Miss Lorenz and Her Versemann

I begin with a photograph today. It was taken in front of the church door at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. Several stories have already been written about men and women in this picture. You will read yet another one today. The second woman from the right seated in the front has a birthday today. Her name is Sophia Bertha Maria Lorenz.

Emanuel and Martha Lorenz with children

She was mostly called Mary. She was born on May 7, 1898. After having 5 sons, Emanuel and Martha (Soehl) Lorenz finally had a daughter. They would go on to have 9 children, all of which are seen in the above photo. Mary, like all the other children in this family, was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. Her baptism record is displayed here.

Mary Lorenz baptism record – Salem, Farrar, MO

Mary is found in the 1900 census at the age of 2. This is one of the worst images I have seen from the Salem Township 1900 census pages. Ancestry.com transcribes her father’s name as Emanuel Lassen. Mary is the highlighted person at the bottom of the list of family members.

1900 census – Salem Township, MO

Next, we find Mary as an 11 year-old in the 1910 census. Her father was a carpenter. Her older brother, Joseph, was already a carpenter at the age of 21, and another older brother, Martin, was a public school teacher. The oldest son, Gottfried, had gotten married in 1908. Herbert, the infant in this entry, was the last of the Lorenz children.

1910 census – Salem Township, MO

Mary would get married before the next census, so we will now take a look at her future husband. His name was Friedrich Herman Versemann, who was mostly called Fred. He was born on October 20, 1894, the son of Henry and Emma (Koenig) Versemann. Fred’s father had been previously married to Ernestine Eggers. That couple had 3 children before Ernestine died in 1889. Fred was the 2nd of 12 more children born to Henry and Emma. Like his future bride, Fred was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. Here is his baptism record.

Fred Versemann baptism record – Salem, Farrar, MO

Fred is found in another one of those miserable entries from the 1900 Salem Township census pages. Trust me when I tell you that the highlighted row is that of Fred, age 6. Fred’s father was a farmer.

1900 census – Salem Township, MO

The Versemann family is next found in the 1910 census, still living in the Salem Township. As you can see, this was quite a large household.

1910 census – Salem Township, MO

Fred had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917. It states that at that time, Fred was a farm hand for his father.

Fred Versemann – WWI draft registration

Fred did serve time in the military during that war. Here is his military record. He spent almost a year overseas.

Fred Versemann – WWI military record

In January of 1919, a pair of articles appeared in the Perry County Republican that described some letters that Fred had written back home during his time in Europe. The first one mentions writing to a lady friend in Farrar. I think there’s a good chance that he was writing to Mary Lorenz. You may have to click on the images to read them.

Fred was called a wagoner. I wrote a previous post about a Perry County wagoner titled, From Frohna to France – A WWI Wagoner. That post told the story of Rudolph Palisch.

Fred Versemann married Mary Lorenz on October 26, 1919. As you probably gathered, the wedding took place at Salem, Farrar. The church record for that event is shown here.

Versemann/Lorenz marriage record – Salem, Farrar, MO

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

Versemann/Lorenz marriage license

Our German Family Tree lists 5 children born to Fred and Mary. However, none of them were born before the 1920 census was taken. In this entry, Fred is called an engineer of tractor engines. I suspect that meant he worked on tractors.

1920 census – Salem Township, MO

Next, we find the Versemann’s in the 1930 census. They were living in the Union Township, and Fred was a farmer.

1930 census – Union Township, MO

The 1940 census shows the Versemann family with 4 remaining children.

1940 census – Union Township, MO

I was really pleased that I once again found it easy to locate the 1950 census entry for this family. Fred was still a farmer. Two daughters were still living with Fred and Mary. Hildegard was a salesman for a grocery store.

1950 census – Union Township, MO

Mary Versemann died in 1962 at the age of 63. Her death certificate indicates she died of a stroke.

Mary Versemann death certificate

Fred Versemann died in 1977 at the age of 82. He died too recently to be able to view his death certificate. Both Fred and Mary were buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar. Fred’s gravestone recognizes his World War I military service.

In another previous post, a photo was shared of the Emanuel Lorenz family. That post was titled, A Lot in the Lorenz Lineage. An enlarged portion of that photo is displayed below. I have placed red arrows to indicate Fred and Mary.

Emanuel and Martha Lorenz family

The story of Fred and Mary Versemann is yet another one of those in which both the husband and the wife were born, baptized, confirmed, married, raised a family, died, and were buried in the same place and at the same church. In Fred’s case, he spent almost a year away from Farrar serving his country during World War I.

When I think of a Fred from Farrar, I immediately think of our museum’s docent and occasional guest blogger, Fred Eggers. This story even has a bit of Eggers connection. It makes me wonder if our friend, Fred, was named after Fred Versemann.


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