A Little Winter in the Dog Days of Summer

August 1st was the day a baby boy named Winter was born in 1877. That baby was born in Altenburg, Missouri. If that day was anything like the forecast we have for Altenburg today, it was a hot one. We are under a heat advisory for the next 3 days. Not being a female, I cannot speak with assurance, but I can only imagine how miserable the process of childbirth must have been during the dog days of a southeast Missouri summer with no air conditioning.

Paul Benjamin Winter was born on August 1, 1877, making today his 145th birthday. I will be calling him Paul B. today because there was another Paul Winter that has already been discussed in a previous blog, Winter Homes in Frohna. That Paul was called Paul G.G. in that post, and he was born in 1878, one year after today’s Paul B. Paul B. was the son of Friedrich and Christina (Jahn) Winter and baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. An image of his baptism record is shown here.

Paul B. Winter baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Paul B. is found in the 1880 census at the age of 2. He was the baby of the family, the last of 9 children born to this Winter couple. Paul B.’s father was called both a carpenter and a farmer. Paul B.’s grandfather, Gottfried Jahn, also lived in this household.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In a biography of Paul B. that I will display later, it says that he was sent to St. Paul’s College in Concordia, Missouri for preparation to become a pastor, but he was not successful. He also tried Concordia College in Milwaukee with the same result. He then moved to St. Louis. We find him as a 22 year-old grocery clerk in St. Louis when the 1900 census was taken. It appears that he was living in a boarding house with plenty of other folks who were mostly single young people.

1900 census – St. Louis, MO

An early photo was taken of Paul B. Winter.

Paul B. Winter

It must have been when he was in Concordia, Missouri that Paul B. met his future wife. Her name was Catharina “Katie” Gieschen, who was born on October 14, 1877 in Germany. She was the daughter of Diedrich and Meta (Boers) Gieschen. According to some later census entries, the Gieschen family came to America in 1884. Katie’s mother died in 1887. Some records from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Concordia can be viewed online, and we find Meta’s death record there. Her first name is listed as UNK, unknown.

When the photo pictured below was taken, her father was a widower. Katie is standing on the right in the back.

Diedrich Gieschen family

When the 1900 census was taken, Katie and her younger sister, Anna, were working as servants at St. Paul’s Lutheran College in Concordia. Katie was 22 years old at the time.

1900 census – Freedom Township, Lafayette County, MO

I think the photo of Katie shown below may have been taken when she was still single.

Katie Gieschen

Paul B. Winter married Katie Gieschen on April 30, 1905. A record of that marriage can be found in the St. Paul’s, Concordia books that are online.

Winter/Gieschen marriage record – St. Paul’s, Concordia, MO

We can also view this couple’s marriage license.

Winter/Gieschen marriage license

The wedding photo of Paul B. and Katie is below.

Paul B. and Katie Winter wedding

Our German Family Tree lists 4 boys born to this pair. They were all baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. Paul B. and his older brother, Martin Winter, bought a store in Fruitland in 1905. I previously wrote Martin’s story on this blog, A Winter’s Tale. When the 1910 census was taken, we find both the Paul B. and Martin Winter households listed right next to each other. They were living in the Shawnee Township. Both of them were called retail merchants.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The photo of the Paul B. Winter family displayed here must have been taken not long after the 1910 census.

Paul B. Winter family

In 1918, Paul B. had a World War I draft registration completed. He is called a merchant and assistant postmaster at the Winter Brothers Store. He had a Fruitland address.

Paul B. Winter – WWI draft registration

Next, we find Paul B. and his family in the 1920 census. Once again, we can find both Paul B. and his brother, Martin, rather near each other.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Over the years, the Winter brothers were postmasters in Fruitland and ran that service out of their store. Paul was appointed the postmaster in 1928 according to the document shown below.

Paul B. Winter – postmaster appointment form

The list of Fruitland postmasters pictured here gives evidence that postmasters remained in the Winter family even after Martin and Paul B.

Fruitland Postmasters

The last census in which we find Paul B. Winter was the one taken in 1930. Just 3 sons remained in the Winter household.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Paul B. Winter died in 1932 at the age of 54. His death certificate states that he died of tuberculosis.

Paul B. Winter death certificate

I found this short biography of Paul B. Winter’s life.

Paul B. Winter biography

The above bio says Paul B. and Katie were married in 1904 and went to the World’s Fair in St. Louis for their honeymoon, but the documents shown earlier give a 1905 wedding year.

Katie Winter can be found in the 1940 census living with her son, Paul Gerhardt, who was operating the store.

1940 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The last census we can view that includes Katie is the one taken in 1950. This time, her son, Paul G. was a cream buyer for a creamery.

1950 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Another photo of Katie Winter was taken later in her life, as well as a photo of her, her son, Paul G., and grandson Gary.

Katie Winter died in 1973 at the age of 95, too recently to view her death certificate. I also found a short biography of her life. It says she was confirmed by Rev. Franz Julius Bilz, one of the graduates of Concordia Seminary in Altenburg.

Katie Winter bio

Paul B. and Katie Winter are each buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas.

Despite the fact that Paul B. Winter did not succeed in becoming a Lutheran pastor, his oldest son, Lamar, did succeed. A biography of his life can also be read.

Rev. Lamar Winter bio

We began with a Winter in summer. I guess you could say we ended with a Canadian Winter.

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