Today, our story begins with the birth of Arthur Kuehnert on January 7, 1888, but we will take that story back farther. Arthur was the great grandson of the Johann Christlieb Kuehnert, who brought his family to America in the 1839 immigration. Johann’s son, Johann Christian Kuehnert, is shown in the middle of the front row in this Kuehnert family photo. He was twelve years old when he made the voyage on the Copernicus to America.
Johann Christlieb was a mason. I like to think that he was involved in the construction of the first church here in Altenburg, which is now one of the galleries for our museum. That church was built in 1845. The rock for that church was brought from a creek bed on property that once belonged to the Noennig family and later became owned by a Kuehnert family. If Johann Christlieb was doing the masonry work on the first Trinity church building, it is somewhat likely that Johann Christian, who would have been about eighteen years old at the time, would have been assisting him.
Here is a photo of a portion of the limestone rock that makes up the old church. A cut-out section of the wall is exposed on the inside of our museum to show what the original walls looked like.
Here is a photo of this church building after it had become a school.
In the Kuehnert family photo you will find Julius Kuehnert sitting in the front on the right, with his wife, Emma (Schmidt) Kuehnert sitting on the left. Here is the wedding picture of Julius and Emma.
Emma was the daughter of Johann and Rosine (Noennig) Schmidt. Here is a photo of that couple.
Now we get back to Arthur, who was born on January 7th. He was the son of Julius and Emma, and is shown in the Kuehnert family photo in the back row on the left. Also in the back row are Theodore (middle) and Ernest (right).
A story was written a while back about Theodore, who became a Lutheran teacher and professor. That story was titled, Nero Enters China…..With the Gospel.
Arthur also became a full time church worker. He became a pastor and served for a while in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Later, he became pastor at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in St. Louis. We recently wrote an article about another pastor connected to Perry County that served that congregation. That post was titled, Double E.E.. While he was at Ebenezer, Rev. Kuehnert was also serving as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Board of Missions from 1923-1947. He was chairman of that board from 1932-1947. I guess you could say that he, too, was involved in the building of churches, just like his great grandfather.
There is only one Kuehnert left at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Her name is Myrtle Kuehnert, who happens to also be my first half-cousin. The Ernest Kuehnert shown in the Kuehnert family photo was her father-in-law.