Search This Blog

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Joseph Kleager's children went to school at Argo School.  Argo was one an a half miles southeast of the farm.  Argo is a little area in the southwest corner of Franklin County, Missouri very near the lines of Crawford and Gasconade counties. It was basically a school, church.  It was also the location of Post Office for seven different periods between 1849 and 1906.

Joseph's son, my Uncle George told me he attended Argo School for 8 years (about 1900 to 1908), and went back for one more year after 8th grade graduation.

This is a postcard my Grandmother "Eleanor" Sophie Kleager Wiese had.  She has written on the back later in life that Frank and his brother Otto are both in this picture.  Otto is 2 years younger than Frank.  I don't know which ones they are.  Which two look like brothers?  Which two look like Kleagers?

I'm guessing this picture was taken around 1910 give or take a couple of years.

There is a banner in front of the two girls in dark dresses that says "Argo".  The banner seems to be attached to the girls, as they are not holding it.

On the table are piles of ears of field corn.  I would like to know more about this picture.  Was there a judging of the corn?  Did they take the corn to a competition, or did a judge come to their school?  Is the picture in front of the school or at a fair of some sort?  There are 10 piles of corn, and 13 kids, probably one pile per family.

Most of the students are dressed up, except for the poor guys on the far right and the fifth guy from the left in the back who came in their coveralls.

I like the guy third from the left in front, with his hands in his pockets and his striped pants.  He is the only one with a vest.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Joseph Kleager Picture

I ran this picture in the last post, but in this post I want to enlarge one area of the photo.

It is the only picture of Joseph Kleager that I am aware of.  His build is very familiar to me, as it is my father's build, and mine!!  "Sturdy", as I like to think of myself.

This picture was probably take around 1898.  Boys were not dressed in pants until about age 4 or 5, hence the "dress" on the younger boy, whom I think is my grandfather, Frank.  I wonder if that is lace on the shirt sleeve cuffs.

Notice the short pants and boots on the older boy, Edward, and the large collar on his shirt.  Is there a scarf or tie around his neck?

The yard is not "mown" as is usually the custom now, and looks like it is a mixture of grasses and flowering plants.  The rain gutter system on the house is quite elaborate and makes me wonder if the rain water was collected somehow.

If you look carefully beside Joseph's right elbow, there is a black dog with a partially white face looking toward the camera.  Between his left hand and Edward's right elbow is the hind quarters of another dog, this one white.  There is also a board lined hole by Joseph's right hand that I'm thinking is the entrance to the cellar under the house.

Interesting stuff, huh?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Joseph & Lesetta (Mincemeyer) Kleager Family

   This is a picture of which I have half in my possession.  My grandmother, Sophie "Eleanor" Kleager Wiese had it and had written on it.
   This was taken in front of the family farm home, which was one and a half miles northwest of Argo, Franklin County, Missouri.

   All eight of the Kleager children were born on the farm:
     Joseph William Kleager 1878
     Anna Caroline Kleager 1881
     Josephine Kleager  1884
     Dora C. Kleager 1885 (died in 1887)
     Edward Louis Kleager 1888
     George Jacob Kleager  1894
     Frank August Kleager  1896
     Otto Joseph Kleagaer 1898

   What year this picture is taken depends on who is the baby in the high chair.  If the baby is Frank, the others would be the following (and their approximate age):

Joseph (age 46), Edward Louis (age 9), George Jacob (age 3), Joseph William, (age 19), Lesetta (age 38), and Frank August (age 1).  The other half of the picture would probably include the rest of the family, who would be Anna Caroline (age 16), Josephine Caroline (age 13).

If the baby is the youngest, Otto Joseph, born 1898, then the picture would be taken about 1899, and the young boy standing in the front would be Frank August (age 3).  The older boy by him would be still be Edward (who would be about 11).  My grandmother had labeled the pre-teen boy as Edward.  If that was the case, the other half of the picture would have to include George as an about 5 year old.

Mysteries, mysteries!

On the back is written "maybe LaRue has the other half".  LaRue would be the Otto's daughter, LaRue Kleager Bryant.  I would sure love to find the other half!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stories Uncle George told Me

I talked with George Kleager, my grandfather's brother, in 1983.  He told me about his parents, my great-grandparents - Joseph Kleager and Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager.  Telling about his father's life:

Before Joseph was married, he worked as a teamster in St. Louis.  He hauled coal across the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.  In the winter the rivers would freeze up and he would haul the coal across on ice.  In the summer, the coal was ferried across.

Joseph married Lessetta in 1875.  He was 25, she was 16.  At that time he bought a farm of 120 acres in the southwestern edge of Franklin County, Missouri on the Little Bourbeuse River (pronounced burr-buss).  He grew mostly wheat, some corn, oats, and clover hay.  He had two big draft horses.  There were also big gardens and orchards where apples, pears and peaches were grown.  George especially remembered lots of apple cider, "apple butter made in the big old iron kettle", and "bushels of apples in the basement."

There weren't many cash crops.  Wheat, which Joseph hauled to town in in horse drawn wagon, was sometimes sold.  In 1901 the Rock Island Railroad was laying tracks around Beaufort for a line from St. Louis to Kansas City.  The railroad crew used mules to grade the rail road bed, and Joseph would haul oats about 20 miles up to Beaufort for to sell as mule feed.  He received 40 to 50 cents a bushel for the oats, apparently making it worth the 20 mile trip!  A trip that far would take at least a day and a half each way with a team and wagon.

Below is a (poor) picture I took in 1983.  It is in Boone Township, Franklin County, Missouri, looking across the Bourbeuse River (where the trees are in the middle ground) to the farm house and farmstead (white buildings) that was Joseph and Luesetta's farm.  The farm was in the family at least 80 years, being taken over by Otto Kleager, the youngest son, after his parent's death.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

George Jacob Kleager

George Kleager is my great uncle, a brother two years older than my grandfather Frank August Kleager.

In the 1980's, when I started researching my ancestors, he was the only living sibling of my grandfather.  I wrote letters to his daughter, Jewell Kleager Crowder, who lived near him.  Jewell, and her husband Virgil, invited me to come see him, and to stay in their home.

We were living in Ames, Iowa at the time, and in 1983 drove to Missouri for Thanksgiving.  Virgil and Jewell lived in Owensville, Missouri, and George about 12 miles south of Owensville with a mailing address from Cuba, Missouri.

During the 3 days we stayed with them, Virgil and Jewell drove us all over the area to see churches, cemeteries, farmsteads and landmarks associated with the Kleager and Drewel families.  They were so good to us.

Uncle George and his family were so gracious and excited to see us.  We came as total strangers, yet were treated like they had known us their whole lives.  They feel very strong family ties.  George gave me a big hug when I walked in, and a kiss on the cheek when I left.

George was 89 at the time, yet still lived on his farm by himself at the end of "Kleagler Road" off Hiway T. The county had mis-spelled the sign.

He was a delightful man with a clever sense of humor.  He showed us the head of the 12 point buck he had shot a few years back ("the biggest one in the county that year"), the barn he designed and built himself, and the calves he still fed.  I fell in love with the fellow, and felt like I had discovered a bit of the grandfather I had never known.

George died in a year later, in 1984.  Jewell passed away in 1994 and her husband Virgil still sent me Christmas cards until his death in 2007.  They were wonderful people.