Robert Osterkamp (1855-1915)

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Robert Osterkamp, the second child of Hicke Osterkamp and the former Caroline Nicolai, was born in St. Louis on October 16, 1855. On November 18, Robert was baptised at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, which then was at Eleventh Street and Franklin Avenue.

Robert's family was not wealthy. By age 14, he was already working in a brickyard. During the next few years, while living at his parents' home, 1221 Soulard Street, he helped with the family grocery and worked as a salesman. In 1877, he operated a brickyard, Osterkamp & Brinkmeyer, at the southwest corner of Jefferson Avenue & Winnebago Street. Finally, in 1879, he settled on the profession of whitening, a process for lightening leather after it is tanned.

On February 22, 1884, Robert married Augusta Martin in St. Louis. The couple moved to 1117 Soulard Street with Hicke, then again to 1121 Soulard Street, which they shared with Hicke from 1887 until Hicke's death in 1889, and with Robert's brother Emil in 1888 and 1889.

Robert and Augusta had three children: Fred (1885), Walter (1888) and Cliff (1892). From 1889 to 1909, and again in 1915, Robert and Havelock Worthen operated H. Worthen & Co., a whitening service. This business was successful enough to allow the family to purchase a home at 2555 Benton Street in the early 1890s. They moved to 1807A N. Jefferson Avenue in about 1904, and then to 1707 Pendleton Avenue--which they owned free and clear--in about 1907.

From about 1910 to 1914, H. Worthen & Co. was out of business, forcing Robert to work as a plasterer. The family moved again to 4212 Lucky in about 1911, and to 1218 N. Sarah Street in about 1912.

Robert died of tuberculosis on November 27, 1915, not long after H. Worthen & Co. resumed operations. His funeral, on November 30, led from a chapel at 2707 North Grand Avenue to the place of his burial, Picker's Cemetery, now Gatewood Gardens Cemetery.

Family Edit


 Augusta Osterkamp (Martin) (1857-1923)


 Hicke Osterkamp (1819-1889)
 Caroline Osterkamp (Nicolai) (1829-1884)


 Emil Osterkamp (1853-1914)
 Julius Osterkamp (1858-1860)


 Fred Osterkamp (1885-1947)
 Walter R. Osterkamp (1888-1916)
 Cliff Osterkamp (1892-1959)


 Sue McConnell (Osterkamp) (b. 1935)
 Waite Osterkamp (b. 1939)

Trivia Edit

Robert was a member of Compton Hill Council No. 555 of the Royal Arcanum, a fraternal benefit society that promoted such things as "love of country, home and friends," the "Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man" and "kindness and consideration for the bereaved and distressed." More importantly for many of its members, it was (and still is) a "fraternal life insurance business" that assisted the families of those who did not own a conventional life insurance policy.

Sources Edit

Index of Immanuel Lutheran Church Records (entry for Robert Osterkamp).

U.S. Census Report, 1860 (entries for Hicke Osterkamp and family).

U.S. Census Report, 1870 (entries for Hicke Osterkamp and family).

St. Louis City Directory, 1874-75, 1877-79, 1881-83, 1885, 1887-1915 (entries for Robert Osterkamp and H. Worthen & Co.)

1880 (June) U.S. Census Report (entries for Hicke Osterkamp and family).

1880 (Nov.) U.S. Census Report (entries for Hicke Osterkamp and family). (entry for marriage of Robert Osterkamp and Augusta Martin).

City of St. Louis birth registry for portion of 1885 (entry for Fred Osterkamp).

City of St. Louis birth registry for portion of 1888 (entry for Walter R. Osterkamp).

U.S. Census Report, 1900 (entries for Robert Osterkamp and family).

U.S. Census Report, 1910 (entries for Robert Osterkamp and family).

Death certificate for Robert Osterkamp.

Obituary for Robert Osterkamp, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nov. 28, 1915, p. 1B.

Background on Immanuel Lutheran Church, at

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