Granite City Steel Worker

Today, you will be reading another one of those stories in which the two people getting married come from opposite sides of the Mississippi River. The two surnames that are united in this marriage are ones that over the years had been found both in Altenburg, Missouri and Jacob, Illinois. The starting point for this post is the birthday of a girl in Altenburg.

Rosa Clara Bellmann was born on January 2, 1898, so if she was still alive, she would be celebrating her 125th birthday today. Rosa was the daughter of Martin and Emma (Heitmann) Bellmann. At this point, let me add that Rosa’s father, Martin, who was from Altenburg, managed to find his wife, Emma, in Jacob, Illinois…another “across the river” wedding. Rosa was the firstborn child and was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can take a look at an image of her baptism record from that congregation’s books.

Rosa Bellmann baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

For some reason, I was unable to find the Bellmann family in the 1900 census. I figure they were either living in Altenburg or Jacob. The next Bellmann child born to Martin and Emma was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. Shortly after a younger brother of Rosa died in 1899, her mother died, and she was buried in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery. There is also a record from the Jacob books that says Martin Bellmann had become a voting member of Christ, Jacob in 1899. Rosa’s father then married Martha Lohmann in 1902. That marriage took place at Trinity, Altenburg. When the 1910 census was taken, we find the Bellmann family living in Altenburg where Martin was a carpenter. Rosa was 12 years old at the time. You can see that all of the Bellmann children listed in this entry were born in Missouri.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The 1920 census shows Rosa still living with her parents in Altenburg.

1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Before I move on to the man who would become Rosa’s husband, let may say that our German Family Tree does not connect her to any husband. Since she was going to marry a man from Jacob, Illinois, that is somewhat surprising. One might expect some sort of church record that connects these two individuals who were members of churches whose records are both included in our GFT. Perhaps after this post is published, Lynn Degenhardt, will add some more information in that document that displays how these two individuals got married.

Ernst Adolph Heins was born on March 25, 1897, the son of Leo and Anna (Versemann) Heins. Ernst was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. Two images of his baptism record from that church’s books are pictured here.

Ernst Heins baptism record – Christ, Jacob, IL

We find Ernst in the 1900 census at that age of 3. He was the 8th of 9 Heins children. One more child would be born after this census. His father was a farmer in the Fountain Bluff Township.

1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

At some point in time during the first decade of the 1900’s, the photograph shown below was taken. Ernst is on the right, standing with his younger brother, Leo.

Leo and Ernst Heins

The 1910 census shows Ernst at the age of 13. His father had died in 1908, so we see his mother, Anna, as the head of the household.

1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Both Ernst and Rosa were confirmed on the same day, April 9, 1911. However, Ernst was confirmed in Jacob, and Rosa was confirmed in Altenburg. This is not unusual, however, because almost all Lutheran churches around here and elsewhere have their confirmation rites on Palm Sunday.

In 1918, Ernst had a World War I draft registration completed. Ernst was employed by Oscar Moeckel and living in Gorham, Illinois near Jacob. His younger brother, Leo, was listed as his nearest relative.

Ernst Heins – WWI draft registration

The Heins family relocated before the 1920 census. They were living in St. Louis where Ernst was a mechanic for an auto manufacturing company, and his younger brother, Leo, was a stock clerk at a grocery store.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

Ernst Heins married Rosa Bellmann sometime in the 1920’s. Like I previously noted, I have no documentation for this wedding, but what I do have is a wonderful wedding photo of this pair. I would describe it as a “Roaring 20’s” wedding photo.

Heins/Bellmann wedding

Ernst and Rosa had just one child, a girl named Virginia, who was born in 1924. When the 1930 census was taken, we find this small family living in St. Louis. Ernst is described as a mill hand for the pullman rail road. Some Pullman cars were used as street cars, so I’m thinking that Ernst was involved in manufacturing such cars that became streetcars. Rosa’s half-brother, Rudolph Bellmann, was living in this household along with a boarder named Lutz Rauh.

1930 census – St. Louis, MO

The Heins family moved to a different location before the 1940 census was taken. Their household can be found in the census for Granite City, Illinois, which is located just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Ernst was a laborer in a steel mill. Rudolph Bellmann was still living with them.

1940 census – Granite City, IL

In 1942, Ernst had a World War II draft card completed. This document says he was employed by the Granite City Steel Company.

Ernst Heins – WWII draft card

I found a video taken by a drone fairly recently showing the Granite City Steel Company. It’s less than a minute long.

We are able to view one more census that included Ernst and Rosa. They were still living in Granite City, and Ernst was still working in the steel mill. They had an empty nest.

1950 census – Granite City, IL

Ernst Heins died in 1951 at the age of 54; Rosa died in 1984 at the age of 86. These two, along with their daughter, Virginia, who never married, are buried together in the New Bethlehem Cemetery in St. Louis.

Ernst, Rosa, and Virginia Heins gravestone – New Bethlehem, St. Louis, MO

I have written a few other posts about the Leo Heins family from Jacob, Illinois. When I do such a story now, I know I have a source from that family who can help me. I contacted Lynn Heins, who is married to a descendant of Leo and Anna Heins. His great grandfather was a brother of Ernst Heins. Lynn has quite a collection of photographs of people from this Heins family. A few of the ones she has including Ernst and Rosa Heins have already appeared in this post. I am going to include a gallery of some other photos that are pertinent to this story. You may have to click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.

As it turns out, Ernst and Rosa Heins can be found at several different locations on both the Missouri and Illinois sides of the Mississippi River during their lives.


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