When I was a student at Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska back in the 1970’s, I was invited to a local farmer’s house at Thanksgiving because I was not able to travel home for the holiday. Local Seward folks would offer their hospitality to students who would have had to spend the holiday alone. I have never forgotten that story. Today, we find a similar story that occurred in Wittenberg, Missouri many years ago.
The story today begins with Joseph Weinhold, the son of Johann Weinhold, one of the original immigrants in 1839, who became a miller in Frohna. Apparently, Joseph spent two years at Concordia Seminary in St.Louis, but he did not finish his schooling there. He came back to Perry County and was put in charge of a second flour mill which was located in Wittenberg. Joseph married Maria Bretscher who was from Wittenberg. This couple had ten children, eight of them girls. Joseph also became rather well-to-do, building a magnificent 12 room house in Wittenberg. He also became not only a judge for the region, but also was elected as a state representative for Missouri.
In a family history document we have in our museum, you can read the following account.
“Life would be a humdrum affair after so much excitement, but the girls were kept busy learning the art of housekeeping; a preparation for their future marriages. The Weinholds had set one standard for a prospective husband: he must be a Christian. So, the wily Judge issued a standing invitation to Concordia, a Christian College in St. Louis, about 80 miles north of Wittenberg, for a student or two to spend special holidays with the Weinholds, all expenses paid. Many a lad who could not afford to go home availed himself of the opportunity to be lavishly fed and mothered by “Frau” Weinhold and royally entertained by the Judge who would take the lad in hand and trot him over to his huge flour mill by the river where they might watch a Mississippi boat at anchor, unloading or taking on a cargo of flour.”
Not surprisingly, we discover that most of the Weinhold girls ended up marrying men who were Lutheran pastors. One of those was the marriage between Concordia Weinhold and Rev. Theodore Bundenthal on this day, July 27, in 1899. Here we see their Missouri marriage record.
You may notice that J. Bundenthal was the pastor who is named on the form as the pastor presiding over the ceremony. This Rev. Bundenthal was not the pastor in Altenburg and must have come here to conduct the marriage for his son.
Rev. Theodore Bundenthal was a pastor in Sedalia, Missouri when he was married. He would later be the pastor in Atchison, Kansas. For unknown reasons, one of the Bundenthal children, which happened to be a twin, is included in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church books as dying here in 1904. I am guessing that Concordia was home visiting with her children and one of her very young twins died while here.
Concordia’s husband died at the early age of 39. Since there is a record of one of the Bundenthal children getting confirmed at Trinity in Altenburg in 1923, it appears that Concordia and her remaining family moved back to Perry County after her husband’s death. Here is a photo of three of the Bundenthal children.
Recently, our museum was presented with a home-made tool box complete with tools inside, which belonged to Joseph Weinhold. Sometime in the future, we will put that box and some of those tools on display. In the photo below, you can see that both the box and these two tools were engraved with the initials, JW.