One of the Schmidt-Kassel Couples

Lena Amalia Kassel is today’s birthday girl. She was born in Perry County, but, like so many other young women from this rural area, found work and a husband in St. Louis, and spent the rest of her life in the big city. Lena was born on October 7, 1898, the daughter of Phillip and Magdalena (Hopfer) Kassel. The photo of Lena’s parents shown below was taken when they were quite old.

Phillip and Magdalena Kassel

Lena was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. Her baptism record is pictured here. Later, in 1912, she was also confirmed at that church. Her name is spelled Lina on her baptism record as well as other documents, but I am using the spelling that is found on her gravestone.

Lena Kassel baptism record – Salem, Farrar, MO

Lena is found in her first census in 1900. She was the second-born child in this Kassel family. Her father was a farmer in the Salem Township. Compared to other entries from that year’s Salem Township census pages, this one is not so bad.

1900 census – Salem Township, MO

More children were added to this family in the next decade, so we see a larger Kassel household in the 1910 census. All 6 children in the list were daughters.

1910 census – Salem Township, MO

The last 4 children in this family were either stillborn or died very soon after birth.

I am a little unsure whether this is the correct Lena Kassel, but we find a girl by that name in a 1917 St. Louis city directory.

Lena Kassel – 1917 St. Louis city directory

There is a Lena Kassel in the St. Louis 1920 census. That Lena was a boarder in the Fred Mayer household, and she was called a laborer in a shirt factory. The problem is that this Lena was listed as being 27 years old, and today’s main character would have been only 22.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

Now, we will take a look at the man who would become Lena’s husband. His name was Ernest Henry Louis Schmidt, who was born on July 30, 1899. When I saw the surname Schmidt was going to be Lena’s husband, I thought he would be in one of the Schmidt clans in Perry County, but that is not the case. Ernest was the son of Martin and Mary (Wagner) Schmidt (and even the Wagner name looks like a Perry County name). Ernest was born in the St. Louis area. It’s possible that his baptism record may be found in the books of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Ellisville. That is where we find his father’s confirmation record.

Martin H. Schmidt confirmation record – St. John’s, Ellisville, MO

When Ernest was still a baby, he appears in the 1900 census. His family was living in the Meramec Township of St. Louis County where his father was a farmer. Early in his life, Ernest was called Louis in a few documents.

1900 census – Meramec Township, MO

Next, we find Ernest in the 1910 census. Once again, he is called Louis, and he was 10 years old.

1910 census – Meramec Township, MO

In 1918, Ernest had to complete a World War I draft registration. It says Ernest was farming for Wm. S. Giegie in Eureka. This form gives his birthday as July 31st which is not correct.

Ernest Schmidt

At the age of 20, Ernest was living in St. Louis in the Herman Clinger household. Both Herman and Ernest were called helpers at a dairy.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

Ernest Schmidt married Lena Kassel on June 1, 1922 at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. Here is where things get interesting. On that day, 2 marriage records are included in that congregation’s books. One was Lena’s wedding, and in the other one, the bride was Emilie Kassel, Lena’s younger sister. Emilie married a man named Edward Schmidt. I first thought that Edward might have been Ernest’s brother, but that was not the case. However, he was Ernest’s cousin. Below, we can see both of those church records.

Schmidt/Kassel marriage records – Salem, Farrar, MO

I located two wedding photos of Ernest and Lena. One is the standard studio photograph; the other is an outside shot.

Based on census records and some family trees on, this couple had 6 children. When the 1930 census was taken, the Schmidt’s were living in St. Louis where Ernest was called a post office clerk for the mail service. At that point in time, they had 3 children. One of Lena’s sisters, Ida Kassel, was also living in this household.

1930 census – St. Louis, MO

Another photograph was taken of Ernest and Lena. Ernest holding a young child.

Ernest and Lena Schmidt

The 1940 census shows all 6 children in the Schmidt family. Ernest was a postal clerk for the post office.

1940 census – St. Louis, MO

Ernest completed a World War II draft card in 1942. It is displayed below.

Ernest Schmidt – WWII draft card

The last census that we can view in which we find the Schmidt’s is the one taken in 1950. Ernest was a parcel post clerk. One of his sons also worked for the post office.

1950 census – St. Louis, MO

Ernest Schmidt died in 1987 at the age of 87; Lena Schmidt died in 1990 at the age of 91. They are buried together in the Our Redeemer Cemetery in Affton. A daughter of theirs, Arline, who had died in 1967, is also buried at that grave site.

I only told the tale of one of the Schmidt/Kassel couples that were married on the same day in 1922. I suppose someday, I should look into writing about the other pair.

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