Wilhelmina (Mina) Martens Schifferdecker | Mrs. Charles Schifferdecker

422 South Sergeant Avenue | Circa 1890

The house and grounds (and Zelleken House to the north)

are currently being restored for public use by Joplin Historical Neighborhoods, Inc.

The Schifferdecker’s also lived at 2220 East Hampton Place | Circa 1876 | Extant

Early 1900s Schifferdecker family outing.  Charles Schifferdecker sits in the front seat beside driver, Mr. John R. Johnson. John was Mina’s nephew-in-law and he served as the family’s estate caretaker. Mina is seated in the rear on the passenger side.  Their mansion, which stands today at 422 S. Sergeant Avenue in Joplin, can be seen in the backgroune.  

When Wilhelmina died, the Joplin News Herald reported that while both Mr. and Mrs. Schifferdecker were church workers, “…her duties and pleasures as a member of the Ladies Aid Society of the Lutheran Church occupied most of the time that she cared to give in a social way.”  Mina took a share of interest in Charles’ every undertaking, which included the brewing of beer, banking, mining, and generally the foundation of early Joplin.

It is believed that Mina Avenue, a street in Joplin was named for Wilhelmina because it is two blocks west of Schifferdecker Avenue, which was named for Charles.  Both streets are in the area of Schifferdecker’s farm in the 1900s and present day Schifferdecker Park.  It is remarkable that a street would be named after a woman in that era!

Wilhelmina generously started the campaign to establish St. John’s Hospital, albeit Charles received the credit as being the “generous contributor” to the hospital.

Mina and Charles were known to travel by train from Joplin to New York to watch their favorite operas from reserved box seats at the Metropolitan Opera.   

 

  • Born in Pragsdorf, Germany on March 13, 1852
  • Died in Joplin on October 20, 1915 of Carcinoma of the Breast
  • Charles died October 30, 1915 of Diabetes and Nephritis
  • Mina married Charles Schifferdecker on September 24, 1877. Charles was Joplin’s earliest businessman, philanthropist, and wealthiest citizen.  Charles donated the land for Schifferdecker Park.  His death certificate summed up his occupation as “Capitalist.”

The Romanesque-style home, built in 1890, is in the Murphysburg National Historic District.  

  • Charles and Wilhelmina had only one child, a son that died in infancy.
  • Interestingly, her mother Frederika, also died while living at the Schifferdecker mansion of pneumonia on December 16, 1915.
  • Wilhelmina and many family members are interred at the Schifferdecker Mausoleum at Mount Hope Cemetery in Webb City, Missouri.

 

Schifferdecker Mausoleum at Mount Hope Cemetery

Photo taken during the Monuments of Murphysburg Tour

Joy Williams is a former owner of the Schifferdecker Mansion.  She has met and corresponded with many descendants, one of whom related the following story.

Wilhelmina’s niece, Louisa Karletta Martens was married to John Johnson.  Mr. Johnson was the Schifferdecker’s property caretaker.  After the death of Charles and Wilhelmina, Louisa, her husband, and children eventually moved into the Schifferdecker Mansion.  However, the family did not live there for long.  It is said that Louisa did not like living in the mansion and believed it was haunted.  Louisa claimed to hear the rustling of petticoats on the staircase and believed it to be the ghost of Aunt Wilhelmina!