The research crew at Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum recently identified a new answer to the above question. According to an old article found in the Perryville paper, Gottwerth Schmidt who died on April 14, 1926, was the last of the original immigrants to die. He also happens to be my great grandfather.
We have now determined that there was someone else who lived longer. Emilie Hopfer, who arrived in Perry County as part of the Gruber Group in December of 1839, lived to a later date than Gottwerth. She died in Uniontown on October 20, 1927. Both Gottwerth and Emilie lived to be 91 years of age.
I was not made aware of this fact until yesterday. When I wrote my book, “Mama Buenger: Mother of a Synod”, it just so happens that these two are characters in it. In fact, the Schmidt and Hopfer families are involved in the same story. As I tell it, when the Gruber group arrive in Perry County, Rev. Loeber arranges to have the newly arrived Hopfers to spend a night with the Schmidt family. That would have put these two characters in the same home for that event. But it’s only fiction.
If anyone would find that someone else lived later than Emilie Hopfer, we at the museum would like to know about it. Contact us if you do find such a person.
Also, if you might be interested in reading “Mama Buenger: Mother of a Synod”, you can find it on Amazon. If you click on the Amazon Smile logo in the right margin, it will take you there.