Your Pastor for a Father-in-Law

Gotthold Seibel
Gotthold Seibel

Today’s story is about an Altenburg carpenter named Gotthold Seibel.  He was born on April 21, 1851.  His sister, Wilhelmina Seibel married my great grandfather, Gottwerth Schmidt, so this makes Gotthold my great great uncle.

An important event took place when Gotthold was about 14 years old.  Trinity Lutheran Church got a new pastor, Rev. J.F. Koestering.  One of the members of the Koestering family was 10 year-old Louise Koestering.  It is likely that Gotthold was a member of the first confirmation class of Rev. Koestering, but, alas, because of what we refer to as the “Koestering Hole” in Trinity’s church records, we have no documentation for that.

Fourteen years after the Koesterings arrived in Perry County, Gotthold Seibel married Louise Koestering.  Louise’s father officiated that wedding, and Gotthold now had his own pastor and previous confirmation instructor as his father-in-law.  The Seibel couple had five children who were baptized by Grandpa Koestering before he left Altenburg in 1887.

Back in those days, it was quite likely for a pastor’s children to marry the children of other pastors.  It appears that there was almost a “social divide” between the clergy and the laity when it came to their children’s marriages.  I do not know whether this was the first case of a pastor’s child marrying into a layperson’s family, but Louise was not the only one of the Koestering family to marry one of the local residents.  I do find it interesting that Louise’s sister married a local boy, Ernst Schuessler, who then became a pastor.

When the Altenburg Debate took place in 1841, there was certainly a great divide between the clergy and the laity.  Thirty years later, that gap seems to have closed somewhat.

Both Gotthold and Louise are buried in the Trinity, Altenburg cemetery.  Below is a photo of Gotthold’s tombstone.  You can see the church in the distance.

Gotthold Seibel tombstone

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

7 thoughts on “Your Pastor for a Father-in-Law

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:

    I hadn’t planned to make our 2000th blog post a mere re-blog of a previous post, but that is what this is. There is too much on my plate today, and I figured you might enjoy this early story from 2016 which is incredibly short compared to more recent posts.


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