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Christopher G. Kircher, Meat Cutter

Christopher G. Kircher (1861–1896) was listed in Denison's 1887 City Directory. Records state that he was born in 1861 in Missouri. Many Kirchers, including those who lived in St. Louis around this time, were German immigrants or children of German immigrants.

After moving to Denison, on August 18, 1885, Christopher G. Kircher married Lula A. I. Cutler (1866–1941). She was the youngest of eight children of Dr. Thomas Nicholson Cutler (1829–1896), physician and preacher, and Emeline Cartwright Cutler (1830–1879). Two of Lula's older siblings were Wyatt Thomas Cutler (1851–1903) Denison marshal, city councilman, judge, and barkeep and Laura Alenda Cutler (1861–1925). Laura and Wyatt married a brother and sister, Gustavus A. Henry "Gus" Howard (1847–1904) and Florence Miranda Howard (1854–1931). Thus Chris and Lula Kircher formed part of a close-knit clan active for decades in Denison.

Another of the Cutler brothers, Tom (1856–?), owned a saloon at 126 West Main. In 1887, Christopher Kircher was a bartender there. By 1891, Chris had two businesses of his own. With Adam O. Eckerle, he operated Eckerle & Kircher, plumbers, gas and steam fitters, dealers in gas and steam fixtures, at 428 West Main. 

In addition, with his brother-in-law Gus Howard, he operated the Buck Horn Saloon at 117 West Main. Wyatt and Tom Cutler were now running Cutler Brothers Saloon at 230 West Main.

Five years later, Chris took a short break from entrepreneurship, as the 1896 City Directory showed him working as a carpenter in the Katy Car Shops. He and Lula had established their home at 808 West Chestnut Street. They would live
there for many years. The 1900 Census listed Chris as a "provision dealer."

The Denison City Directory indicated that by 1901, Chris had established the New Meat Market at 116 North Rusk Avenue.
A photograph of the meat market at this address was published around 1909 in a pictorial book,
Industrial Denison. 

Meat Market, ca. 1908
 "Meat Market of Chris Kircher, 116 North Rusk Avenue."
Source : Robinson, Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison. [N.p.]: Means-Moore Co., [ca. 1909]. Page 54.

However, according to the 1903 City Directory, by that year Christopher had partnered up with William H. Hughes to create the Kircher & Hughes Meat Market at 503 West Main Street. Soon Chris bought out Hughes's interest and became sole proprietor of the business, which operated at the same location for nearly a decade.

Chris and Lula had two daughters, Minnie L. (1887–1976) and Christina, called Crystal (1889–1949).

Maybe Chris's meat business fell on hard times, for the 1913 City Directory listed Chris simply as "butcher," with no business address. And no occupation was given for him in 1915.

Apparently the Kirchers sought opportunity in Dallas, for the 1916 Dallas City Directory showed him working as a meat cutter at G. Watson in that city. Living with him at 704 West Jefferson Avenue was the younger daughter, Crystal L., stenographer in the Dallas auditing office of the M.K.&T. Railway.

Four years later, the 1920 Dallas City Directory said that Chris was a meat cutter at the North Haskell Grocery. That same year, the 1920 census located Chris and Lula at 4341 Cole Avenue in Dallas; here they settled for some years. According
to the census, he was owner of a meat market and said that his parents had been born in Illinois (earlier records declared Germany, but this was the World War I era). The 1921 Dallas City Directory identified Chris as owner of Kircher Market at 1901 North Haskell Avenue.

Daughter Crystal wasn't listed in Dallas directories from 1920 forward; about this time she became the second wife of a
Katy Railroad engineer, Charles Edward McCoy (1872–1943), and went back to Denison to live at 1130 West Walker. Charles was seventeen years older; perhaps he was her second husband as well, for the 1930 census stated that she first married
at age 22 (ca 1911).

1130 West Walker Street
[photo postcard, no date]

By 1924, Chris, still in Dallas, was a meat cutter at Tinsley Brothers. The next year he had a second-hand furniture store at 1315 Second Avenue; he and Lula had moved to 5735 Vanderbilt Avenue.

At age 65, Chris was retired. The census of 1930 found him and Lula back in Denison, living at 1130 West Walker, a corner property they owned and valued at $6,000. This had been the home of daughter Crystal and her husband Charles; apparently childless, they moved to 515 North Perry Avenue, a pleasant location between Morton and Bond streets.

Christopher passed away on June 15, 1932, and was buried in Denison's Fairview Cemetery.

Lula Cutler Kircher was still living at 1130 West Walker in 1940, when she was 75 years old. She died on July 30, 1941, and was buried in Fairview Cemetery. Crystal's husband Charles passed away in 1943, and Crystal joined him in Fairview Cemetery in 1949.

Minnie Kircher Durham Craven Cariker

In 1908, Minnie Kircher married Robert Gould Durham (1913–1933). They lived in Sherman, where he became a master mechanic for Sherman Manufacturing Company. The Durhams, who lived on Grand Avenue near Austin College, had two children, both dying in infancy. The first baby, Robert Kircher Durham, born in 1911, survived only 17 days and was buried in Fairview Cemetery in Denison. The second, George C. Durham (1913–1916), was buried in West Hill Cemetery in Sherman.

Living next door to the Durhams in 1930 were George Frank Cariker (1876–1972) and his wife Lulu. As a young man, just after his first marriage in 1898, he had lived in Terrell, Texas, and worked at the North Texas Hospital for the Insane. Later
he became a locomotive fireman for a railroad. The Carikers seem to have been childless, and it is easy to imagine that the two couples may have been friends as well as neighbors.

After losing her husband, Robert, in 1933, Minnie remarried in 1936. The Dallas Morning News of September 16 announced:

Walter Kyle Craven, proprietor of Camp Craven south of Denison, and prominently identified with the business circles of Denison, was married to Mrs. Minnie Kircher Durham, executive of the Woman's Benefit Association, in a quiet ceremony Tuesday at the home of the bride's mother, Mrs. C. G. Kircher ... Mrs. Craven is the daughter of the late C. G. Kircher, pioneer businessman of Denison. Mr. Craven is the son of the late Dr. and Mrs. E. J. Craven of Whitesboro.

Little information is available about Camp Craven. In 1939 it was located off the old Highway 75 (now Texoma Parkway) between Denison and Sherman. In 1941 the camp was a member of the Denison Chamber of Commerce.

According to Wikipedia, the Woman's Benefit Association originated as a female auxiliary of a fraternal organization, the Knights of the Maccabees.  A split led to formation of the Women's Benefit Association in 1915.  Illustrative of its work, a Michigan newspapered reported in 1919 that "2,700 revises of the Woman's Benefit Association were organized as active unites of the Red Cross and over 200,000 members enthusiastically gave their every effort to this work during the war."  
The WBA offered insurance solely for women, along with other programs.  Apparently Minnie was either an officer of a branch of the club, or was employed as its representative in business matters.

Minnie and Walter Craven, though up in years, seem to have taken care of two girls born in 1940. They were Carol Eugenia Ann Maxwell and Sandra Lee Shiflett. Then Walter died in 1948. Minnie's sister Crystal passed away in 1949. Both Walter
and Crystal were buried in Fairview Cemetery in Denison.

Minnie married for a third time.  She and her former neighbor, George Frank Cariker, wed in Durant, Oklahoma, in 1952.  
As of 1959, they were living in the roomy old Kircher house at 1130 West Walker.

1130 West Walker Street
Recently remodeled in bright color.
Photo by Mavis Anne Bryant, August 2010

Frank passed away in 1972.  Minnie achieved the age of 89, living until January 2, 1976.  Both Minnie and Frank were
buried in West Hill Cemetery in Sherman, Texas, as well as Minnie's first husband, Robert G. Durham and her second baby.

German Ancestry
Elaine Nall Bay
Grayson County TXGenWeb