Emma Hockemeyer Twelker family

Emma Hockemeyer Twelker family

Emma Charlotte Hockemeyer was born January 31, 1862 near Union, Missouri. She married John Christopher Twelker April 17, 1880. She died January 10, 1910 in New Haven, Missouri.

Husband John Twelker was born January 26, 1853 in Missouri, and died in 1938 in Glendale, California.

Wedding photos -- April 17, 1880
Emma Hockemeyer -- 1880
Emma Hockemeyer Twelker
John and Emma Twelker
John and Emma Twelker
John Twelker, 3 children, wife
John Twelker, Ed, Lilly, Marie, and wife Emma

Photos on this page provided by Phyllis Karsten who writes;

Notation on back of photo in Mother's handwriting: "The Twelker Family, Fulton Mo, Papa, Ed, Lilly, Marie, & Momma"

Date of photo unknown, possibly between 1889 and 1892. Notice the hems of the girls' pinafores with lots of growing space. I have a reprint from an 1873 Buttericks Pattern Book that shows skirts just like Ed's for little boys ages 2 to 6. Men's clothes were usually purchased ready made, but Momma probably sewed the garments for the rest of the family as all the women in the family were skilled seamstresses.

I have been struck by the strong Hockemeyer resemblance that has been handed down through the generations. Notice the eyes, nose and mouth of the three "women".

Emma Hockemeyer Twelker family
In 1899 the family attended the 50th wedding anniversary celebration for John Twelker's parents. This closeup was taken from that photo.

Back: Maria Hockemeyer, her daughter Emma Twelker who is holding her daughter Elsie

Middle: Emma's husband John Twelker holding daughter Esther, Ed Twelker (standing)

Front: Wilbur Twelker

The part with my mother in her mother's arms shows my grandmother looking so much like my mother looked at that age. As I never met my grandmother, this kind of startled me -- Those Hockemeyer genes!

Marie & Lilly
Marie & Lilly
The next photo is closeup of Marie and Lilly which was taken from the same group photo. There was about 23 years between the youngest and oldest child.

My mother used to tell about the "Gay Nineties" styles -- how the big thing was to have an eighteen inch waist. Aunt Lilly really has a tiny waist and has the appropriate pose for a belle of the times. It makes one wonder what her life would have been had she not had to assume the role of mother so early.

Elsie's story of the family

as told to her daughter, Phyllis Karsten.

(Mama is Elsie's mother, and Papa is her father.)

After Mama and Papa were married, they lived for a time in or near one of the family homes in Franklin County, Missouri. It is fuzzy in my mind now, but I remember Mother (Elsie) telling about her Papa having a business with his brother. My recollection is that it was a laundry, but as Papa was such a skilled carpenter and stone mason, it doesn't make sense. At any rate it seems there was a fire at the plant and afterwards the family moved to St. Louis. There is no date of the move, but the two notes written in 1886 to Mamma from her Uncle and her mother may have been relating to that move.

When Judy Garland appeared in the movie "Meet Me In St. Louis", Mother knew the theme song and the "Trolley Song", as they had been songs originally written for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. That was the first fair to be lit at night with electricity, and the trolleys were the main means of transportation in those days. At the age of 89 she could still remember the songs.

At the fair there was a village of aborigine Philippinos, the Igarotes. It captured the imagination of the Twelker family and they used to talk about it around the family circle at times. (Mother's) Uncle Walter missed the fair as he was too young to go. When he was feeling particularly put upon by life, he would wail, "And I didn't get to see the Igarotes!"

Trolleys were an important mode of transportation. (Mother's) Uncle Wilbur used to go out on dates with his friend, "Schmidt". On the way home on the trolley, they frequently fell asleep but the conductor knew their corner and would wake them. "OK, Schmidt and Twelker, time to get off". During baseball season crowds would jam the trolleys to go out to Cardinal Stadium for the ball games. That line went by the high school and Mother remembered how they would be so full that people would be hanging on the steps or wherever get a foot and hand hold could be found.

The famous Busch Breweries delivered beer around town with the huge wagons pulled by the teams of Clydsdales such as we see on TV. It was fascinating to Mother to watch them wheel and maneuver the wagons up to the loading docks and roll the barrels off. The workmen in the city used to send two of their boy helpers off with a ladder with lard buckets hung from the rungs. The boys would get the buckets filled with beer at a saloon and bring the drinks back to the men for their lunch refreshments.

Papa was a staunch Prohibitionist. When Mother got one of her frequent colds and Mama needed to concoct her home made cough syrup, Papa had to buy the wiskey that was one of the key ingredients. He patronized a grocery store that had a side door into a saloon, which was handy for him because he could slip in and not be seen by people on the street who might know him.

The house on Magnolia Street was purchased by Papa as a fixer upper. Mother was particularly proud that he tuck-pointed the brick work. This means that he chiseled out the excess mortar around all the bricks so the joints were nicely grooved. Mama took particular pride in her garden. One time someone from out of town came to visit. The visitor asked the postman down the street how to find the Twelker home. "Oh you go up the hill two blocks", he replied, "and in the middle of the block you will come to a house with a beautiful garden--that's the Twelker place."

The house had an entry foyer, kitchen, dining room, and a parlor down stairs. There were bed rooms on the second floor and a couple of dormer bed rooms on the third floor as well as attic space. The attic was used for hanging the laundry on the many rainy days they had in St. Louis. One time one of the grandmas came to visit. Wilbur and Ed were moved from their room on the second floor to sleep in one of the dormer rooms so Grandma could use their bed. During the night Wilbur had to get up to go to the toilet which was on the second floor. He was not fully awake and out of habit returned to his own bed. The next morning he awoke to discover he was sleeping with Grandma. Of course the rest of the family didn't let him live it down. Mother claims Wilbur was the clown of the family and was either the butt of jokes or performing antics to create havoc for Mama.

In the late summer or early fall, Papa would purchase several bushels of apples and the family would work together peeling, cooking and canning apple butter. Papa had a huge copper kettle that he hung over a fire in their back yard. This would be filled with the apples and stirred with a long wooden paddle.

Papa devised an extension so that the paddle could be worked without having to be too close to the hot, spattering juices. Mother hated the process. Even if the juice didn't spatter, the wind was always changing so that the smoke got in her eyes. It took a long time to cook the apples down to the proper consistency and it had to be continuously stirred to prevent scorching the butter. It was a tiring job at best. Mother never caught the spirit of the family activity that celebrated the autumn's apple harvest. From that time on she absolutely would not even taste apple butter.

Boys wore knee pants until they were considered men. It was a day of celebration when Ed, who worked for one of the big St. Louis fur companies, came to work in his first long pants. The men had to wear high starched or celluloid collars to work. As soon as they got home, they would take off their collars and often left them on the hall table. Mama didn't like this and when she spotted the collars not put away, would throw them down the cellar steps. The coal furnace was in the cellar and the collars would land in the coal dust and then need to be laundered. I don't know if this practice changed any habits, but Mother used to toss our out-of-place books in a similar manner.

As children, we used to pray for snow here in our California home. Mother's comment to that was, "You don't want snow, because after snow you get thaw and slush." One has only to look at the street in front of the Magnolia Street house to get an idea of what she meant.

Emma Twelker
Emma Twelker
Our Mother didn't like this picture. She said it didn't look like her mother, but I can see the resemblance to other photos of her.


When Mother was twelve, the family went to spend the Christmas holidays at their Grandparents Hockemeyer's farm in New Haven. During that trip her mother caught cold and developed pneumonia. In those pre-antibiotic days this could be a serious illness.

The children returned to St. Louis in the care of the older sisters, Lilly and Marie. Mother tells the touching experience of rushing home from school each day to find out if there had been any news from the farm. Lilly tried to reassure them, "If there is life there is hope'". On the last day, she saw Lilly standing on the front porch waiting for her, and she knew her mother had died. Once she told me that one of the boys called out to Mother in the middle of the night that Mama died--one of those extra sensory experiences?

From that time on Lilly and Marie assumed the duties of mother in raising the younger children and keeping house for Papa.

Translation of Obituary notice from Christliche Apologie:

Twelker, Emma Charlotte Twelker, (nee Hockemeyer) was born January 31, 1862 in Franklin County, Missouri. She loved the Savior since she was a child. In her fourteenth or fifteenth year she joined the Bishop's Methodist Church and led an exemplary life. On April 17, 1880 she married Brother Joh. Twelker and was blessed with nine children. One of them, in its fifth year, passed the mother into the home of the souls. In January she went with her husband and some of the children from her home in St. Louis to visit her parents and other relatives. Shortly after her arrival at her parents' house, Sister Twelker became ill and died January 10 in the joyful hope of eternal life. Her grieving husband, eight children, parents and eight brothers and sisters as well as other relatives and friends are mourning the departure of the one who fell asleep.

Leslie Mo. C.J. Lotz

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