Adeline’s Stagehand at the Granada

Today’s birthday girl has a very interesting name, and she would be celebrating a special birthday if she was still alive today. Her name was Lydia Seraphina Adolphine Frentzel, who was born on July 23, 1898. That makes today her 125th birthday. In the early years of her life, she was called Adolphine. She was the daughter of Alwin and Elizabeth (Ruhkopf) Frentzel. Adolphine was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. An image of her baptism record from the church books of Grace is shown here.

Adolphine Frentzel baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

You may notice that the first names of the female sponsors were Lydia and Seraphine, two of Adolphine’s names. The first census in which we find Adolphine was the one taken in 1900. Adolphine was the 9th of 11 children in her Frentzel family, and she is the youngest child in this entry at the age of 2. Her father was a merchant in the Union Township.

1900 census – Union Township, MO

Next, we find Adolphine in the 1910 census at the age of 12, the year before she was confirmed at Grace, Uniontown. Two more sons had been born into this family in the previous decade. This time, her father was called a farmer.

1910 census – Union Township, MO

Adolphine is found in one more census before she gets married. The 1920 census shows her still living with her parents.

1920 census – Union Township, MO

My educated guess is that shortly after the 1920 census, Adolphine may have moved to St. Louis to find work. That is where she found her husband. His name was Charles L. Reilly who was born on October 6, 1886. Charles was the son of James and Mary (McGouran) Reilly. As you can likely gather, Charles was not of German descent. Based on his later obituary, Charles was a Roman Catholic. He was born in St. Louis. We find Charles in the 1900 census at the age of 13. His father had died in 1896. Charles is found as a roomer with several others at the age of 13. It looks like his occupation is Wagntry, whatever that is.

1900 census – St. Louis, MO

When the 1910 census was taken, Charles was back living with his mother, who was the forelady at a laundry. Charles was an electrician at the city hospital.

1910 census – St. Louis, MO

Charles Reilly served in the military during World War I. I suspect he may have enlisted in the military prior to the war because I was unable to find a World War I draft registration form for him. His military record showing his service during that war is displayed below. This document says he was inducted in May of 1917. I discovered that the WWI draft registrations did not begin until June of that year. Charles served in active duty overseas for almost 2 years.

Charles Reilly – WWI military record

Charles returned to the states in 1919 aboard the ship, Cape May. We see Charles on this list of passengers on that military transport ship. He is given a Webster Groves address in St. Louis.

Charles Reilly – Military transport list 1919

In the 1920 census, Charles and his mother were living in the household of Henry Waldschmidt, who had married Margaret Reilly, Charles’s sister.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

I found no marriage record for the wedding of Charles Reilly and Adolphine Frentzel, but it is said to have taken place on May 15, 1925. This couple, according to some Ancestry.com family trees, had 3 children, two boys and a girl. When the 1930 census was taken, we find their first child in the entry. This census entry is the first indication we have that Adolphine began being called Adeline. Charles was an electrician in an electrical shop.

1930 census – St. Louis, MO

The 1940 census lists all 3 of the Reilly children. This time, it says Charles was still an electrician, but at a theater.

1940 census – St. Louis, MO

Charles had a World War II draft card completed in 1942. This document is more specific about his employment. It says he was working at the Granada Theater on Gravois Avenue. Charles’s birth year is given as 1890 on this form, not 1886.

Charles Reilly – WWII draft card

The Granada Theater is pictured below. It was a very impressive building.

Granada Theater – St. Louis, MO

I found a short history of this theater online. I am impressed that it originally seated over 1500 people.

Granada Theater history

The online article about this theater had a comment submitted to it that I will show here. It was submitted by someone called Reilly and describes Charles, his grandfather. Charles is described here as a stagehand.

Reilly comment on Granada Theater article

We find the Reilly’s in the last census we can view in 1950. It looks like Charles continued in the same job.

1950 census – St. Louis, MO

At some point in time, the photo below was taken. It includes Charles, his son, James, and his grandson, Michael. I highly suspect that it is Michael that wrote the comment shown above.

Charles, James, and John Reilly

Charles Reilly died in 1962 at the age of 76. This form gives his birth year as 1886. It says he died at the Veterans Hospital.

Charles Reilly death certificate

I am able to show the obituary for Charles that was published in a newspaper.

Charles Reilly obituary

Adeline Reilly died in 1967 at the age of 69. Her death certificate says she was 67 years old when she died, but it also gives the incorrect year of birth of 1900 which leads to an incorrect age at death. Adeline died 2 days before the World Series began in 1967 featuring the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. I noticed that because I was a teenager in 1967 when I watched the Cardinals win that World Series.

Adeline Reilly death certificate

Because of Charles’s military service, both he and Adeline qualified to be buried at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. Based on Adeline’s baptism record in the Grace, Uniontown records, I consider the year of birth on Adeliine’s gravestone to be incorrect.

There you have it. The story of a girl, Lydia Seraphine Adolphine, who becomes Adeline later in life. And the story of an Irish stagehand at a theater who served his country at war. I would love to see one of those photos that was taken of Charles on a ladder changing the marquee at the Granada Theater.


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