German family worked together in order to build a lasting legacy


John Loetterle (1868-1929) is pictured with two young children in front of the grocery and feed store that he operated for more than two decades on the southwest corner of Fourth and Palmyra Road in Hannibal, Mo. He died a bachelor. Photo from the Steve Chou collection.

This 1930 atlas segment shows part of Township 56 North, Range 5 West, Ralls County, Mo. Trabue Lane is outlined in red, and the Charles Loetterle farmland is circled. Charles Loetterle’s mother was still living at the time this atlas was published.

John Loetterle’s store was advertised in the 1905 Hannibal Free Public Library. Accessed via the library’s web site.

MARY LOU MONTGOMERY

Under a canopy of pines and native oaks at Hydesburg Cemetery in Ralls County, Mo., rest the remains of the matriarch and patriarch of a strong German family by the name of Loetterle. The parents, born of their native land, gave the gift of American birth to their seven children, who spent much of their early adulthood on the Ralls County soil along Trabue Lane.

Located five miles southwest of Hannibal, in Ralls County, the Loetterle farm consisted of 248 acres, with neighbors including the Hilts, Muehrings, the Dimmits and the descents of the Trabue family, for whom the well-known road is named.

Nearby settled their son, Charles Wilheim Loetterie, who married into the neighboring Dimmitt farm family, and Charles’ family grew up alongside an extended family that connected by marriage to a number of German-heritage cousins, including the offspring of the Seeger, Zimmerman, and Weller families, all of Marion and Ralls counties.

Trabue Lane

Established long before Ralls County farmland would yield to U.S. 61, Trabue lane historically linked with the Hannibal Paris Gravel Road to the west, and to the New London Gravel Road to the east.

John and Kathryn Seegar Loetterle purchased their farm in 1883, according to the Ralls County Mo. Farmers Directory of 1921.

In 1885, John Loetterle Sr., died, and was laid to rest at Hydesburg Cemetery.

Kathryn Loetterle proceeded on as the head of the family, retaining the homestead in the family’s name until her death in 1935, when she was 93.

Large family

John and Mary Seeger Loetterle had seven children, including John Lotterle Jr., a well-known Hannibal businessman.

John Lotterle Jr., was born March 10, 1868 in Ohio. He never married, but remained instrumental in his extended family’s wellbeing. In 1892, John Lotterle operated a bakery and confectionery shop at 722 Broadway in Hannibal. John Seeger, presumably his maternal cousin, boarded with him at that address. John Lotterle’s sister, Mollie, worked at a clerk at the bakery. Circa 1900, John Loetterie opened a grocery and feed store at 335-337 Palmyra Ave., where his brother William H. Loetterle worked as a clerk. During the following years, Fred Sultzman worked as a driver for the Loetterle grocery business, and sister Tillie worked as a bookkeeper.

Prior to Loetterle operating a grocery store on the southwest corner of Fourth and Palmyra Road, Frank G. Roth operated a grocery, flour and feed store at this address, and lived there as well.

John Lotterle Jr., died Aug. 5, 1929, and was buried with his parents at Hydesburg Cemetery.

The other siblings:

Mollie

Rosine-Marea (Rosa or Mollie) Loetterle was born in Ohio in 1866. In 1900, she was married to Franz (Frank) C. Fuchs, and the following year he was working as a confectioner and baker operating along with Rosa’s brother, John, at 722 Broadway. By 1910, Franz and Rosa had moved to Everett, Snohomish, Washington. Rosa’s brother, George F. Loetterle, lived in Washington for a time with the Fuchs. Rosa’s husband died in 1931, and her son, Norman Julius Fuchs, died in 1937. They are buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Monroe, Washington. She moved back to Hannibal and in 1959 was living at 3301 Market. Rosa died in 1962, and is buried at Grand View Burial Park in Ralls County.

Tillie

Ottillie (Tillie) Loetterle was born circa 1870. She moved from the farm to town during the first decade of the 20th century, and worked as a bookkeeper for her brother, John, who operated a grocery and feed store at 335-337 Palmyra Ave., Hannibal. She resided in an apartment in the store building. Never married, she died aboard a Burlington passenger train between Palmyra and Hannibal on July 22, 1909, en route home after accompanying a friend (Miss Anna Fahrenhorst) to Denver, Colo., for medical treatment.

Charles

Charles Wilhelm Loetterle, was born in 1872. He remained single until he was in his mid 40s. He took for his wife Emma Dimmit Brooks, daughter of Peter Dimmit, whose farm was also on Trabue Lane.

Emma brought two children to the marriage, Carl and Edith Brooks. Together, Charlie and Emma had two more daughters, Kathryn and Emma Helen. Both Kathryn and Emma studied home economics at the University of Missouri, and in 1941, Emma Helen was named “Best Milkmade” at the university.

In 1921, Charles served as vice president of the Farmers Bank, located in Oakwood. W.Z. Link was president and E. Wilson was cashier.

When Kathryn (Kay) Loetterle Detweiler died at the age of 97 in 2016, her death notice mentioned her fond memories of growing up on the family dairy farm on Trabue Lane.

William

William H. Loetterle, born in 1875 at Oakwood, Mo., strayed from the family’s typical occupational linage as a young man. Married on the last day of December, 1903, to Mary Johnson, daughter of William E. Johnson of Benbow, Marion County, Mo., William went to work as a fireman for the Burlington railroad and was later promoted to engineer. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen. The young couple established their home at 605 N. Fourth. In 1909, Mary – also known as Marie – operated a millinery store in the Meyer Building, 212 Broadway.

Mary’s health deteroriated, at one time resulting in a two-month stay in Quincy’s St. Mary’s Hospital. Finally, death claimed her on Feb. 1, 1912, and she was buried at Hannibal’s Riverside Cemetery.

William remarried, this time to Carolyn Hendren, daughter of Oscar C. Hendren and Parmelia Vance Hendren. She died Dec. 11, 1952. William died in 1955. They are buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery.

George

George Frederick Loetterle was born Oct. 28, 1879. Apparently a bachelor throughout his life, he worked in town for his brother, John, for a time, and also ventured out to the state of Washington with his sister, (Rosa or Mollie). The remainder of his life was devoted to farming on the family’s Ralls County acreage. He died in 1958 and is buried at Grand View Cemetery.

Anna

The youngest of John Sr., and Kathryn Seegar Loetterle’s children was Anna Margarette Loetterle, who was born in 1883, just two years before her father’s death. She died in 1967 and is buried at Grand View Cemetery in Ralls County.

Note: Kathryn Seegar Loetterle’s name was spelled different ways on documents throughout her life. For consistency, the spelling Kathryn was used in this story.

Mary Lou Montgomery retired as editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post in 2014. She researches and writes narrative-style stories about the people who served as building blocks for this region’s foundation. Her collective works can be found at www.maryloumontgomery.com

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