125th Anniversary – 150th Birthday?

The starting point for today’s story is a wedding that took place on this date 125 years ago. After finding that record and beginning my research, I discovered that today might also be the birthday of the groom. Not only that, it is possible that the groom was born on this date 150 years ago. That birth date, however, is somewhat debatable.

Let’s begin by looking at a girl whose maiden name is found more prominently in our German Family Tree. That name is Dewein. I will add right away that I found indications that later on, the Dewein name may have been altered to become Devine, and that is likely how Germans would have pronounced Dewein. Amalie Wilhelmine Dewein was born on September 27, 1876, the daughter of John and Magdalena (Hooss) Dewein. Her birth date is also questionable, as you will see later. The GFT lists Wilhelmine as child #5 out of 11 in her family. Also, most of the documents I found for her called her Minnie, so I will use that name in this post. Minnie was baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg. We find information for her in the Friedenberg Remembrances book and we find a baptism record in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church that says she was baptized at “Friedens”. Here is the record from Immanuel.

Minnie Dewein baptism record – Immanuel, Perryville, MO

We can only view Minnie in one census entry before she got married. In the 1880 census, we find her at the age of 4 living in the Central Township. Her father was a farmer.

1880 census – Central Township, MO

Now, we will take a look at the man who would become her husband, but I must admit that I do not have much to tell you about him before his marriage. About all I can tell you is his name…Herman Loeffel. Herman’s birthday is debatable. Some Ancestry.com family trees say he was born on today’s date in 1875. A World War I draft registration gives the year of his birth as 1874. His death certificate says he was born in 1873, and if that is the case, today would be his 150th birthday. The names of his parents are unknown, but we know he was born in Germany. Different dates are given on census entries for the year of his immigration, but they all are around the year, 1890.

Herman Loeffel married Minnie Dewein on April 17, 1898, so, as mentioned previously, today would be this couple’s 125th wedding anniversary. The church marriage is not included in our German Family Tree because it occurred at the St. Mary’s Catholic Seminary in Perryville. We can look at the marriage license for this pair.

Loeffel/Dewein marriage license

An article describing the Loeffel/Dewein wedding was printed in the Perry County Republican.

Loeffel/Dewein – PCR wedding article

Family trees on Ancestry.com claim that Herman and Minnie had 8 children. None of their children’s baptism records are found in any local Lutheran churches. When the 1900 census was taken, we find the Loeffel’s living in Perryville with just their first child. Herman was a stone mason.

1900 census – Perryville, MO

At some point in time during the next decade, the Loeffel family moved to Cape Girardeau. The 1910 census lists 5 children in their household. Herman was called a contractor in a stone and concrete business.

1910 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

In 1918, Herman had his World War I draft registration completed. It says he was a general contractor. This is a document that says Herman was born in 1874, and it also gives his day of birth as April 18th, not April 17th.

Herman Loeffel – WWI draft registration

The Loeffel family is next found in the 1920 census. If this couple had 8 children, then all of them are included in this entry. Herman was still a contractor, and 2 of his sons were employed at the shoe factory.

1920 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

The last census in which we find Herman Loeffel was the one taken in 1930. One of their daughters, Genevieve, had married Clyde Warder, and they were included in the Loeffel household.

1930 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

Herman Loeffel died in 1936. His age at the time of his death depends on which year of birth is the correct one. His death certificate shown below, which says he was born on April 17, 1873, gives his age at death as 62. This document gives us no help in identifying Herman’s parents’ names.

Herman Loeffel death certificate

We can also view this obituary for Herman that was published in a local newspaper.

Herman Loeffel obituary

Minnie is found in the 1940 census as a widow. Two unmarried children continued to live with her.

1940 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

Minnie Loeffel died in 1947 at the age of 72. Her death certificate says she died at the Manchester Nursing Home located in the St. Louis area. This form says Minnie was born on September 28th, not September 27th.

Minnie Loeffel death certificate

A newspaper obituary can also be viewed for Minnie.

Minnie Loeffel obituary

Both Herman and Minnie Loeffel are buried in the Cape County Memorial Park Cemetery in Cape Girardeau. Herman’s gravestone supports a birth year of 1874 (and a day of birth of April 18th), so it is more likely that today or tomorrow would be Herman’s 149th birthday, not his 150th. Also, Minnie’s birthday is given as September 28, 1875, not September 27, 1876.

In German, the word, loeffel, means “spoon”. My propensity for looking for a “play on words” leads me to say the Loeffel/Dewein couple might be referred to as a Divine Spoon.

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