A brief look at my wife’s aunt’s grandfather – Nicholas Edward Drexl

 Darling/Drexl Line

In May, I was visiting family in Michigan and had the opportunity to get to know my wife’s aunt much better. While I was there, we chatted about genealogy (surprise, surprise) and I learned she didn’t know much about her maternal grand-grandfather, Nicholas Edward Drexl. (She and my wife’s mother share a common father but different mothers.) My wife’s aunt knew her grandfather was born in Germany, lived in Saint Paul, MN and Saint Louis, MO, and died before she was born. While I was there, I helped her learn a few more things, thanks to the Ancestry App, but, I knew I really wanted to help her learn a lot more.

After I returned home and had a chance take the time to research Nicholas’s life, I quickly learned that he was born in Germany and came to the US as a child. As is so often the case, one fact leads to two new questions. In this case, I knew he immigrated and was naturalized; the questions arose in my mind, exactly when and on what ship did he immigrate. I did learn that his naturalization was the result of his being a minor when his father became a citizen, but, I’ve been unsuccessful proving when and where that occurred. (Naturalization records often provide detailed birth information, so I might learn exactly where in Germany the family came from.)

I’ve searched, and searched, and searched to no avail. So, those questions are still out there and I’m sure I’ll find the answer someplace, but it will just have to wait until I have more time. I did learn a lot about Nick Drexl’s life though.

Nicholas E. Drexl (1880-1939)

Nicholas E. Drexl was born in Germany on 29 November 1880[1] to Frank Xaver and Ursula (Eggert) Drexl. He is the oldest of the known children of Frank and Ursula. However, it is possible that he had one older sibling. The 1900 Census provides clues to many facts. First of all, it identifies that Ursula had had 12 children, 8 of whom were living. It also indicates that they had been married for 20 years. If that is the case his parents were married between June 1879 and June 1, 1880. That would have left a 17 to 29-month gap between his parent’s marriage and his birth; enough time for there to have been an older sibling who died as a child.

Looking at the children of Ursula, there were two large gaps where children could have been born and could have died before the 1900 census was enumerated.

Child
Birth
Place Born
Time
Nicholas
29 Nov 1880
Germany
17 Months to Christina
Christina
Apr 1882
Germany
52 Months – One certainly, two likely.
Francis
Aug 1886
Illinois
22 Months to Katie
Katherine
Oct 1888
Kansas
25 Months to Mary
Mary (Marie)
Nov 1890
Kansas
26 Months to Joseph
Joseph
22 Jan 1893
St. Paul, MN
34 Months – One likely
Charles*
Nov 1895
St. Paul, MN
46 Months – One likely, two possible
Frank
16 September 1899
St. Paul, MN
Census 8 months later
Anthony
1902
Minnesota
Not applicable
* Minnesota Census of 1895 indicates Charles was six months old, (born Nov 1894) however, the 1900 Census indicates Charles was born in Nov 1895.

In any event, when Nickolas was about three-years-old (1884), he, his parents, and his sister immigrated to the United States[2]. Childhood must have been difficult. His parents were Germany speaking immigrants that were constantly on the move. We know he lived in the following locations as a child:

1884 – Germany
1886 – Illinois
1888 – Kansas
1890 – Kansas
1892 – Minnesota
1895 – Minnesota (St. Paul)
1900 – Minnesota

In 1900, his father was a cabinet maker and his mother was a jeweler[3]. It was probably during his childhood that he learned jewelry making from his mother, because he would be a jeweler during the rest of his life.

On 17 May 1904, Nick married Hedwig Frances Stoeger, who was also a German immigrant. Hattie, as she was known, had immigrated with her parents in 1885. They were married by Rev. Peter Schuririer, a Roman Catholic priest. The marriage was witnessed by George Bleckhinger and Frances Drexl (probably Nick’s sister Francis).

Their first child, Clarence T. was born eight and a half months later, on 31 January 1905.

Raymond F was born on 15 May, 1908.

595 Stryker Avenue, Saint Paul – Today
Photo via Google Maps

The 1910 Census shows the young family living at 595 Stryker Ave., Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. Living with Nick and Hattie is a 17-year-old niece of Nick’s. Her name was Marie T Markert. I haven’t determined exactly how she is related yet. Further research needs to be done on Nick and Hattie’s siblings to determine.Their daughter, Mary (possibly Marie), was probably born in 1917.

Sometime before 1918, the family moved to 604 Winslow Ave., Saint Paul. While there, Nick worked as a jeweler at E. Schmalz & Sons, 87 E. 6th St., Saint Paul. His draft registration card indicates that he was tall, medium build, gray eyes, and light hair.

In April, 1920, another daughter, Florence, was born.

The 1920 census-taker found the family still living at 604 Winslow Ave and Nick still working as a jeweler[4].

In 1926, the family moved to Saint Louis, Missouri.

Marker: Nicholas & Hedwig Drexl
Source: Find-a-Grave Memorial 50475159

The 1930 Census finds the Drexl family living at 2425 Coleman Street, Saint Louis. Living with Nick and Hattie is their son Clarence, Clarence’s wife (Ruth), and Clarence’s son, Donald. Also in the household is thirteen-year-old Marie and ten-year-old Florence.[5]

Nicholas Edward Drexl died on 13 October 1939[6]. He was buried on 17 October at Section 25, Lot 2212 in Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, Saint Louis, MO[7].

Further Actions:

Determine Immigration and Naturalization facts for Nick & family.
Search for records regarding unknown siblings of Nick.
Research the siblings of Nick and Hattie and determine the relationship of Marie T Markert who is a niece of Nick.

List of Greats

Frank Xaver Drexl

Contact

If you are related to Nicholas Edward Drexl, or anyone else in this Drexl line, my wife’s aunt and I would love to hear from you. Please contact us using the contact form below.

ENDNOTES

[1] Ancestry.com; U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918; Nick Edward Drexel (Drexl).
[2] The 1900 Census indicates 1884; the 1910 Census indicates 1888; the 1920 census indicates 1886.
[3] Family Search; 1900 Census; Frank Drexl; https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M93F-NM2
[4] FamilySearch.org; 1920 Census; Nicholas Drexl – St Paul Ward 6, Ramsey, Minnesota, United States; https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW1M-B3J
[5] Family Search; 1930 Census; Nick (Nicholas) Drexl; https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHVM-3MJ
[6] Ancestry.com; U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007; Nicholas Drexl

[7] Find a Grave; Nicholas E Drexl – Memorial# 50475159; http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=50475159;

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