The Real August Mirly

In the past, I have written the story of the “Fake Mirly”, who became August Mirly after being adopted. That August Mirly was born as August Steenbock, and his story was described in the post, Angeline Pi. That Fake Mirly was born on September 25, 1877 in Germany. Today, you will read the story of the real August Mirly. The real August Mirly was also born in 1877, but he was born in the United States. He also is today’s birthday boy since he was born on May 21st.

August Otto Edward Mirly was the son of Joseph and Wilhelmine (Schimmelpfennig) Mirly. An early blog post was written about August E.’s parents titled, Another Irresistible Name…..Schimmelpfennig. Our German Family Tree lists August E. as child #11 in a family of 13. He was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, but since I am not in Altenburg today, I am unable to display an image of his baptism record. August E. is found in the 1880 census at the age of 3. His father was a farmer in the Shawnee Township. Just a note: The other August Mirly lived in the Apple Creek Township. The church in New Wells brought in members who were from both the Shawnee and Apple Creek Township which were adjacent to each other in Cape Girardeau County.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

August E. Mirly and August Steenbock Mirly were in the same confirmation class. They were each confirmed on March 22, 1891 at Immanuel, New Wells. I wish I could show you an image of their confirmation class from that congregation’s books. I wonder also how the pastor identified these two August Mirly’s to keep them straight. I’m sure the term “Fake Mirly” was not used.

We cannot view August E. in another census entry until 1900. He was in his 20’s and still living with his parents. He is called a day laborer.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

August E. was still single and in his 30’s when the 1910 census was taken. He was living in the August Vogel household. The two August’s were both blacksmiths, although August Vogel owned the shop.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Now, we will turn our attention to the woman who would become August E.’s wife. Actually, her story has also been written on this blog in the post, Such a Tragic Story. The title indicates that she experienced tragic events in her life. August E.’s wife was born as Carolina Magdalena Weis, the daughter of Gustav and Anna (Weseloh) Weiss. She was born on December 27, 1878 in St. Louis. Carolina is found in the 1880 census at the age of 1. Her father was a brick layer.

1880 census – St. Louis, MO

Carolina married Friedrich Zerbst in 1895, so when the 1900 census was taken, she was Carolina Zerbst. At that time, the Zerbst famly was living in the Fountain Bluff Township in Jackson County, Illinois. They were members of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. Friedrich was a carpenter.

1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

The tragic death of Carolina’s husband in 1909 was told in the post mentioned earlier. So, when the 1910 census was taken, we see her as a widow with 4 children still living in the Fountain Bluff Township. She is called Magdalena in this entry.

1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

Somehow, August E. Mirly in Missouri got acquainted with the widow, Carolina Zerbst, in Illinois. On August 10, 1911, these two were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. We can take a look at the Missouri marriage license for this pair. This document says Carolina was from Fountain Bluff in Jackson County, Illinois.

Mirly/Zerbst marriage license

According to a family tree on, August E. and Carolina had 3 more children. The first of those was baptized at Immanuel, New Wells. The others were likely baptized at a St. Louis congregation because that is where August E. was living when he had his World War I draft registration completed in 1918. He was working in a lumber yard in St. Louis. It also mentions some deformities that August E. had which would disqualify him from military service.

August E. Mirly – WWI draft registration

The 1920 census shows a household full of Mirly’s and Zerbst’s. August E. was back to being a blacksmith.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

The last census in which we find Carolina was the one taken in 1930. This time, August E. was a watchman at a factory. A few of the older children had occupations of their own.

1930 census – St. Louis, MO

The tragic death of Carolina in 1933 was told in the post mentioned earlier, and is also described as suicide on her death certificate.

Carolina Mirly death certificate

His wife’s death likely had a great impact on August E. Mirly. When the 1940 census was taken, we find him as a patient in the St. Louis City Sanitarium. .

1940 census – St. Louis, MO

August E. Mirly died in 1944 at the age of 67. His death certificate says he died at the City Infirmary. His usual occupation is given as blacksmith helper.

August E. Mirly death certificate

August E. and Carolina Mirly are buried together in the Friedens Cemetery in St. Louis.

August E. and Carolina Mirly gravestone – Friedens, St. Louis, MO

I guess you could say that this story of the real August Mirly is one which contains plenty of hardships, mostly toward the end of his life. The story of the Fake Mirly was one that had tragedy early on in his life, but thanks to adoption, he ended up with a life blessed with a wife and plenty of children. One started tough and ended well, and the other started out well, but had a tough ending.

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