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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Who is Maria Serephina Kleger Baumgartner Bauer?

     Maria Serephina Kleger has to be some relation to Joseph M. Klaeger, but I have not yet established how!

     Maria Serephina Kleger married John Baumgartner on 29 December 1849 in Franklin County, Missouri.  John Baumgartner bought land in 1852 next to land owned by Joseph Kleger (which was bought in 1850) in Franklin County.

      Serephina's husband John Baumgartner died November 6th, 1873 (he was only 48).  A year and a half later she married a widower, Michael Bauer in April 1875.  Bad luck, Michael Bauer died 5 months later!!

       Joseph M. Kleager/Klager/Klaeger is my great great grandfather, father of Joseph Klager, father of Frank August Kleager.  Joseph M. can't read or write, was born about 1816 in Benken, St. Gallen, Switzerland, immigrated to St. Louis about 1846, served in the US Army from September 1847 to October 1848 during the War with Mexico.  In December of 1848 he married Elizabeth Janne in Franklin County, Missouri.  Elizabeth died and he married Josephine Klager in 1857.  Josephine was the daughter of George Klager and Teresa Mueller.

      What is the relationship between Joseph and his second wife, who had the maiden name of Klaeger?  Were they first cousins? What is the relationship between Joseph and Seraphina?  Was Seraphina Josephine's sister?

      This is what links Joseph and Serephina:

       In Joseph's probate file in Franklin County, Missouri is a "note" (a loan) from Seraphina Baumgartner to Joseph M. Klaeger (who signs with an "X") for $300 with interest at the rate of 8% per Annum.  The note is dated February 16, 1874:

    On the back of the note it is recorded when the interest was paid.  Always on February 16th in the following years: 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879 paid to Seraphina Bauer (she remarried Bauer), 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885:

     Interest payments stop in 1885.  Joseph died December 14, 1884 intestate without a will.  The estate was settled in May and June of 1885, and in the list of payouts is to Seraphina Baumgartner, $300 for "note".

     How were these two related, why was she willing to loan him $300, how did a woman have the $300, why wasn't the loan from her husband??

     I would like to know more about her!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Picture Mystery - St. Louis Photographers

   "There's an app for that" is a popular phrase currently.  Well, apparently, "there is a website for that also"!

    Using google, I found a website called  It has a link called "Early St. Louis Photographers".   Open that, and there is a chart of historic St. Louis Photographers and years that they were in business.  About 1500 of them!  Way more than I thought there would be.
    There are no "Heller" photographers on 1010 Olive Street in St. Louis, but there are:

                         Frederick Keller at 1010A Olive Street in 1910
                         Thresher and Keller at 1010 A Olive Street in 1900
                         Goldsmith-Keller at 1012 Olive Street in 1915 and 1919

    So, if this picture was taken between 1900 and 1919, and the Joe Kleager was say between the ages of 15 to 25, he would have been born between 1875 and 1900 roughly.

    So, back to the list from Part One.
    #1 Joseph M my great great grandfather is too old (1816 - 1884)
    #2 Joseph Kleager my great grandfather is too old (1850 - 1916)
    #3 Joseph Kleager son of August who was son of #1 (1881 - 1952) a maybe
    #4 Joseph William Kleagaer son of #2 (1878 - 1963) also a maybe
    #5 The "Other" Joseph Kleager married and moved to Arkansas by 1865, too old
    #6 Joseph Klager way too old (1796 - 1856)

    That leaves #3 or #4.  Both were fathers.  #3 is a little bit younger, and #4 moved to Nebraska in 1918, and #3 lived in St. Louis.  I'm guessing #3, who was a first cousin of #4.

     Anyone else think differently??  Any other way to approach this?  This is like a sixth grade story problem!

     Other input welcome!!

Also, I made a mistake. Brenda Jenkins Kleager lives in Huntsville, Alabama, not Arkansas. Sorry!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Kleager Picture Mystery - Part One

     Brenda Jenkins Kleager lives in Arkansas and is married to the grandson of my great uncle George Kleager.  She does family history research, and we have recently re-connected on the web.  She scanned the following picture, front and back, and sent it to me.  She found this picture a couple of years ago by googling the name Joe Kleager, and found this from a woman who buys pictures from antique and thrift stores that have names on them, then sells them online for $15.

Front with the matting involved.  In the lower right hand corner it says: "Heller" (or "Keller"), 1010 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO.

The back.  She had to use a contrast feature plus add light to see the writing: "dad Joe Kleager".

So, the mystery.  

What year, or even what decade was this picture taken?  

I think that is crucial to figure out which "Joe Kleager" it is.

This fellow looks fairly young to me, say maybe late teens to mid 20's?  I would welcome any other opinions.  There are skilled people out there who could date the picture by the type of matting, and/or by the hair style, collar, bow tie or suit.  But I am not one of those.  Are any of you??

Living out side of St. Louis would not have been a reason to eliminate one of these because there was rail road access to St. Louis that was very accessible from Franklin County and I have read that many of the Kleagers went to St. Louis for various reasons.

Here's the "Joe's" I know, and a few of the facts about them:

1. Joseph M. Klager:
    -my great great grandfather
    -born about 1816 in Switzerland 
    -arrived in New Orleans about 1846 
    -enrolled in St. Louis in  the U.S. Army in 1847 for the War with Mexico, 
    -married 1848 in Franklin County, Missouri to Elizabeth Jenny
    -1850 has a son Joseph, in 1858 a son August
    - can't read or write

2. Joseph Klaeger 
    - my great grandfather
    - the son above, born 1850 in Franklin County, Missouri 
    - worked as a teamster driving a wagon before marriage, including some time in St. Louis 
    - married in 1875 to Lesetta Mincemeyer
    - in 1878 has a son, Joseph William

3. Joseph Kleager
     - the son of August, son of #1
     - first cousin of #2
     - born 1881 in Bourbon, Missouri
     - married about 1906
     - lived and worked in St. Louis as an adult

4. Joseph William Kleager
    - son of #2
    - born in 1878 in Franklin County, Mo
    - married 1906 to Halle Ellen Renick
    - moved to Nebraska in about 1920

5.  The "Other" Joseph Kleager
    - the guy who confused me for years and years
    - roughly same era/age as #1, slightly younger
    - probably some sort of cousin of #1, but I have not established that
    - sometimes listed as Joseph J. Klaeger
    - married to Barbara Nier in 1864
    - sold land to Joseph M. Kleager #1 - in 1865 which is when I knew there were TWO Joseph's
    - moved from Franklin County to Arkansas sometime around 1869

6.  Joseph Klager
    - lived from 1796-1856
    - married to Catharina Barbara Glauss
    - death record in St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church of Washington, Missouri  
    - same parish records as Joseph Kleager #5 and Joseph Kleager #1  
    - not sure how he is related, but assume he has to be
    - could be the father of either #1 OR #5, unless 1 and 5 are brothers with the same name!!!

Which one is he??????

Friday, September 16, 2011

More Edward Kleager Pictures

Larry Kleager, Edward Kleager's grandson sent me some more family pictures.

        Edward Kleager is my great uncle, the brother of my grandfather Frank August Kleager.  Edward was eight years older than Frank, and moved to Nebraska from Missouri in 1919.  Frank moved to Nebraska in 1917.

        Both Frank and Edward lived the rest of their lives in Nebraska.  
        Frank died in 1929 at age 33.  
         Edward died in 1972 at age 84.

This is three generations of Kleagers:
Lawrence Edward Kleager, his son Larry Lee Kleager and his father, Edward Louis Kleager.

Edward and Jenny's family in the 1940's.
Standing: Jenny, Edward, George, Esther, Lawrence, Dorothy.
Seated: Fred, Irma.
Missing from the picture; Ruth.

Edward Kleager and grandson Lynn Kleager on tractor, Jenny standing.
A shed, Nebraska prairie farmland, a barn and a windmill in the distance.
About 1951.
Ed and Jenny lived near Palmyra, Nebraska.

Edward and Jenny Phillips Kleager (and the photographer's shadow!!).
Early 1950's.

Irma Kleager "taking a bath" with nephews Larry and Lynn Kleager.
Around 1951-1952. Larry wrote "that's how we bathed at our grandparents because they didn't have running water, but I think Irma was just having fun with us".

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Maria Louisa Dierking

My paternal Grandmother is "Eleanor" Elizabeth Sophia Drewel Kleager Weise.  Her father is Louis Henry Drewel.  His mother is Maria Louisa Dierking.

Maria Louisa Dierking has been a mystery to me.  No one in the family knew much about her.  I think that was because she died so young, and her husband re-married twice.

Maria was born 8 April 1845 in the area of Beaufort, Franklin County, Missouri.  She married young at age 18, to Friedrich Wilhelm Drewel, bore six children in the following 12 years, and died 14 May 1875, at age 30, a few days after giving birth to a daughter, Louise.  She is buried in the St. John's Lutheran Church Cemetery, Beaufort, Missouri.

Who are her parents?

That is the hard question.  The only thing I had to go on for many years were the 1850 and 1860 Census Records in Franklin County.  It wasn't that I couldn't find a Maria Louisa that was the appropriate age, it was that I could find 3 about the same age!

Recently, I found a 4 page typed "Dierking Family History" in the regional archive in Franklin County that had no sources, no dates and no authorship, but that stated that there were 3 Dierking brothers that  immigrated from Hanover, Germany to Franklin County.

That makes sense, as there are plenty of Dierkings in Franklin County in the 1850's, 1860's, and 1870's.

But these 3 brothers are even more confusing.  Who knows what three German given names they each had, as to date I haven't been able to find the baptism records in Germany.  When they came to America they seemed to settle into being called: (the eldest) "John", (the middle) "John F." and (the youngest) "George".  Except when the eldest "John" goes by "Georgen" or "Jurgen".

John and John F.??  George and Georgen??  I hope they knew who they were talking about!

And you know what else?  They ALL had daughters named "Maria Louisa Dierking" - three first cousins - who varied in age by about six years between the 3 of them.  No wonder I've been confused for years!

But for now, I believe my great-great grandmother Maria Louis Dierking is the daughter of John "Jurgen/Georgen" Dierking (born about 1796 possibly in Stockendrebber, Hanover, Germany) and his wife Dorothea Meriah/Mary of unknown last name (born about 1798 in the same area in Germany).

They are confusing brothers and cousins!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The 3 Spellings of Kleager and My Favorite Tombstone

I was able to take a family history trip to Missouri that I hope to blog about for a long time to come.  It was neat to have to "family" part of a family history trip include one of my sisters, a brother-in-law, and one of my daughters.

We spent a day with my father's cousin, La Rue Kleager Bryant and her son Ron.  They took us, among other places, to the Holy Martyrs of Japan Catholic Church in Japan, Franklin County, Missouri where some of the Kleagers are buried.

There is an area where one can stand and see 3 different tombstones, from one family, with the 3 different spellings of Kleager: Kleager - Klaeger - Klager.

Henry Klaeger,  August's son.  Nearby, Henry's mother's tombstone "Wife of Aug. Klager" (Laura Arnold Klager).  August Kleager was a brother of my great grandfather, Joseph Kleager.
This is August  Kleager's tombstone, and one of my favorites.  
August & Laura had four children: Joseph (of course), Henry, Lana and Adolph Louis.  All four were alive at the time of August's death.

But apparently, not all four were willing to contribute to a headstone for their father!
What an epitaph:
"Bought by Henry only"

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Klager Coat of Arms!!

     A Paul Klager of Connecticut contacted me that he found this blog on the web.  He has been very gracious in e-mail exchanges with me.  He has a Coat of Arms that has been passed down from  first born son to first born son for centuries.  He is the current first born son, and in possession of this document that he scanned for me.

   This Coat of Arms was issued to Peter Klager, who was a Prussian Major. Paul Klager wrote that the translation of the inscription on the bottom is:

Mr. Klager, Peter, Prussian Major
born on 11th February 1460
From the large coat of arms collection of the Citizen
and Royal and Imperial court Landscape and coat of arms
painter Joseph Stien in Vienne in suburg
Kingerstrassen in #1009

From page 108

Here it is!

   Paul Klager, the person who has this, says that his great-grandfather, Jacob Albert Klaeger, was born in Ruschlikon, Switzerland on March 29, 1890, and immigrated to the Canada, and eventually to the New York City area.

   Ruschlikon, Switzerland is only 20 miles from Benken, Switzerland, where I believe our Kleager ancestors are from!!  There has to be a connection, if it can just be found.  So, somehow, I believe we are related to this Peter Klager.

   Here is my poor attempt at another image with different contrast:

      My brother has bugged me about finding a "family crest" for years, and I never thought there was such a thing.  Having this blog is paying off - I am making connections with more and more Kleagers/Klaegers/Klagers, and learning more all the time.  I will keep working at trying to figure out relationships.  This is exciting stuff.  Thanks, Paul!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Letter to a Son in World War II

This is a Memorial Day post!

My grandmother was Ella Elizabeth Sophia Drewel Kleager, and in her later years called herself "Eleanor".  She became a widow at the age of 35 in 1929 at the start of the Depression, with 5 boys aged 11, 11, 9, 7 and 5.

During World War II all FIVE of her sons were in the military at one time.  In August, 1945 she wrote to one of them (we don't know which one):

Kind of makes you think.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The "Stitched" Joseph & Lesetta Kleager Family Picture

The Joseph and Lesetta (Mincemeyer) Kleager Family

Once again:  Picture taken about 1897, based on the guess that the child in the high chair is about a year old, and is known to be born in 1896.  If taken in 1897, the ages of the people in the picture are about as follows.

Left to right:    Joseph Kleager - Father (47),  Edward Louis Kleager (9),  George Jacob Kleager (3),  Joseph William Kleager (19),   Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager - Mother (38),  Frank August Kleager (1),   Edward Mincemeyer - brother of Lesetta - (30),  Anna Caroline Kleager (16),  Josephine Caroline Kleager (13).

This is the professionally "stitched" picture of the separated two halves of the picture.  For many, many years, one half was with "Eleanor" Sophie Drewel Kleager Weise, (my grandmother), then with me, while the right half was with LaRue Kleager Bryant.

The picture was taken in front of the family farm house about 2 miles west of Japan, Franklin County, Missouri.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Clyde and Clarence Kleager

 Frank and Sophie Kleager married on Valentine's Day 1917 in Franklin County, Missouri.  

Soon after the wedding, Frank and Sophie moved to Lancaster County, Nebraska.  

Shortly after their first anniversary, Sophie delivered her first pregnancy - supposedly the doctor said "oh, there's another one!" 

Twins!  Fraternal twins, who were very different in look and personality.

Born March 3, 1918 were blue eyed blond Clarence Joseph first, and brown eyed brown haired Clyde Louis, second.

                  Clyde, with hand on the toy horse, and Clarence, who called "Joe".

                   I am guessing they are about 2 years old, so this was around 1920.  

      I am always amazed how different they looked - their whole lives!

        Clyde is my Dad and Clarence is my "Uncle Joe", who passed away in 1989.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager part 2

   Lesetta was born 1859, and married Joseph Kleager in 1875, at age 16.  Joseph was 9 years older than her, he was 25.  She bore 8 children over 20 years.

   In 1916, Joseph died suddenly at age 65.  He was putting on his boots on the front porch and collapsed from an assumed heart attack, falling backwards and breaking out the window of the porch.  Their youngest child, Otto, was 16.

   Two years later, 1918, in Otto's World War I Draft Registration, it lists Otto as a farmer with his employer listed as Mrs. Joe Kleager, Sr, and they both have the same address.

   In the 1930 Census, the head of household is listed as Otto, then his wife Tillie and daughter Larue.  Then is listed Leseta as "mother" and widowed.

   I believe Lesetta stayed on the farm until her death in 1943, at age 84.  She was a widow for 27 years.

Lesetta at her farm.  Behind her is a vineyard.  On a fence to our right is a wash tub hanging up, and there is a push lawnmower leaning against a tree.

Lesetta Kleager and and unknown child.

She seems to be a happy person, most of her pictures have her smiling.  I like that!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager

Lesetta Mincemeyer was the daughter of John Christian Mincemeyer and Anna Kubli.  
Lesetta was the 4th of 10 children, all of which were born in Missouri:

Caroline Mincemeyer (1855-1878)
Christine Mincemeyer (abt 1856-?)
John C. Mincemeyer (1857-1933)
Lesetta Mincemeyer (1859-1943)
Annie Mincemeyer (1860-1940)
Henry Gotfried Minemeyer (1862-1947)
Edward H. Mincemeyer (1865-1947)
Veronica (Feronia) Mincemeyer (abt 1867-?)
Matilda Mincemeyer (abt 1870-?)
Herman Mincemeyer (1877-1957)

Lesetta, date unknown.

This picture is from Ron Bryant, Otto Kleager's grandson.  He says the child with Lesetta may be a great-granddaughter, Charlene, who was her son Joseph William Kleager's grand daughter.  She must have been dressed up for some occasion, this dress is much fancier than the one above!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

George and Otto Kleager

George Jacob Kleager, was the 6th child of Joseph and Lesetta Kleager, born in 1894.

Next came my grandfather Frank August Kleager, born in 1896.

The youngest and 8th child was Otto Joseph Kleager, born in 1898.

George and Otto were the two bothers that ended up staying in the Franklin County, Missouri area.

George married Lena Bertha Ruwwe and Otto married Matilda "Tillie" Theresa Ruwwe.  Lena and Tillie were first cousins.

Otto Kleager as a teenager

George Kleager.

                Written on side by Sophie Drewel Kleager: "Your Uncle George Kleager, 2 1/2 years younger than your dad".

Monday, April 4, 2011

Edward Louis Kleager

Edward Kleager was my grandfather's, Frank Kleager's older brother by about 6 years, born in 1888.  He married Jenny Phillips in 1909.  They moved to Nebraska about in about 1919.

Edward and Jenny Kleager, September 1962, with their children.
 Standing: Lawrence, Ruth, Dorothy, Fred, Jenny and Edward
Kneeling: George, Irma, Esther.

Edward Kleager with unknown baby.  I sure see a "Kleager" look there, at least the Kleagers I am familiar with!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Kleager boys moving from Missouri to Nebraska

I have always been fascinated with the question of why did my grandparents, Frank and Sophie Kleager move from Missouri to Nebraska right after they got married in 1917.

When I have asked my father, Clyde Kleager, he says something to the effect that "Missouri was rocky and hard to farm".  He said his father, Frank, had gone to Nebraska to husk corn and had seen it.

When I recently received some newspaper clippings from the historical society in Washington, Missouri, they perhaps gave some insight into some of Joseph and Lesetta Kleager's sons moving to Nebraska.

Joseph and Lesetta Kleager had 5 sons: Joseph, Edward, George, Frank and Otto.  These old newspapers had "gossip" columns, and these are pretty interesting with regard to maybe the thoughts of the sons on moving to (perceived) "greener pastures":

1915 - “Tribune” Leslie Route 2
“Frank Kleager returned Friday from Walten, Neb., where he had been husking corn.  He says Nebraska is a progressive state.”  Two years before moving, Frank is already eyeing Nebraska.

March 1916 - “Journal”
“Ed L. Kleager of Elmont R.F.D came in Thursday and had us print sale bills announcing a sale of his personal property, the sale will be Tuesday March 28.  Mr. Kleager will leave in a short time for Nebraska.”  Ed is preparing to move to Nebraska.

1917  Frank marries Eleanor "Sophie" Drewel, and they move with her parents, Louis and Minnie Drewel, to Havelock, Nebraska.

Aug 21, 1919 
“George and Otto Kleager will start for Nebraska and Colorado next Monday to find new homes.  A very good rain came last week but an awful wind came with it.  It knocked fences out of place, broke trees down and blew peaches off.”  Frank has moved to Nebraska, now George and Otto are thinking of moving.

1919 - Elmont
“George and Otto Kleager, who went to Nebraska to rent a farm, have returned.  They say all the farms were already disposed of.”  Opps, all the good farms are gone!  George eventually got his own farm in Franklin County, and Otto farmed his father's homestead in Missouri for many years.  

Oct 1919 - “News”
“No mail Monday on account of high water.  Edward Kleager went to Nebraska about a week ago and his wife has a sale Tuesday of this week and will go there.  L. E. Strothcamp started to Nebraska last Friday to shuck corn for a while.  A few have gone to Iowa for the same purpose.”  Ed is finally going to move, 3 years after first declaring he was leaving.  L. E. Strothcamp was related to the Kleagers by marriage.

Nov 1919 -  “News”
“Mrs. Jennie Kleager and children left Tuesday for Roak, Nebr., to join her husband, Edward Kleager, who left a few weeks ago to get everything ready for their home this coming year.”  

Oct 1921 “News” Boone
“Last Monday Joe Kleager went to Nebraska to visit with Edward and Frank Kleager and to see the country.”  Now the oldest brother, Joseph, is going to visit Ed and Frank.

March 1922 - “Journal”
“We printed sale posters this week for J.W. Kleager of near Boone.  He expects to quit farming in Missouri and try Nebraska, he having worked in Nebraska several years some few years ago.  For further notice about his sale see posters.”  Now, 5 years after Frank moved, and at age 44, Joe is going to move.

Of Joseph and Lesetta Kleager's five sons, three moved to Nebraska and died there, and two stayed in the Franklin County, MIssouri area.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Joseph and Lesetta Kleager's Farmhouse

From Otto Kleager's grandson Ron:

"A little info about the house: Otto Kleager and his wife Tillie lived in this house for many years.  My mother and uncle were also born in this house (LaRue and Gervis Kleager).  I spent a lot of time as a young child visiting my grandparents at this house.  It had a tin roof and was heated by two wood fired stoves.  One was a cook stove in the kitchen, the other was a wood stove in the family room.  There were two bedrooms upstairs, each with a feather bed, and one bedroom downstairs.  There is a cellar under the house with two entrances, one from the kitchen and one from outside.  There is also a cistern located behind the house fed by gutters from the roof.  The cistern had a hand crank used to raise water."

He also sent me some other pictures.  Describing that it was heated by two wood stoves may explain this picture of (the back) of the house with an enormous woodpile.  In the top picture is what looks to me like the same dog in the family picture background.  Don't know who the people on or in front of the woodpile are, but that had to take A LOT of work to stockpile that much wood!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Stitched" Picture

   My nephew, Tyler Kleager, "stitched" the two images of the picture together.  I think he did a pretty good job!  Thank you Tyler.  He is going to work on it more in "photoshop", and I hope to get the two halves of the picture together to take to a photo restorer, but in the meantime:

    Taken about 1897, based on the fact the the child in the high chair was born April 1896.   Ages are estimated from 1897.
    (Father)  Joseph Kleager 47,  Edward Kleager 9,  George Kleager 3,  Joseph William Kleager 19,  (Mother) Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager 38,  Frank August Kleager 1,  (Uncle) Ed Mincemeyer 30,  Anna Caroline Kleager 16,  Josephine Caroline Kleager  13.

Six of Joseph and Lesetta's eight children are in this picture.  A baby, Dora C. Kleager (born between Josephine and Edward) died in 1887 at age 2, and the youngest, Otto Joseph Kleager was not born until 1898.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Other Half of the Picture - Joseph and Lusetta Kleager Family

I put the "left" half of this picture in the blog, from my Grandmother Sophie "Eleanor" Kleager Wiese.  I wrote that I would love to see the other half.  My mother wrote to Larue, who is Otto Kleager's daughter.  Larue gave this half of the picture to her son, Ron, who scanned it and e-mailed it to me!  

I love genealogy!

                                                     Taken probably about 1897-1898.

The baby (in the other half of the picture) IS Frank, my grandfather.  My grandmother has written on this part of the picture also, and wrote "Frank your dad" with a line up to the baby in the highchair.

Next is "Uncle Ed Mincemeyer" (about age 32) - Lesetta's brother.  Then Anna Kleager (about 17) and Josephine Kleager (about 14).

Now, if I only knew how to "stitch" the two images into one image!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Frank August Kleager's Son's Pedigree Chart

This is the pedigree chart with my father as #1.  Fathers go "up" on the chart, mothers go "down.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Switzerland Breakthrough

I think I found the place in Switzerland that the Kleagers came from!!!

Benken, Canton Sankt Gallen, Switzerland.  It is a little town in the south west of Sankt Gallen in a valley between Lake Zurich and Walensee (another lake), near the towns of Kaltbrunn and Reichenburg.

I don't have is a baptism record for "our" Joseph Kleager (born 1816) that we know immigrated from Switzerland to MIssouri about 1845, but what I do have in the Benken Parish records is a Joseph Christian Klaeger born in Benken, Jan 11, 1797, son of Joseph Benedict Klaeger and Maria Elisabetha Zeller, married to Catharina Barbara Claus. 

From the State Archive Sankt Gallen, there is a Joseph Klaeger from Benken that applied for permission to emigrate to America in 1845 with his wife and daughter.  I assume that is the father (1797), as "our" Joseph (1816) married after he served in the War with Mexico in 1847-1848, so he wouldn't have immigrated with a wife.

In the Benken Catholic parish records the pastor has written next to Joseph Christian Klaeger's baptism record: "DIED IN 1857 IN WASHINGTON IN MISSOURI".  
That means: 
       1. These are the same Kleager's that were in Franklin County, Missouri!  
       2. They were writing back home to Benken after they were in Missouri - the pastor knew he had died in Missouri.

In the St. Borgia Catholic Church records in Washington, Franklin County, Missouri - there is a death record of Joseph Kleger, married to Catharina Barbara Glauss, 60 years old, died 16 Nov 1856.  SAME GUY!!  Born in Benken, died in Franklin County, Missouri.

I think, but do not yet have proof, that this Joseph Kleger (1797) and Catharina Barbara Glauss are the parents of "our" Joseph Kleager that we know immigrated to Franklin County in 1845.  

Of course, Joseph's father would be a Joseph, son of a Joseph.  

Oh, why couldn't these people use another male name now and then?  It really makes things confusing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

John Christian Menzemeier

My great grandmother, Lusetta Mincemeyer (who married Joseph Kleager and had my grandfather Frank August Kleager), was the daughter of John Christian Mincemeyer and Anna Kubli Mincemeyer.  They were also Swiss, as were the Kleagers.

This is an image of the 1876 Missouri State Census for Township 42, Range 2 west, Franklin County, Missouri, that includes the John Christian Menzemeier family. This census does not list family member names, the purpose of this census seems more to be an evaluation of agricultural production than population.

Nine rows up from the bottom, it lists #559 John Christian Menzemeier.  In the household there are: 2 males age 10-18, 1 male age 18-21, 1 male over age 45, 2 females under age 10, 1 female age 10-18, and 1 female age 21 to 45.  There are 6 in the household who can read or write.

Then we get to what he has on the farm:  3 horses, 4 cattle, 2 sheep, 5 hogs, 138 bushels of wheat, 100 bushels of corn, 100 bushels of oats, 6 bushels of rye, 1 ton of hay.

I enjoy what he doesn't have: no mules ("Jacks" or "Jennys"), no barley, no tobacco, no wool, no sugar, no tons of hemp, no gallons of whiskey, no gallons of wine, and no gallons of molasses!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Japan, Boone Township, Franklin County, Missouri

In previous posts, I quoted newspaper articles that referred to the "Japan" area.  I meant Japan, Missouri.

According to Historical Review of Franklin County Missouri, 1818-1868 Sesqui-centennial: 
   "Japan received its name from its Catholic Church of the Holy Martyrs of Japan.  In 1941 the Reverend Lakebrink reminded the citizens of Japan that the church was dedicated to twenty-six Catholic priests and lay brothers, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese, who were crucified in Japan (the country) by Japanese fanatics on February 5, 1597.
   The community established its first post office November 13, 1860 with Absolam R. Dyson the first postmaster. He became a Confederate soldier.  The post office closed March 17 to October 5, 1865.  It remained open until January 31, 1908.
   The present church building was built in 1896 and the cemetery shortly afterward.
   During the Second World War, the citizens of Japan, who pronounce the name of their town 'Jay-pan' resisted the pressure brought upon them to change their town's name."
Below is a map of Franklin County, Missouri from about 1920, I believe.  It shows the townships, railroads and larger streams.  An "x" represents a place that was a post office at one time, but had been closed by 1925, while an "o" represents a place that was still a post office as of 1925.

The northern boundary of Franklin County is the Missouri River, and it is one county west of St. Louis County.
In the lower left area of the map is Boone Township, with the Bourbeuse River running across it.  Below the river can be seen Japan, and below that Argo.

The 120 acre farm belonging to my great-grand parents, Joseph and Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager straddled the Gasconade/Franklin County line one and a half miles north west of Argo.  Argo was where their children went to school.  About two miles east of their farm is Japan, where they attended the Catholic Church of the Holy Martyrs of Japan, and where Joseph and Lesetta are buried in the church cemetery.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

August Kleager in the newspapers

August Kleager was my great-great uncle, the half brother of my great-great grandfather, Joseph Kleager.  "Gus" was born in 1858, and about 1878 married Laura Arnold (born 1861).

The first newspaper entry I have might be construed as bad press for August's ability as a well-digger: 
                      July 3, 1903 - “Die Washingtoner Post”  - “Japan News”
"August Klaeger, Japan, will work with Alonze Rechter at well drilling.  The work at George Jost's past year was unsuccessful”

Apparently, Laura was quite sick for several years, and that frustrating illness had an unfortunate consequence.  Poor woman!

June 8, 1916 - “News”
“Dr. Keiffer of St. Louis was called here Sunday in consultation with Dr. Dunigan in the case of Mrs. August Kleager of Japan who has been here three or four weeks at the home of Mrs. Eliza Landing, under the doctor’s care.  She has been confined to her bed most of the time for the past thirteen months.”
July 13, 1916 - “News”
“Mrs. Gus Kleager who has been in Sullivan for medical treatment for several months was taken to a hospital in St. Louis Wednesday.”
August 17, 1916 - “News”
"August Kleager of Japan went to St. Louis Satruday, returning Monday, to see his wife who is in a hospital there.  She underwent a surgical operation about two weeks ago for abcesses of the abdomen, and is now doing well.  They expect her to be able to come home in about four more weeks.”
Jan 9, 1919 - unknown paper
“Mrs. Kleager, wife of a farmer near Bourbon committed suicide by shooting Monday.  She had been an invalid for about eight years.  She left a note stating she was tired of suffering.
Jan 9, 1919 - “News” 
“Mrs. August Kleager (nee Laura Arnold) living on the Little Bourboise River about ten miles west of Sullivan, committed suicide Monday afternoon by shooting herself in the head with a shot gun.  She had been in poor health for the last four or five years and stayed in Sullivan a while for medical treatment and later was in a hospital in St. Louis.  She is survived by her husband and four children: Joe, of St. Louis; Henry, living at Japan; Mrs Lena Williams of Oklahoma; and Adolphus, recently home from Nebraska.  All are married except Henry.  Funeral services were held Wednesday and burial made in Japan Cemetery.  Service conducted by John Hethcock.”

The last articles are about August's death.  Note the discrepancy in his reported age, and use that as a guide to not take every newspaper article as absolute truth!  In fact, they were both wrong, as he was 67 at the time of his passing.
Aug 20th, 1925 -  “News”
“August Kleager, Japan, died Aug 11, 1925 in St. Mary’s Hospital St. Louis.  Age 72 years, J.F. Hethcock conducted the funeral.”
Aug 21, 1925 - “Tribune”
“August Kleager, Japan, was born at Beaufort and died in a St. Louis hospital Aug 11,1925, after an operation.  Age 65 years.”

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bernhard Klaeger

Bernhard Klager was my great-great uncle.

He was the half brother of my great-great grandfather Joseph Kleager (born 1850).  My great-great grandfather, Joseph, was the son of Joseph M. Klager (born about 1816) and Elizabeth Jane Jenny.

Elizabeth died in 1856, leaving children Joseph (about 6) and William (about 4).  Joseph M. remarried quickly, in Jan. 1857, to a Josephine Klaeger.  I think this Josephine Klaeger was a cousin of Joseph M., but I can't figure out how.

Joseph M. and Josephine had: August in 1858, Terese in 1859, Crescentia (Katenza) in 1861, Paulina Clementina in 1864, and Bernhard in 1866.

Continuing on with the mention of Kleager's in the newspapers around Franklin County, Missouri, there was a sad one in the Kiel File under "Abnormal Deaths".

It was a hand written translation (by Mr. Kiel, I assume) of a German Language Newspaper in Washington, Missouri called "Die Washingtoner Post":

July 8th, 1880  
“Bernhard Klager, was drowned Friday evening July 2, 1880 in the Missouri River.  He was watering a horse which lost it’s footing and got away and a large dog also hitched to a line pulled the boy into the River.  He was a bright lad of 14 years, much beloved, the son of J Klaeger, Port Hudson.  The body was not found.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More about the "Kiel File"

I sent the last post about the Kiel File at the Four Rivers Genealogical Society (in the Ralph Gregory Research Library) to the Washington (Mo) HIstorical Society Museum Director, Marc Houseman.  He sent me a reply that tells more about "The Kiel File":

Hi Clytee,

My only suggested change; Kiel actually spent closer to 40 years on his collection, the best we can tell.  That may sound more impressive than 25?  Also, the files contain more than just newspaper clippings, although the bulk of the collection is just that.  There are also hundreds of original letters to and from Franklin Countians, correspondence with school teachers, politicians, newspaper editors and others who had a knowledge of local history and contemporary happenings.  Kiel also tracked down hundreds of veteran’s records and even lists of prisoners and paupers and lots of other fun stuff. 

Hope that helps,


I would love to see this file and poke around in it!  Maybe I will get to some day soon!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Joseph & Lesetta (Mincemeyer) Kleager Family in the Newspapers

At the Four Rivers Genealogical Society in Washington, Franklin County, Missouri there is a collection of about 100,000 papers called "The Kiel File".  A Mr. Kiel spent about 25 or more years clipping articles out of all the area newspapers and putting them in some sort of files.  I sent off a fee to have the file searched for any articles containing the name "Kleager" or similar.

For Joseph Kleager (born 1850), my great grandfather, there were these entries:
(The comments that are italicized are my additions)

In a newspaper unknown, in a “looking back” section:
“Joe Kleager was building the finest house in Boone township according to the report of D. H. Grob.  (note: I don't know if the Grobs are related, but the name shows up several times in the following paragraphs). As seen in the previous blog post, the house is quite elaborate -  note the scroll work detail around the entrance.
July 1, 1875 - “Frank County Record”
“Joseph Klaeger, and Miss Lazetta Menzenmeier, both of Franklin Co., were married Thursday June 24, 1875 by Rev Father Brown.”

(28 years later ....)
July 3, 1908 - “Tribune”
“About seventy people gathered at the home of Joseph Kleager, Sr., to celebrate his fifty-eighth birthday.  The day was pleasantly spent in playing various games.  A sumptuous dinner was served to which all did ample justice.  May Uncle Joe and his estimable wife enjoy many more such festivities.”
Sept 5th, 1913 - “Tribune”
“Most everybody from here attended the Sullivan Tri-County fair.  Jos. Kleager, Sr., won the blue ribbon on his fine Durham bull, and he also got the blue on his thoroughbred mule, including the blue ribbon and sweepstakes.”
1915 - “Tribune” Leslie Route 2
“Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Kleager and Mrs. Charles Sholtz (Matilda Mincemeyer, Lesetta’s sister) left Monday for Carroll, Iowa, to spend some time with the latter’s sister, Mrs. Louis Blaue (Annie Mincemeyer, another sister).”
March 10, 1916 - “News” Japan Items
“Joseph Kleager died suddenly at his home near Japan March 4th.  He was about 66 years old.  The burial was Monday in the Catholic Cemetery at Japan.”
March 16, 1916 - “News”
“Card of Thanks.  We desire to thank all those who kindly assisted us at the time of the sudden death of our dear husband and father.  Mrs S. Kleager and children”.
May 14, 1917 - 
“Final Settlement Notice.  Notice is hereby given to all creditors and others interested in the estate of JOSEPH KLEAGER, deceased, that the undersigned administratrix of said estate, intends to make final settlement thereof at the next term of the probate court in Franklin County, Missouri, to be held in the probate court room in the court house at Union, Beginning on Monday, May 14, 1917.  LESETTA KLEAGER, Administratrix.”
Feb 5, 1919 - “Tribune” Argo District No. 107
“Mrs Jos. Klaeger and daughter, Mrs Underwood and grandmother Grob and uncle, John H. Grob), all met at the home of Mrs. L. E. Strothkamp while her husband and son are in Nebraska. (Strothkamps are cousins of the Kleagers)  Most of them enjoyed corn shucking and the afternoon was spent with Mrs. Strothkamp and the children.
The past week was a busy time with uncle John Grob while he did some repair work on his house.  The good neighbors came to help him with the work.  Help also came to help get the usual meal.  He feels very thankful to his kind neighbors for their assistance.
Wm T. Mitchell of Strain is putting up a neat little house for his car which he bought from Williams and Schaeffer.
There was a pie supper and entertainment at Argo School house on Wednesday of last week.  The program of the evening was fine.  The teacher and pupils all did well.  There were many boxes with pies in them and H. E. Allison acted as auctioneer for them.  A Box of candy made by the teacher, Miss Rethmeyer, brought $15.00.  Miss Martha bell received the box of candy since she received more otes than any other person.  Quite a few from Sullivan were here to enjoy the evening.  Some were here from Gasconade county.  It is estimated that 250 people were present at the entertainment.
Next Saturday the patrons will repair the telephone line from Japan to Oak Hill and other lines will better their service by doing repair work.
Some of our neighbors are doing road work this week.  The road sure needs it.
     Word reached us today that L. E. Strothkamp was coming home  after next week and that his brother, Wm. F., and family are coming home with them.”
Dec 17, 1920 “News” - 
“Mrs. L. Klaeger and son, Otto, and Mr. and Mrs. Louis Stelzer were in Union Wednesday on business and pleasure.  These good people live in the Elmont neighborhood.”