Hilda’s Lumberman Landgraf

Hilda Eleonora Gerler is today’s birthday girl, celebrating the 125th anniversary of her birth. She was born on September 10, 1897, the daughter of Friedrich and Bertha (Lehner) Gerler. Hilda was baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. We can take a look at an image of her baptism record below.

Hilda Gerler baptism record – Zion, Pocahontas, MO

Hilda is found in the 1900 census at the age of 2. Her father was an engineer at a flour mill in Pocahontas.

1900 census – Pocahontas, MO

Next, we find Hilda in the 1910 census at the age of 12. Her father was the manager of the flour mill.

1910 census – Pocahontas, MO

When Hilda was fairly young, a photo was taken of her, along with her two sisters. She was the oldest child in her family, so she is the tall girl in the middle of this picture.

Gerler sisters

The last census in which we find Hilda before she got married was the one taken in 1920. This time her father was called a farmer in Pocahontas.

1920 census – Pocahontas, MO

Another photograph was taken of the Gerler family around this time. Hilda is standing in the back on the right.

Fred and Bertha Gerler family

Now, we will turn our attention to the man who would become Hilda’s husband. His name was Ludwig Herman Landgraf, who was born on April 7, 1892. Ludwig, sometimes called Louis, was the son of Adolph and Lina (Schuppan) Landgraf. In the recent post, Lumberman Landgraf Linked with Lina and Lena, Rudolph Landgraf married a Lina and a Lena. Ludwig’s father also married a Lina. Ludwig was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. Below is an image of his baptism record.

Ludwig Landgraf baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Ludwig is in his first census entry in 1900. He was 7 years old, and if I read it correctly, his father was a contractor for a bridge builder.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Next, we find Ludwig in the 1910 census as a teenager. Both Ludwig and his father were called house carpenters.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Ludwig had a World War I draft registration completed in 1917. He was not even living in Missouri at the time. He was living in Vesper, Kansas, where he was the manager of a lumber yard.

Ludwig Landgraf – WWI draft card

Ludwig did get called into service during that war. His military record is shown below. It looks as if he never was deployed overseas.

Ludwig Landgraf – WWI military record

After his military service, Ludwig moved back to Missouri. In 1920, when Ludwig was in his 20’s, he was called a sales correspondent, while his father was a mechanic for a contractor in the Shawnee Township.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Ludwig Landgraf married Hilda Gerler on May 21, 1922. This wedding took place at Hilda’s church, Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. We can view a church record for that occasion.

Landgraf/Gerler marriage record – Zion, Pocahontas, MO

We can also take a look at this couple’s marriage license.

Landgraf/Gerler marriage license

Based on Ancestry family histories and future census entries, Ludwig and Hilda had 3 children. None of their baptism records are included in our German Family Tree. I suspect they were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau, but I do not care to make another trip to the museum this morning to look at the binder we have for that congregation’s records. The first census in which we see this married couple was the one taken in 1930. The Landgraf family was living in Cape Girardeau where Ludwig was an assistant manager of a lumber company. Two children were in their household.

1930 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

According to a blog written by a notable local photojournalist, Fred Lynch, Ludwig Landgraf established his own lumber business, the L.H. Landgraf Lumber Company, in 1938. That excellent blog post about Ludwig’s lumber business, complete with photos of their building, can be found at the link listed below.


In 1940, Ludwig was called the manager for the Landgraf Lumber Company. All 3 children are listed in this entry.

1940 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

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

Ludwig Landgraf – WWII draft card

The last census we can view for the Landgraf’s is the one taken in 1950. This entry says that not only was Ludwig the manager of his lumber business, but Hilda was a bookkeeper and his son, Vernon, was an assistant manager working with him.

1950 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

Hilda Landgraf died in 1952 at the age of 55. Her death certificate states that she died at the Cape Osteopathic Hospital in Cape Girardeau.

Hilda Landgraf death certificate

We can also read an obituary that was published in a local newspaper for Hilda.

Hilda Landgraf obituary

Ludwig married again in 1953. His second wife had the maiden name, Clara Louise Mirly. She was born on April 2, 1891, the daughter of Henry and Louisa (Wachter) Mirly. She, like Ludwig, was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. I will display her baptism record here.

Clara Mirly baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

I am not going to go into detail about Clara’s life, other than to say that she was also previously married. Her first husband was William Williams, who had died in 1945. Ludwig Landgraf married Clara Williams on June 6, 1953, too recently for us to view a marriage record.

Ludwig and Clara each died in 1974. Ludwig died in August at the age of 82; Clara died in September at the age of 83. Ludwig, along with his 2 wives, are buried in the Cape County Memorial Park in Cape Girardeau.

Now, we have evidence that several Landgraf men ended up working in the lumber business. Maybe I will find more of them later.

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