William’s Swan Sweetheart

Today’s birthday girl is Louise Esther Swan, who would be celebrating her 127th birthday today. She was born on May 18, 1895, the daughter of Charles and Pauline (Palisch) Swan. A previous post mentioned Louise’s parents. That post was titled, A Beautiful Swan Joins the Bevy. Louise was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can view her baptism record from that congregation’s books. I have to show it in two images.

Louise Swan baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

Louise is found in the 1900 census at the age of 5. Her mother had died in 1899, so Charles is a widower in this entry. The oldest children in this family were twin boys, William and Abel.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we find Louise in the 1910 census. The Swan family was living in the Wittenberg area, but they did not become members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg when it was established in 1903. The Swan’s did sell a small portion of their property to that congregation which became their cemetery. Charles Swan had married Carolina (Gratz) Petzoldt in 1903, so we find her name in this entry.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The photo below of the Charles Swan family was likely taken around the time of the above census. The youngest child on his mother’s lap was born in 1909. Louise is standing in the back row on the far left. She was the oldest girl in this family.

Charles Swan family

Now, we will turn our attention to the man who would become Louise’s husband. His name was Wilhelm Heinrich Hecht, who was born on July 22, 1893. William was the son of Benjamin and Margaretha (Stueve) Hecht. I located a photo of William’s parents.

Benjamin and Margaretha Hecht

William, like his future wife, was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. His baptism record is displayed below.

William Hecht baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

William is found in his first census in 1900. His age was first given as 6, but changed to 5. Six was probably closer to the truth. William’s father was a farmer.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1910, we find William as a teenager in the census entry for that year. He was working on his father’s farm.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

William Hecht married Louise Swan on September 6, 1914 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can take a look at the church record for this marriage.

Hecht/Swan marriage record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

The marriage license for this couple is pictured here.

Hecht/Swan marriage license

The wedding photo for this pair is also available to view.

William and Louise Hecht wedding

Our German Family Tree lists 6 children born to William and Louise. All of them were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. In 1917, William had his World War I draft registration completed. It does not appear that William was called into service during that war.

William Hecht – WWI draft registration

When the 1920 census was recorded, we find two children in their household. Right below them on this census page, we find William’s parents.

1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

When we look at the 1915 plat maps for Perry County, we find the Benjamin Hecht farm located south of Altenburg. William likely farmed this land with his father.

Benjamin Hecht land map – 1915

The 1930 census shows William’s father, Benjamin, as the head of the household. By then, we see 5 children of William and Louise.

1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

One more child was born in 1934, so when the 1940 census was taken, we see the following Hecht household. One of their daughters, Norma, at the age of 18, was a public school teacher.

1940 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1942, William had to complete a World War II draft card.

William Hecht – WWII draft card

The last census we can view that includes this couple was the one taken in 1950. William was a farmer all his life.

1950 census – Brazeau Township, MO

William Hecht died in 1967 at the age of 73. His death certificate says he died after some surgery was performed at the Perry County Memorial Hospital.

William Hecht death certificate

Louise Hecht died in 1994 at the age of 99, too recent to view her death certificate. William and Louise Hecht are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.

Willliam and Louise Hecht gravestone – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

The story of William and Louise is yet another one in which both the husband and wife were born, baptized, confirmed, married, raised a family, died, and were buried while they were members of the same congregation. That is not something that occurs very often nowadays.

It seems like women who have served for a lot of years as school teachers have been discussed a lot around here lately. Norma (Hecht) Mueller, who was mentioned earlier, spent a lot of years teaching in local schools. She was especially known for teaching music. Our local Kindergarten teacher, Nelda Koeberl, will have her last day of teaching tomorrow after 50 years of service. Nelda has also been a choir director for a lot of years. We just had a tour this morning at our museum from St. John’s Lutheran School in Red Bud, Illinois. Their principal accompanied them, and she told us she is retiring this year after 47 years of educating children. Those are all incredible examples of ladies who dedicated their lives to the teaching profession.

One thought on “William’s Swan Sweetheart

  1. My grandmother Mabel is, I believe, standing in the back row next to Louise . She married Henry Licteneggar and my mother is their second child Violet. I am her 3rd daughter Diana. Thank you for posting such fabulous posts!! Diana Begley


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