Monday, December 24, 2012

Historical Records of a Real Santa Claus

There was at least one man who used the name Santa Claus in U.S. history, and there are quite a few records for him:

A person named "Santa Clause" (born April 1887 in MO) was the son of William Clause (born Feb 1857 in MO) and Henrietta Clause (born May 1861 in MO) in the 1900 census, with siblings Emma B. Clause (born Jan 1881 in MO), William E. Clause (born Nov 1882 in MO), Earler (?) Clause (born Dec 1885 in MO), Nellie Claus (born Nov 1889) and Earl Clause (born Dec 1894 in MO). The family resided in Liberty township, Saline County, MO (NARA T623, Roll 902, ED 129, Page 3A).

In the 1910 census, "Sante Claus" was age 23, single, a farm laborer, living as a hired man in the household of David Fleshman in Liberty township, Saline County, MO (NARA T624, Roll 823, ED 172, Page 4A).

In the 1920 census, "Santy Clause" (age 31, single, a boarder) resided with his brother Earl Clause inBlackwater township, Pettis County, MO (NARA T625, Roll 939, ED 125, Page 4B).

In the 1930 census, "Santa Claus" (age 42, married, first at age 24, born in MO, a laborer, works in river construction) resided in Marshall township, Saline County, MO with his wife Mabel Claus (age 36, married, first at age 18 in MO), son William Claus (age 15, born MO), son Raymond Claus (age 12, born CO), son Fred Claus (age 9, born MO), son Joseph Claus (age 6, born MO), son James Claus (age 3, born MO) and daughter Dorthy Claus (age 0, born MO) (NARA T626, Roll 1246, ED 20, Page 12A).

Notice that son Raymond Claus was born in Colorado, not Missouri. And also note that Santa was in Missouri in the 1920 census listed as single, but he obviously had a wife and children in 1920 if the 1930 census records are correct.

In the 1940 U.S. census, "Santa Claus" (age 52, married, born in Missouri, completed 4th grade, a sewer man) resided in Marshall, Saline county, Missouri with his wife Minnie Mabel Claus (age 46, married, born Missouri, completed 6th grade); son William Owen Claus (age 24, single, born Missouri, completed 7th grade); son Raymond Elbert Claus (age 22, single, born Colorado, completed 8th grade, a yard man); Fred Claus (age 19, single, born Missouri, completed 7th grade);  son Joseph Claus (age 16, single, born Missouri, completed 1st year of high school, a new worker); son James Claus (age 13, single, born Missouri, completed 6th grade); daughter Amy Ruth Claus (age 9, single, born Missouri, completed 3rd grade); daughter Edna May Claus (age 3, single, born Missouri).

There is more:

Santy Clause married Minnie Mabel Hill on 9 June 1912 in Marshall, Saline County, Missouri. Their marriage record is in the Missouri Marriage License database on, but it only says that he was from Marshall and over age 21, and she was from Marshall and over age 18.

"Santy Clause" registered for the World War I draft on 5 June 1917 in Prowers County, Colorado. He was age 29, born 4 April 1888 in Marshall MO, a natural born US citizen, Caucasian, married with two children. He was a farmer, and resided in Lamar, Route A, Prowers County, Colorado. He was medium height, medium build, blue eyes, light brown hair, and no disabilities, and had no previous military service.

I was unable to find Mabel Claus or the two children, William and Raymond, in the 1920 census - perhaps someone else would like to try! My best guess is that they may be in Colorado then, or back in Saline County MO.

One last bit of data: Members of the Clause family are buried in Blue Lick Union Church Cemetery in Saline County, Missouri. The list includes:

Donna Clause (died 3 Oct 1942, age 0-4-24)
Earl Clause (1894-1940)
Helen F. Clause (1919-1955)
Henrietta S. Clause (18__-1915)
Minnie Mabel Clause ("mother," 1894-1944)
Raymond E. Clause (1917-1971)
Santa Clause ("Father," 1888-1957)

Silvina Clause (1877-1964)
William Clause (1856-1917)

So, to summarize:

"Santa Claus" was born 4 April 1887 or 1888 in Marshall, Saline County, MO, the son of William and Henrietta (--?--) Claus. He married Minnie Mabel Hill in 1912 and they had at least 6 children.  He was a laborer in river construction in 1930. He died in 1957 and is buried in Saline County, Missouri.

This Santa Claus is, unfortunately, not coming to town soon - he's dead and buried in Missouri. It doesn't appear that he could possibly be the jolly purveyor of toys and good cheer with a big belly and long white beard who lives with his unnamed wife and elves and 9 reindeer at the North Pole, does it? 

Don't tell the kids.

Isn't it amazing what you can find on the Internet with lots of spare time on your hands?

I posted this originally on 27 November 2006 and had two comments from granddaughters of Santa Claus, one from a cousin several times removed, and one from a lady whose parents were married by Santa Claus.  I had another comment from a probable relative last year - see post here.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Kathy L said...

Missouri death certificates are online and here is a link to Santa's death certificate.

Merry Christmas!

Los Angeles

LLG70 said...

Definitely a cemetery to avoid taking the kids to >:o

Barking Up the Wrong Tree