Thursday, August 17, 2006

Family History

Family History

Lately, my wife Kelly and I have gotten pretty deeply into genealogical research. Sometimes, what you find is quite interesting, and sometimes, it's very surprising.

My full name is Joseph Goeke Frank. I am named after my great-grandfather Joseph Goeke (1874-1963). His story is rather sad: his first wife Ella McDaniel (1882-1912), whom he probably met in Galena KS, passed away from tuberculosis at the age of 30. They had only one child, born 1911 -- my grandfather, John Taylor Goeke. Joseph was soon remarried, to Elizabeth Winkeler (1887-1966). They had a huge family.

Ella is buried in the Goeke family plots at SS Peter & Paul Cemetery west of Gravois Avenue. But Joseph is with his 2nd wife at Immaculate Conception in Arnold. And her son John (1911-1962) is of course buried with his wife, my grandmother Hilda (1914-2001), at Resurrection Cemetery in Affton.

I already knew my family had many truck (vegetable) farms in the Gardenville area of South St. Louis City and County. I didn't realize just how deeply into the city, and how many decades they were farmers!

It turns out Ella passed away at the old St. Anthony's Hospital on Grand and Chippewa in 1912. As it happens, her grand-daughter (my mother, that is) worked there -- 60 years later! It was demolished in 1975 to make way for the now-closed National supermarket on that corner.

But she probably spent some time on the Goeke family farm located at -- believe it or not -- 3860 Bingham Ave. in Dutchtown (basically, at the SW corner of Bingham and Spring). As late as 1924, the Goekes were active members of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church and continued to run the farm at that location.

That location is now a factory, built in 1947. I don't know for sure, but the fact the property is today zoned K - Unrestricted and the legal description states...

6.64 ACRES

...I'm thinking the property went directly from farmland to industrial use in the 1940s.

My grandmother Hilda's maiden name was Kremer. She was among the first few confirmation (1923) and 8th grade (1928) classes at St. George Catholic Church, founded 1915 with its school opening in 1916. She was baptized in 1914 at St. Boniface in Carondelet (now closed). Both my parents attended St. George school as well -- in the 1950s, part of that time in a then-new building that closed a few years ago and is now leased to Edgewood Children's Center as a special school.

Grandma's mother's maiden name was Grosskettler. Based on 1895 probate records, it seems that family had a 7-acre farm at the NE corner of Kingshighway and Eichelberger. Of course, they must have sold earlier than the Goekes, because that area now consists of houses built mostly in the 1920s, adjacent to Christy Park.

And of course my great-grandfather, Hilda's dad, was Henry Kremer. He had a farm at 825 Union Road in the county. Most of the property was taken - I think by eminent domain - in the mid-1950s to build Interstate Highway 55. The rest I believe he donated to the Archdiocese to build St. Timothy Catholic Church (1958-2003). Now, of course, that church complex has been sold -- to the Salvation Army.

Now, when we start talking about distant cousins, we're pretty sure I'm related in one way or another to the proprietors of J. Goeke Produce located in old town Florissant, and probably to now retired Judge Joseph J. Goeke III (currently Republican director of the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners).

And, by marriage of a cousin, I have a very distant connection to Aloys P. Kaufmann - the last Republican mayor of the City of St. Louis.

Geez - for such a progressive guy, I sure do have a lot of Republican connections!


1 comment:

Tom King said...

The parents of Elizabeth Winkeler,
John Winkeler and his soon to be bride Anna Konert, worked for and lived with my widowed gg-grandmother
Christina Betz, on the 1880 census.
The property on Bingham belonged to the Betz family who also owned the
land between Soulard Market and Sts
Peter & Paul Church, part of which was taken for I-55. I'm also related to the Grossketler's.