Olga’s Marmon Auto Salesman

Have you ever heard of a Marmon automobile? I know that I did not until I was researching for this post. Getting to the Marmon automobiles begins with a special birthday for Olga Anna Zerbst, who was born on October 27, 1897. So, if Olga was still alive today, she would have to blow out 125 candles on her birthday cake. She was the daughter of Fred and Carolina (Weis) Zerbst. Olga’s baptism record is found in the books of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. That baptism record is pictured here in two images.

Olga Zerbst baptism record – Christ, Jacob, IL

Olga is found in her first census in 1900 when she was 2 years old. Her father was a carpenter.

1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Before the next census was taken, a few tragic events took place in the Zerbst family. First of all, Olga’s older brother, John Zerbst, died in 1908. Then, in 1909, Olga’s father was killed by Benjamin Degenhardt. That story was previously told in the post, Such a Tragic Story. The death record for Fred Zerbst found in the books of Christ, Jacob describe the cause of death as follows.

“Cause of Death: Friedrich Zerbst, Benjamin Degenhardt and others were working in a house in Jacob IL, Zerbst and Degenhardt got into a verbal argument, whereupon Degenhardt in anger killed Zerbst, Degenhardt regretted the killing and wept in sorriful tears.”

That means when the 1910 census was taken, Olga’s mother was a widow. Olga was then the oldest child in this family at the age of 12.

1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

In March of 1910, Olga was confirmed at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. That confirmation record would be the last document found in our German Family Tree for Olga. Below is a list of that 1910 confirmation class.

Olga Zerbst – 1910 confirmation class – Christ, Jacob, IL

I do not know exactly when Olga got married, but I do know that it was before the 1920 census. So, we will turn our attention to the man who would become her husband. His name was Max Emil Uhlemann, who was born on September 21, 1899. Max was the son of Max and Zella (Schneider) Uhlemann. (I wrote a story about some Schneider’s yesterday, but there is no connection). I am going to display a form that documents Max’s birth that is somewhat unusual. It is called a “Delayed Birth Certificate”. In unusual circumstances when a regular birth certificate is not available, a person at a later date may need documentation of their birth, so one of these delayed certificates is generated. This form says that Max was born on the date mentioned above in the city of Fort Smith, Arkansas. It also mentions St. Clair County in Michigan, which is where Max and Olga would live later in their lives.

Max Uhlemann delayed birth certificate – Fort Smith, AR

Just one year after his birth, we no longer find Max living in Arkansas. He and his family are found in St. Louis where his father was a cook. The Uhlemann’s were living in the household of Zella’s parents, the Schneider’s.

1900 census – St. Louis, MO

We next find Max in the 1910 census when he was 10 years old. This entry says his father was a cook at a hotel.

1910 census – St. Louis, MO

In 1918, Max had his World War I draft registration completed. Since his mother was called his nearest relative, I assume that he was not yet married. His occupation on this form says “schauffer”, but I assume he was a chauffeur.

Max Uhlemann – WWI draft registration

A later census says Max was married when he was 18 years old. I figure he and Olga must have gotten married not long after the above document was filled out. The 1920 census shows Max and Olga as a married couple with one daughter. Only this one daughter shows up in future census entries, so she is probably the only child of Max and Olga. Max was a steel worker for a car company.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

A move was made by the Uhlemann’s in the 1920’s. In a 1927 city directory for Detroit, Michigan, we find this family. Max was a salesman for the Marmon-Detroit Company.

Max Uhlemann – 1927 Detroit city directory

I discovered that the Marmon Company produced luxury automobiles that were made between 1902 and 1933. I found several photos of Marmon automobiles by doing a search on the internet. Many of the images I located were copyright protected, so I did not want to use them here. However, I found one that was on a website that was selling a Marmon automobile, so I figure they might even want me to display their photo. It is shown below. It is a beautiful automobile that was produced in 1930.

1930 Marmon automobile

Max and Olga are found in the 1930 census for Highland Park, Michigan, which is located in the Detroit metropolitan area. Max is called an auto salesman.

1930 census – Highland Park, MI

I have to assume that the Marmon Company stopped producing these cars in 1933 at least in part because of The Depression. I was not able to find the Uhlemann’s in any more census entries. However, in 1942, Max had to complete a World War II draft card, and it said that he was living in Algonac, Michigan, which in not far from Detroit. Algonac is also in St. Clair County, which was mentioned pertaining to the earlier-shown birth certificate. Max’s employer was the Michigan Sheriff Association.

Max Uhlemann – WWII draft card

I did locate one photo for this story. It shows Olga and her daughter, Emma.

Olga and Emma Uhlemann

Max Uhlemann died in 1963 at the age of 63; Olga Uhlemann died in 1964 at the age of 67. Max is buried in the Avery Cemetery in Avery, Michigan. This is the only place I found where Max’s surname was spelled with just one “n”. I was unable to find a grave site for Olga.

Max Uhlemann gravestone – Avery Cemetery, Avery, MI

I am not a “car guy”, but I really found it interesting to look into the history of the Marmon automobiles. You might want to do an internet search on images of those automobiles. They were gorgeous machines and are worth a lot of money these days. The people found in our German Family Tree surely take us on interesting journeys all over the place and doing all sorts of things.

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