Olga and Harry – Metzner’s with Longtown Roots

Olga Hacker is today’s birthday girl. She was born on April 16, 1891, so today would be her 132nd birthday. Olga was the daughter of Christopher and Adele (Schmidt) Hacker. She was baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg, but she managed to avoid being recorded in the Friedenberg Remembrances book. Several of her siblings are in that book, but not Olga. Even though the Hacker family has records in Friedenberg, evidence seems to point to the Hacker’s living in the vicinity of Longtown. Olga is found in her first census at the age of 9 living in the Union Township. Her father was a merchant of dry goods.

1900 census – Union Township, MO

When Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown was established in 1897, Olga’s father, Christopher, was a charter member. I think it is possible that Olga was attending the Lutheran school that Zion had established during their early history. In 1904, Olga was confirmed at Zion. Her confirmation record is displayed here. This is a document that gives Olga’s birth date as well as the fact that she was baptized in Friedenberg.

Olga Hacker confirmation record – Zion, Longtown, MO

Olga is next found in the 1910 census when she was 19 years old. This time her father is called a farmer, and Olga was a saleswoman at a general store.

1910 census – Union Township, MO

Now, we will turn our attention to the man who would become Olga’s husband. His name was Harrison Emanuel Metzner, who was born on November 4, 1888. Harry was the son of Friedrich “Fritz” and Caroline (Bodenschatz) Metzner. Harry is another person who was baptized in Friedenberg, but managed to escape being included in the Friedenberg Remembrances book. Also, like the Hacker’s, the Metzner’s were living in the Longtown vicinity. Harry is found in the 1900 census at the age of 11 and living in the Union Township. His father was a farmer.

1900 census – Union Township, MO

Harry was confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown two years before Olga. His confirmation record is shown below.

Harry Metzner confirmation record – Zion, Longtown, MO

Harry was no longer living in Missouri when the 1910 census was taken, but it turns out that he was living with others who had previous experience living in Perry County. Harry is found living in Quincy, Illinois in the Gottfried Hamm household. Gottfried was a minister. In fact, Rev. G.D. Hamm was the first called pastor to Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown. He served that congregation from 1897 until 1903, and he had confirmed Harry. He must have then taken a call to Quincy. Not only had Pastor Hamm lived in Longtown, but when he was the pastor of that congregation, he found a bride, Isabelle Metzner, who was Harry’s older sister. At this time, Harry was a stone mason.

1910 census – Quincy, IL

Harry Metzner married Olga Hacker on August 31, 1911. It is easy to see how Harry and Olga knew another very well, growing up together in the Longtown community. However, what was surprising to me was the fact that I could not find a church record for this couple in the Zion, Longtown church books, nor could I find a civil record for this marriage. I looked for a civil record especially in Missouri and Illinois. I did find an answer to why this marriage record was so elusive. I located this article that was published in the Perry County Republican. I will display it in two images that can be clicked to enlarge.

First of all, the headline indicates that this was a surprise to some who knew this couple. Secondly, the wedding took place at a Lutheran church in St. Louis. I have come to the conclusion that locating marriage licenses for St. Louis weddings are difficult to find. You have probably gotten used to seeing marriage licenses for other counties in Missouri, like Perry County, in these blog posts. I have never seen one of those forms from the city of St. Louis. Often, the only place I find documentation for St. Louis weddings is a notice placed in the newspaper saying the couple had applied for a marriage license. Even then, I do not have access to view the actual newspaper articles containing those notices. I do have access to old issues of the Perry County Republican though, and that paper reported on this event for a couple that were from this area.

After their wedding, we find this Metzner couple living in St. Louis. It appears that this pair had 4 children, but one of them died as an infant. Before we see this family in a census, we find the World War I draft registration that Harry had completed in 1917. Harry was working for the H.A. Herchert Company as a concrete construction foreman. This form says he had a wife and child.

Harry Metzner – WWI draft registration

When the 1920 census was taken, the Metzner household listed 2 sons in the family. Harry’s occupation was a cement worker.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

Next, we find Harry and Olga and their family in the 1930 census. Harry was called a cement finisher. Three children were in their household along with Harry’s father.

1930 census – St. Louis, MO

The last census in which we find Harry Metzner was the one taken in 1940. The Metzner’s were still located in St. Louis, and Harry was still in the cement business.

1940 census – St. Louis, MO

Tragedy struck the Metzner family in 1941. I knew that there was plenty of evidence that Harry died in St. Louis that year, and I figured that I should be able to find a Missouri death certificate for him, but after using all my tricks, I was still unsuccessful. Then, I happened to be looking for any stories about Harry in the Perry County Republican, and I found this story.

Harry Metzner – PCR article 1941

What a tragic story. Harry took his own life as he was suffering from an incurable disease. This left Olga as a widow with 3 children in their 20’s.

In the last census we can view in 1950, Olga was living with her son, Russell, who had married Irma Fischer in 1949. It is a little surprising to me that Russell does not have an occupation listed. In the previous census entry, he had been called a refrigeration mechanic. Olga is given an occupation in this entry as a finisher in a dress factory.

1950 census – St. Louis, MO

Olga was not yet finished with witnessing the death of a family member. In 1964, her son, Milton, died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 51. Then, in 1973, Olga died at the age of 81. Maybe in a year or two, we will be able to view her death certificate. I did locate an obituary for her that was printed in a St. Louis newspaper.

Olga Metzner obituary

Several members of this Metzner family are buried in the Lake Charles Cemetery in St. Louis County. However, they do not have entries on that cemetery’s Findagrave.com listing. Another thing that I have discovered over the years is that cemeteries in rural areas are much better documented on Findagrave.com than the cemeteries in big cities.

Olga Metzner is another one of those individuals who experienced much more sadness in her life than a person would ordinarily go through. We know she was a member of a Lutheran church when she died, so we have some evidence that, despite the tragic events of her life, she had the hope of an eternal life in heaven with her Lord.

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