Herman the German Slugger

Today’s birthday boy, Herman Johann Arbeiter, was born on June 8, 1894, so, if he was alive today, he would be turning 128 years old. You will be reading another story in which the husband spent his whole life in Jackson County, Illinois, but his wife had her beginnings in Perry County, Missouri. Herman was the son of Henry and Caroline (Rowold) Arbeiter. Herman’s baptism record displayed below is found in the books of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illiniois. I have to display it in two images.

Herman Arbeiter baptism record – Christ, Jacob, IL

Herman was 5 years old when he shows up in his first census in 1900. His family lived in the Fountain Bluff Township. Herman was the 7th child of 9 in his family. As you can see, all of them are included in this census entry.

1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

I figure the photos below were taken sometime after the above census and before the next one. They show the entire Henry Arbeiter family. In the first one, Herman is sitting in the middle in the front.

Henry Arbeiter family

A few years later, this family photo was taken. Herman is standing in the back on the far left.

Henry Arbeiter family

Next, we find the Arbeiter household in the 1910 census. At the age of 15, Herman was working on his father’s farm. A few of his older siblings had gotten married by this time and were living elsewhere.

1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Herman had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917. I didn’t find any evidence that Herman was called to serve during that war.

Herman Arbeiter – WWI draft registration

Herman is found in the 1920 census still living with his parents. His father is no longer called a farmer, and Herman appears to be running that farm by himself.

1920 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

The house in which Herman spent most of his childhood is pictured here with his parents standing in front.

Henry Arbeiter home – Jacob, IL

Last year, I was in Jacob, and I took some up-to-date photos of this house. It is no longer occupied and falling into disrepair. The photos can be clicked to enlarge them.

Herman was well into his 30’s and still single when the 1930 census was taken, but I was not able to find him in that year’s enumeration. However, it was in early 1931 that his parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and another family photo was taken. Herman is standing in the back in the middle, right behind his father.

Now, we will take a look at the woman who would become his wife. Her name was Emma Eleonora Brandes, who was born on October 1, 1894. Eleonora was the daughter of Gustav and Marie (Bronnenkant) Brandes. She was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. We can take a look at her baptism record from that congregation’s books.

Eleonora Brandes – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Eleonora is found in the 1900 census at the age of 5. Eleonora was the oldest child in her family which would end up with 6 children altogether. Her father was a farmer.

1900 census – Union Township, MO

Sometime between 1900 and 1910, this Brandes family moved across the Mississippi River to the Fountain Bluff Township. Below is the census entry from 1920 showing their household. This time Eleonora’s father was called a harness maker. It also says that Eleonora was doing housework for a private family.

1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

I was unable to find Eleonora in either the 1920 census or the 1930 census. She was likely “working out” and living in someone else’s household.

Herman Arbeiter married Eleonora Brandes on Christmas Day, December 25, 1935 at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. They likely had to wait until after the Advent Season was complete before having the blessing of the pastor to get married. In comparison to most marriages, Herman and Eleonora were older than most brides and grooms getting married for the first time. They were each 41 years old. We can view the church marriage record for this wedding.

Arbeiter/Brandes marriage record – Christ, Jacob, IL

We have an Arbeiter family binder in our research library. In that binder, it gives the following information about Herman.

Herman Arbeiter information

An earlier post told the story of Herman’s older brother, Fred Arbeiter, titled, The Other Fred Arbeiter – Fred and Sophia. That post mentioned that Fred Arbeiter had some limited experience playing professional baseball as a pitcher. Apparently, baseball skills ran in the family because Herman had quite the reputation for his baseball prowess. He was known as a slugger.

Herman and Eleonora were living in Murphysboro when the 1940 census was taken. Even though it was just the two of them, they still managed to have their entry spill over two census pages. Herman was called an insurance salesman.

1940 census – Murphysboro, IL

Eleonora Arbeiter died in 1948 at the age of 53. As it turns out, both Eleonora and Herman died while at the Lutheran Hospital in St. Louis, so we are able to look at their Missouri death certificates.

Eleonora Arbeiter death certificate

We can also read an obituary for Eleonora.

Eleonora Arbeiter obituary

Herman should be found in the 1950 census as a widower, but I was unable to find him. Perhaps they have not gotten to index his portion of that recently-released census yet.

Herman Arbeiter died in 1951 at the age of 56. We can also view his death certificate. Both he and his wife had a type of cancer which caused their fairly early deaths.

Herman Arbeiter death certificate

Herman and Eleonora Arbeiter are buried together in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Jacob, Illinois.

Herman and Eleonora gravestone – Christ, Jacob, IL

At one time in my life, people could have referred to me as a reluctant groom. I did not get married until I was 39 years old. Herman outdid me. He didn’t marry until he was 41.

This story could have been written better by Sally Gustin, who has been a guest author on this blog in the past. She is a descendant of the Henry Arbeiter family and known for her excellent family research. I just want to say, in conclusion, that this summer, I could use some of our guest bloggers to step up to the plate and write some stories. My wife and I have several commitments to visit family which will require us to travel. One of those trips will take place in a few days, so if no post is published, we are probably on the road. I plan to still make an effort to publish a post as often as I can.

2 thoughts on “Herman the German Slugger

    1. I found a William Brandes who was the son of Conrad and Anna (Franke) Brandes who was born in 1897.


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