Adolph, Merchant of Wittenberg

Today, July 5th, was the birthday of Friedrich Adolph Thurm in 1891.  He was the firstborn child of Emanuel and Ernestine (Stueve) Thurm of Altenburg.  Emanuel was the brother of Gerhardt Thurm who was the main character of the post, That Thurm Throng.  This new baby, Adolph, was going to have plenty of Thurm cousins.  Here is an image of a portion of his baptismal record in the Immanuel Lutheran Church, Altenburg, church books.

Friedrich Adolph Thurm baptism record Immanuel Altenburg
Friedrich Adolph Thurm baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg

Emanuel Thurm owned a farm just east of the town of Altenburg.  Here is a 1915 map showing his property.

E. Thurm land map
Emanuel Thurm property map

This property is basically across Highway A from the Altenburg Hardwood Company today.

At the age of 22, Adolph married Emma Ann Doering of Wittenberg.  Emma is shown in this Doering family photo.  She is the girl standing on the left.

Emma Thurm & Ernst Doering X
Adolph Doering family

They were married at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church by Rev. Bartz on January 18, 1914.  Emma was the daughter of Adolph and Anna Doering.  It was after their marriage that Adolph became a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran.  Here is their marriage license.

Thurm Doering wedding
Thurm/Doering marriage license

Here is a photo of Adoph and Emma and their wedding party.

Adolph Thurm & wife X
Adolph and Emma Thurm wedding

The other people in this photo that are identified are Paula (Grebing) Thurm on the left, Ella (Doering) Lorenz standing right behind the bride, and Ernst Doering on the right of her.

In 1915, Adolph joined Louis Boehme in purchasing a store in Wittenberg from its previous owner, Otto B. Lueders.  They ran that store together for several years.  A previous story was written about Louis titled, The Life of Louis and Lulu.  In 1917, Adolph filled out a draft registration form for World War I.  He listed himself as a merchant.  You might notice that Otto B. Lueders, the man who sold them the store, is the registrar on this form.


In about 1923, this partnership dissolved.  Louis continued to run the store, and Adolph managed the boat landing at Wittenberg.  The two probably had plenty of business dealings with one another.  Then in 1929, Adolph moved his family to St. Louis.  By then, Adolph and Emma had two sons, Clement and Cordes.  In St. Louis, Adolph went to work for Concordia Publishing House where he was a shipping clerk.  Adolph’s World War II draft registration shows him as an employee of Concordia Publishing House.

Adolph Thurm – WWII draft registration

In 1950, Adolph’s parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, and this photograph was taken in Wittenberg.  It is said to be taken in front of the Schade home.  Adolph’s sister, Frieda, had married Rudolph Schade.

Schade Thurm families X

Back row (left to right):  Montie Thee, Hilda (Thurm) Thee, Clement Thurm, Emma (Doering) Thurm, Adolph Thurm, Frieda (Thurm) Schade, and Rudolph Schade.

Front row (left to right):  Clinton Schade, Marion (Schade) Grebing, Ernestine Thurm, Emanuel Thurm, Cordes Thurm, and Carl Luther.

That Schade home is labeled number 4 in this aerial photo of the area around the 1920 St. Paul’s Lutheran Church taken in the 1960’s.

Wittenberg aerial view of church area

The house in which Adolph and Emma Thurm lived is shown in this aerial photo of Wittenberg that is labeled 21.

Aerial photo Wittenberg Main St. 1960's

Likely the last time that Adolph and Emma came to Perry County was for his mother’s funeral in July of 1954.  That is because on December 17, 1954, Adolph died in St. Louis at the age of 63,  Here is his death certificate.

Adolph Thurm death certificate

During Adolph’s time in St. Louis, I found four different addresses where his family lived.  All of them were within walking distance of Concordia Publishing House where he worked.  They were also within walking distance of Lutheran Hospital where he died.  Here is a map showing those four addresses.

Adolph Thurm addresses St. Louis map

These addresses were also within walking distance of his church, Holy Cross Lutheran.

Emma Thurm did not die until 1990 at the age of 95.  Adolph and Emma are buried together in the Our Redeemer Cemetery in Afton.  Here is their gravestone.

Adolph and Emma Thurm gravestone Our Redeemer Cemetery Afton

My father, Richard Schmidt, wandered the streets of Wittenberg back in the 1920’s.  He must have gotten to know the merchant of Wittenberg by the name of Adolph Thurm.

One thought on “Adolph, Merchant of Wittenberg

  1. I am fascinated at this source of history. My Grandparents
    William & Elsie (Grebing)
    we’re my summertime place for as long as I can remember.
    I have many memories which I can remember back to age 3.
    I’m now 72 and my memories of Perry County are some of my happiest.
    My Grandmother’s mom had maiden name of RUST.
    In a book about Germany I found a high ranking German soldier by same name.
    It’s fascinating how you keep finding links.
    Thank you for your diligent work.


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