I had some pancakes for breakfast this morning. Considering how hungry I was at the time, those pancakes quickly disappeared. This post tells the story of some other “pancakes” that quickly disappeared in East Perry County.
On March 9, 1876, 140 years ago today, Julius Ernst Pfannkuchen was born. Pfannkuchen is German for pancake. Julius was the son of Johann F. Wilhelm Pfannkuchen and Maria Magdalena (Schuessler) Pfannkuchen. Unfortunately, young Julius did not live to his third birthday. A search in our research library led me to discover the following facts concerning the members of this family.
- The first son of Johann and Maria was Carl Victor Pfannkuchen, born in 1871. Carl Victor died on November 2, 1878.
- A second son, Carl Wilhelm, was born in 1872. He died in 1894 at the young age of 22.
- The first daughter in the Pfannkuchen family was Anna Maria who was born in 1874. She died on October 29, 1878.
- Then Julius was born. He died on November 10, 1878.
- Magdalena Sarah was born near the end of 1877. She died less than a year later on October 30, 1878.
- Clara Martha was born in 1879. She married Rev. Herman Theodore Arndt, a Lutheran pastor from Chicago and lived in Indiana, Ohio, and Florida over the years. She was still alive in 1940.
- The last of the Pfannkuchen children, Maria Emma, was born in 1881, only to die about a month later.
Maybe you noticed that this family had to endure an incredible tragedy near the end of 1878 when four young children died within the course of less than two weeks. The Concordia Lutheran church records indicate that three of those deaths were caused by diphtheria. I will also add that the mother, Maria, died in 1881, not long after the birth of Maria Emma. Carl Wilhelm survived this terrible series of events but died before he was married, leaving no children. Clara Martha was the only child who lived into adulthood, but she no longer carried the Pfannkuchen name after marriage.
So we see that the Pfannkuchen name was gone as we moved into the 20th century. Even the father died in 1896. The pancakes were gone. This is sad. I think the Pfannkuchen name would have been a great one to still have around in this German community. Wouldn’t it be great to have a bunch of Pfannkuchens working at the various pancake breakfasts that we have around here?