Clara Boehme and Her St. Louis Grocer

Hanging in our research library at the museum are these two large portraits of Charles and Ernestine (Schlimpert) Boehme. Around here, this name is pronounced like Bame, rhyming with game.

Charles and Ernestine Boehme

Charles and Ernestine had 11 children. Eight of them were girls. You will be reading about one of those girls today, one who has a birthday on this date. Like so many other folks from Perry County, similar to my father, she began her life here, but moved to St. Louis, found a mate there, raised a family, and remained.

Clara Ottilie Boehme was born on June 24th. She is another person who has one year of birth (1864) listed on her baptism record and death certificate, and another year of birth (1865) on her gravestone. Clara was the 5th child born into this family, and one of 6 consecutive daughters that were born between 1861 and 1872. Some died right away. Her baptism record is found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg and displayed below.

Clara Boehme baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

The first census in which we find Clara was the one taken in 1870. She was 6 years old, and her father was a carpenter in Altenburg.

1870 census – Altenburg, MO

Next, we find Clara as a teenager in the 1880 census. This time her father was called a carpenter and a dealer in furniture.

1880 census – Altenburg, MO

That census would be the last one in which we find Clara living in Perry County. She would later marry a man from St. Louis. I figured she may have moved to St. Louis to find work like so many other young ladies back in those days, but since the 1890 census is not available to view, I had no proof of that. However, I found a Clara Boehme in an 1890 St. Louis city directory who was working as a clerk. If this is the correct Clara Boehme, it would explain how she met a man in St. Louis who would become her husband.

Clara Boehme – 1890 St. Louis city directory

Let us now turn our attention to the man who would become Clara’s husband. His name was Otto Friedrich Steinbrueck, who was born on March 13, 1866 in St. Louis. Otto was the son of Friedrich and Charlotte (Koester) Steinbrueck. Otto is found in his first census in 1870 at the age of 4. His father was a shoemaker in St. Louis.

1870 census – St. Louis, MO

Next, we find Otto in the 1880 census as a teenager. He was the only son listed with several sisters in this entry. All of the children had names beginning with a vowel.

1880 census – St. Louis, MO

Otto Steinbrueck traveled to Perry County to marry Clara Boehme. These two were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg on October 23, 1892. We can view the church record for this occasion. All of the witnesses for this wedding have Perry County names.

Steinbrueck/Boehme marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

The marriage license for this couple is pictured below.

Steinbrueck/Boehme marriage license

Otto would take his bride back to St. Louis where they would live the rest of their lives. They would have two children, a girl named Alma and a boy named Otto. We find this family in the 1900 census with both those children. Otto was a grocer. A young boarder by the name of John Whitmore was a salesman, probably for Otto’s grocery store.

1900 census – St. Louis, MO

We find a similar entry for the Steinbrueck’s in the 1910 census. This time it was a William Whitmore who was a young clerk in the grocery store.

1910 census – St. Louis, MO

The 1920 census shows Otto and Clara with just their son, Otto. The young Otto was now a clerk in the grocery business.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

The last census in which we find the Steinbrueck couple was the one taken in 1930. They had an empty nest. They were in their 60’s.

1930 census – St. Louis, MO

Clara Steinbrueck died in 1935 at the age of 70. Influenza is given as a cause of death on her death certificate. This is another document that gives Clara’s year of birth as 1864.

Clara Steinbrueck death certificate

Otto Steinbrueck died in 1940 at the age of 73. His death certificate says he died from an accidental fall down some stairs which resulted in a broken vertebrae.

Otto Steinbrueck death certificate

Otto and Clara Steinbrueck were buried together in the Park Lawn Cemetery in St. Louis.

Otto and Clara Steinbruech gravestone – Park Lawn, St. Louis, MO

I have seen several cases in the past where a person’s death certificate and a gravestone disagree with each other on a date of birth. I scratch my head when I attempt to figure out how this could happen, but there are examples of gravestones that have inaccurate information on them.

In my family, since my father was from East Perry County and had plenty of relatives here, we would often make the trip from St. Louis to visit family or attend events such as weddings, funerals, and confirmations. I suspect that Clara and her family did the same thing during their lives. I know that those trips to Perry County were very special to me. So much so, that when I retired from teaching and had the opportunity to move to Altenburg, I jumped at the chance.

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