From Tragedy Comes Blessing

January 11th was both a day of joy and a day of grief in the Telle and Bultmann families from Uniontown, Missouri.  First, this date was the birthday of Martha Telle in 1862.  Later, this date would also become the day when her husband, Ernst Bultmann, died in 1897.  However, by that time, Martha had already died.  She had died in 1884.

Tragedy had already occurred in the life of Ernst Bultmann even before he married Martha.  In 1872, when he was just twelve years old, his father, Heinrich Bultmann, died.  Ten years later, in 1882, the marriage of Martha Telle and Ernst Bultmann took place.  Here is their marriage license.


Rev. Polack performed the ceremony, but as was often done back in those days, the wedding took place at the Telle home.


It wasn’t long after their marriage that tragedy once again struck.  Their first child, Leo Bultmann, died in 1882.  This couple would later have two children, Ernst Bultmann, Jr. in 1883, and Elsa Bultmann in 1884.  Shortly after the birth of Elsa, Martha died of complications resulting from that birth at the age of 22.  This left Ernst with two children to care for, one of them very, very young.

Ernst Bultmann, Sr.

As I mentioned earlier, Ernst Bultmann, Sr. died of tuberculosis on his wife’s birthday in 1897 at the age of 37.  This left Ernst, Jr. and Elsa as orphans.  They would be raised by other family members.

A story is told in this family that on his deathbed, Ernst requested that his farm be sold so that Ernst, Jr. could be sent to the Seminary to become a pastor.  We do know that Ernst, Jr. did become a pastor, and he served most of his career at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Honey Creek, Missouri.

Martha and Ernst Bultmann are the great great grandparents of one of our guest bloggers on this page, Clayton Erdmann.  He comes from Elsa Bultmann’s branch of the family.  Clayton is a teacher at Immanuel Lutheran School in Olivette, Missouri.clayton-erdmann

There is another story that should be told about Rev. Ernst Bultmann’s life, and that story may show up on this blog someday.  Maybe I can get Ernst and Martha’s great great grandson to write that story.

The tale of the Telle/Bultmann marriage is certainly one full of tragedy, but we can also see that many blessings have come through that family.  We know that several servants of the church have descended from this couple.  To God be the glory.


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