Dos Cinco de Mayos

The Grubers of Uniontown managed to marry off two of their daughters on two different May fifths……even though the date of these weddings is up for debate.  Not only that, but they both married men who were pastors.  To add to that, there was a third daughter who also married a pastor, and two of his sons became pastors.

Clara Johanna Gruber married Carl Heinrich Rudolf Lange on May 5, 1849 according to the transcription of the Grace, Uniontown records.  Here is an image of that transcription.

Lange Gruber Uniontown transcription

The image of the actual record is here.

Lange Gruber Uniontown record

I can find no indication of the wedding taking place on the 5th.  I do find what looks like it taking place on the 18th.  Also, the reference to Pastor Lange being called to Ft. Wayne is questionable.

Clara was ten years old when she arrived in America in December of 1839 aboard the Johann Georg.  Rudolf arrived in 1846, spent a short time in Ft. Wayne, Indiana at the seminary there, and then came to Perry County and graduated from Concordia Seminary, Altenburg in 1848.  He was one of five graduates of Concordia before the Seminary moved to St. Louis in 1849.  Here is their Perry County marriage record.

Lange Gruber marriage record
Lange/Gruber marriage record

This record says the marriage took place on May 18th.  This seems to me to be the more likely date, but I choose to write this story anyway on May 5th.

Rev. Lange has quite an impressive resumé.  His first call was to St. Charles, Missouri where he was pastor of the brand new congregation, Immanuel Lutheran Church.  In 1858, he became a professor at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.  In 1861, he became a professor at Concordia College in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  He then served congregations in Defiance, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois before returning to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 1878.  Rev. Lange died in 1892; Clara died in 1910.  There is an Indiana death certificate indicating that Clara died in Ft. Wayne, but she and her husband are buried in Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis.

Five years after Clara’s wedding, her sister, Therese, married Rev. Erhard Riedel.  Once again, the transcription says that this marriage took place on May 5, 1854. However, here is the image of that record in the Grace, Uniontown church books.

Riedel Gruber Uniontown record

Once again, I do not find indication of the wedding taking place on the 5th.  In this case it looks like it took place on the 17th.

Here is the Perry County marriage record for that wedding, and it indicates a May 17th wedding.

Riedel Gruber marriage record
Riedel/Gruber marriage record

I would like to think that the Langes would have made the trip down from St. Charles to attend this wedding.  Maybe Rev. Lange participated in the wedding service in some way.

Rev. Riedel was the pastor in Friedheim, Missouri.  He succeeded Rev. Franz Julius Biltz who had taken a call to Maryland.  Rev. Riedel had been serving a congregation in Franklin County, Missouri.  He arrived in Friedheim in 1854 and got married that same year.  In those days, Friedheim was still called Dissen, Missouri.  Rev. Riedel shows up there in the 1860 census and the couple has two children by that year.  Another child was born in 1861, but in 1863, Therese died.  Erhard married again to a woman named Emilie.  The 1870 census shows him serving a congregation in Bremen, Illinois, which is near Chester.  The 1880 census shows Erhard and his family living in Bloomington, Illinois, and he was still serving as a minister.  Then in the 1900 census, he was in Sioux County, Iowa serving a Lutheran church there.  Erhard is buried in Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis.  I was unable to find where Therese was buried.

This record of a birth occurring in China shows another Erhard Riedel who was a missionary in China.  My guess is that this was a grandson of Erhard and either Therese or Emilie.


I have just a few thoughts about the family of this couple, Rev. Karl Friedrich and Pauline (Brem) Gruber:


  • The patriarch of this family, Rev. Gruber, must have felt great satisfaction in the fact that five of his sons and sons-in-law were serving the church as pastors.
  • The matriarch of this family, Pauline, may have felt moments of sadness, knowing that so many of her children and grandchildren became scattered around the country.  At least some of them remained rather close to Uniontown for a while as some of the pastors in her family served several churches that were nearby early in their ministry.
  • If the Grubers ever had a family reunion, they certainly would not have had difficulty finding someone who was willing to lead a prayer.  In fact, there may have been some disputes about who was going to take on that task.

I feel a little guilty that I didn’t title this article, Zwei am Fünften Mai’s.   A big discussion occurred at the Old Bank Coffee Shop this morning about how to say the “Fifth of May” in German.  I ended up consulting our friend Lutz Bachmann in Germany.  So I hope I have gotten this right.  It’s supposed to say Two Fifth of Mays.  I do know that Mr. Streufert would be very disappointed that I don’t remember much from my two years of taking his German class at Lutheran High School North in St. Louis.

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