Martin Pfau took a roundabout way to find his bride in Jacob, Illinois. And even then, I have no idea how these two managed to meet one another. His bride is today’s birthday girl, but the only documentation for her being born on this day is found in the books of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. As it is, I am situated in Minnesota for a couple of days and cannot even display the one record that has her date of birth. However, let’s begin with Martin.
Gottfried Martin Pfau was born on September 12, 1887, the 2nd of 4 children born to Emil and Amalia (Popp) Pfau. Two previous posts have been written about characters in this Pfau/Popp family. They can be found by clicking on the links below.
Tornado Casualty Dies with Baby in Arms
Martin was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, but I am not able to get images of church records today. However, he was born during that time when Perry County was keeping birth records, and I can display Martin’s birth record in two images.
The only census entry in which we find Martin living in Perry County was the one taken in 1900. He was 12 years old at the time, and his father was a farmer in the Union Township.
During the next decade, the Pfau family moved to the Cuivre Township of St. Charles County, which is near the city of Wentzville. A map was included in one of those previous stories that displayed several parcels of land being owned by folks with Perry County names, including that of E. Pfau. That map was produced in 1905, so we know the Pfau family had moved prior to that date. I will display that map again.
The 1910 census shows the Pfau family living in the Cuivre Township. Martin, at the age of 22, was working on his father’s farm.
The above entry would be the last one in which Martin was single, so let’s take a look at the woman who would become his wife. Her name was Clara Lina Stueven, who was born on June 13, 1890. Her surname looks like the surname, Stueve, but this must be a different clan of folks with an “n” at the end of the name. I searched our blog and found that there have been no other posts that included this name prior to today. Clara was the daughter of Henry and Anna (Hollmann) Stueven. According to our German Family Tree, Clara was child #6 of 9 born to Henry and Anna. She was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. The first census in which we find Clara was the one taken in 1900. Her family was living in the Fountain Bluff Township. Clara was said to be 8 years old, but I think she was closer to 10. Her father was a farmer.
Clara would have been about 20 years old when the 1910 census was taken. She was no longer living with her parents, but I was not able to find her in any census entry. I especially searched for her in the Jackson County of Illinois and the St. Charles County of Missouri. Knowing how many young women ended up working as servants in St. Louis during those days, I also looked there.
That leads us up to the wedding of Martin Pfau and Clara Stueven. These two were married on October 13, 1912 at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. I am not able to display the church record, but our GFT states that Martin Pfau was from Wentzville, Missouri. I am able to only show a transcription of an Illinois marriage record. Both Clara’s and Martin’s surnames are not spelled correctly. I also find it very unusual that this record would say that Clara’s birth year was “about 1892”. Why wouldn’t the record keeper not be able to find an exact year?
In 1917, Martin had his World War I draft registration completed. This form says that Martin’s employer was the Murphysboro Paving Brick Plant.
I found an article that describes the work that was done by the Murphysboro Paving Brick Company during that time period. Highlighted in that article is the fact that a lot of bricks produced by this company were used in the construction of the Panama Canal. The link to that article is found below.
There were two children born to Martin and Clara, but both of them were reportedly born in Murphysboro, Illinois, so those children do not make it into our German Family Tree. Both of those children are found in the 1920 census, in which we find Martin was working as a moulder in a foundry.
The 1930 census shows a very similar entry to the one taken in 1920 with Martin still having the same job.
The last census in which I found the Pfau’s is the one taken in 1940. This time Martin was laboring as a WPA rock crusher. The WPA (Works Progress Administration) was a government program to provide employment for Americans as a result of the Depression.
I was not able to find Martin and Clara in the 1950 census, but I did find a 1948 city directory for East St. Louis, Illinois that shows all the members of this Pfau family, Martin, Clara, and their two children. Martin is called a watchman for Cargill, Inc.
Martin died in 1955 at the age of 68; Clara died in 1956 at the age of 64. They are buried together in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery in Murphysboro.
I would love to know the story behind Martin and Clara getting to know one another. I know there must be an explanation, but I do not know it.