Charley and Two Women Named Anna Grass

Charley Grass would be celebrating his 150th birthday today. I find his story fascinating because, as you will discover while reading this article, he spent almost his entire life in the company of Anna Grass. However, you will be told that there were two women who carried the name, Anna Grass. One was Charley’s sister; the other was his wife.

Charles Henry Theo Grass was born on December 8, 1872, the son of Henry and Fredericke (Bangert) Grass. He was born in Friedheim, Missouri, but his baptism record is not found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim. We find Charles in his first census in 1880 at the age of 7. He was the oldest child in this Grass family. His father was a farmer in the Apple Creek Township.

1880 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

There were quite a few children in Charles’s family, but I am going to focus on just one more of them. Friedericke Louise Anna Grass was born on May 29, 1884. During her life, she went by the name, Anna. In her case, we do find her baptism record in the books of Trinity, Friedheim. That baptism record is displayed below.

Anna Grass baptism record – Trinity, Friedheim, MO

When the 1900 census was taken, we find Anna and Charles Grass living in two different households. First, Charles was the head of a household made up of two of his younger siblings, Bertha and Henry. Charles was a farmer.

1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Anna Grass, on the other hand, was still living with her parents in 1900 at the age of 16. I think the Henry Grass in this household is the same person as the Henry Grass living with Charles, even though there are conflicting years of birth and ages. Somehow, I think he got listed twice in this year’s census.

1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

When the 1910 census was taken, we find the 37 year-old Charles living with his sister, Anna, who was 12 years younger. Anna is called a servant and housekeeper in this entry.

1910 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Charles had a World War I draft registration completed in 1918. The nearest relative shown on this form was Anna Grass, his sister.

Charles Grass – WWI draft registration

The 1920 census once again shows the same Grass household made up of Charles and his sister, Anna. Charles was 47 years old and still single. Anna was 35 years old and still single.

1920 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Now, we need to backtrack quite a few years to look at the early life of the woman that would become the wife of Charles Grass. Her name was Anna Marie Lowes, who was born on June 10, 1885. Anna was not the only one born on that day. She had a twin brother named Herman. These twins were the children of Peter and Hannah (Fornkahl) Lowes. They were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim. I have to display their baptism records in two images. The surname in these records looks like Lobes. I have seen that spelling for the Lowes family, as well as the spelling, Loves.

Henry Lowes baptism record – Trinity, Friedheim, MO
Anna Lowes baptism record – Trinity, Friedheim, MO

Anna Lowes shows up in her first census in 1900. Her twin brother, Herman, had died earlier during that year as a teenager, so he is not included in this entry.

1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

The Peter Lowes family were members of the Arnsberg Lutheran Church when it was in existence. We find this information for that family in the Arnsberg binder we have in our research library. I have highlighted Herman and Anna. They were the youngest in this family. This list of children is not chronological.

Peter Lowes family info – Arnsberg binder

Anna is next found in the 1910 census when she was in her 20’s. Her father was a farmer in the Apple Creek Township.

1910 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

I figure it wasn’t long after this census that the photo shown below was taken of the Peter Lowes family in front of their house. It includes just the two youngest children, William and Anna.

Peter Lowes family – Arnsberg binder

Anna’s father died in 1917, and her brother, William, got married in 1918, so when the 1920 census was taken, we find just Anna and her mother in the Lowes household. Anna was 35 years old and still single.

1920 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Charles Grass married Anna Lowes on November 27, 1924. The marriage license shown below says the wedding was performed by Rev. P.A. Kasey, who was the pastor of Grace Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau.

Grass/Lowes marriage license

Charles was 51 years old and Anna was 39 years old when they got married. They had no children. When the 1930 census was taken, we still see Charles living with Anna, but this time, it was not his sister, it was his wife.

1930 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Anna Grass, Charles’s sister, got married in 1929 (I think). I found no documentation for this wedding. She married Johann Wilhelm Mahnken. Both she and John were in their 40’s when they got married, and they, too, had no children.

Charles Grass is found in his last census in 1940. A person named Shirley Swan was living in the Grass household. Although it sounds like a female name, he was listed as a male farm laborer.

1940 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Charley Grass died in 1944 at the age of 72. His death certificate describes a horrible situation. He had cancer of the esophagus and died of starvation.

Charles Grass death certificate

Anna Grass is still found in the 1950 census. She was living with Clara and Elva Grebe, two single ladies who would have called her Aunt Annie.

1950 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Anna Grass died in 1973 at the age of 88. She and her husband are buried together in the Russell Heights cemetery in Jackson.

Charles and Anna Grass gravestone – Russell Heights, Jackson, MO

The other Anna Grass who had married John Mahnken, died on Christmas Day in 1967. She is buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar.

Anna Mahnken gravestone – Salem, Farrar, MO

The church death record for Anna Mahnken says that she leaves “not many”.

There will be no readers of this blog who will be able to claim they are descendants of Charles or either of the Anna’s because there were none. However, I find a story like this to be fascinating because it is so different than most of the tales that I tell.


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