Another Eggers in Kansas

Johannes Theodor Eggers was born on October 21, 1887, making today his 135th birthday. John was the son of Emmanuel and Emma (Hesse) Eggers. John was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can take a look at his baptism record from that congregation’s books.

John Eggers baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

John is somewhat similar to the man in yesterday’s story, Benjamin Rudert. Only a few documents can be found in local church books, and then he disappears from Perry County.

Three sons were born to Emmanuel and Emma Eggers. John was the oldest. The second son died after just a few months. Then, when Emma was still pregnant with the 3rd child, Emmanuel Eggers, her husband died in 1890. Emma gave birth to her 3rd son shortly after her husband’s funeral. Then, in 1892, Emma married Henry Dreyer. In a previous blog post written by Cal Eggers, When Emma Met Emmanuel (and Henry), he stated that Henry was a farmhand helping run the farm because she was a widow with 2 sons and incapable of doing so. Here is a photo of Henry and Emma’s wedding.

Henry and Emma Dreyer

John Eggers shows up in his first census in 1900. In that entry, it appears that he and his younger brother, Emmanuel, have the surname, Dreyer. John’s stepfather, Henry Dreyer, was a farmer in the Brazeau Township. Several other Dreyer children are also included in this entry.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Before I move on, I absolutely have to display an adorable photo of the two Eggers boys in this family when they were very young. This picture was taken back in the days when even young boys wore skirts until they were potty-trained.

John and Emmanuel Eggers

A year after the above census entry, John was confirmed at Trinity, Altenburg. His confirmation class shown below is the last evidence we have of John living in Perry County.

John Eggers 1901 confirmation class – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Sometime in the first decade of the 20th century, John and his brother, Emmanuel moved to Kansas. In some notes posted on Cal Eggers’s Ancestry family tree, you can find the following paragraph. “They” means John and Emmanuel.

John Eggers notes by Cal Eggers

Here is the census entry from 1910 showing John living with the HIllmer household. He was a 22 year-old farm laborer.

1910 census – Pleasant Township, KS

In 1917, John had his World War I draft registration completed. He was a self-employed farmer in Sylvan Grove, Kansas.

John Eggers – WWI draft registration

In the 1920 census, we find the two Eggers brothers living together and operating a grain farm in the Pleasant Township of Lincoln County, Kansas.

1920 census – Pleasant Township, KS

It is now time to turn our attention to the woman who would become John’s wife. Her name was Bertha Bahls, who was born on March 20, 1891. She was the daughter of Joachim and Ida (Hildebrandt) Bahls. Bertha is found in her first census at the age of 9 living in the Indiana Township of Lincoln County, Kansas, which is not far from the Pleasant Township.

1900 census – Indiana Township, KS

Next, we find Bertha in the 1910 census for the same location.

1910 census – Indiana Township, KS

The last census in which we find Bertha as a single woman was the one taken in 1920. She was the only child still living with her parents.

1920 census – Indiana Township, KS

Perhaps this is about the time that the photo shown below was taken with Bertha in the middle with her parents.

Betha Bahls with parents

I have no documentation for it, but according to Ancestry family trees, John Eggers married Bertha Bahls on February 27, 1927. I am thinking that if we would have the church books of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Sylvan Grove, Kansas, this marriage record could be found. The 1930 census is the first one in which we find this couple. John was a farmer in the Fairview Township of Russell County in Kansas. Despite being in a different county, this township was just down the road from Sylvan Grove.

1930 census – Fairview Township, KS

John and Bertha had no children. In 1940, we find them living in the same location. John is called a farm manager.

1940 census – Fairview Township, MO

If Henry and Emma Dreyer were celebrating their 50th anniversary at the time when the photo below was taken, then John and his brother, Emmanuel, travelled to Southeast Missouri to help them celebrate. That celebration would have taken place in 1942. John and Emmanuel are included in this photo. I think they are the two men standing on the left in the back row.

Henry and Emma Dreyer family

Also in 1942, John had his World War II draft card completed.

John Eggers – WWII draft card

The last census we can view for this pair is the one taken in 1950.

1950 census – Fairview Township, MO

John Eggers died in 1954 at the age of 66; Bertha Eggers did not die until 1988 at the age of 97. These two are buried in the Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery in Sylvan Grove.

Now you know the story of John Eggers who moved to Sylvan Grove. You still have not had his brother’s story told on this blog. Maybe later. Or maybe I could get Cal or Fred Eggers to write that story. I think they are better qualified.


I’ve got something else on my mind today. I am asking for somebody to help me solve a mystery. Our museum’s German friend, Lutz Backmann, has fallen off our radar. He often commented on our blogs and occasionally helped me answer some questions about the German language and culture. We haven’t heard from Lutz in quite a while and my ways of communicating with him no longer work. I am concerned about him and miss him. Do any of our readers know what happened to him? Please email me at this address, store@lutheranmuseum, if you know anything.

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