Today is the birthday of Bertha Loebs, who was born in St. Louis on February 5, 1878. Here is a photo of her baptismal certificate.
This certificate causes us to ask some questions. Three other children had previously been born to the George and Magdalena (Schmidt) Loebs family, and they were baptized at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in St. Louis. However, Bertha was not listed in the Holy Cross books. Instead, we have this certificate which says this baptism took place in the parents’ home. It also has the signature of J.F. Koestering, who was the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg at this time. Why is this? One factor which may be part of this scenerio is that George Loebs was a lodge member. We wrote about this dilemma in the post titled, So Close, Yet So Far. Another factor may have been that Magdalena had been a member of Trinity, Altenburg before marrying George Loebs.
I am going to let that question lie unanswered because Bertha’s birthday is not what I’m really interested in writing about today. What interests me is that after Bertha married Carl Boehme in 1901, this couple purchased farmland in Jackson, Missouri in 1903 and moved there.
Bertha and Carl were married at Trinity Lutheran in Altenburg. Then in 1902, we see them as members of the newly formed congregation, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, in Wittenberg, along with one child, Adelade. Then their move was made to Jackson, where this family was involved the rest of their lives at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in that town.
The 160 acres that were purchased by the Boehmes was said to be adjacent to Old Bethel Baptist Church and Cemetery. By the time the Boehmes moved there, this church was no longer there, but the cemetery and its gravestones could still be found. This Baptist church does have a fascinating story.
Prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1804, churches under the Spanish or French rule in this area had to be Roman Catholic. It was not until the United States purchased this land that other denominations could be established. It was in 1806 that Old Bethel Baptist Church was founded and a log church building was constructed. A cemetery was also established. This church was the very first Baptist church to exist in what later would become the state of Missouri.
In 2009, after many of the original logs for this church building were found in a local barn, this church was reconstructed, and it has become a historical site. They reconstructed this building where it once sat next to its cemetery. If you look on Findagrave.com, you can find this cemetery, and they list 69 identifiable graves.
Here is a list of the charter members of this congregation from 1806.
David Green. Leanna Green. Thos. English. Jane English. Jno. Hitt. Frances Hitt. Thos. Bull. Agnes Ballou. Wm. Matthews. Rebecca Randol. Anderson Rogers. Clara Abernathy. Edward Spears. Catherine Anderson. William Smith.
Back to the Boehmes. Carl Boehme is said to have been quite a successful farmer. He was reportedly one of the first farmers in this area to utilize terracing on his farm. He kept himself up-to-date on the innovative new techniques used in agriculture. He also was very interested in raising livestock.
When we looks at a map of this area today, we can find the location of the Old Bethel Baptist Church and what must have been the Boehme farm. A street in this area has even been named Boehme Lane.
The Baptist church is the little white roof in the lower left hand corner of this photo. Boehme Ln. can be found in the upper right. There is a Rubbermaid Corporation building just above where you see Jackson Trail on this map. There is also a relatively new school facility located on Boehme Ln. and Highway 25.
In 1906, there was a special centennial celebration held at the location of the Old Bethel Baptist Church and Cemetery. These are the first words of an address that was made to the congregation gathered for that event:
“TODAY we stand on holy ground, made so by the deeds of heroic faith. The dust of those who founded and fostered our Baptist faith in this wilderness one hundred years ago is deposited in this cemetery. Methinks the angels are here standing guard over this holy city of the dead. Let us remove, as it were, our shoes from off our feet”
You can find more of the words spoken on that day at this link:
I cannot help but wonder. Did these Old Baptists ask their new neighbors, the Old Lutherans from Perry County, to attend this special service in 1906?