Willie the Cotton Compressor and His Perry County Bride

I get to introduce our blog readers to two new names today. One of the names has been briefly mentioned before, but I have never had to make a folder for this surname in our GFT images digital collection. The other surname, especially since it is not a German name, has had no previous mention. The two names are Kahnert and Reynolds. I think you can guess which one is German, and as you can correctly conclude, it is that surname we find in our German Family Tree.

Clara Louise Kahnert was born on March 19, 1896, so today would be her 127th birthday. For almost all her life, she went by the name Louise. She was the daughter of Herman and Anna (Luedemann) Kahnert. Louise’s parents had been married at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois, but when they started having children, they were baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. All 9 of their children were baptized there. I find it a little surprising that I have yet to stumble across this large Kahnert family while looking for a blog story. We can take a look at Louise’s baptism record from that congregation’s books.

Louise Kahnert baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Louise is found in her first census in 1900 at the age of 4. Her father was a farmer in the Brazeau Township. In this entry, she is called Clara L.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we find Louise as a teenager when the 1910 census was compiled. She had been confirmed the year before in 1909 at Concordia.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

I was not able to find the Kahnert family in the 1920 census. I know that Louise’s father died in 1932, and he was living in New Wells when he died, and he was buried in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Jacob, Illinois (but there is no gravestone photo on Findagrave). I also know that Louise’s mother lived in Alva, Oklahoma for several years with one of her daughters. However, she is buried in Cape Girardeau. Somehow, Louise also made it to the state of Oklahoma because that is where she found her husband, and she was married. Let’s take a look at that husband.

William Lee Reynolds, who was almost always called Willie, was born on December 6, 1895. He was born in Italy, Texas, which is located south of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Willie was the son of Andrew Jackson and Emma Manila (Kendrick) Reynolds. I took a few minutes to trace back the Reynolds and Kendrick names and found that the Reynolds name could be found, starting back in the 1700’s, living in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Louisiana before landing in Texas. The Kendrick name can be found in the early 1800’s living in Georgia. There is also evidence that a Reynolds ancestor had fought for the Confederates in the Civil War. Willie is found living in Ellis County, Texas, which is where Italy is found, when the 1900 census was taken. He was 4 years old, and his father was a farmer.

1900 census – Ellis County, TX

The Reynolds family made a move during the next decade. When the next census was taken in 1910, we find them living in Mountain Park, Oklahoma. That town is located in the southwest part of that state. Willie was 14 years old, and his father was still farming.

1910 census – Mountain Park, OK

Willie was married to a woman named Viola Bell Peters sometime during the 1910’s, and that couple had 2 boys, Lenuel and Laverne. Willie had a World War I draft registration completed in 1917. This document says he had a wife and 1 child at that time.

William Reynolds – WWI draft registration

We find the Reynolds family living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma when the 1920 census was taken. Willie was a clerk at a freight depot.

1920 census – Oklahoma City, OK

Willie must have divorced Viola because both he and Viola would get married again. That leads us up to the marriage of Willie Reynolds and Louise Kahnert that took place on June 27, 1923. A marriage record can be found in the annals of Cleveland County in Oklahoma, which is where the city of Norman is located. It’s a long document, so I’ve chopped it into two pieces.

Reynolds/Kahnert marriage record – Cleveland County, OK

I don’t see any evidence of this couple having any more children. In the 1930 census, we find the Reynolds household living in Oklahoma City. Willie was a clerk for a railway freight business. There were 3 roomers in this household, all single men in their 20’s.

1930 census – Oklahoma City, OK

Since I was unable to find the Reynolds family in the 1950 census, the 1940 entry shown below is the last one in which I find them. Willie was an oil gauger for a cotton compress company.

1940 census – Oklahoma City, OK

Willie had a World War II draft card completed in 1942. It says his employer was the Traders Compress Company in Oklahoma City.

William Reynolds – WWII draft card

I understand that the Traders Compress Company was in the business of taking bales of cotton and compressing them so they did not take up as much space when shipping the cotton. I found an old photo of the Traders Compress Company..

Traders Compress Company

A 1945 city directory for Oklahoma City includes Willie and Louise. It says Willie was still employed by the same company, but he we then a bookkeeper.

Willie Reynolds – 1945 Oklahoma City directory

Louise Reynolds died in 1979 at the age of 83. Then, William would find yet another wife after Louise died. Her name was Minnie Belle Phillips, but I know very little about her. However, a photo of Willie and Minnie can be located on Ancestry.

Willie and Minnie Reynolds

Willie died in 1993 at the age of 97. When it came time for Willie’s burial, we find him at the same place where Louise was buried. Willie and Louise are buried in the Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Oklahoma City.

Willie and Louise Reynolds gravestone – Chapel Hill, Oklahoma City, OK

There is some indication that some Kahnert’s were living in Alva, Oklahoma for a while. In another earlier post, it was briefly mentioned that a Kahnert was living in Oklahoma just south of Coffeyville, Kansas, but I do not know if that person was related to Louise. The question still remains about how Louise managed to become acquainted with a widower living near Oklahoma City.

2 thoughts on “Willie the Cotton Compressor and His Perry County Bride

  1. Louise was a sister to my Grandfather(Fred Kahnert) When the parents seperated the mother moved to Oklahoma with daughters, Louise and Anne. The father kept daughter Emma and sons, Fred and Leo in Missouri. Fred was a well known blacksmith in New Wells.

  2. Regarding the Kahnert family, I may be able to help you with some of the links. My aunt who lives in Perryville is 97 and still very sharp minded is the daughter of Frederick Herman Kahnert who would have been Louise’s sister. If interested, please contact me- 503 784-7224 or e-mail- Barnes.Brenda@yahoo.com

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