Holschen – Schirmer – Pincksten

I may or may not be discussing a birthday girl today. That is because I ran across another one of those situations in which the month of a person’s birth is in question. A church baptism record says this girl was born on July 30th, but her gravestone says she was born on June 30th. Regardless of which one is correct, you are getting this girl’s story today.

Emma Susanna Holschen is the main character in today’s post. Whether she was born in June or July, we know she was born in 1895. Her parents were John and Lydia (Rhyne) Holschen. Emma was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can take a look at the baptism record from that congregation’s books that includes a date of birth of July 30th. The fact that she was baptized in August backs up a July birthday, not June.

Emma Holschen baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

Emma is found in the 1900 census at the age of 4. This entry just includes Emma and her father, who is said to be divorced.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Emma’s father married Clara McDaul in 1901, so we that wife her along with other members of this Holschen family in the 1910 census in which Emma is listed at the age of 14.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

We will now turn our attention to the man who would become Emma’s first husband. His name was Joseph Wilhelm Ludwig Schirmer, who was born on December 10, 1887. Joseph was the son of William and Anna Maria (Putz) Schirmer. Joseph was baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. The information about Joseph Schirmer found in the binder that we have containing records from that congregation is shown below.

Joseph Schirmer information – St. John’s, Pocahontas, MO

I was not able to locate Joseph Schirmer or his family in either the 1900 or the 1910 census, so the first census in which I found Joseph was after he was married.

Joseph Schirmer married Emma Holschen on February 26, 1912. It is somewhat questionable where this wedding took place. The above information from St. John’s says these two were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. That may have happened, but when I went to find a marriage record for this couple in that congregation’s books, I discovered a little hole. One church book ended in 1910 for their marriage records. The next book begins with a marriage in May of 1912, so a marriage in February of 1912 is not to be found. Let’s take a look at the marriage license for this couple. It is a document from Perry County, not Cape Girardeau County.

Schirmer/Holschen marriage license

According to some records we have of past ministers at Immanuel, Rev. Nicolaus Settengel was their pastor in 1912. The name on the above form is not Settengel, nor does the name that is there have a Rev. in front. I have my doubts that this marriage took place at Immanuel. Emma’s father gave his consent to this marriage. After all, Emma was just 16 years old at the time of this wedding. Another factor may have contributed to this situation. Emma had her first child in May of 1912, so she would certainly have been pregnant when this wedding took place. Lutheran pastors are not always willing to perform weddings of this type.

According to our German Family Tree, there were 8 children born to this couple. Only the first one was baptized at Immanuel, Altenburg. The others were baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. In 1917 or 1918, Joseph had his World War I draft registration completed. It says he was a farmer working for his father, and it says he had 3 children at the time.

Joseph Schirmer – WWI draft registration

The Schirmer’s are found in the 1920 census with 3 children. Joseph is called a farm laborer.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The last entry in which we find both Joseph and Emma was the one taken in 1930. Seven children were listed in this household.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

At some point in time during the early 1930’s, Joseph and Emma must have gotten a divorce. We find Joseph living with just one daughter, and it says he was divorced. He was still a farmer in the Shawnee Township.

1940 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Meanwhile, in 1936, Emma would marry again. Her second husband was Steve Pincksten, whose date of birth I was unable to determine. His death certificate lists his parents as Shadrach and Nancy (King) Pincksten. Steven is listed as being 2 years old in the 1880 census.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

I’m going to skip to the 1930 census in which we find Steve at the age of 51 and still single. He and his younger brother were farm laborers in the Shawnee Township.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Steve Pincksten married Emma Schirmer on May 17, 1936 by a justice of the peace. We can view their marriage license.

Pinkston/Schirmer marriage license

There were 3 children born to Steve and Emma, and 2 of them were born before this marriage in 1936. This marriage did not last long because Steve Pincksten died in January of 1940. His death certificate says he died from pneumonia.

Steve Pincksten death certificate

Steve was buried in the New Bethel Baptist Cemetery in Jackson, Missouri, but there is no gravestone photo on Findagrave.com. Emma is found as a widow in the 1940 census with the 3 Pinckston sons.

1940 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Emma is found in one more census in 1950 at the age of 54 with those same 3 sons.

1950 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Joseph Schirmer died in 1964 at the age of 76. His death certificate says he was married and his wife’s name was Annie Schirmer. I found no evidence of another marriage for Joseph.

Joseph Schirmer death certificate

Emma Pincksten died in 1972 at the age of 76. When her death certificate becomes available to the public in the near future, perhaps it will give a date of birth to help us determine if she was born in June or July. Both Joseph Schirmer and Emma Pincksten are buried in the New Lorimer Cemetery in Cape Girardeau. Emma’s gravestone is where we find the June 30th date of birth.

It is not often that I write stories that involve divorce like I did with this one. I have to tell it like it is, but I am glad that divorce has not shown up often in the families that are part of this area’s history.

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