On September 13, 1882, Emil married 26-year-old St. Louis resident Christina Hanewinkel, the daughter of Joannes Heinrich Hanewinkel (1810-1897) and Josephina Kurten Hanewinkel (1819-1891), who were German immigrants from Westphalia. In the first five years of their marriage, the couple moved to 2314 Menard Street,1918 S. 3rd Street,1125 Soulard Street, and finally, 1121 Soulard Street, which they initially shared with Hicke and Emil's brother Robert. Although Emil's father was Lutheran, Emil and Christina attended a Catholic church.
Emil and Christina had four children: Charles (1884), Arthur (1887), Walter (1890) and Ella (1893). The first three survived to adulthood, but Ella died on September 12, 1894, four months before her second birthday. In about 1892, the family bought a house at 2261A Indiana Avenue, where they would stay for the rest of Emil's life. In order to pay the mortgage, they at times took on boarders.