- People who know me are familiar with my rants in November about how people shouldn’t start playing Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. Certainly it is not anywhere close to being the time to talk about holiday music, but that’s the title for today’s story, yet there is a reason for it.
- I have on several occasions written blogs about the family of Joseph Weinhold of Wittenberg, who was the father of a family full of girls. Today is a story connected to one of those girls that has yet to be discussed on this blog.
Agnes Weinhold, one of Joseph and Mary (Bretcher) Weinhold’s daughters, was born on this day, March 29, 1871. Her baptism is included in the church books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. When she was 19 years old, she married the 24 year old teacher at the Lutheran school which was operated in Wittenberg. This teacher was Heinrich Feiertag. He was the son of Benjamin and Sophie (Buettner) Feiertag from Baltimore, Maryland. Benjamin was also a teacher. It is not hard to imagine how young Agnes could have caught the attention of the unmarried teacher living in the same little river town.
At this time, Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg operated a separate school in Wittenberg and held services there for their members in that town so that they would not all have to make the trip to Altenburg each Sunday. A combination church and school (Kirche and Schule) building was built in Wittenberg. Here is a photo of that building along with a parsonage that was built later and a teacherage that was purchased by the church about the time of the Feiertag/Weinhold wedding.
I would not doubt that Joseph Weinhold may have had a great influence on the purchase of this teacherage for the new Feiertag couple. Henry Feiertag was a teacher in Wittenberg from 1884-1892. Before he and Agnes moved away from Wittenberg, they had one child, Kurt Robert Feiertag, born in 1891. Because there is no 1890 census, we cannot glean anything from that year’s accounting.
I know that the Feiertags must have moved to somewhere in Ohio because future census records indicate that the next two children in this family were born in that state. I have not been able to find out what city to which they moved, but I am reasonably sure that Henry remained as a Lutheran schoolteacher. Here is a photo taken in Wittenberg sometime around 1894 which includes Henry and Agnes with three of their children, Kurt, Benjamin, and Luella.
In the 1900 census, we find this family living in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Henry is shown as a school teacher living with Agnes and three children. They were living on the same street as St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School in downtown Fort Wayne, so I assume that that is where he was teaching when he first arrived in that city. Here are present-day photos of that church and school.
An unexpected thing happened in 1901. At least I didn’t expect to find this. Henry and Agnes’s fourth child, Karl Feiertag, was baptized in Perry County. The record is included in the Trinity, Altenburg church books. I am only speculating on this, but it is possible that this family may have traveled to Wittenberg after school was out for that year, and Karl was either born and baptized, or just baptized, while in Wittenberg with the rest of the Weinhold family.
Twelve years after Karl was born, the last of the Feiertag children was born. Eric Feiertag was born when his mother, Agnes, was 42 years old. Here is a family photo that must have been taken not that long after Eric was born.
It is in some records I have found in Fort Wayne that indicate that Henry’s area of expertise was in the area of music. Henry spent the rest of his career in Fort Wayne, and somewhere along the line, he became a professor at Concordia College in that city. He was a professor of vocal music at that college. He was involved in many choral music responsibilities and was also instrumental (pun intended) in starting an orchestra there. In a yearbook from Concordia College, we find this description of one of Henry’s accomplishments.
“About this time, Director M. Luecke, who had been trying for several years to awaken some sort of interest for this work among the students hit upon the plan of organizing a society to consist of the various Lutheran church choirs and of the student chorus. He interested a number of choir leaders in the project and finally, after many difficulties had been overcome, the choral society was formed. Various Lutheran churches of Fort Wayne were represented in it. Mr. Feiertag, who had been director of the students’ chorus for years, was secured as director of the new society, and not too much credit can be given him for the success which the society has experienced since its organization. At the first concert, the “Weihnachts Oratorium” by Heinrich Barth was rendered. More than six months of practice were needed before the oratorio could be rendered in a suitable manner. It narrates the nativity of Christ and contains impressive solos and choruses. Although it had been intended to give this concert only twice, the number of people who desired to hear it was so great, that it had to be rendered a third time.”
Finally, we must return to the title of this post…..Holiday Music. I am by no means an expert in the German language, but I put the word Feiertag into Google Translate and it said this word means “holiday”…..free day. Thus……Holiday Music. In springtime?? Oh, well.