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Clifton Grover Osterkamp, the third child of Robert Osterkamp and the former Augusta Martin, was born on November 10, 1892 at the family home, 2555 Benton Street, St. Louis. The family moved to 1807A N. Jefferson Avenue in about 1904.
In July 1904, Cliff nearly died in a train accident. Cliff was on a Sunday excursion train bound to Jefferson City, Missouri, when the train derailed at Labadie, just west of St. Louis. According to the July 15, 1904 edition of the Cole County (Jefferson City) Democrat, the train was traveling at 40 miles per hour when his coach separated from the rest of the train and rolled over and down the embankment supporting the tracks:
How Clifford (sic) Osterkamp 11-year old son of Robert Osterkamp of No. 1807 North Jefferson avenue, escaped from the wreck with his life, is remarkable. When the train jumped the track he was in the baggage coach, which was the first to leave the track after the tender was derailed.
The baggage coach rolled down a fifteen foot embankment, and the boy was thrown from one end of the coach to the other. Just before he struck the end of the coach he threw out both hands and thereby broke the force of the fall.
Cliff, who as a young man was described as of medium height and slender, with blue eyes and brown hair, was an outstanding baseball player, drew the attention of a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals, and was good friends with Cardinals player Andy High. However, Cliff's small frame made him an unlikely candidate for professional sports. Instead, he began working as a clerk for Ralston Purina Company in 1911, while continuing to live with his parents at 1218 N. Sarah Street, and at times with his brother Fred and Fred's wife, Emma, at 4220 Grace Avenue. About a year after the 1915 death of Robert, Cliff and Augusta moved to a rented home at 4044A Kennerly Avenue.
Although Cliff was in his mid-20s during World War I, he never served overseas. The Navy refused to accept him, and the Army, after inducting him on July 8, 1918, assigned him to the Camp MacArthur training camp in Waco, Texas, because it wished to take advantage of his baseball talents. (At the time, military camp baseball teams were much-followed, so the Army often preferred to keep its exceptional players at home.) Cliff was made a sergeant on October 19, 1918, and wanted to be assigned to a mission. However, to his consternation, he remained in Waco for the rest of the war, which ended in November 1918. After leaving the military, Cliff returned to the home he shared with Augusta; following her death in 1923, he moved back with Fred and Emma at 912 Kings Highway Park. In about the late 1940s, Fred and Emma moved to Kirkwood within a couple of miles of Cliff's family's house.
In about 1927, Cliff took a car trip in a Model T Ford from St. Louis to Los Angeles on the new U.S. Route 66, which was establsihed on November 11, 1926, but was still gravel or graded dirt in many areas. Very difficult trip due to driving conditions. Sometimes had to fix flat tires as often as three times a day. Gas stations were rare, so had to plan ahead to make sure he had enough gasoline to get him to the next station. They built their house within easy walking distance of Route 66, close enough to hear traffic from the highway. Land that was subdivided for purchase and construction in the mid-1930s. Windsor Acres, a former apple orchard. Still many apples in the area as late as the 1950s. 25 Orchard Lane.
By 1933, Cliff was a Purina city sales manager. On August 18 of that year, he married the former Constance Waite in St. Louis. The couple took a two-week honeymoon to Colorado before settling in St. Louis. Cliff and Connie had two children: Sue (1935) and Waite (1939). By the time of Waite's birth, the family lived in Kirkwood, Missouri. Took a number of vacations to Colorado in the 1940s, to Colorado Springs, and then to the Alpine Lodge in Westcliffe. Cliff had long enjoyed Colorado and had a goal of climbing the peaks of many of that state's 14,000-foot peaks, including Longs Peak, west of Longmont, CO, where he almost died by falling over the edge of its East face. In 1984, Waite and Cliff's grandchildren bought property a short distance south of the old Alpine Lodge, at Middle Colony Creek at the east side of Humboldt Peak, and all helped build a cabin. Family often took trips to the Ozark Mountains in Missouri and Arkansas, and sometimes to more distant places such as Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.
During the Depression, many had to cut back on salaries. Some employees took reduced wages, and were given stock as an alternative. Cliff took advantage of that, and received dividends during retirement as a result. Cliff died on July 2, 1959 at Mount St. Rose Hospital, in Lemay, Missouri.
Train trips on the Colorado Eagle, to Pueblo, then up to Colorado Springs, where would stop to see Alice and Carson. Then would get back on the train to Canon City and would get off at the town of Texas Creek, where an Alpine Lodge vehicle would pcik them up. Their route from Kirkwood to Pueblo probably looked something like this.
Constance Osterkamp (Waite) (1909-1983)
Sue McConnell (Osterkamp) (b. 1935) Waite Osterkamp (b. 1939)
Robert Osterkamp (1855-1915) Augusta Osterkamp (Martin) (1857-1923)
Fred Osterkamp (1885-1947) Walter R. Osterkamp (1888-1916)
Hicke Osterkamp (1819-1889) Caroline Osterkamp (Nicolai) (1829-1884) Joseph Martin (1829-1894) Elise Martin (Mueller) (c.1828-1906)
|Offspring of Clifton Grover Osterkamp and Constance Waite (1909-1983)|
|Sue McConnell (Osterkamp) (b. 1935)|| |
|Waite Osterkamp (b. 1939)|
City of St. Louis registry of births for portion of 1892 (entry for C.G. Osterkamp).
St. Louis City Directory, 1892-1915 (entries for Robert Osterkamp).
Cole County (Jefferson City, Mo.) Democrat, July 15, 1904, p. 1.
St. Louis City Directory, 1912-17, 1919, 1921-23, 1925 (entries for Clifton Osterkamp).
St. Louis City Directory, 1915-17, 1919, 1921-23, 1925 (entries for Fred Osterkamp).
St. Louis City Directory, 1916-17, 1919, 1921-23 (entries for Augusta Osterkamp).
U.S. Army registration card for Clifton Osterkamp.
Missouri Digital Heritage solider record for Clifton Osterkamp.
U.S. Census Report, 1920 (entries for Augusta and Clifton Osterkamp).
U.S. Census Report, 1930 (entries for Fred Osterkamp and family).
"Constance Waite Married Friday in St. Louis, Mo.," The Lincoln (Neb.) Star, Aug. 20, 1933, p. 17.
St. Louis City Directory, 1939 (entries for Clifton Osterkamp).
Social Security Death Index (entry for Clifton Osterkamp).
Recollections of Sue McConnell, Charlie McConnell and Waite R. Osterkamp.