Dad Dies on His Birthday

I have to admit that after writing two consecutive posts that highlighted 150th birthdays, I looked to see if there was yet another one born on this day in 1872 to make it three consecutive days. I was unsuccessful. Instead, you will read the story of a family in which the date of September 4th shows up twice.

Eduard Karl Ferdinand Ahrens was born on September 4, 1893, making today his 129th birthday. Edward was the 5th and final child of Frederick and Clara (Burfeind) Ahrens. The name, Eduard, shows up on his baptism record, but that spelling, which is more German-like, was often changed to Edward. That baptism record from the books of Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna is displayed below.

Edward Ahrens baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

A tragedy occurred in this Ahrens family before Edward showed up in his first census in 1900. Edward’s father died in 1897 at the age of 38. In fact, Frederick Ahrens died on September 4, 1897, also Edward’s 4th birthday. That also means that Frederick died on today’s date 125 years ago. Findagrave.com says Frederick died on September 1, 1897, but if you look at the death date on his gravestone, you can see why someone may have read it as September 1, but it is indeed September 4.

Frederick Ahrens gravestone – death date

Edward was raised by a single mom. Clara married a second time, but not until she was 63 years. old. The 1900 census shows the Ahrens family living in the Brazeau Township. Edward was 6 years old in 1900, and his mother was a dressmaker in Frohna.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Clara Ahrens moved her family to St. Louis before the 1910 census was taken. The entry for the Ahrens family shows the females with no occupation, but all the males had jobs. The two oldest sons had jobs as wagon drivers. Edward, at the age of 16, was a pin setter at a bowling alley.

1910 census – St. Louis, MO

Edward would get married before the next census, so let’s take a look at the woman who became his wife. Her name was Louise Neureuther, who was born on February 21, 1897. The only document on which I found her actual birthday was a Social Security death index, which I have pictured below.

Louise Ahrens – S.S. death index

Louise was the daughter of Louis and Christiane (Schaefer) Neureuther, who were living in Buffalo, New York when Louise was born. That is where we find the Neureuther family when the 1900 census was taken. Louise was just 3 years old, and her father was a carpenter.

1900 census – Buffalo, NY

Before the 1910 census was taken, the Neureuther family moved to St. Louis. Louise was a teenager, and her father was a house carpenter.

1910 census – St. Louis, MO

I was unable to find an exact date when Edward Ahrens married Louise Neureuther but it was likely around 1915. Their first child was born in 1916. When Edward completed a World War I draft registration in 1917, it says he had a wife and child. Edward’s employer was listed as the Schleuter Manufacturing Company.

Edward Ahrens – WWI draft registration

I found a bit of information online about the Schleuter Manufacturing Company.

Schlueter Manufacturing information

I also found a photo of a tin bucket manufactured by this company.

Schleuter Mfg. Co. bucket

Edward and Louise had 4 children, and all of them were girls. When the 1920 census was taken, we find the Ahrens household right below the one for Louise’s parents. There were two daughters listed, and Edward was called a conductor for a street railway. Another name for that was a streetcar. His brother-in-law had the same occupation.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

The 1930 census shows the Ahrens family with all 4 of their daughters. This time, Edward was called a chauffeur for the Columbia Transfer company.

1930 census – St. Louis, MO

Edward is once again called a chauffeur in the 1940 census. Three daughters remained in the Ahrens household. The oldest one was a waitress in a lunch room.

1940 census – St. Louis, MO

Edward had a World War II draft card completed in 1942.

Edward Ahrens – WWII draft card

The last census we can view that included Edward and Louise was the one taken in 1950. Edward was a clothes checker at a cleaning plant. Their daughter, Geraldine, had married James Taylor, and that young family was living with Edward and Louise. James was in the armed forces.

1950 census – St. Louis, MO

Edward Ahrens died in 1951 at the age of 58. His death certificate says he was pronounced dead at the City Hospital.

Edward Ahrens death certificate

Louise Ahrens died in 1979 at the age of 82. Death certificates for 1979 have not been made available for the public to view yet. Both Edward and Louise Ahrens have entries on Findagrave.com for the Valhalla Cemetery in St, Louis, but no gravestone photos are included.

The story of Edward Ahrens is the kind of tale that is fairly common for a Perry County native. After being born in Perry County, he eventually ended up in St, Louis where he found a bride, raised a family, and worked his entire career there. Just like my dad.


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