Matej “Mathias” Hrebec was born on 30 August 1858 in Dolni Nesdice (NOZ) Bohemia (Czechoslovakia). After his marriage to Anna Bokor in 1883 in Bohemia, their first child, Joseph, was born there on 1 July 1884. Family lore indicates the family departed their homeland about 1885–1886. They traveled in a third class cabin arriving in Brooklyn, New York. Upon arrival in the United States, the family boarded a train bound for St. Louis, Missouri. On 6 October 1888, Mathias Hrebec became a citizen of the United States, stating he arrived in 1887.

This new St. Louis family had additional children. Albert Hrebec was born in 1889, Anna Hrebec in 1893, Mae Hrebec in 1897, and George Hrebec in 1899.

The growing family lived at several locations, including: 1844 S. 11th Street, 1037 Soulard, 1807 S. 14th Street, 1708 Allen, and 1224 Geyer. By 1920, the family lived at 4161 Humphrey Street with Harry and Mae Breen in the upstairs flat. The house was free of a mortgage. Many of the family members worked at Johansen Brothers Shoe Company.

Matthias had a major stroke in 1934 and went to live with the Breen family at 4136 Connecticut. Mona and June gave up their room for three years while Matthias lived in the house. Sons Frank and Al would take their turns spending the night so Harry and Mae could get some rest. Three months before his death, it was necessary to move Mathias to a facility at 5800 Arsenal where he died on 3 August 1937. The death certificate has the incorrect date of his birth. It should be 1858, not 1857.

Matthias was survived by his wife, Anna Hrebec, and children: Joseph, Albert, Frank, Anna (Hrebec) Sindelar and Mae (Hrebec) Breen. Matthias and his wife Anna are buried together at New St. Marcus Cemetery on Gravois. Today Matthias is known as Matthew.

In the 1950s, the family home on Humphrey was torn down to build the convent which housed the Holy Family Grade School nuns.

Written by Judy Broleman
June 2020

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Last Modified: 05-Oct-2020 10:35