by Carmen Shanks Bein
Engilbert Vogt and Emily DeRuntz Vogt
On Christmas Day, 1871, in Goldbach, Upper Rhine, Alsace, France, a son was born to Engilbert Vogt, 28, a wood cutter, and Anastasia Marxer Vogt, homemaker, 25. Since the office of the registrar was closed that day., at 8 a.m., December 26, 1871, Engilbert appeared in the office and declared their boy, whom they named Robert Vogt, was born at 6 p.m. the previous evening. Along with his friends, Fendan Feder, 24, and Eduard Feder, 22, water-scoopers, as witnesses, Engilbert signed the declaration before Mayor Joseph Lipp and the Registrar Officer of the principality of Goldbach, District of St. Amarin, Upper Rhine.
After the Franco-Prussian War, in 1871, France relinquished most of Alsace to the new and unified Germany. It was during this period that many Alsatians immigrated to America. **Engilbert and Anastasia were among those leaving the new German rule of their homeland. In 1872, they boarded the clipper ship Helvetia and set sail for America to find a better life.
They settled in the French community of Carondelet, St. Louis County, MO. Engilbert went to work as a rock hauler and the family began to settle into their lives in the new world. Tragedy struck shortly after settling in this township when Anastasia died of blood poisoning, sadly leaving Engilbert alone to care for their one year old son, Robert. It is unknown to me how, when, or where Anastasia developed this condition.
Engilbert's job required he make trips to Illinois to deliver rock. Not wanting to take his young son on such a long journey, he asked his next door neighbors, Jean (John) Baptiste DeRuntz and Josephine Horine DeRuntz, to care for Robert while he was away. It was from this acquaintance that Engilbert met Emiline "Emily" DeRuntz, the 21 year old daughter of John and Josephine.
The DeRuntz family had immigrated to the US in 1866 aboard the clipper ship Cella. Emily had vivid memories of their trip across the sea. Her granddaughter Mary Ellen Vogt Shanks recalls that Emily talked very little about that trip. As Mary remembers, her grandmother had a way of making one or two comments and then ending the conversation without saying more. Yet in the few things she did say we can learn quite a bit. Emily was 15 when she traveled with her parents and siblings in what she described as "horrible conditions" across the sea to start a new life in a new land. She mentioned the deaths on board during the trip and spoke softly when she added those deaths included children. Mary recalls Emily speaking about the way they had been "packed in like animals" and how they couldn't get upon deck to get air. One can naturally conclude the family was in steerage.
Emily did much of the babysitting of little Robert Vogt and grew to love him as her own. In 1874, Engilbert and Emily were united in the holy bonds of matrimony. To this union, while living in Carondelet, four children were born: Alfonse, 9/1875; Selena, 2/1877; Joseph, 9/1881; Agnes, 11/1884. Note: Three more children were born in Barry Co., MO. See below
The Louisiana Purchase territory (now called railroad land) in southwest Missouri was opened for sale to settlers. Engilbert and Emily made the very difficult decision to move their large family into this newly opened territory. About 1885, they purchased approximately 80 acres of land in Kings Prairie, Plymouth Junction (now Monett), Barry Co., MO for $1.25 per acre.
Engilbert bought a large, new Springfield wagon and loaded the household furnishings into it. Leaving Emily and the children in St. Louis with her parents, he set out to find his land and build a new home for his family. The difficult month-or-so-long trip was an especially rough ride for Engilbert. The trail was cut by smaller wagons and the tread of his large wagon was too big for the ruts. Being a determined man, he endured the ride and settled his land on Kings Prairie. Upon final construction of the house, Emily and their five children boarded a train bound for Verona, Barry Co., MO, where the railroad ended. Engilbert met them at the station and took them to their new home on Kings Prairie.
Engilbert, who often went by the name of Albert, farmed his land, trading, and conducting other business in Verona where the family attended church in their early days there. Later they attended church at St. Lawrence Catholic in Monett. The large wagon was used as a hearse when needed as well as for other special events. Emily reared her family and raised vegetables as well as chickens. Mary recalls that her Grandma Emily dipped snuff which probably didn't set well with the local folk of that time. Engilbert and Emily had a happy life and three more children were born: Eugene Lawrence, 8/1887; Myra, 1/1890; and Emile, 5/1893. In 1902, Engilbert died of heart failure and was buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, (The Catholic Cemetery), in Monett, Lawrence Co., MO.
Emily sold the farm and moved her children to a home in Monett. Mary has fond memories of visiting Emily along with her sister Julia "Jewell" Emily Vogt Turner. Emily, who spoke seven different languages, loved to read and made regulars treks to the library for books written in different languages, especially English, French and German. Mary recalls Emily's "black bag" (draw string purse) which she always carried. Emily had a cloth one for every day use but her Sunday purse was made of black lace which she lined. In these bags she kept, among other things, what Mary remembers as "white mints with 3 xxx's on them", a treat for the children when they visited. Another memory for Mary during the period Emily lived in this home was how Emily, wrapped in a dark shawl, would sit in the dark in her rocker. Mary recalls how it would scare the "living daylights" out of the children when they'd walk into a dark room which they thought was empty and hear her say, in a low, quiet voice with a French accent, "What are you doing?"
About 1920, Emily developed a growth on her side which eventually grew cancerous and caused her death. She didn't consult a doctor as she had no trust in them and over the years resorted to carrying the growth in a shoulder sling so she could move around. Mary recalls that she, her siblings and parents eventually began to make the regular treks to the library for Emily as she never lost her appetite for reading. Mary's parents, Eugene Lawrence and Ellen "Ella" Wimsatt Vogt, also took over the purchase of the mints to be placed in the "black bag" for the children.
Around 1931, Emily became bedridden and moved into the home of Robert and Rosemary Trenkel Vogt. Many people of that time had a terrible fear of disease especially this "cancer" the family assumed she had and what Emily would later be diagnosed with after Eugene insisted she see a doctor. For Rosemary, who in all other situations was a very nice lady, this fear was almost paralyzing. She made a room for Emily, packed towels and blankets around the door and forbade her family to go near. At dinner time, Robert would open the door, place Emily's food on the floor and close the door. Emily had to pick it up and place it on the table where she took her meals alone. When Emily's son Eugene objected to this situation, he and Robert had what was described to me as "words". There were no other known "words" between Robert and anyone else according to those people I interviewed. About 1932, Emily moved into the home of Eugene and Ella.
Here, Emily settled into a room where the door was open and people were allowed to visit as they or Emily pleased. She took meals with the family as her health allowed. When the growth developed a soft spot and had to be drained and cleaned, the Vogt children helped. Mary recalls sending many of these cleaning towels and rags to the laundry while throwing others away as they could not be cleaned. Even though Emily was bedridden, she received holy communion on Sundays when Father "Mac" of St. Lawrence Catholic Church would bring communion to her room.
In 1934, Emily died from the cancerous growth which had eaten a hole in her side and reached her heart. The growth had to be removed in order to fit Emily into the casket. This removal left what Mary described as a "gaping hole the size of a man's fist" in her side. She was buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, (The Catholic Cemetery), Monett, Lawrence Co., MO, between Engilbert and her mother Josephine Horine DeRuntz.
**Other members of Engilbert's family may have accompanied them or immigrated sometime before/after as his sister, Rosa Vogt, b. 1855 is listed as one of his household members on the 1880 Census for St. Louis Co., MO.
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This page revised September 3, 2002.
Copyright 2002, Carmen F. Bein, All Rights Reserved
This page revised September 3, 2002.
Copyright 2002, Carmen F. Bein, All Rights Reserved