Who Is the Last Grandchild of an 1839 Immigrant?

I made a few discoveries while researching today’s story that make me excited to write this post. First of all, it includes a woman who could say that today was her birthday and her anniversary. Having said that, I could add that this woman never lived in Missouri. In fact, there are no church records from Perry County church books to include in this post. I also have to wonder if a man would choose to get married on his bride’s birthday so that he would only have to remember one date rather than two. And would he be happy to buy just one birthday/anniversary gift for his wife on November 15th?

Loretta Rose Drake was born on November 15, 1898, making today her 124th birthday. Loretta was the daughter of Clinton and Mary (Forster) Drake. She was born in Greensburg, Indiana where several generations of Drake’s had resided. Loretta (called Rose in this entry) is found in the 1900 census at the age of 1. Her family was living in Greensburg, Indiana where her father was a drayman. A drayman was a wagon driver.

1900 census – Greensburg, IN

Next, we find Loretta in the 1910 census when she was 11 years old. Her father had died in 1904, and her mother had then married Henry Clemens, a farmer in Greensburg.

1910 census – Greensburg, IN

Now, we will take a look at the man who would become Loretta’s husband. He was a man who descended from one of the original Gesellschaft immigrants. His name was Walther Edward Tirmenstein, who was born on August 24, 1882. I hear that his name, Walther, was pronounced as Walter. I have a suspicion that he was named after C.F.W. Walther or his brother, Otto Herman Walther. Walther was the son of Rev. Martin Paulus and Amalia (Stoeppler) Tirmenstein. I have these photos of Walther’s parents.

A previous post was written about Walther’s father, and in that post, I submitted evidence that Martin Paulus Tirmenstein was the youngest member of the Gesellschaft (not counting babies that were born at sea). You can read that post here: Who Was the Youngest?

Walther was born in St. Paul, Minnesota where his father was a pastor. However, by the time he shows up in his first census in 1900, the Tirmenstein family was living in Logansport, Indiana, where his father was a minister. Walther was 17 years old at the time.

1900 census – Logansport, IN

In 1910, Walther can still be found still living with his parents, but this time, Rev. Tirmenstein was a pastor in Indianapolis. Walther was a bookkeeper at a bank.

1910 census – Indianapolis, IN

In 1918, Walther had a World War I draft registration completed. This document states that Walther was an assistant treasurer for J.D. Adams & Company.

Walther Tirmenstein – WWI draft registration

The J.D. Adams & Company was in the business of building road graders that were horse-drawn. Below is an advertisement for this company.

Walther Tirmenstein married Loretta Drake on November 15, 1919, Loretta’s 21st birthday. So, today would also be her 103rd anniversary. Their wedding took place in Indianapolis. We can view an Indiana marriage record for this couple.

Tirmenstein/Drake – Indiana marriage record

Walther and Loretta had 4 children, all of them born in Indianapolis, where this couple lived for the rest of their lives. This Tirmenstein couple can be found in the 1920 census before they had any children. It says Walther was an assistant treasurer for a factory.

1920 census – Indianapolis, IN

I was not able to find this Tirmenstein family in the 1930 census, but I am almost certain that they were still in Indianapolis. The Tirmenstein household is found in the 1940 census. There were 3 children in this entry, and Walther still had the same occupation.

1940 census – Indianapolis, IN

In 1942, Walther had a World War II draft card completed. You can see that he was still employed by J.D. Adams & Co.

Walther Tirmenstein – WWII draft card

The last census we can view was the one taken in 1950. Walther was called an assistant treasurer for a company making road building machinery (apparently still with J.D. Adams & Co.).

1950 census – Indianapolis, IN

Walther Tirmenstein died in 1960 at the age of 77. We can take a look at his Indiana death certificate which says he died of throat cancer. This form also says that he was retired from J.D. Adams.

Walther Tirmenstein death certificate

Loretta Tirmenstein did not die until 1992 at the age of 93. We can also look at her Indiana death certificate.

Loretta Tirmenstein – Indiana death certificate

Both Walther and Loretta’s death certificates say that they were to be buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Indianapolis. Each of them have entries in that cemetery on Findagrave.com, but there are no gravestone photos.

When I was completing the research for this story, I was fascinated that a grandchild of an 1839 immigrant would die as recently as 1960. I got to thinking, “Are there any other grandchildren of immigrants that died more recently than this?” I found such a person in this Tirmenstein family. Rev. Martin Paulus, Walther’s father, had another son, Rev. Arthur Tirmenstein. Rev. Arthur Tirmenstein had several children, and one of them was a daughter named Phyllis Tirmenstein. Phyllis died earlier this year on February 4th near St. Louis. That means that a grandchild of an 1839 immigrant died this year. That amazes me. It makes me wonder if Phyllis was the last of the grandchildren of 1839 immigrants to die. Are there any others who are still alive? If you’d like to read Phyllis’s obituary, it can be found here:


Here is the photo of Phyllis Tirmenstein attached to that obituary.

Phyllis Tirmenstein

I’d like to share another item with you today. My Uncle Herb Schmidt, who was the previous owner of my property in Altenburg, left behind a horse-drawn road grader. It’s still sitting under a tree in my pasture. I went out to see if this happened to be manufactured by J.D. Adams & Company. It was not. However, I discovered that it was produced by the Glide Road Machinery Company that was headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, not far from where Walther Tirmenstein was born. Below is a gallery of photos of the Glide road grader, along with an ad that I located for such a machine. You can click the images to enlarge them.

One more thing. Not far from the above road grader in my pasture, another wedding took place on this date back in 1839. Two other Walther’s were involved in that wedding, Otto Herman Walther, the groom, and Rev. C.V.W. Walther who performed the wedding ceremony. The story of that marriage was told in the post, The Wedding in My Pasture. I think you would enjoy knowing this little piece of history which is also associated with my land, as well as being associated with the Log Cabin College.

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