Eduard Mosblech (1884 – 1956)

     Eduard Mosblech is my maternal great-grandfather.  Eduard was born in St. Louis, Missouri on October 24, 1884 to German immigrants Gustave Mosblech and Bertha Mosblech nee Monse.  Often written as Edward but actually pronounced like putting together aid and ward, Eduard was as unique as his name.

     I struggled with writing much about him because the stories I heard about him growing up were not positive.  Eduard ruled his house with an iron fist and did not brook dissent from anyone including my great-grandmother Magdalena.  Eduard was not a violent man but he was described mostly as cold and remote.

great-grandpa-mosblech-ad

St. Louis Globe Premier Clothing Advertisement with Great Grandpa Mosblech from the March 19, 1929 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

     When Eduard would come home from work, he might announce that he wanted to go look for a picture.  After making this announcement, everyone was expected to join in on the search including son-in-laws, etc.  This practice would lead to a famous blow-up with my grandfather, Gilbert Ellis in 1938 or 1939 after Grandpa married Eduard’s seventh child, Alvina Mosblech.

     It is easy to disparage Eduard but recently my view has softened a little.  Eduard and Magdalena raised 14 children.  They also suffered the loss of one of their children, when 4-year-old Loretta died from diphtheria in St. Louis’ Isolation Hospital.

     Despite the financial challenges of raising such a large family, Eduard put every child through Catholic grade school.  Once the kids graduate eighth grade, they were expected to go to work.  It may seem harsh today but it was unusual in 1910 -1930 for children to complete eighth grade.  Many children had to work to support the family.

     One of the mysteries around Eduard was the manner of his death.  Eduard was found floating in the Mississippi River at the foot of Iron Street.  For years, my grandmother and several of her sisters believed Eduard had been killed.  After his death, his second wife Mary inherited all of Eduard’s possessions.

     In 2006, I was able to access a copy of Eduard’s death certificate.  The coroner could not determine if it was suicide or homicide.  However, a couple of things struck me.  He died a few days after Great Grandma Magdalena’s date of death, which was May 10, 1945.  The death certificate also did not note any other injuries.

     When I told my mother I thought it might be suicide because he missed Great Grandma and was not happy in his second marriage, she told me that the police thought he may have jumped in the river on the anniversary of Great Grandma’s death.  They had a reported jumper on that day.

     Eduard was not a gregarious man but I don’t know that we could have expected much different at the time and with his background.  However, his dedication to his children’s education and the manner of his death show the depth of those hidden feelings.  History should be kind.

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