Boniface Frederick “Barney” Verheyen was born on 1 August 1871 and baptized on 6 August by his uncle and namesake, Fr. Boniface Verheyen, O. S. B., at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at 11th and Biddle in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the third child of Herman Verheyen and Mary Crancer/Kranzer. His baptismal sponsors were Thomas J. H. Moore and his aunt, Louisa Gamers. One of his older brothers died before Boniface was born and two other siblings of the nine children, died before they reached the age of two.

At the time of the 1880 census, Barney was attending school and living at 1516 Cass Avenue with his parents, three siblings and twice widowed grandmother, Bartholomea “Gaumers” [Gamers]. In the early 1880s, he moved with his parents to 5229 Conde in the College Hill section of north St. Louis. Following his oldest brother William, Barney was employed as a clerk at Simmons Hardware at 900 Washington Avenue in St. Louis in 1891 and 1892. On 23 November 1892, he married Anna Groh at Our Lady of Perpetual Help on 20th and Linton Avenue. He was working as a grocer at 2144 Adams Street when their first child, Mabel, was born on 11 April 1894.

In March 1895, Barney became a probationary patrolman for the St. Louis Police Department. The following April 1st, he became a permanent patrolman, which would begin a nearly forty-year career on the force. As of 5 July 1899, Barney resided at 2557A Herbert Street and worked in the Fifth District as a patrolman making $83.33 a month.

By 1900, he was working as a clerk at the Four Courts building, home of police headquarters. On 14 November 1900, while living at 4321 Linton Avenue, Barney and Anna were blessed with twins, Albert W. and Margaret Anna, who were baptized at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

During his time at police headquarters, Barney was in charge of missing persons from St. Louis and other cities. To try to find those people, he had to check the city morgue and potter’s field. He also sought employment for runaways and others referred to him. Before the advent of social service agencies, the police department partially filled that role.

In 1912, Barney was promoted to the newly created position of permanent Secretary of the Efficiency Bureau which administered tests and presented recommendations to the Police Board with a list of candidates for promotion. The promotion earned him an increase in salary from $1080 to $1500 a year. At the time, he was residing at 4318 Warne Avenue.

By 1921, Barney was secretary to the Judge-Advocate of the department. But by the end of November 1921, the Office of Judge Advocate was abolished and he was “promoted” to sergeant and assigned to the Angelica Street District. However, Barney did not receive a pay increase.

During his remaining years in the police department, Barney was assigned to various districts and responsibilities until he passed away on 19 February 1935 at the age of sixty-three. He was buried three days later at Calvary Cemetery. His wife Annie survived him by six years and was buried beside him.
(Information from church records, censuses, city directories, death certificates, and articles found in newspapers and journals)

Written by Joe Armour
July 2020

© 2020 St. Louis Genealogical Society


Barney Verheyen and Annie Groh Wedding
Barney Verheyen and Annie Groh on their Wedding Day
Photo in the collection of Joe Armour
Used with permission
Barney Verheyen, 1918
Barney Verheyen, 1918
Photo in the collection of Joe Armour
Used with permission

Return to St. Louis City/County Biographies.

Last Modified: 04-Feb-2021 16:56