Folks around here pronounce the surname, Doering, as Daring. So today’s post title should be read as, A Daring Pi Day Birthday. After reading today’s story, perhaps you might say that today’s main character could be called a daring man because he was bold enough to go where others “dared not go” in order to find work. And he was born on Pi Day…March 14…3.14. I have always been a Math guy, having been a Math major when attending Concordia, Seward. I wore a “Pi tie” to school on March 14th for a lot of my years of teaching. On one Pi Day in the past, I gave my students refrigerator magnets like the one shown here. It displays a farmer’s most useful kind of “Pi”.
Today, the main character (actually the only character) was not only born on Pi Day, but he has a special Pi Day birthday this year. He would be celebrating his 125th birthday if he was still alive today because he was born on March 14, 1898. This man’s name was Elmer Martin Arthur Doering, who was the son of Adolph and Anna (Richter) Doering. That means this story has a connection to yesterday’s post. It was mentioned in yesterday’s story that Jacob Mueller’s wife was a Hartung. Elmer’s grandfather, Ehregott Richter, who was also mentioned yesterday, had married a Hartung as well. So, this Doering family is tied to both of the Mueller and Richter families who resided in the vicinity of Wittenberg, Missouri.
Elmer Doering is another one of those babies that has his baptism record in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, but there is a good chance that his baptism took place in the church/school building located in Wittenberg. Elmer’s baptism record is shown below.
Elmer is another one of those children whose middle names, Martin and Arthur, were the first names of his male baptismal sponsors, Martin Grebing and Arthur Richter. His other sponsor, Sarah Mueller, prodded me to figure out who she was. There were actually two Sarah Mueller’s that could be possibilities. One Sarah Mueller would have been the daughter of yesterday’s couple, Jacob and Anna Mueller. However, that Sarah would have only been about 11 years old in 1898. A better choice would be the Sarah Mueller who was the daughter of Jacob’s brother, Ferdinand Mueller (who happens to be one of my great grandfathers). That Sarah Mueller would have been around 18 years old in 1898.
I looked in a Doering family book that we have at our museum to find information about Elmer and his family. I found a page that was compiled by Clinton Wunderlich, who did amazing genealogy research in the days before the internet. On the page below, it says Elmer was born on 17/3 (March 17) not March 14.
However, Elmer’s baptism record definitely says he was born on March 14th, and his gravestone and military records also give that date of birth. Elmer is found in his first census in 1900 at the age of 2. His father was a farmer in the Brazeau Township. Right below the entry for Adolph’s family is the name, Theresa (Schlimpert) Doering, who was Adolph’s mother…also Elmer’s grandmother.
I think it must have been around this time that a photo was taken of the Adolph Doering family. Elmer would be the boy standing in the front on the right.
More children were added to this Doering family after that photo. Our German Family Tree lists 11 children, but not all of them lived long. When the 1910 census was taken, we find the Doering household pictured here. The youngest boy in the above photo, Rudolph, died in 1907 at a very young age, so he is no longer seen in this family list.
Elmer’s father died later in 1910 at a rather young age. Elmer was confirmed in 1912, and by that time, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg had become an official congregation with their own called pastor. Elmer’s confirmation record is found in the St. Paul’s church books. In the 1915 plat maps for Perry County, we find the Anna Doering farm located near Wittenberg. Several other Doering parcels of land are found nearby. You can also see the farms of J.J. Mueller and E. Richter on this image.
In 1918, Elmer had a World War I draft registration completed. This form says Elmer’s employer was the Perfection Furniture Manufacturing Company in Wittenberg. That is what I have often called the swing factory on this blog.
In 1920, Elmer is still found living in the Wittenberg area, but not with the rest of his family. He was living in the William Mayhew household. Elmer was still working at the swing factory, as well as several other young men who were boarding in the Mayhew household.
Some characters from my Wittenberg books are found in the above entry. William Mayhew and Marie Birner were one of the couples whose courtship and marriage were described in those books. Marie’s father, Henry Birner, and his wife, operated the Birner Hotel that was once located in Wittenberg. I am guessing that even though no one in this census entry is called a hotel operator, this household likely was living in the building that was once that hotel. It would have been an easy trip from there to the swing factory.
Before I move on, let me say that I discovered that I had to be careful when searching Ancestry.com for Elmer’s information, I discovered that there was another Elmer Doering that was born in 1895, and that Elmer, even though he was not born in Perry County, had ties to this area. He was the son of Martin and Clara (Beyer) Doering. Martin Doering was a teacher in Battle Creek, Nebraska. His story was told in the post, What’s A Doering Doing in Nebraska? You are going to soon discover that today’s birthday boy would also find his way to the same area of Nebraska. The other Earl Doering got married and operated a drug store, which does not correspond to today’s Elmer Doering, who was always in the farming business and never married.
When the 1930 census was compiled, we find an interesting household that included Elmer. First of all, Elmer’s mother had died in 1921, so both of his parents were no longer living in 1930. Elmer’s older brother, Ernst, had married Esther Mueller (no relation to the other Mueller’s already mentioned in this post) in 1927. Three unmarried Doering brothers, Elmer, Edgar, and John, were living with Ernst and Esther. I think the man named John was likely Hugo Doering, who cannot be found in another 1930 census.
The 1940 census shows Elmer living in a different state. He was living in Keith County, Nebraska in the household of Leonard Elmshauser. I know that an Elmshauser has shown up in a post on this blog telling the story of a person in the Burroughs family. This entry says Elmer was living in the Cuming County in Nebraska in 1935.
In 1942, Elmer had a World War II draft card completed. This document says Elmer was living in West Point, Nebraska, which is the county seat of Cuming County, and working on the W.F. Haase farm.
I did a search on “Elmer Doering” in the archives of the Perry County Republican and found evidence that Elmer had spent some time in even other locations during the 1930’s and 1940’s. I am going to put a gallery of articles I found that mentioned where Elmer was working during those years. I will mention that Cherokee, Oklahoma is not far from Alva. I have put these short articles in chronological order. The thumbnails are clickable.
You can see that Elmer spent some time in several locations that have been described on this blog before. They are locations in which several Perry County natives worked and lived. They include Potter, Nebraska, West Point, Nebraska, and Alva, Oklahoma. Later in his life, Elmer must have returned to Perry County. A photo was taken of Elmer with 3 of his brother, Ernst, Edgar, and Hugo.
Elmer Doering died in 1985 at the age of 87. He is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville.
Elmer was not the only Doering brother who never married. His brother, Edgar, also remained a bachelor all his life. I may have to tell Edgar’s story someday. Since Edgar was born in 1903, he must have been one of the first baptisms at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg.