21 January 2017

Anna Julia Fiegenbaum

1857 — 1942

Glimpses of Her Life

My ancestors were for the most part ordinary, "average" folk. They spent much of their time at daily labor. When their education extended beyond rudimentary instruction, there was probably little opportunity or incentive to leave a written record of their thoughts and actions. Certainly such ephemeral documents have not become readily apparent to me in my research; too many of them appear not have survived the passage of time.

Discovering the inner life of a woman has proven to be even more complicated. A female's individual identity was often hidden by her relationship to a man. The early part of her life was spent as "the daughter of" someone. After marriage, she became "the wife of" someone else. Her public identity was subsumed under her husband's surname.

In my youth I was amused and baffled by newspapers serving small towns and rural communities which published short notices of who had dinner with whom; who visited; who travelled; who was sick. The practice has gained wide-spread popularity today in many of the postings to global, online, social networks.

At this point in my life, I find some value in these too-brief snippets from the lives of my 19th century family members. They provide a small, feeble light among the veiled shadows where these people hide from my prying eyes. Perhaps in time I will also learn to appreciate that someone thought to inform me that 27 minutes ago they had ordered a mocha latté.

Anna Julia Fiegenbaum never married, unlike most of the women in my extended family. To trace her in her adult life, I do not first have to discover the name of her husband. And fortunately, digital copies of the local newspaper, The Holt County Sentinel, are readily available online. It requires only time and patience on my part to catch a glimpse of Anna and to learn some things about her life I would not have thought likely.

As the small sample of reports on this page show, Anna frequently visited family and friends. She appears to have been aware of and in contact with members of her extend family. She attended soirées and musical entertainments. She was active in her church. Anna travelled, sometimes to great distances and for extended periods of time.

The newspaper accounts also impart information by what they do not report. Federal census enumerations and other records indicate that Anna Julia resided at St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri from the 1870s. She is often found in the household of her parents. After their death, she was a companion to her sister, Anna Maria - known as Mary - until Mary's death in 1937. Mary lost her eyesight at the age of 10. The Holt County Sentinel, of Oregon, Holt County, Missouri, occasionally published the poetry she wrote, but her name does not otherwise appear in its pages. Anna Mary apparently did not live the public and the social life that her sister clearly had.

During the time period represented by the clippings on this page, Anna Julia Fiegenbaum lived at St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri. It is located about 22 miles as the crow flies southwest of the city of Oregon, Holt County, Missouri, the seat of The Holt County Sentinel. One of the owners and publishers of the newspaper was Thomas Curry, the husband of Anna Julia's sister, Christine Wilhelmina "Mina" Fiegenbaum.


Newspaper notice that after resting for one year, Anna Fiegenbaum was returning to her former job at a dry goods store and ready to resmue servicing her patrons.

Source: The Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Missouri); Friday, 2 September 1887; page 4, columns 3-4.

Digital copies accessed through Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (The Library of Congress) in December 2011.

Anna was 30 years old at when this notice appeared in the local newspaper announcing that she was returning to her former position at Townsend and Wyatt Company, a prominent retail dry goods establishment at St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri.

I have not yet discovered what would have prompted her to rest for a year. While her father was serving as pastor at Sedalia, Missouri from 1886-1889, his health began to fail. It is possible, but not confirmed, that Anna may have joined her parents to help run their household for a portion of their stay in Sedalia.


Epworth League Convention.

The district convention of the Epworth league, for the St. Joseph district, will convene in this city at the M. E. church on Friday evening, Nov. 23, and continue in session over Sunday.  Following is the

Program

Friday Evening, November 25.

  • 7:00.     Song Service, Rev. L. T. Monett
  • 7:30.     Address of Welcome, Miss Minnie Rostock.   Response, District President.  Sermon, Rev. E. B. Lytle, Maryville.

Saturday Morning, Nov. 26.

  • 8:30.     Devotional Services, Rev. C. A. Field.
  • 9:00.     Organizational and Minute Business.
  • 9:30.     Paper, "The Epworthian's Study of the Bible," Miss Lillie Frisby.
    Paper, "Importance of Junior League Work," Miss Anna Fiegenbaum.
  • 10:30.    Sermon, "The Highest New Testament Standard of Experience and Life," Rev. J. W. Stokesbury, Fairport.
  • Roll Call and Reports.

Saturday Afternoon.

[and so forth through Sunday Evening, November 27.]

Source: The Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Missouri); Friday, 25 November 1898; page 4, column 8.

Digital copies accessed through Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (The Library of Congress) in November 2011 at:
(http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90061417/1898-11-25/ed-1/seq-4/)

Anna was 41 years old when this was published. Her father, retired since 1889, had been a prominent clergyman in the German Methodist Episcopal Church, serving in many locations as a pastor and/or presiding elder. It seems clear that Anna was also active in the church. This convention in Oregon, Missouri, was not the only out-town event she attended on behalf of the church.

I have added the emphasis to the Program in order to highlight the paper Anna Julia Fiegenbaum was to present on Saturday morning.


Miss Anna Fiegenbaum having returned from spending the summer in California and Oregon, has accepted a position as general saleslady with the firm of Lehman Bros., 515 - 517 Felix Street, St. Joseph, Mo., where she will be pleased to meet all her friends.  Mail orders a specialty.

Source: The Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Missouri); Friday, 6 September 1901; page 4, column 4.

Digital copies accessed through Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (The Library of Congress) in December 2011 at:
(http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90061417/1901-09-06/ed-1/seq-4/)

Anna was 44 years old when this was published. The Oregon mentioned was no doubt the state located on the west coast of the country and not the nearby city of Oregon in Holt County, Missouri, which Anna was known to visit frequently to see friends and family members.

  Mail orders a specialty.  Could this have been the beginning of Amazon.com?


Miss Anna Fiegenbaum, of St. Joseph, accompanied by her cousin, Mrs. Mary Katz, of Evansville, Ind., were here for a few days last week, the guest of her sister, Mrs. Mina Curry.

Source: The Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Missouri); Friday, 22 August 1902; page 8, column 2.

Digital copies accessed through Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (The Library of Congress) in December 2011 at:
(http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90061417/1902-08-22/ed-1/seq-8/)

Mrs. Mina Curry, of this city, accompanied by her sister, Miss Anna Fiegenbaum, of St. Joseph, are visiting with relatives in Quincy, Ills, and St. Louis, Mo.

Source: The Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Missouri); Friday, 17 October 1902; page 8, column 3.

Digital copies accessed through Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (The Library of Congress) in November 2011 at:
(http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90061417/1902-10-17/ed-1/seq-8/)

Anna was 45 years old when these two items were published. I have not been able to discover how Mary Katz fits into the family history. "Mrs. Mina Curry" was Anna's sister, Christina Wilhelmina Fiegenbaum, who, in 1885, had married Thomas Curry, one of the owners and publishers of The Holt County Sentinel of Oregon, Missouri.


On Saturday evening, Jan. 17, 1914, Miss Anna Fiegenbaum, of St. Joseph, Mo., entertained her nieces and nephews at her home, 1123 North 5th street, in honor of her niece, Miss Anna Curry, a January bride.  The evening was spent in a very pleasant manner - music and song and light refreshments - also an unforecasted shower of kitchen utensils.  Those present were: Mr. and Mrs. A. H. B. Steinmetz, Mr. and Mrs. Thos. E. Arnhold, Mrs. O. H. Mills and children, Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Weary, Mr. and Mrs. Geo H. Steinmetz, Mr. and Mrs Edw. A. Zimmermann, Miss May Neudorff, and Miss Mary Zook, of Oregon, Mo.  Regrets having been sent by her nephew and niece, Mr. and Mrs. E. Parsells, of Louisville, Ky., and the Misses Helen and Clara Fiegenbaum, of Chicago, Ills.

Source: The Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Missouri); Friday, 30 January 1914; page 5, column 3.

Digital copies accessed through Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (The Library of Congress) in November 2011 at:
(http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90061417/1914-01-30/ed-1/seq-5/)

Anna Helen Curry married Jonathan Johnson Rayhill on 31 January 1914 at Oregon, Holt County, Missouri. Her mother was Christina Wilhelmina "Mina" (Fiegenbaum) Curry (Anna Julia Fiegenbaum's sister); her father was Thomas Curry, the publisher of The Holt County Sentinel.

This event hosted by Aunt Anna, age 56, was not the only one celebrating the upcoming wedding. The third column of this page of The Holt County Sentinel, under the titled "Society," contained five additional notices of parties and soirées held between January 17 and January 26 at which Miss Anna Curry was the guest of honor.

Among Miss Curry's cousins attending the party were nearly all of the married children of Johann Carl Conrad & Caroline "Carrie" Katherine (Fiegenbaum) Steinmetz:

The only sibling from this family who did not attend was Emma Theodore (Steinmetz) Parsells and her husband, Earle DeForest Parsells, of Louisville, Kentucky.

"Miss May Neudorff" is very likely Clara May Neudorff, daughter of Frederick Franklin & Lizette Clara (Fiegenbaum) Neudorff.

"Miss Mary Zook" was the daughter of Charles Daniel & Emma D. (Curry) Zook. Emma was a sister to Thomas Curry, Miss Anna H. Curry's father.

The "Misses Helen and Clara Fiegenbaum, of Chicago, Ills." were Helen Mary and Clara Marguerite Fiegenbaum, daughters of George Adolph and Anna Birdsall (Bradrick) Fiegenbaum. The family had been living in the Oklahoma Territory when George, a physician, became seriously ill. Following his death in 1896, his wife and daughters moved to Chicago to be nearer other members of the Bradrick family.

I am not able to identify "Mr. and Mrs. Edw. A. Zimmermann."

There are addtional documents and photos listed below for a number of the people mentioned here.


Miss Anna J. Fiegenbaum, of St. Joseph, Sundayed in Oregon with her sister, Mrs. Tom Curry.

Source: The Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Missouri); Friday, 29 August 1919; page 4, column 2.

Digital copies accessed through Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (The Library of Congress) in November 2011 at:
(http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90061417/1919-08-29/ed-1/seq-4/)

Anna was 62 years old when this was published.

As if you did not already know by now, the Oregon mentioned here is not the state on the west coast of the continent. It refers to Oregon, Holt County, Missouri, home of Anna Julia Fiegenbaum's sister, Christina Wilhelmina "Mina" (Fiegenbaum) Curry. Her husband was Thomas Curry, the publisher of The Holt County Sentinel. Anna J. Fiegenbaum lived at St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri, about 22 miles as the crow flies southwest of the city of Oregon.

Brief Genealogy

Anna Julia Fiegenbaum's family

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