Three Young Women, Gone Too Soon


Several months ago, a friend from Florence, Missouri, asked if I knew about the deaths of three women in the United Church of Christ Cemetery.  All three had been married but died as young wives.  She wondered if I knew their stories.  I knew one, and immediately went to work on the other two.  May their stories never been forgotten.

Sena Louise Brauer Oehrke (1891-1918)

Sena Louise was born on June 1, 1891, to John Henry and Louise A. (Bremer) Brauer in Morgan County, MO.   The 1910 US Census shows 18-year-old Sena living with her family on a farm in the Florence area.  Other families listed on the same page of the census (families were visited in order so these would have been their neighbors) included:  Henry Muck, Claus Heineman, Mary Baughman (widow), Henry Chilacoat, Herman Meier, Robert Williams, Robert Holman, Harvey Sanders, and John Ditzfield.  Sena’s father John had emigrated from Germany in 1867 and was a naturalized citizen.

On December 18, 1912, Sena married August Fritz Oehrke

August Oehrke & Sena Brauer marriage license Dec 18, 1912.
August Oehrke & Sena Brauer marriage license listed in Morgan County Republican, Dec 19, 1912, p.1.









According to her death certificate, she died on April 17, 1918, of acute nephritis.  They had no children.

Sena’s parents, Henry (1848-1932) and Louise Brauer (1855-1923), had eight children.  The family is buried in Florence, except Adaline and Clara.

  1. Fredie A Brauer (1875–1875)
  2. Anna Catherina Brauer Faulwell (1878–1939)
  3. Adaline Marie Brauer Page (1883–1956) buried in Smithton, MO
  4. Clara Augusta Brauer Eichholz (1885–1940) buried in Smithton, MO
  5. Christian Henry Brauer (1887–1976)
  6. Aubrey William Brauer (1893–1936)
  7. Helen A. Brauer Bremer (1901–1985)


Henry Brauer Family – not sure which one is Sena – or if she is pictured.  The text was not clear. Source: History of Morgan County 1833-1979, vol. 1, p. 312.



August Oehrke’s WWI Draft Registration Card, June 5, 1917.  While his wife’s name is not listed, it would have been Sena.

After Sena’s death August (1887-1972) married Frances Geminden (1898-1991) in 1925 and they had two children: Donald and Darlene (Ralph R. Thomas).  August served his country during WWI and worked at the Smithton Creamery.  He is buried with Frances in Highland Sacred Gardens in Sedalia, MO.

August and my grandpa Carl C. Siegel were friends.  They were born months apart, lived in the same town and were likely life-long friends. I wonder if the loss of their wives one year apart brought them together in grief and kinship.


Carl C. Siegel, August Oehrke, his sister Dora Oehrke & Emma Siegel, Carl’s sister
Carl C. Siegel & August F. Oerhke





Minnie Anna Catherine Bremer Bottcher (1892-1920) (Boetcher* or Boettcher*). *original German spelling variants

Minnie Bremer was born either on May 22, 1891, or 1892 to August and Helene “Lena” Kurtz Bremer.  Her gravestone says 1891, but other records differ.  According to church records, she was born in 1892 and baptized in the German Evangelical Church in Florence (St. John’s United Church of Christ) on July 3, 1892, as “Minna Anna Catherine Bremer.”

William Bottcher & Minnie Bremer marriage certificate

Minnie married William H. Ferdinand Bottcher (1893-1958) on January 27, 1916, and to this union four children were born:

  • Norman William (1917-1973)
  • twins Clarence Harold (1918-1993)
  • and Lawrence Harold (1918-1996)
  • Kalo Emil (1920-2004)

In January 1920, when the federal census was taken Minnie and William lived on the Florence & Smithton Road in Richland Township, Morgan County, MO.  They had three children and Minnie was pregnant with Kalo.  Three months after the census taker’s visit, Minnie gave birth to Kalo, and likely had a rough time with the birth as she died one week later.

At the same time, Minnie’s parents, August and Lena, lived in Florence next door to the William Tieman family on Columbia Street and four houses away from her grandparents Dietrich and Eulalia.  In the 1930 census, Kalo lived with August and Lena, his grandparents.

Following Minnie’s death, William Bottcher married Flora Anna Lemler on March 2, 1923.  William and Flora are buried in Memorial Park in Sedalia, MO.

Minnie’s Parents & Siblings:

August Bremer (1866-1939) was born in Hannover, Germany.  His father was Dietrich Bremer (1817-1900).  August’s mother Eulalia Catherine Siegel was born on May 10, 1826, in Rüscheid, Landkreis Neuwied, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.  She was baptized five days later, on May 15th in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rüscheid.  Her parents were Johan Ludwig Siegel and Anna Margaretha Kuhn, according to the baptismal record.  She died Nov 1, 1887, and is buried with her husband in the St. John’s United Church of Christ Cemetery.

Helene “Lena” Kurtz Bremer (1869-1948) was born in Florence to John Christian (1838-1921) and Anna Gertrude Bitzhoefer Kurtz (1848-1876).  John served with Benton Co. Missouri German Regiment in the Civil War in 1861.

August and Lena married in 1889 and had at least 8 children:

  • Harry R. (1890)
  • Minnie (1891-1920)
  • Clarence L. (1894)
  • Ida A. M. (1896)
  • Augusta C. Bremer Oehrke (1898-1994)
  • Lula S. (1901)
  • Amos Henry Harold (1903-1924), who died of septicemia after falling down an elevator draft and breaking his leg.
  • Elsie M. (1907)


The third young woman is Mary Virginia DeHaven.  If you read this blog you know her.  She is the Mary in RomaMaryGrace.

Mary Virginia DeHaven Siegel (1891-1919)

Mary Virginia DeHaven was born in Otterville, MO in January 1891 to Loomis Sweeten and Amanda Susan (Homan) DeHaven.  She married Carl C. Siegel on January 21, 1914 and started a family in their Syracuse, MO home.  Three boys soon followed: Carl (1915), Pete (1916) and Gene (1918).  The little family was happy.  Mary had attended the Baptist church Otterville with her parents, but in 1916 moved her membership to attend with Carl at the St. John’s United Church of Christ in Florence, MO.

America entered WWI in 1917, but while Carl was required to register for the draft, at thirty years of age and a family to support there was no reason to think he would be called to serve.  Then the influenza epidemic began sweeping the country in the fall of 1918, but again the family was spared.  That luck was not to last into 1919, however, when in the late spring both Carl and Mary were sick with the flu. On April 1, 1919, Mary Virginia lost her battle with influenza.  She was 29 years old. Mary is buried United Church of Christ Cemetery, Florence, MO.  Carl is buried with his second wife Roma Rasa in Memorial Park Cemetery, Sedalia, MO.  Mary’s parents and two brothers are buried in Otterville in the IOOF cemetery.

Mary’s obituary stated that she was “a dutiful daughter, a loving sister, a faithful wife and a well attendant at the house of worship.”

  • 1915 Jan 5        Birth, (son) Carl DeHaven Siegel, Syracuse, Morgan, MO
  • 1916 Oct 22      Birth, (son) Peter Vincent Siegel, Syracuse, Morgan, MO
  • 1918 Jan 18      Birth, (son) Eugene Allen Siegel, Syracuse, Morgan, MO
Carl and Mary Siegel with their boys Pete, Gene, and Carl

Mary had two brothers:

Ira Franklin DeHaven (1877-1959)

He was 22 years old when he married Anna E Wagenknecht on April 19, 1900.  They had a daughter, Doyne, born on Sept. 26, 1912.  The family lived in Smithton, Pettis Co, MO where he was self-employed as a farmer when Ira, age 41, registered for the WWI draft. His physical description was medium height & build. He had blue eyes & brown hair. Signed: Ira Franklin DeHaven.  On April 29, 1930, Ira age 52, & Anna, 56, they owned a home in Smithton, Pettis Co, MO with their daughter, Doyne, age 17.  Anna’s niece, Evelyn June Wagenknecht, age 7, lived with them. Ira was farming.  On April 4, 1940, Ira, age 62, & Anna, 66, lived in Smithton, Pettis Co, MO. He was a night watchman for an industrial company.  Later according to his death certificate, Ira was a detective for the Union Pacific Railroad in Kansas City.   Ira died from heart related problems on Dec. 25, 1959, at his home in Smithton. He had lived 82 years, 4 months, & 15 days. He wife, shown as Mrs. Anna E. DeHaven was the informant on his death certificate. He as buried on Dec. 27.

George Allen DeHaven (1879-1953)

He married Birdie S. Wagenknecht on Jan. 31, 1900. He was 20 years old, & she was 21.  On June 20, 1910, they lived in Richland, Morgan Co, MO. with his parents, Loomis & Amanda. George was 30 years old, & Birdie was 31. George was helping his father with the farming. His sister, Mary, age 9, was also a member of the household. The Federal Census record indicated that his mother had given birth to seven children & only 3 were still living.  George, age 39, and Birdie were living in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO on Sept. 12, 1918, when he registered for the WWI draft. He was working for the Kansas City Railways Company. His physical description was medium height, slender build, gray eyes, & black hair. Signed: George Allen DeHaven.  On Jan. 13/14, 1920, George, age 40, & Birdie, 40, lived in Kansas City Ward 13, Jackson Co, MO.  On April 15, 1930, George, age 50, & Birdie, 51, lived in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO. They owned a home valued at $5000. George was working as an operator for the Street Railway Co. George died in Riverside, Riverside County, CA on March 18, 1953.

Mary’s parents, Loomis and Amanda had four other children, all girls who did not survive:

  • Ruba May 1881 – 1 month, 9 days
  • Twins Hattie & Mattie
  • Hattie B 1882 18 Apr-3 Sep
  • Martha “Mattie” 1882 18 Apr- 31 Jun
  • Loubell 1886 3 Jul -22 Apr 1887


Today’s genealogy takeaways:

  • Researching in a small town can be very helpful, although sometimes frustrating when most families have intermarried and thus are related to each other somewhere down the line.
  • Add to the Eulalia Catherina Siegel to my research plan. She hails from the same town in Germany as my John Peter and the other John Peter.  She may be a sister or cousin.
  • Add Dietrich Bremer to my research plan. He was Eulalia’s husband and father of August Bremer.  He hailed from Hannover, Germany, where my Rasa grandparents lived.  They may have known each other or emigrated at the same time.

1 thought on “Three Young Women, Gone Too Soon”

  1. Uncle Ira and Aunt Anna lived next
    To us on our farm outside Smithton… they were both lovely people. We 3 kids used to visit with them a lot. There were grape vines between our places and a visit to them meant gathering a handful of Concord grapes and spitting out the seeds before we got to their house in the summer.
    I remember Dad saying Uncle Ira was not doing well in late December .. he broke the news to us that uncle Ira had died Christmas morning.. I remember how sad I was. I was 13…
    thanks for helping me remember this memory of two special people.

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