Margaret Verheyen was born on 23 October 1846 and baptized on 24 October 1846 at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Qualburg, Rhenish, Prussia. She was the daughter of Johann Verheyen and Bartholomea Zadelaer and granddaughter of Herman and Eva (Josten) Verheyen and Fredericus and Margaretha (Thunison) Zadelaer. (Records indicate Verheyen has various spellings: Verheier, Verheien, Verheir, Viehann, Verhayen.)

In 1849, Margaret left Germany, boarding the Oregon from the port of Le Havre, France, with her parents and siblings, Herman, Frederick, and, possibly, Johanna; her uncle Jacob and his wife Johanna, and their daughter, Helena; and others from their community. After a voyage of fifty-three days, they arrived in New Orleans on 27 April 1849. The family traveled upriver to St. Louis, then to Milwaukee before returning to St. Louis shortly after the Great Fire in May 1849.

The records at St. Joseph Catholic Church in St. Louis reveal that Margaret’s father, Joannes “Verhayer,” husband of Bartholomea “Sadela,” died 14 August 1850 and was buried the following day. Six weeks later, on 1 October 1850, Margaret’s mother married, Joachim “Garms,” a recent widower, who was originally from Rees, Germany, not far from Qualburg. On 11 April 1858, Margaret made her First Communion and was confirmed at St. Joseph’s Church. She is not listed in the 1860 census of her stepfather’s household with her mother and two brothers. It is probable that she was living with and working as a maid for another family.

On 21 November 1867, Margaret married Charles Braun in St. Louis. He had emigrated from Hesse-Kassel in Germany. By 1870, she and Charles had a ten-month-old son, Augustus, and were living in the Second Ward of St. Louis. Shortly afterwards, they moved to New York where a second son, John, was born, followed by daughter Louisa in 1873. In the mid-1870s, the family moved to Illinois. By 1880, they were living at 82 Wright Street in Chicago where her husband worked as a butcher. At that time, they had two other children, three-year-old Adolph and seven-month-old Frederick, both born in Illinois.

The family moved back to St. Louis by March 1882. Their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth was born and baptized at St. Liborius Catholic Church that year. Other daughters followed: Lottie, born in 1884; Margaret in 1887 and Mary in 1890.
On 26 October 1897, Margaret’s husband Charles died. The 1900 census shows Margaret as the head of the household living at 1802 N. Eighteenth Street with her children: Adolph, Frederick, Lottie, Margaret, and Mary. Her married daughter, Louisa Johnson, was living with her husband, George, and their three children, Dora, Charles, and Cora, at the same address.

After a lingering illness, Margaret died on 25 December 1905. The funeral took place at St. Liborius Church with burial at Calvary Cemetery three days later.

Written by Joe Armour
March 2019

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Last Modified: 05-Aug-2019 13:20