Joseph Frank Zieger was born on 28 February 1884, the fourth of five children of Felix Zieger, 1849–1932, and Amelia “Emily” Brundick, 1855–1894.

By 1900, at the age sixteen, he had started his successful lifetime career as an independent contractor, providing interior house painting and wallpaper hanging services. At this time, interior walls were rough plaster, and heavy wallpaper was a great way to cover bumps and flaws, as well as add charm and personality to one’s home.

Louise’s widowed mother owned a two-family flat on 4159 Grove Street, in the City of St. Louis. Joseph rented one of the 900-square-foot units for himself and Louise.

Joseph and Louise Zieger had five sons.

    • Elmer Felix, born on 14 December 1913, died on 25 April 2003
    • Male Infant, born and died on 2 October 1916
    • Male Infant, born and died on 22 June 1918
    • Joseph Frank Jr., born on 30 April 1926, died on 5 December 1996
    • Donald Ross, born 11 February 1928, died on 23 September 2003

In 1919, Joseph was one of more than 300 independent painters and wallpaper hangers in the St. Louis City area. He did his labor during the daytime, and in the evenings, he armed himself with samples of wallpaper and an engaging personality to meet with potential customers. He maintained an office in his home for the business titled simply, Joseph F. Zieger, Paperhanger.

In 1925, thirty-nine-year old Joseph’s successful contracting business afforded him the ability to purchase a 2,800-square-foot, three-story, two-unit flat at 5185 Sullivan Avenue with a bathroom in each unit, a great luxury for the time. Joseph and Louise’s two youngest sons, Joseph Frank Jr and Donald Ross, were born within the next three years.

According to the 1930 census, the home on Sullivan Avenue was valued at $10,000. An honest contractor, Joseph worked hard to support his wife and sons, as well as his mother-in-law, sister-in law, and Louise’s orphaned niece.

By 1952, Joseph’s mother-in-law had passed, and all of his sons and his niece were married and living on their own. Joseph, Louise, and sister-in- law, Sophie, remained in the flat on Sullivan Avenue until 1958 when he sold it and purchased a smaller, single-family home at 4209 Peck Street in St. Louis.

Joseph died the following year on 17 November 1959 at age seventy-five. Joseph was fond of gardening, card games, and bowling, and true to his German heritage, good beer! He is buried in Frieden’s Cemetery Mausoleum and Chapel, Old Section Lot 1329.

Written by Jeannie Smith
April 2021

© 2021 St. Louis Genealogical Society


Joseph and Louise Zieger
Joseph and Louise Zieger, 1911
Photo in the collection of Jeannie Smith
Used with permission
Joseph Zieger
Joseph Zieger and his first two grandchildren
Photo in the collection of Jeannie Smith
Used with permission

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Last Modified: 18-Nov-2021 14:13