A baby girl was born on March 26, 1887 in the Shawnee Township. It is her story and the story of her husband that will be shared with you today. Louise Emma Lehner was the daughter of Peter and Christina (Wachter) Lehner. Louise’s father was first married to Hannah Birner, and that couple had two children, but only one, a girl named Bertha Lehner, that lived to adulthood. After Hannah died in 1882, Peter then married Louise’s mother, Christina. That couple had 2 more children, a boy and a girl. Louise was the last child born into the Lehner family. She was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. An image of her baptism record is shown below. It appears that she got her name from Louise (Wachter) Mirly, her aunt, who was one of her sponsors.
Louise is found in the 1900 census at the age of 13. Her father was a dry goods salesman in the Shawnee Township…likely in New Wells. Louise Mirly, the sponsor just mentioned, and her husband, Frederick, had died in the 1890’s, leaving their daugther, Clara, as an orphan. The Lehner’s took this child into their family, and we find her in this census entry. Clara’s middle name was also Louise.
As it turns out, Louis Lehner would not be found again in a census entry living in Cape Girardeau County until after she was married. She was one of those young girls who went to find work in St. Louis. Add to that the fact that prior to the next census, both her parents had died. St. Louis is where we find Louise in the 1910 census. She was a 22 year-old servant in the Frederick Schmidt household.
Louise was still single and still living in St. Louis when the 1920 census was taken. This time, she was living in her brother, Rudolph Lehner’s, household. Rudy had married Adele Weinhold in 1911. In my book, Wittenberg ’04, I speculated that Rudy had become acquainted with Adele when they were both part of the Lydia Weinhold and Otto Lueders wedding. Otto was Rudy and Louise’s cousin. In this census entry, Louise was working as a 32 year-old seamstress in a manufacturing company.
Now, we will take a look at the man who would become Louise’s husband. His name was August Benjamin Mueller, who was born on April 6, 1894. That makes him about 7 years younger than Louise. August was the son of Henry and Katharina (Kieninger) Mueller. Like Louise’s father, August’s father had been previously married before marrying August’s mother. His first wife, Johanne Magdalena Popp, had died in 1879 as a result of childbirth. Then Henry married Katharina Kieninger. August was the 6th of 7 children born to Henry’s second wife. August was also baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. We can take a look at his baptism record below.
August was 6 years old when he appeared in the 1900 census. His father was a farmer in the Shawnee Township.
In 1910, August was a teenager working on his father’s farm.
August had a World War I draft registration form completed in 1917. His address is given as Pocahontas, Missouri.
Next, we find August still single and helping his father on his farm. He was the only child left in his parents’ household, just as he had reported on the above draft registration form.
August Mueller married Louise Lehner in 1921, but they did not get married at Immanuel, New Wells, where both of them were raised. I found a family tree that says this wedding took place on October 10, 1921, but I decided to look in a book that we have in our museum’s library for Holy Cross Lutheran Church in St. Louis. In a list off weddings that are contained in that congregation’s books, we find that it says they were married on December 10, 1921.
August and Louise had just one child, a son named Harvey, who was born in 1924. Harvey was baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas, so we have evidence that August brought his bride back to the Shawnee Township after his wedding and was living in the Pocahontas area. The 1930 census is the first one in which we find this married couple with their only child. They were living in the village of Pocahontas where August was the proprietor of a feed store.
It was in the 1940 census that we find evidence that August became involved in a creamery. August was in his 40’s and working for a creamery in the entry shown below which still has the Mueller’s living in Pocahontas. The son, Harvey, was a teenager by this time.
August had a World War II draft card filled out in 1942. Military documents are good places to find more specific information about a man’s employment. This document says August’s employer was the Sugar Creek Creamery headquartered in Cape Girardeau. It appears this creamery also operated at a location in Jackson.
The Southeast Missourian published an article about the Sugar Creek Creamery in 2016 written by Sharon Sanders. I am putting a link to that article below so you can find it easily. It contains a photograph of a building that once housed this creamery in Cape Girardeau.
The last census we can view for the Mueller’s is the one taken in 1950. August and Louise still resided in Pocahontas, and it says that August was the manager of a creamery. This couple had an empty nest by that time.
Louise Mueller died in 1968 at the age of 81. We can take a look at her death certificate. It attributes pancreatic cancer as the cause of her death.
August Mueller died a year later in 1969 at the age of 74. It gives his kind of business as a cream station operator.
Both August and Louise Mueller are buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Pocahontas.
Somehow, while Louise was working in St. Louis, she managed to find her husband, the young August from Pocahontas. He then brought her back to the area in which she was born and raised. It was in Pocahontas that Louise and her only son lived with the butter maker from the Sugar Creek Creamery.