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40+ GRANDCHILDREN

OF WILHELM AND THERESIA WESTHUES  —

PHOTOS FROM THE MID-1930s


Kenneth Westhues, 2021

In the fall of 2021, Henry M. Clever (<Dorothy<Marilyn<Henry) circulated scans of family photos and memorabilia given to him by his great-aunt, Elaine Westhues (<Henry). Two photos were of particular interest, one captioned "girl cousins," the other "boy cousins," but without further identifying information. There were 20 children and young adults in each photo.

I recognized about half of those pictured, especially my own older siblings, enough to realize that these were photos taken about 1935, of all or most of the grandchildren of Wilhelm and Theresia who were living at that time.

Through the Westhues discussion forum, I asked for help in identifying where the photos were taken and who was who in them. The response was enthusiastic. More than 25 living descendants of those pictured pooled their recollections and best guesses, with much debating of opinions, refreshing of memories, and sharing of stories. It was a fun and productive exercise. I am confident of the accuracy of the identifications below, though they are still subject to correction should new information come to light.

The photos were taken in front of the farmhouse of Wilhelm and Theresia's eldest son, Theodore, and his wife Lena, just north of the homeplace. The year was roughly 1935. The occasion was a family reunion, possibly to mark the host couple's 25th wedding anniversary in 1937, more likely a couple of years earlier. Cousins from all eight branches of the family are shown in the photos, except for the children of Anna and Jule Oidtman, who lived by then in Jefferson City.


Granddaughters

1 - Jane (<Henry); 2 - Agnes (<WG); 3 - Mary (<Theodore); 4 - Rosemary (<Henry); 5 - Berniece (<Ben); 6 - Mary Teresa Flaspohler (<Mary); 7 - Martha (<WG); 8 - Marie, aka Bebe (<Henry); 9 - Marjorie (<Henry); 10 - Rita (<Theodore); 11 - Anastasia Flaspohler (<Mary); 12 - not yet identified; 13 - Cecilia (<Ben); 14 - Dolores (<John); 15 - Elaine (<Henry); 16 - likely Joanne (<Fritz); 17 -possibly Katherine (<Ben); 18 - possibly Margie (<John); 19 - possibly Marilyn (<Henry); 20 - Lois (<Fritz). Missing from the photo are the six Oidtman girls (<Anna) and the three granddaughters (<Fritz) born later: Genevieve, aka Jenny, Jacquie, and Teresa. The baby barely visible at the back behind Berniece might conceivably be Jenny.


Grandsons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This photo includes four boys from the Moorman side of the Theodore/Lena family, Lena's nephews: 1 - Vince Thies; 2 - Bernard Thies; 3 - Joseph Thies; and 8 - John Thies. The remaining boys are from the Westhues side, grandsons of Wilhelm and Theresia: 4 - Norbert (<Theodore); 5 - Bernard (<Ben); 6 - William J., aka Billy (<WG); 7 - John, aka Jack (<Henry); 9 - Raymond (<Theodore); 10 - Edwin (<WG); 11 - possibly Joseph Flaspohler, Jr. (<Mary); 12 - John, aka Buddy (<John); 13 - Francis, aka Buddy (<WG); 14 - Fred (<Fritz); 15 - Charles Flaspohler (<Mary); 16 - Eugene (<John); 17 - James (<John); 18 - James Edward Flaspohler (<Mary); 19 - Clarence Flaspohler (<Mary); and 20 - Harold (<Fritz). Missing from the photo are Henry, aka Hank (<WG), Joseph (<WG), Ted (<Theodore), and Walter (<Ben), as well as baby Jerome Oidtman (<Anna) and two boys born later, David (<Fritz) and Kenneth (<John).


The Oidtmans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The absence of the Oidtman grandchildren from the reunion was likely due to the cost of travel or the care of babies, not to estrangement of the Anna/Jule branch of the family from the other branches. To reinforce this point and for the sake of completeness, the photo above in front of Oidtman's Grocery shows Jule with his seven children and John with his five, when the John/Olive family paid a visit to the Anna/Jule family about 1940. [Identifications to be added in due course.]


Profound thanks to everyone who took part in the collective effort to identify each person in the reunion photographs.
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