Biography: Frank Xaver Drexl (1856-1929)

By Don Taylor

Absent other sources, I usually trust the 1900 Census as being the most accurate for the date because it provides both a month/year and age for the individual. In the case of Frank Xaver Drexl the 1900 Census record shows his birth as Dec 1857 and his age as 42.

screen shot of Frank Drexl's Birth information i- 1900 Census
Frank Drexl’s Birth information i- 1900 Census

A very close look at his age suggests that it once said his age was 43 and was “corrected” to read 42. I set his birth year as 1857 based upon this record. However, all the other census records I found were inconsistent with that date. In the 1910 Census he was 53; in the 1920 Census, he was reported as 63. Even the 1885 Census suggested the birth year of 1856. After finding every other record I could find for him indicated his birth in 1856, I decided to change my records to indicate an 1856 birth.

Reminder to self: Don’t become so attached to a bit of information and be unwilling to change something when presented with alternate evidence.

Darling/Drexl Project  2017 – Ancestor #12

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Nicholas Edward Drexl
  • 1st Great-grandfather: Frank Xaver Drexl
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: Matthias Drexl[i]

Frank Xaver Drexl (1856-1929)

Birth

Frank Xaver Drexl was probably born on 3 December 1856 in Dünzelbach, a municipality in the district of Moorenweis in the Bavarian county of Fürstenfeldbruck.[ii] The 1910 and 1920 Census records both confirm his birth in Bavaria in 1856.

Marriage

Some researchers indicate that Frank Xaver Drexl married Ursula Eggert on 25 Oct 1881 in Petzenhausen, Bavaria. I think an 1879 or 1880 marriage is just as likely. Their eldest known son, Nicholas Edward Drexl was born in November 1881 only a month after the other researcher’s suggested date.  Also, the 1900 and 1910 Census records indicate the couple had been married for 20 and 30 years respectively suggesting an 1879 or 1880 marriage date.

Adulthood

The 1900 Census shows the heartbreak the family had to have experienced. According to the Census, Ursula had had 12 children, only 8 of whom were still living and the 1910 Census indicated 13 children with nine still living.

We know of the following children:

Children: Sex Birth Age Gap
Nicholas Edward Drexl M Nov 1881 Germany Eldest
Christina Drexl F Apr 1882 – Germany 5 Months – Impossible **
Francis T Drexl F Aug 1886 – Illinois 4 years, 4 months *
Katherine Drexl F Oct 1888 – Kansas 2 years, 2 months
Marie Drexl F Nov 1890 – Kansas 2 years, 1 month
Joseph Peter Drexl M 22 Jan 1893 – Minnesota 2 years, 2 months
Charles Mathias Drexl M 30 Nov 1894 – Minnesota 1 year, 7 months
Frank J Drexl M 16 Sep 1899 – Minnesota 4 years, 10 months *
Anthony John Drexl M 18 Apr 1902 – Minnesota 2 years, 7 months
1st Unknown Drexl ? (Probably about 1884) Bef. 01 Jun 1900
2nd Unknown Drexl ? (Probably about 1896) MN Bef. 01 Jun 1900
3rd Unknown Drexl ? Bef. 1900
4th unknown Drexl ? Bef. 1900

* The age gap between Christina and Francis suggests that one of the missing children was probably born about 1884 about the time of their immigration to the United States. Another gap between Charles and Anthony suggests that another of the missing children was probably born about 1896. The other two would be pure speculation as to possible birth dates.

** The 1900 Census indicates that Nicholas was born in 1881, however, the 1895 Minnesota Census indicates that Nicholas was likely born in 1880. If so that would put the cap between him and Christina 1 year 5 months.

Immigration

The family came to the United States from Germany in 1884 and located in Illinois where Francis was born.[iii]

Move to Kansas

By 1888, they had relocated to Kansas where Kate and Mary were born.[iv]

Another Move – This time to Minnesota

By 1892 the family located to Minnesota.[v] Where they lived until his death in 1929.[vi]

Wright DeCoster Ad

The 1895 Census indicates Frank with Ursula and five children living at 258 Custer Street in Saint Paul’s 6th District, Ramsey County, Minnesota.[vii] This location appears to have been renamed because there is no longer a Custer Street in Saint Paul. However, Frank was working as a Cabinetmaker at De Coster & Clark which was at 375-379 Jackson Street, Saint Paul. Frank worked for them, and Wright De Coster until at least 1926 and probably until his death.

The 1900 Census and 1900 city directory show the family still on Custer Street.[viii]

By 1910 the family had located to 46 East Robie.[ix] Again, that location appears to be gone. It is probably now a baseball field that is part of El Rio Vista Recreational Center.

 

35 Isabel, Saint Paul, MN

By 1920, Frank had purchased a house at 35 West Isabel, Saint Paul.[x] Both Realtor and Zillow dot com indicate the house at 35 West Isabel was built in 2001. However, it appears to be a house much earlier than that.  The 1910s seems quite possible based on the architecture.

Frank Xaver Drexl died on 04 Nov 1929 in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.  I have not been successful in finding a burial location for him.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Find Frank Xaver Drexl’s immigration record.
  • Find Frank Xaver Drexl’s Naturalization record.
  • Research Frank Xaver Drexl’s death records.

Endnotes

[i] Based entirely upon other individual’s public trees. See: Ancestry Family Trees, Ancestry.com, M A Heintz Family Tree – Owner: mavendegna. https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/30918613/person/430043963958/facts.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] 1900 Census (FS), Family Search, Frank Drexl – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota – Sheet 8. Accessed: 26 July 2016. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M93F-NM2.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Minnesota State Census, 1895, Family Search, Drexl, Frank – St. Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. Accessed: 27 July 2016.

[vi] Minnesota Death Index, 1908­-2002, Family Search, Frank K. Drexl – 4 Nov 1929. Accessed 18 May 2017. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V4H-V­45.

[vii] Minnesota State Census, 1895, Family Search, Drexl, Frank – St. Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. Accessed: 27 July 2016.

[viii] 1900 Census (FS), Family Search, Frank Drexl – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota – Sheet 8. Accessed: 26 July 2016. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M93F-NM2.

[ix] 1910 Census (FS) (NARA), Family Search, Frank Drexl – St Paul Ward 6, Ramsey, Minnesota, ED 84, Sheet 2B, Line 70. Accessed 18 May 2017. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2PC-18Z.

[x] 1920 Census (FS), Frank Drexel (Drexl) – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. Accessed 18 May 2017. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW19-J77.

A Genealogist’s Nightmare or a Census Taker’s Confusion?

Four Mary Stoeger’s in the 1900 Census.

It was hard for me to tell if I was looking at an ‘80s sitcom or if the 1900 Census was true. I kept thinking, “Hi, I’m John Stoeger, and this is my wife Mary, and this is my daughter Mary, and this is my other daughter, Mary. Oh, by the way, this is my other daughter, Mary.  Yes, the 1900 Census shows that John’s wife and three of his daughters are all named “Mary.” Either the census taker got it all mixed up or there are several stories to uncover suggested by this census record. I needed to figure out which.

John Stoeger is my wife’s half-aunt’s grandfather.  Not a direct ancestor to my wife, but still a person of interest.  I wanted to see if I John really had three daughters named Mary.

Other records indicate that John’s children immigrated about 1885, so they aren’t going to be in the 1880 Census (and they weren’t).  The Minnesota 1895 census does show John, but that census shows no information about his children.  I couldn’t find in him the 1910 Census so, I thought that I might be at a wall of some sort.  Then I found him, Johann Stoeger in a 1908 wills and probate records on Ancestry. Sure enough, this Johan had a daughter Hattie Drexel (Hedwig Drexl) and the ages of the other children all fit my 1900 John Stoeger family.

The first “Mary” was Barbara.

The second “Mary” was Marie.

The third “Mary” is still unknown but appears to have died between 1900 and 1908.  That is because in 1900 Mary, the mother, had eleven children, six of whom were living. The 1908 probate records show five of the six children living.

I was a little but surprised to see that John (Johann) and three of his children had all moved to Stillwater. So, I wondered if I had the wrong John Stoeger; however, I became certain that It was the right John Stoeger when I saw that the estate included property on Water Street in Saint Paul, where he lived during the 1900 Census and one of his daughters was Hattie Drexl. Everything fit into place.

Finally, that third Mary child, I suspect was actually John Stoeger, Jr.  I haven’t proven it to my satisfaction, yet, but I’m pretty sure I am right. I need to do a little more research on John Jr. to prove it. I think the Census taker was a bit confused.


Sources:

  • 1900 Census (A), John Hoeger [Stoeger] – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota, Ward 6, ED 0105, Page 15B.
  • Minnesota, Wills and Probate Records, 1801-1925, Ancestry.com, Johann (John) Stoeger – Page 1517

 

 

 

 

 

Scheffer Elementary School, Saint Paul, Minnesota

 My Life, My History, My Schools
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor circa 1955.
“Donnie” (Larson) Taylor  circa 1955

I’m not positive why we moved from Hastings to Saint Paul, MN. I know that my mom was working as a nurse’s aide when we lived in Hastings and she was working for another hospital when we lived at the Capital Apartments in Saint Paul. I think she was a nurse’s aide at Gillette State Hospital for Crippled Children, but I’m not positive. My grandmother was working at the time also, but I don’t recall where.  I think it might have been a laundry. My mom took a bus to work every day and I believe my grandma walked.  The two of them tried to make sure one of them was home whenever I was home.

My Memories

Photo of Sylvia Larson (later Matson) in nurse's uniform - circa 1955
Sylvia Larson (later Matson) in nurse’s uniform – circa 1955

I don’t remember any great excitement about my first day in school when I began kindergarten at Scheffer Elementary. It was just something that a kid did. I do remember that the school was nearby, maybe three blocks away or so. I also remember it had a huge playground but there was something dark and foreboding about the school building itself. Of course, I walked to school. On most days, I walked with other children from the apartment building I lived in; sometimes I walked with kids from the buildings nearby. I don’t recall ever having a parent walking me to school. I don’t recall school crossing guards or anything like that. Kids just sort of took care of themselves in the mid-1950s.

That winter, somehow, I attracted the attention of a bully named Cynthia. I didn’t do anything to her, but in true bully fashion, she began rubbing my face in the snow whenever she saw me.  I was in kindergarten and she was in second or third grade. Much bigger than I was. I grew afraid of Cynthia. She was the bane of my existence. I told my mother and my grandmother about it, but they both worked and neither were about to intercede. They talked with one of the neighbor kids, a fifth grader I think, who agreed to keep an eye out for me and step in if I was getting picked on.  I think that worked for a while, but then I was walking somewhere alone and Cynthia spied me. She rubbed my face in the snow again. I came home cold and wet, the tears and melted snow indistinguishable on my face.  I had been taught by my mom and grandma to never, never ever, hit a girl.  My grandmother told me that this girl, who was acting like a bully and like a boy, needed to be responded to like she was a boy. She gave me permission to smack her. A few days later Cynthia saw me again, knocked me down and began mushing my face into the snow.  I round-housed her with a big one in the face. She stopped for an instant, surprised, even shocked, then her face turned to anger. I had really angered her. I think I got the worst “snow mashing” of my life that day. She ground my face into the snow and ice with all her might. The good news is, however, that was the last time she pushed my face in the snow. I saw her many times before spring arrived and the snow piles vanished, but she left me alone after that.

Scheffer Elementry School

Photo of Scheffer Elementary School - Saint Paul, MN
Scheffer Elementary School – Saint Paul, MN

Scheffer Elementary was an old, forbidding beast of a school when I attended it in 1955. It was built about 1900 and felt old. It had large windows with a top portion that could be opened to provide ventilation in the summer. But in the winter, the windows were drafty beyond belief. I remember two floors but I don’t remember a top floor containing dormers. Scheffer was built without a gym, as was typical in its day, but did have a large playground outside. That playground was Como Playground, which was the first city playground created in 1903.  Before Como Playground, parks were typically public squares and not active places for children. I only attended Scheffer for the one Kindergarten year, so I don’t have many recollections but, looking at photos activated a memory. Scheffer Elementary was demolished in 1970 and replaced by a Scheffer Recreation Center.

Other people recall the school’s bell as being significant. I don’t recall it. The school’s bell has been preserved and is now in the current Scheffer Recreation Center. The center of today has a baseball field, two softball fields, the center building housing indoor facilities.

A Memory Activated – Baking!

Photo of Kiindergarteners learning bread baking, Scheffer Elementary - c. 1950
Learning to bake bread at Scheffer Elementary

While I was researching Scheffer Elementary School I ran across an amazing photo that triggered memories. The photo was a St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer Press photo from 1950 of kindergarteners at Scheffer Elementary learning about baking bread. I saw the photo and gasped out loud, “Wow! I remember that.” I remember the tall paper chef hats and making bread. Before I saw that photograph, I would not have remembered when or where it happened but I would have remembered having had a very similar experience. It is so fantastic to see the photo.  Thank you, Minnesota Historical Society, for allowing the photo to be shared.

The Future

Plan for next generation recreation center.

The City of Saint Paul is planning and designing a new Scheffer Recreation Center to replace the existing 1970’s building. Yikes! Talk about something making you feel old.  Not only has my first school been demolished and replaced, that replacement building is undergoing replacement and should be gone in the next couple years.  It is so ironic that the next generation Scheffer Recreation Center, planned for 2018-2019 will have a gymnasium, a walking track, and other sports features that the original school did not have.

Further Research

Research the Capital Apartments that were behind the Capital during the 1950s. 

Sources

  • Internet: Saint Paul // Departments // Parks & Recreation // Design & Construction / Current Projects // Scheffer Recreation Center Project – (see: https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/parks-recreation/design-construction/current-projects/scheffer-recreation-center-project – accessed 23 Jan 2017.  Also see CAC Meeting #2 Presentation
  • Internet: Saint Paul HistoricalKindergarten children baking bread at Scheffer School – ID: 433. – Date: 1950 – Image courtesy Minnesota Historical Society.
  • Internet: Saint Paul HistoricalScheffer School – ID: 431 – Date: c. 1900 – Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society.
  • Photos of “Donnie” and “Sylvia” are from the “Don Taylor personal photos collection.” Photographer unknown.