Here a Pastor; There a Pastor’s Wife

As I have looked into the family histories of people who lived in Perry County in the past, one thing seems to happen very frequently.  Back in the days when it was not unusual for families to have seven to ten children, one of the boys would become a pastor and go elsewhere to serve a church.  I know it has always been the case that sons would often enter the same occupation as their fathers, so it is not surprising that sons of pastors often become a pastor.  However, another thing we find is that daughters of pastors also often marry men who either were pastors or became pastors.  Today’s story is like this.

The focus of today’s story will be this photograph of what may be described as a Meyer Family Reunion.

John and Clara Meyer family

In the short amount of time I have had to research this family, I have discovered that this photo includes a pastor’s daughter, a pastor’s wife, a pastor, an up-and-coming pastor, and a Lutheran teacher.  There may be more church workers among the young boys in the picture of which I am unaware.

The older couple in the photo, John and Clara Meyer, were married on this day, May 10th, in 1894.  Clara was a Guemmer, and it was her father, Rev. Henry Guemmer who performed the ceremony at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg where he was the pastor.  So Clara would be the pastor’s daughter in the photograph.  Here is a photo of Rev. Guemmer.

Rev. Henry Guemmer

John Meyer was a farmer outside Perryville.  I think the area which shows J.F. Meyer owning property in this map is where he farmed.

J.F. Meyer land map

John and Clara had six children.  Only three of them are in the above photo.  They were all still alive when this photo was taken, but there must have been some reason that some of them were not present for this photo.  The three shown in this photo that are John and Clara’s children are Martin Meyer, Laura Bergmann, and Flora Mecker.

Flora’s husband, Theodore Mecker, was a farmer who lived not far from the Meyer family in Perry County.  Martin Meyer was listed as a private school teacher in Queens, New York in the 1930 census.  I assume it was a Lutheran school where he taught.  So Martin would be the Lutheran teacher.  Martin had a wife named Barbara, so I doubt that the woman labeled Agnes Meyer is his wife.  She remains a puzzle to me.  I cannot find an Agnes Meyer in any records we have.

Elmer Bergmann was also from this area of Perry County when he married Laura Meyer in 1931 at Friedenberg.  Here is a photo of Elmer in the 1924 Tuba, the Perryville High School Yearbook.

Elmer Bergmann

Elmer became a Lutheran pastor.  In 1935, he was doing mission work in South Dakota.  On several special occasions over the years, Elmer came back to Friedenberg to be a guest preacher.  He died in New Mexico and is buried in Colorado.

Among the five boys in the picture above, one is special to me personally.  Marvin Bergmann was one of my professors when I attended Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska.  So he is the up-and-coming pastor in the photo.  He was in the theology department and if my memory serves me correctly, he was one of my doctrine professors.  Here is a photo of Professor Bergmann.


Marvin is seated in the back on the couch wearing glasses.  I was also taught by the two men seated on each side of him.  On Marvin’s left is Professor Schute.  On his right is Professor David Meyer.  I doubt if Professor Meyer is related to the other Meyers in this story.  I know that I learned plenty from these three men, and I am sure the solid Lutheran theology that I learned from them served me well in my teaching profession.

Here is Marvin Bergmann in a more relaxed setting.


I don’t know if he is still alive, but I do know that if he is, I would love for him to stop in the Lutheran Heritage Museum someday so I could thank him.


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