My Quast Quest

I have spent way too much time researching today’s story.  And after all is said and done, I still have questions.

Johann Martin Quest was one of the original immigrants.  He came to America aboard the Johann Georg and up the Mississippi River aboard the Clyde.  Here we see him listed on the Johann Georg passenger list.


He was listed as a 20 year old shoemaker.  Here we find the first dilemma.  According to almost all other sources, Martin was born in 1812, which would have made him 27 years old when he arrived.  Even Zion on the Mississippi shows his age as 27.  Martin was also one of the immigrants who made the choice to remain in St. Louis and not settle in Perry County.

Martin was the son of Christopher Quast, who was a warden in an insane asylum in Germany.  Another unusual thing about Martin was that he came from an area of Germany known as Bavaria.  Most of the immigrants were from Saxony.  However, he was from Bayreuth in Bavaria which is not really that far from the area of Saxony where most of the other immigrants lived.

Not long after arriving in America, Martin married Rosette Herrmann, another one of the original immigrants, on February 24, 1840.  They were married in the church parsonage by Rev. Otto Herman Walther.  Trinity had not built their own church yet.


Rosette died at the beginning of the Cholera Epidemic in St. Louis in 1849.  When she died, this couple had two living children, Ernst and Johanna.  It is here where things get interesting…..and confusing.  The 1850 census finds a John M. Quast in Fort Wayne, Indiana as a 38 year old student at the German Lutheran Seminary.

1850 census – Ft. Wayne, IN

I asked myself the question, “If Martin went to study to become a Lutheran pastor after his wife died, why didn’t he go to Concordia Seminary which just moved to St. Louis at the end of 1849?”  That can be answered by factoring in that he was already 38 years old and by going to the practical seminary in Ft. Wayne, he would not have the rigid standards which would be required at the St. Louis Seminary, like learning Greek and Hebrew.  The other question was, “What did he do with his two children?”  I was able to partially answer that question.  Ernst Quast can be found in the 1850 census from St. Louis.

1850 census – St. Louis, MO

He was living with the Harrman family.  I think this is misspelled and really was the Herrmann family, and Charles was Rosette’s brother.  However, I could not locate Johanna.  I assume she was also left with a family while Martin went to the seminary.

In the 1860 census, we find Martin living with his two children, Ernst and Hannah, in Lexington, Missouri.  It spans two pages.


1860 census – Lexington, MO

Martin was a merchant and his son, Ernst was a carriage maker.  I also found records that Ernst spent some time serving as a Union soldier in the Civil War.  Lexington was in Lafayette County, Missouri, and that area of the state was known for housing plenty of Confederate sympathizers.

Here is an extremely puzzling part to the saga a Johann Martin Quast.  There also is was a Sarah Quast who was born in 1856 in Cleveland, Ohio.  Many records point to Sarah being a daughter of Martin.  Sarah would marry Frederick Uthoff in St. Louis in 1878 at Trinity Lutheran Church.  Here is her death certificate which contains some interesting information.


This record shows Sarah as being born in Cleveland, with her father being Martin Quast, but her mother is listed as Unknown.  I have to think that after Martin attended the seminary, he spent some time in Cleveland….maybe as a pastor.  While there, he must have fathered a child.  Then he returned to Missouri, reunited with his first two children, and was living in Lexington.  However, he did not bring that child with him.  We do know that Sarah ended up in St. Louis where she married Frederick and raised a large family.  Her marriage record can be found in the Old Trinity church books.

City directories from St. Louis show Martin once again living in that city as early as 1865.  Between 1865 and his death in 1890, we see Martin living in several different locations and working at several different jobs.  Mostly, he is found working in a drug store.  In 1865, he is shown as working for a company called “Huber and Quast” which indicates he may have been involved in starting his own business along with a man by the name of Huber.  One of the drug stores in which he worked was called the Concordia Drug Store.


I made a map which is marked with several different locations where Martin either worked or lived in St. Louis.


Martin died of senility at the age of 77 and his death record says he was buried in the New Saxon Cemetery in St. Louis.  On, Concordia Cemetery is also described as New Saxon Cemetery.  However, you cannot find Martin’s grave on that website. Martin’s death is also recorded in the Old Trinity records.  You can find his daughter’s gravestone, Sarah (Quast) Uthoff in Concordia Cemetery, but not her father’s.

I must admit that there are still so many unanswered Quast questions.  However I must tell you one more story.

In August Suelflow’s biography of Rev. C.F.W. Walther, Servant of the Word:  The Life and Ministry of C.F.W. Walther, you can find the following passage:

“On February 8, 1841, Trinity congregation called C.F.W. Walther as his brother’s successor to the pastorate.  Since there was only limited postal service, the call document was personally delivered to Walther in Perry County by the shoemaker, Johann Martin Quast.”

When I wrote my book, Mama Buenger: Mother of a Synod, I included this incident.  Martin Quast is a minor character there, but as is the case with all the names in my book, he really did exist.


2 thoughts on “My Quast Quest

  1. I look in my record and found that J Paul Beyer was enrolled at the seminary in Ft. Wayne, during the 1849-50 school year. They could have been classmates. In my record (translated) I do not find Johann Quast. I will have to compare notes to see what I am missing.


    1. The 1850 census in Ft. Wayne was taken in August. Maybe J.M. Quast started during the 1850-1851 school year. I didn’t see a Beyer in the 1850 census. There was a Bergt, and I know he was from Perry County.


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