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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.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The many names of Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager

Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager was married to Joseph Kleager (the son, born in 1850).

I have seen her given name spelled the following ways:
   Lesette (marriage license)
   Lesetta (death certificate)
   Luessetta (son Frank's wedding announcement)
   Yetta (son Frank's obituary)
   Lizzie (1900 Census)
   Lisette (obituary of her mother)
   Lisetta (1880 Census)
   Lizetta (1870 Census)
   Lizette (parish records)

I have seen her maiden name spelled:
   Mincemeyer (death certificate)
   Minzemeyer (church records)
   Munzenmair (1870 Census)
   Mincameger (1880 Census)
   Menzimeyer (marriage certificate).

Apparently spelling was phonetic!

This picture is of Lesetta in front of the farm house she and Joseph raised their family in.  This is the same house the family picture was in front of.  I like the porch - some decorative touches!

My grandmother, "Eleanor" Sophie Drewel Kleager Wiese wrote on the top of the picture in her later years: "Grandma Kleager's house".