena was not marrying a Lutheran. They were married by a judge. An article was written in the Perry County Republican about several marriages that took place in Perryville on that day and then was republished 20 years later.

Black/Boxdorfer marriage article – PCR 1931

We can also take a look at the marriage license for this couple.

Black/Boxdorfer marriage license

All 3 of the children born to this pair were born before the 1920 census, but their firstborn, a son, also died before that census at the age of 6. The 1920 census entry is shown here. The two children, Carl and Mildred, are included. John is simply called a laborer.

1920 census – Perryville, MO

Another document was completed between the time of the marriage and the above census. John had his World War I draft registration completed. It says he had a wife and 3 children.

John Black – WWI draft registration

Next, we find the Black’s in the 1930 census. We find the same family of 4. This time, John is called a laborer in a lumber yard.

1930 census – Perryville, MO

The last census in which John Black is found is the one taken in 1940. Apparently, John had advanced to become the manager of the lumber yard. Only their daughter, Mildred, was included in the household.

1940 census – Perryville, MO

John had a World War II draft card completed in 1942. This document lets us know that John was employed by the Kiefner Lumber Company.

John Black – WWII draft card

An advertisement in the Perry County Republican published in 1940 says the Kiefner Lumber Company was established in 1894.

John Black died the same year that he completed his WWII draft card, 1942. His death certificate says he died at the age of 53.

John Black death certificate

An obituary for John was published in the Perry County Republican.

John Black obituary – PCR 1942

I found it interesting that this obituary was placed right next to a photograph of the Chester Bridge that was about to be dedicated. That means this August should be the 80th anniversary of that dedication.

Chester Bridge

Lena Black can be found in the newly-released 1950 census. She was living with her brother, Ed, and a nephew, Bernie Hagan, who was the son of Lena’s sister, Emma. Both of Ber

nie’s parents had died in the 1940’s.

1950 census – Perryville, MO

I located several photos that show Lena Black. I assume they were taken after she became a widow. You may have to click them to enlarge.

Lena Black died on her birthday in 1969 at the age of 77. Her death certificate can be viewed below.

Lena Black death certificate

John and Lena Black are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.

John and Lena Black gravestone – Immanuel, Perryville, MO

I am pretty sure that I have written a previous post about someone who was born and died on the same day, but I didn’t take the time to check it. I know it is not likely that such a coincidence happens. I wrote a story recently about someone being born and married on the same day. In such a case, a marriage is an event in which the date can be chosen. With a birth and death, those events are not a matter of choice, unless, of course, you include God as the one making the choice.

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