Minnie Hermeling was born on May 20th 1886 in Quincy, posthumously to Minnie (Fetz) Hermeling, a widow. Her father, John Hermeling had died a few months before her birth. Her mother remarried in 1891 to William Kaiser. Sadly on October 19th 1902 her mother died.
Between 4 and 5 am on January 11th 1906 the police arrested Minnie and another young woman named Pearl Frances McDole. They were both found in bed together. At the time of their arrest Minnie gave her name as Marie Van. She said she was the wife of Henry Van, a member of Isle of Bong Bong Company (Henry publically denied his marriage to her). Pearl and Minnie were arrested on the charge of being inmates of a house of ill-fame and were fined $5 and costs. The house of ill-fame was at 221 Broadway and owned by Mollie Harmon.
Both Pearl and Minnie stated that they went to Mollie Harmon’s house to remain there until railroad tickets were wired to Miss Harmon from Nellie Armstrong and they were to be sent to Peoria to enter the Armstrong house as regular inmates.
According to Minnie she met up with Pearl on January 8th at the Brewer’s ball and while they had known each other before the ball they had become much better friends before the dance was over. When it got dark they met up with a young professional man, who was the son of a well-known business man. They spent some time in his office. After that they went to the Harmon home.
Minnie gave many hints about her alias Marie Van being her. She said that her parents were dead and that she had three uncles residing in the city that she refused to give the names of. She also said that she was working for a family on East Kentucky Street as a domestic servant.
In February Minnie resurfaced illegally obtaining clothing from several stores under the alias Miss Markus. She told the police that she needed the clothes to obtain a good appearance to get work. She was quoted as saying “I was penniless. I knew I would have to make a good appearance if I expected to get work. That is why I told clerks in different stores that my name was Miss Markus and that I lived at 1600 Vermont Street. It was done in order to get clothes that would give me a good appearance. I am sick of this life. If my sister in Hannibal will only take me back I will be a changed girl.”
Luckily the tale of Minnie’s bad decisions ends on a good note. According to a later article she had a married sister in Hannibal, either her sister Emily or Mae that expressed a willingness to take her and give her a second chance. In an even later article her crime was stricken from the docket.
On February 11th 1909 at 11:30 am in Hannibal, Marion County, Missouri in the officer parlor on Center street, Minnie married James Robert Moore. They were married by Judge Dent.
Even though in this article is said they were believed to have relocated to South Dakota I find them in the 1910 census living in Chelsea Ward 3, Rogers County, Oklahoma. Their household consisted of J B Moore (38), Minnie Moore (24), Rose Delozier (21), and Benie Harper (20). James worked at restaurant.
According to information gathered by my great grandfather, Roy Hermeling, Minnie’s first cousin on both sides, Minnie and her husband were cooks in a refugee camp in Cloquet, Minnesota after the disastrous forest fires of 1918. Many people were left homeless after the fires.
In the 1920 census they reappear in Watonga, Blaine County, Oklahoma. The household consisted of only James (51) and Minnie (34). James was a proprietor of a café. While I have yet to locate their 1930 census I did locate the 1940 census.
In the 1940 census they were living in Pacific Grove, Monterey County, California. The household consisted of Elwin Medows (24), James Moore (70), and Minnie (54). No occupation was given for James. Their home in 1935 was listed as Clinton, Henry County, Missouri.
They must have returned to Clinton because that is where Minnie died. The date was December 7th 1945. Her death was from coronary thrombosis due to Bundle Branch Block, a defect of the heart’s electrical conduction system. She was fifty-nine years old. She was buried at Englewood Cemetery in Clinton. I am unaware of when James died, but I am aware that it was after her death.