Paul Family Memoirs
Written by Irene (Paul) Williams in 1981
John Frederich (1821-1867) and Engel nee Bromeyer (1835-1905)
John Frederich Paul immigrated to America about 1850, coming from Germany by way of New Orleans to St. Louis, where he worked at his trade as a brick and stone mason. He was well educated and soon became established in his trade. When land was offered for sale in Warren County, Missouri, he journeyed by horseback to inspect it, and purchased one hundred and twenty acres. He built a log/stone house on the land, near the site of a spring -- what we grandchildren knew as the "old place."
Engel Bromeyer was born in Germany, the eldest of three sisters. Nothing is known of her parents and family excepting that all her kin died at an early age; thus at the age of 15 she sold the small house and their possessions, and secured passage for herself and her two sisters on a passenger boat to America.
The boat they came on was a sailboat, which took them about three months to make the Atlantic crossing! Engel had a large round-top trunk, where she kept their food and few possessions. They were ill and disheartened when they finally landed in New York City. However, authorities were kind and helpful, and helped secure a place for the three girls to stay, and where Engel could also work as a housemaid. Thus being able to stay together, and saving their money, they finally were able to travel on to St. Louis, where they hoped to find some distant relatives. On their arrival in St. Louis, they again sought and found employment in a home where all three could work. Engel was a kitchen maid, and the middle sister an upper-room maid, and the youngest a baby-sitter! While working here, they met John Frederich Paul. Their families had known each other in Germany, and the resultant friendship culminated in John Frederich and Engel's marriage.
John Frederich and Engel were married about 1859-60. Their first home was a log cabin which he had built on his land in Warren County. Engel's two sisters soon also married -- one to John Beste and the other to Henry Berger, and they also lived in Warren County, within thirty miles of each other! All were pioneers and accumulated sizable farms and prospered. John Frederich also farmed, as well as working at his mason trade. He soon was able to buy another 80 acres about two miles away from their home -- in what was called the prairie. The farm was what we grandchildren came to know as "Grandma's home."
Grandfather J. F. Paul, due to an eye problem (which has been passed down to succeeding generations), served in the Missouri Home Guards during the Civil War. This service did take him away from home for long periods of time, and Grandmother stayed on the farm and took care of the home and the children.
Returning after the War, Grandfather bagan to build a new house on his newly purchased land (on the prairie). This was to be a pretentious home for that day -- with full two stories, frame, with many windows and doors. He built brick chimneys, and stoves were provided for heating and cooking instead of fireplaces, which they had used in the log cabin. They moved into the new home before it was quite finished. That first winter in the new home had much severe weather, and there was much sickness. Grandfather became ill that winter and did not regain his health, and died of pneumonia on September 20, 1867, at the age of 46. Photographs show that the home was a beautiful place and Grandmother kept it lovely, with the help of her children and hired help.
Their first child, Frederich George and his sisters Elizabeth and Mary, attended local public schools, and received a fair elementary education. They also attended confirmation school, and each one was confirmed in and became a member of the Strack's Church (Harmonie Evangelical Church, located five miles southwest of Wright City, Missouri).
Grandmother Paul later remarried and had two more children; but this marriage ended in divorce. She secured the restoration of her prior married name for herself and her children, thus both Henry and Bertha shared our Paul name.
As I remember Grandmother Paul, she was a small woman; but she had great character! Her hair was thick and black, which she proudly wore in braids entwined about her head. Her eyes were a piercing blue, and she wore neat dark dresses with aprons. She learned the ways of her neighbors, who were mostly English; and spoke English in her later years.
John Henrietta Meyer and Grandmother Meyer
I regret that I do not know more about my mother's family. I know that they did come from Germany, and that they spoke German mostly -- at least, that our Grandmother Meyer learned very little English. They did have a home and some land in western Warren County, Missouri, where Grandfather Meyer farmed and kept an orchard.
During the Civil War, Grandfather Meyer served in the Union Army. He returned safely, and resumed farming; however he soon met his death in an accident while cutting trees. Thus Grandmother Meyer was also left as a young widow with four children: Herman, Chris, William, and our mother Amalia Elise (Mollie).
These children attended the old Block School (which was located about three miles west of Warrenton) where there were classes in both English and German (mornings were devoted to reading German, and the afternoons to studying English). Going as far in this school as she could, Mother then enrolled at Central Wesleyan Academy at Warrenton, Missouri, where she worked in the dormitory for her board and tuition.
It was while she was studying at the Academy that she shared a room with Bertha Paul. As a result they became great friends; and as a result of visiting the Paul home, another friendship came about, which resulted finally in our parents' marriage! Bertha was a bridesmaid!
Frederich George and Amalia Elise nee Meyer
Young Frederich (our father) grew up on the "prairie farm house" that we knew as "Grandma's home." After his schooling and working on his mother's farm, he was able to buy a farm near that of his mother. He married our mother on September 4, 1895, and they made their home on that farm with it's story and a half log house. They later built a six-room frame building, which was home for all twelve of us children, located five miles southeast of Wright City.
As I remember my parents from those earlier days, my father was dark and handsome. Mother was a beautiful woman! She was tall, but fragile with large violet-blue eyes, and her hair was a burnished brown. Her fair coloring and her sweet smile made her a lovely and gracious woman! Indeed, she never lost that beauty!
Mother's life came to an early end untimely end in 1928 when, in the early fall, she became ill for the first time in her life. Although she sought medical care, she could not recover; and so died on December 23, and was buried on December 26th at Wright County, MO.
Mother had just passed her 53rd birthday -- so hers was a short life, but it was also a full one. In addition to mothering twelve children and working on the farm, mother was well-read, and kept abreast of the times. In fact, she was ahead of most women of her day, especially in that she believed in Woman's Suffrage. She was one of the first to cast her vote in 1920! She loved life, and gave her all for those she loved. She firmly believed that everything happened for the best; and her faith never weakened or faltered. She was greatly admired and held in high regard by everyone.
When I think of my early years, I now wonder how we did survive; but we did! Our father and mother worked hard and long to provide the necessities of life for us. Mother was a gifted woman, who was able to make a real home for us. She could sew lovely clothes! I can remember yet the pretty dresses she wore, and also the ones she made for us. They not only saw that we older children got our schooling at the Oakdale Elementary School, but also that some of us went on to study at the Central Wesleyan Academy.