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 Catherine Elizabeth <I>Meurer</I> Heidenfelder

Catherine Elizabeth Meurer Heidenfelder

Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Death 24 Sep 1968 (aged 85)
St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
Burial Farmington, St. Francois County, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID 27113834 · View Source
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Catherine Heidenfelder was born in Cologne, Germany, the daughter of Johanne Baldinghauser and Peter Meurer. When Catherine was 4 months old, her mother, father, and sister Johanna Sibylla, immigrated to the U.S. aboard the ship Zaanda from Germany and the Amsterdam Port. Peter was 30 years and Johanna was 29 years. Contrary to immigration records, Johanna Sibylla was 3 years, and Catherine was 4 months. They entered the country through CastleGarden, NY.

After arriving in St. Louis, Christina (Aunt Tennse), Pete (Ferdinand Peter) and John were born. The oldest child, Johanna, died at age 9 in 1889 from typhoid fever.

When Catherine was about 17 years old, she contracted "brain fever" (sleeping sickness). She slept for an entire year. When she finally woke, she had lost all memory of her childhood.

Catherine's brother Pete was friends with Paul Heidenfelder, and that's how Catherine Meurer and Paul Heidenfelder met. Catherine was actually 2 years older than Paul. They were married on April 17, 1907 at St. Bernards Church in St. Louis. This was incidentally, the second marriage that year for the Meurer family, as Christina Meurer married Matt Ewers in January of that year at the same church. In both cases, the wedding reception was held at the Meurer's home at 4116 Gratiot St.

St. Bernard's (St. Louis city) was established as a German national parish in 1874. The first church, build at 4019 Gratiot in an area then known as Rock Springs, was replaced in 1898 by a second edifice. St. Bernard's was closed in 1973. The building was razed for what is now known as I-64 (2009).

Catherine and Paul had their first child in 1910. By 1928, Catherine had given birth to 15 children. Three of these children, including a set of twins, died in their first year. The other 12 children survived to adulthood: Fentan, Johanna, Paul, Christine, Marie, Margaret (Dolly), Joseph (Bud), Catherine, Virginia, Bernard (Bernie), Norbert, and Robert. During these years, the family moved may times. Locations included Trenton, IL; Springfield, MO; Carlyle, IL; Maryland Heights, MO; St. Peters, MO; Pattonville, MO; and often back to St. Louis, MO.

As was typical in German immigrant families in St. Louis, the family spoke German at home. When WWI broke out, many Americans didn't trust Germans in America. During the War, the Heidenfelder family quit speaking German after a brick was thrown through their window with a note attached saying, "Germans go home!" From that day on, the children were ordered to speak only English for their own safety. However, every year until her death, Catherine delighted her children and grandchildren by singing "O Tannenbaum" (O Christmas Tree) in its original German language.

During World War II, four of Catherine's sons served in the military: Bud served in Navy and was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed; Paul served in the Navy aboard a destroyer escort warship; Norb served in the Marines at Peleliu and Okanawa; and Bernie served in the army with an army tank destroyer company on Leyte Island. It was on Leyte insland where Bernie was killed.

After the children were grown, Catherine and Paul moved to Farmington, MO where they lived in a small house next door to their daughter Johanna, and near their son Paul II. Paul was able to pursue his love of farming while in this home.

In 1957, Paul and Catherine celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. After Johanna died in 1963, and Catherine and Paul were getting older, Catherine was eager to move back to St. Louis to live near her other children. They lived in University City until Paul died in 1965. Catherine died 3 years later.

  • Created by: Katie
  • Added: 26 May 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 27113834
  • Katie
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Catherine Elizabeth Meurer Heidenfelder (23 Dec 1882–24 Sep 1968), Find A Grave Memorial no. 27113834, citing New Calvary Cemetery, Farmington, St. Francois County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Katie (contributor 47010886) .