By Ann Chrissos
Thomas Foran (1835-1892) was born in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. The same year Catherine Ash (1835-1908) was born in Cahersiveen, County Kerry, Ireland. Thomas and Catherine both emigrated through the Port of New York. Thomas in 1849 and Catherine in 1857. Thomas married Catherine in 1858 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. They had eight children, Eleanor (1861-1933) and Catherine (1863-1949) who were born in Hartford, Connecticut. The family then moved to Buffalo, New York where their other children were born: John (1864-1933), Thomas (1866-1903), Michael (1869), twins Peter (1873-1875) and Edward (1873-1946) and Jennie (1877-1934). A baby picture was taken of Edward as his parents did not think he would survive. Instead, his twin brother passed away at two years of age. Two of Edward’s brothers decided to seek their fortunes in the west and in 1918 he decided to follow. After failing to find any trace of his brothers between New York and Missouri, Edward stopped his search. He served in World War I in the 52nd Aero Squadron as a machinist, then made St. Louis County his home. He worked for Emerson Electric as a machinist. He married Alma Amalia Catharina Luedloff in 1923 and eight children followed in quick succession: Margaret (1924-2012), Violet “Drucilla” (1925-), Norman (1926-1982), Mary (1928-2017), Frances “Eileen” (1929-2017), Katherine (1931-2020), Eugene (1933-1974) and Viola (1934-2016). Drucilla Williams is the only surviving sibling.
Alma Amalia Catherina Luedloff (1899-1977) was the daughter of Johann “Balthasar” Luedoff (1853-1908) and Auguste Marie “Mary” Fey (1864-1905). The Luedloff family-owned properties along Ladue, Warson, Olive and McKnight roads. In 1928, Alma bought property known as the Henry D. Schoettler Estate subdivision and Samuel Conway Estate subdivision in Chesterfield, Missouri. Her property is now Chesterfield Trails and Windsor Valley Court. In 1959 she sold 16 acres across Schoettler Road that became part of Maryknoll Catholic Seminary and now belongs to Logan University. Since a murder/suicide had occurred in the existing house on the property in the early 1900s, Alma had a new brick home built for her family along with a barn and other out buildings. The Forhan’s planted wheat and corn, had an apple and peach orchard, grew blackberries and strawberries. Their livestock consisted of cows, a mule, a horse, chickens, ducks, geese, and pigs. The children attended Bellefontaine School on Conway Road.
In later life, Mary Forhan liked to reminisce with her granddaughter Jen Motz about her childhood on the Schoettler farm. She fondly recalled the cool sweet taste of water from a spring which ran through her parents’ property. She also related how her brother Norman would hide her dolls and toys which she was unable to find. They finally materialized in a hollow tree when it was cut down. She lamented over the death of a pig she had been raising on her own. She routinely fed the animal table scraps and scraps from raw vegetables as they were being prepared. One day she fed her pig sugar snap peas and the next day it was dead. Anita told a story of her grandmother’s geese who would listen to cars approaching on Schoettler Road and would get in the road and wait for the approaching car(s). The geese would take their time in retreating to the chagrin of motorists. Prior to marrying Ernest (Ernie) Cole (1922-2012) in 1951, Mary worked at Henry, Frank and Company – a stock exchange located in downtown St. Louis. Ernest was employed by Laclede Gas Company, worked at a gas station and drove a school bus for the Parkway School District. They purchased a house on three acres of land under the power lines on Schoettler Road near Mary’s mother where they raised some sheep, chickens and cows and grew a kitchen garden. Their three children – Curtis E. (1952-2020), Anita L. (b. 1954) and Edward J. – helped around the farm and attended Parkway Schools -- Fern Ridge Elementary, Claymont Elementary, South Junior – Ed attended West Junior, and West High. According to Anita, a group of mischievous boys periodically set the Schoettler Road bridge on fire and one time blew up the mailbox of Edwin Mertz, a neighbor of Alma Forhan’s.
Upon the death of Alma Forhan in 1977, her children sold her property to a subdivision developer. Four years later, Anita married Richard Motz (b. 1953) in St. John’s Lutheran Church in Ellisville, Missouri. They have two children, Jennifer (b. 1985) and Richard, Jr. (b. 1987). Although Richard and Anita live in Wildwood today, Anita still has fond memories of growing up in Chesterfield.
Alma Forhan property affidavit.
For more information about Chesterfield’s families go to http://www.chesterfield.mo.us/historical-commission.html or visit the Chesterfield Heritage Museum in Chesterfield Mall.
Motz, Richard & Anita and Jennifer Motz Wells were interviewed by George and Ann Chrissos on January 4, 2022.