Jesus says in Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Well, that is certainly true, but the Theodor Gottlob Kramer family of Frohna, Missouri, was an exception to the rule. The laborers were not few. Theodor and his wife Mathilde (Burfeind) Kramer had eight children. Six of these children became either full-time Lutheran church workers or married to one.
I have already written a post which has told the story of three of these children who all happened to serve at least part of their time in Argentina. Two were sons who were missionaries there, and one was a daughter who married a man who was a missionary there. That post was titled, Kramers Cross the Equator. In that post I said there were two other siblings who were church workers. I was wrong. There were three. I really urge you to read that post. If it has been a while since you read it, read it again. It will help you get the entire picture of this Kramer family.
The first six children in this family were boys. They were followed by two girls. Here is a list showing the eight children.
Alfred, Gustav, and Flora were featured in the above-mentioned blog post. Today, I will describe what became of the other five.
Ernst was unique among the Kramer children. He stayed in Perry County his whole life and was a farmer by trade. His World War I draft registration in 1918 indicates this, and at that time he was living with his parents and the two young sisters.
As it turns out, Ernst did serve our country and was sent overseas during World War I. Here is his military record.
After the war, Ernst married Martha Vogel of Frohna. He died in 1968 and is buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown.
Adolph Kramer became a Lutheran educator. When he registered for the draft in 1918, he was a student at Concordia College in River Forest, Illinois.
The 1930 census places Adolph Kramer in Faribault, Minnesota as a Lutheran teacher and organist. It appears that he remained there until he retired because he is buried in Faribault. In 1922, Adolph married Martha Boldt. Since I spent ten years living near Faribault, I happen to know that the funeral home there is the Boldt Funeral Home. However, I could not connect her to that establishment. Here is a city directory record from Faribault in 1936.
William Kramer is the reason I am writing this story on July 15th. That was the anniversary date of William and Renata Welp in 1923. Renata Welp was the daughter of Henry Welp who was a teacher at Concordia Lutheran School in Frohna for about 50 years. William followed in his older brother’s and his father-in-law’s footsteps and became a Lutheran teacher. Based on his census records, I have to conclude that he must have taught at Trinity Lutheran School in Stewardson, Illinois, which is not far from Altamont where so many other people from Perry County served as church workers. He and Renata are buried in Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis.
If you looked closely at the city directory for Faribault from 1936, you will see that Fred Kramer is the pastor at that time in Faribault. I do not know exactly what happened before 1936, but we get some clues from a document that shows the Fred Kramer family crossing the border into Canada after voyaging across the ocean from France in 1931.
It indicates that Fred’s wife, Alwine (Kohlmeier) Kramer was from Linn, Kansas. It also indicates that two children had been born in Strasbourg, France. Strasbourg is in France, but it is right on the border with Germany. Here I will speculate. I think Rev. Fred Kramer was a pastor in or around Linn, Kansas where he met and married his wife. Then he took a call to serve overseas in France. Upon his return, he became a pastor in Faribault. The 1940 census places him in Ellinwood, Kansas as a pastor. He is reportedly buried in Springfield, Illinois.
The youngest Kramer was Irma. She never married. Here is a photo of her when she attended Southeast Missouri State College in 1928.
Irma was still living with her parents in 1940 according to the census for that year. Her parents died in the 1940’s. After that, it appears she moved to St. Louis. Irma looks to be what Germans describe as a “Tante”, a woman in a family who does not get married and helps take care of other children and elderly family members. One unique fact about Irma is that she was born and died on the same date…..March 27. She died on her 80th birthday. Here is her gravestone in the Our Redeemer Cemetery in Afton, Missouri.
The story of the Kramer family is an incredible one. This farming family from tiny Frohna managed to send out their children to set foot in all of the hemispheres….the Western Hemisphere, the Eastern Hemisphere, the Northern Hemisphere, and the Southern Hemisphere. They served their farm. They served their family. They served their country. They served their church. In all that they did, they served their Lord. People all over the world were blessed by the members of this Kramer family.