Anna was born on 4 August 1890 in Crimmitschau, Saxony, Germany, to Friedrich Albert Viertel and Christiane Friederike Naumann.

Sometime in 1893, three-year-old Anna Louise Viertel was kidnapped by her neighbors, the Voelkers, who had no children of their own and they wanted Anna. They did very thorough planning. One day as they were babysitting they took her to America. They settled as a family on a farm outside Livermore, Pennsylvania. In 1911, the Voelkers made arrangements with Joseph Broleman to marry Anna in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Some years after they were married, Joseph told Anna the truth about the Voelkers and explained that her real parents were the Viertel family back in Germany. He helped her find a connection to her family and she learned she had four sisters and a deceased brother. Anna wanted to go to Germany to meet her real family and made it as far as New York before returning to St. Louis. She communicated with her sisters regularly and sent them Care packages during World War II.

An early residence for Anna was at 142 East Big Bend, Kirkwood, Missouri. In 1935, she lived in St. Louis where she later owned the Yaeger property valued at $3,000. The 1940 census showed Anna Broleman, age 49, the head of household, living at 5040 Yaeger.

After her son Walter’s children were born and Jack broke his arm falling from a second story window, Grandma Anna told Walter he should move his family from the DeTonty flat where they were living in the City of St. Louis out to the log cabin and farm on Yaeger Road. At some point about this time, a house in Kirkwood was given to her son, Jerome.

Anna developed colon cancer and avoided going to the doctor for a diagnosis. By the fall of 1974 she was moved to Rock Hill Nursing Home where she died several months later at the age of eighty-four. Her death certificate attributed her death on 7 January 1975 to congestive heart failure, arteriosclerotic heart disease, and organic brain syndrome. Her wake was held at John L. Ziegenhein & Sons at 7027 Gravois Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, and she was cremated at Hillcrest Abbey, St. Louis, on 8 January 1975.

Submitted by Judy Broleman
June 2020
© 2020, St. Louis Genealogical Society

Anna Viertel Broleman
Anna (Viertel Voelker) Broleman
Photo in the collection of Judy Broleman
Used with permission

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Last Modified: 04-Dec-2020 14:54