Conductor and Conductress

All aboard for a wild ride that will take us through Southeast Missouri and Texas, only to end up in St. Louis. It begins with a birthday boy by the name of Moritz Friedrich Zorn. Moritz, who is also called Morris and Maurice during his life, was born on December 3, 1878, the son of Friedrich and Katherine (Gratz)(Wallmann) Zorn. Moritz’s mother had previously been married to John Wallmann, but he died in 1874. Moritz had several half-siblings who carried the surname, Wallmann. Moritz was baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. The St. John’s binder we have in our research library has the following information about Moritz.

Moritz Zorn info – St. John’s, Pocahontas, MO

Moritz is found in the 1880 census at the age of 1. You can see quite a few Wallmann children in this entry. Moritz’s father was a farmer in the Shawnee Township.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

It would be 1920 before we can view Moritz in another census. His mother had died when he was quite young in 1883. In this entry, it says Moritz was working on his father’s farm.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Now we will take a look at the woman who would become Moritz’s first wife. Her name was Olga Ida Pauline Ruehling, who was born on February 9, 1881. Olga was the 5th of 9 children born to Herman and Pauline (Petzoldt) Ruehling. That makes Olga another grandchild of Friedrich Florian “The Face” Petzoldt. She was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Her baptism record is displayed here.

Olga Ruehling baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

After Olga’s baptism, the rest of the Ruehling children were baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas, so this family likely moved to the Shawnee Township at about this time. We never find Olga in a census living with her parents. The only census in which we find her before her marriage was the one taken in 1900. At that time, she was working as a servant for a family in St. Louis.

1900 census – St. Louis, MO

Moritz Zorn married Olga Ruehling on January 24, 1904 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. We can view the marriage license for this couple.

Zorn/Ruehling marriage license

Moritz and Olga had one child, a son named Eberhardt, who was born in 1905. Then, Olga died in 1908 at the age of 27. Since she died before 1910, we cannot look at a death certificate for a cause of death. Olga was buried in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas.

I was unable to find Moritz in the 1910 census. The next document I found for him was his World War I draft registration which was completed in 1918. He was living in St. Louis and working as a street car conductor for the United Railway Company.

Moritz Zorn – WWI draft registration

The 1920 census shows Moritz as a widower. He was living in the household of his stepdaughter, Martha Wallmann, who had married William Bernsdorf. His son, Eberhardt, who was a teenager, was also in the household. Once again, Moritz is called a conductor of a street car.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

Moritz would get married again in the 1920’s, so we’ll take a look at the woman who would become his second wife. We have to go all the way to Texas to find her beginnings. Her name was Wallie Johanna Roeschke, who was born on July 7, 1879. She was the daughter of Adolph and Marietta (Sommer) Roeschke. I located a baptism record from St. John Lutheran Church in Round Top, Texas. That town is located between Houston and San Antonio.

Wallie Roeschke baptism record – St. John, Round Top, TX

I was unable to find Wallie in a census in 1880, and she got married in 1899 before the 1900 census was taken. She married Bruce Collier on December 13, 1899 in Hardin County, Texas.

Collier/Roeschke – TX marriage record

We find the Collier couple in the 1900 census. Bruce worked in a saw mill in Hardin County.

1900 census – Hardin County, TX

A few children were born to Bruce and Wallie Collier, but this marriage apparently did not last very long. In the 1910 census, we find Wallie (who is called Walter) as the head of a household. Even though Bruce is not included in this entry, Wallie is said to be married.

1910 census – Kirbyville Township, TX

Bruce Collier did not die until 1951, and his Texas death certificate shown below says he was divorced.

Bruce Collier – TX death certificate

When the 1920 census was taken, Wallie Collier is found living in St. Louis with two teenage children. She was a conductress for a street car.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

I did not find a document that stated when Moritz Zorn married Wallie Collier, but the next census taken in 1930 says that Wallie was 41 years old when she was married. That would have meant that it was not long after the 1920 census that this wedding took place. Here is the 1930 census entry for the Zorn household. Moritz was still a conductor for a street car, but Wallie was a stretcher for a lace company.

1930 census – St. Louis, MO

Moritz and Wallie did not last long as a married couple either. I was not able to find Moritz in the 1940 census, but I did find Wallie. She was living with her daughter, Joy, who had married John Ashton, and her marriage status is listed as divorced.

1940 census – St. Louis, MO

I did find Moritz in a 1940 St. Louis city directory. It simply says “beer” after his name.

Moritz Zorn – 1940 St. Louis city directory

When Moritz had a World War II draft card completed in 1942, we find an explanation for the word “beer”. Moritz operated the Zorn Tavern.

Moritz Zorn – WWII draft card

I also did not find Moritz in the 1950 census, but once again found Wallie. She was still living in the Ashton household.

1950 census – St. Louis, MO

Moritz Zorn died in 1964 at the age of 85. His death certificate says his usual occupation was a merchant for a confectionary.

Moritz Zorn death certificate

Moritz is buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in St. Louis, but there is no gravestone photo on

Wallie Zorn died in 1967 at the age of 87. Her death certificate says she died at the St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Charles, Missouri.

Wallie Zorn death certificate

Wallie is buried in the Memorial Park Cemetery in Jennings. She is buried with her daughter, Joy, and her husband.

Moritz died in 1964; Wallie died in 1967. As a St. Louis Cardinals fan who was a teenager in the 1960’s, these two years are significant to me. In 1964, the Cardinals beat the New York Yankees to win the World Series. In 1967, the Cardinals beat the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series. Good memories for me.

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