More Mysteries Uncovered In The St. Louis Lemp Mansion

I have been researching not only the burial sites of the bodies but also the locations of all the old St. Louis contracts. These documents also tell us more about Adam Lemp’s wives, who founded the dynasty which transformed a small brewery on Levee into one of the largest brewing businesses in St. Louis (before Prohibition).

There are mountains of historical documentation about William J. Lemp. He is the son of Adam’s second spouse, Justina Baum. Justina Baum was left in Eschwege after her husband fled to St. Louis. The stepdaughters of Louise Bauer, the third wife, are well-documented. There is not much information about Johannette, a German-born daughter of Anna Clermont, the first wife. Unveiling the real Johannette Clermont, Anna Clermont’s first wife is revealed in a newly discovered contract.

Johannite would also move to America, marry Justus Brauneck, and have a child named Charles Brauneck. As I mentioned, Charles would make his way to St. Louis with the help of his grandfather Adam. He would marry Albertine Ernst. In 1870, both Charles and Albertine would die from the infection. Although I initially wrote that Albertine was buried in Calvary Cemetery’s unmarked grave in 2017, I am not so certain. A PostDispatch article from last fall showed that archdiocesan officials had removed thousands of gravestones unkempt graves during the 20th century. It is possible that Albertine Brauneck’s stone was also removed. There’s no way to know. However, I do know that her husband was denied burial rights and she was instead buried in an affordable grave costing $13.

A document that I discovered recently is the most shocking. It reveals how William J. Lemp purchased Charles Brauneck, his half-nephew in 1864. Adam Lemp had left 50 percent of the brewery’s ownership to Charles, and 50 percent to William. The two heirs took over the operation after Adam’s death on August 23, 1862. Probate records include a request for beer to be released from the cellars to make it available for sale before it goes bad. According to the new contract, Charles and William established a copartnership based on their inheritance from their grandfathers and fathers on October 25, 1862. There were indications that the partnership was not going to be equal at that time, but “William Lemp & Co” was chosen as the name.

According to the contract, William Lemp had completed his conquests of his father’s brewery. His half-nephew gave him $12,000 and $3,000 immediately. The contract signed on February 11, 1865, was the date that the partnership was disbanded. The $12,000 payment was to be made every year with $3,000 promissory notes. Charles was keen to be removed from the picture as soon as possible because he had already started construction on Cherokee Street in the previous year.

Charles would have earned $12,000 if he had kept his 50 percent stake. A lack of money may have contributed to his early death. Charles and Albertine were financially stable even though a successful brewery paid a worker about $1 per day. They had squandered their money through their deaths, as evident by their apparent lack of financial resources in 1870.

Six years after Charles Brauneck was bought out, William J. Lemp was making a lot of money for himself. The Lemp Brewery had $150,000 in the capital, 28 employees earning $28,000 per year, $196,650 worth of raw materials, and had produced 25,000 barrels worth of beer worth $250,000. According to the federal census, William owned $225,000 worth of real estate and $100,000 worth of personal property.

Personally, Charles Brauneck was sold for way too little.

Even worse, his existence was erased from history as books were written about the prominent members of St. Louis’s industry over the years. St. Louis: Future Great City of the World. Published in 1876. The biography of William states:

“In 1862, Adam Lemp died. The entire business was left to William J., who has overseen it since then to great success.”

“At the death of Adam Lemp in 1862, he took full control over the family business …”

The author continues the canard in 1892’s Pen, Sunlight Sketches, and St. Louis, the Commercial Gateway to the South.

“In 1862 Mr. Adam Lemp passed away, and the current proprietor [William J. Lemp] took over the entire interest.”

It is not clear why there has been such a cover-up of the existence of a former partner at the Lemp Brewery for only two years. Other famous St. Louis breweries have not had to admit that they have had other partners in the past. Anheuser-Busch for instance never hides that Adolphus Busch and Eberhard Anheuser were not the original owners of the Bavarian Brewery. The Griesediecks also never tried to hide the fact Falstaff was a Lemp trademark that they bought. While I understand William Lemp’s animus towards his father’s third spouse after he left his mother in Germany, it is not fair to hold grudges against his grandson. There may be more to the story, but at the moment, it is clearer that there isn’t. William J. Lemp seems a lot more brutal.

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