Parents of the Fake Mirly

There is a gentleman with the surname, Mirly, from the state of Washington who occasionally visits our museum. When he shows up, he proudly lets us know that he is a “Fake Mirly”. He comes from the family that I will discuss in today’s post. The couple I will highlight today did not have children of their own, but I have already written posts about the two children they helped raise. This tale begins with the birthday of a girl on today’s date in Austria.

Josepha Steiner was born on March 9, 1851, making today her 172nd birthday. Josepha was the daughter of Matthias and Rosalia (Schupfer) Steiner. Here is what I think happened with the Steiner family from Austria. I found the Matthias and Rosalia Mirly family on the passenger list of the ship, Deutschland, that arrived in America in 1868. That is the same ship on which several other families travelled in 1852 that settled in this area. Those names were Oberndorfer, Meyr, and Mirly.

Matthias Steiner – Deutschland passenger list 1868

You do not see the name of Josepha Steiner on the above list. I think she remained in Austria for a while. I found a Josepha Steiner who arrived in this country in 1875, coming aboard the ship, Nurnberg. Josepha was travelling by herself. I think this is the correct person because Josepha would have been 24 years old in 1875, and she is not listed with her family in the 1870 Shawnee Township census.

Josepha Steiner – Nurnberg passenger list 1875

I am of the opinion that Josepha came to this country in May of 1875 with intentions of getting married to the man who would become her husband in October of that same year. Let’s take a look at that man. His name was Christian Cecil (or Carl) Mirly, who was born on November 10, 1856. Christian was the son of Carl and Anna Maria (Pechmueller) Mirly. Our German Family Tree does not place Christian in that Mirly family, but I think that will have to be changed. Christian’s parents were aboard that Deutschland ship that arrived in 1852. The reason the GFT does not connect Christian to his parents is because there is no baptism record to be found in any local church books. When the 1870 census was taken, we find Christian living in this household that has Carl (Charles) and Anna listed as his parents. Christian was 13 years old, and his father was a farmer in the Shawnee Township.

1870 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Church records indicate that both the Steiner’s and the Mirly’s were members of Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells at some point in time, so these two families knew one another. I think the marriage between Christian Mirly and Josepha Steiner may have been one that was at least encouraged by the parents in these two families.

Christian Mirly married Josepha Steiner on October 28, 1875 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. The church record for that wedding is pictured here.

Mirly/Steiner marriage record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

There is also a civil marriage record from Cape Girardeau County for this couple. It is on a form along with a few other marriage performed by the same pastor, Rev. Lehmann.

Mirly/Steiner marriage record – Cape Girardeau County, MO

This Mirly couple is found in the 1880 census living in the Apple Creek Township. Christian was a farmer.

1880 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

In the early 1880’s, a tragic set of circumstances was taking place in the vicinity of Jacob, Illinois. Johann and Marie (Wrage) Steenbock had just brought their family to America and were travelling up the Mississippi River. In the post, Schroeder and Vogt, I suggested that these Steenbock’s may have been headed toward Jacob, Illinois because Maria Vogt’s maiden name was Steenbock, and she was a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. The Steenbock family got to Jacob and even had a child baptized at Christ, Jacob in 1881. Then, by 1882, both of the Steenbock parents died, leaving several children as orphans. Those children were brought to Wittenberg, Missouri, which by that time, had established a reputation for taking in orphans and finding homes for them. One of those children was August Steenbock, who had been born in Germany in 1877. Somehow, it was discovered that there was a childless couple living in the Apple Creek Township that might be willing to take in one of these orphans. In 1882, August would have been 5 years old. And, indeed, it was Christian and Josepha Mirly that took in August Steenbock to be part of their family.

Another similar situation was taking place in 1885. A man by the name of Friedrich Pfisterer died, and his wife, Nanette, decided that she could not handle raising her children, so she “farmed them out” to other families. Her daughter, Pauline Pfisterer, was taken in by Christian and Josepha Mirly. If you want to read more about the Pfisterer situation, a post titled, Tough Choice for Nanette, tells that tale. So, when we can finally look at the next census in 1900, we find the Mirly household in the entry below. It has been told by members of the Mirly family that both August and Pauline were adopted by Christian and Josepha. Both August and Pauline appear to be called Mirly’s in this census entry.

1900 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Not long after the above census entry, both August and Pauline got married (not to each other). August married Angeline Hopfer, and that story was told in the post, Angeline Pi. Pauline married Joseph Hoeh, and that tale was told in the post, Hoeh Wagon Crash. August Mirly…once August Steenbock…went on to have at least a dozen children, and a whole lot of Mirly descendants resulted. At least one of those descendants calls his family the “Fake Mirly’s”. There’s no need to call Pauline’s descendants the “Fake Pfisterer’s” because her children were Hoeh’s.

The 1910 census shows the Mirly’s with an empty nest.

1910 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

The last census in which we find Christian Mirly was the one taken in 1920. He and Josepha were each in their 60’s.

1920 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

Christian Mirly died in 1926 at the age of 69. Influenza contributed to his cause of death according to his death certificate below.

Christian Mirly death certificate

Christian is buried in the Apple Creek Cemetery in Pocahontas.

Christian Mirly gravestone – Apple Creek, Pocahontas, MO

Josepha is found in the 1930 census living in the Shawnee Township with her granddaughter, Edna Mirly, a daughter of August. Edna never married.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Josepha died in 1931 at the age of 80. Her death certificate is displayed here.

Josepha Mirly death certificate

Josepha’s death record from the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Shawneetown says she was survived by the families of two adopted children.

Josepha Mirly death record – Trinity, Shawneetown, MO

Josepha Mirly is buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Shawneetown.

Josefa Mirly gravestone – Trinity, Shawneetown, MO

There has to be a story behind the fact that Christian and Josepha were buried in two different cemeteries, but I do not know what it is. I do know that I have always been fascinated by stories such as this one in which a childless couple takes in a few children who were in need of parents. There are so many such stories to be found in the history of East Perry County families.

If August had not taken the surname, Mirly, then I guess the man who calls his family the “Fake Mirly’s” would be calling himself a Steenbock.

2 thoughts on “Parents of the Fake Mirly

  1. It was my understanding that Christian was a Mason and due to that fact he was not allowed to be buried with Josepha in a Lutheran cemetery.


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