Today’s post is another that was written by Fred Eggers. He contacted me yesterday after the story about the church in Point Rest and asked if he could write today’s post. He wanted to add some more information to yesterday’s story. I love it when Fred volunteers to help us out. He is a marvelous researcher and knows so much more than I do especially when it comes to the history of the churches north of here toward the bottoms. I think you will enjoy all the information that Fred provides here about the Point Rest community, church, and cemetery.
Warren’s post yesterday created a lot of interest in Point Rest, its church, and its families. Much of the discussion was on the Wichern family that had a store in Point Rest and had moved there from Star Landing which is located on the Mississippi River near the Ridge community north of Altenburg. The next paragraph comes from a Wichern family tree on Ancestry.com.
“William’s brother Claus owned a general Retail and Seed Store on the river near Point Rest, MO. that they managed together. William puchased 9 acres from Claus and Sara Wichern on October 14 1913 for the sum $1300.00, which I believe the store was located on near Point Rest, MO.. Claus and Sarah moved back to the ridge and brought a farm. William 26 yrs. old married Emma in 1915 . On November 3 1917 William purchased 2 more acres from James Grimaud adjoining his property. He had a contract to fill the lanterns along the Mississippi River for the barge traffic where he had to row a boat upstream in the river and float back down. Here in this store which was also their home above the store they raised all their children. River boats would make normal stops here to load livestock and unload supplies for the store. Before moving to Perryville in 1943 William opened the Wichern John Deere Implement Dealership.”
Claus’s farm mentioned was located on a hill on the river bluff behind the Dan Wichern store at Star Landing. According to Bonnie Wichern Zerwig, who responded to yesterday’s blog, the Wichern family started to sell John Deere tractors and equipment at the Point Rest location before moving the business to Perryville early in the 1940’s. Her father Elmer was listed in the 1940 census as a “striker” on a river boat. The best I can determine that job dealt with working with the engines and machinery on a boat. In 1946 Elmer left the river to start a branch of the Wichern John Deere dealership in Ste. Genevieve. His wife Alice, nee Lorenz, was a sister to Gladys Engert who is a valued member of our museum staff.
The history of Trinity Lutheran Church was written by its first Pastor, Rev. H. H. Norden, who served the congregation from 1900 until 1916. It was published in the Perry County Historical Society book Lutheran Churches of Bois Brule & Salem Township. This book contains the baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial records of the congregation.
Another inquiry that I received in a Facebook message was from someone who was asked by another Wichern descendant for directions to Point Rest. If you are intending to visit the former site of Trinity Lutheran Church there, you should probably not try to depend on your GPS. Google Maps has wrong road number on the road and at some point in time the Perry County Highway Department changed the number of the road. To be certain that my directions would be correct I made a short road trip yesterday evening. Point Rest was located on what is now Perry County Road 222. It is 2.5 miles north of the levee after crossing the railroad tracks and bridge on Highway C at Menfro and .75 miles south of Highway E, which is also known at the Allen’s Landing Road.
Travel down this road approximately 1/4 mile and you will see this building on the left side of the road.
At the far end of this property which appears to be a family getaway there is a monument to the Trinity Lutheran Church.
The monument lists the five pastors that were resident Pastors at Trinity. In addition they were also served from 1942 to 1944, the final years of the congregation, by Rev. A. M. Bruss of Zion Lutheran Church in Crosstown. There really is not anything else to see at this location. The road travels approximately another mile, then forks with either road taking you to the Mississippi River levee. Otherwise, all you will see is extensive corn and soybean fields.
However, if you visit this site you owe it to yourself to visit the cemetery of the Point Rest church which is located on the bluff behind the former town of Menfro overlooking the Bois Brule bottomlands. The road to the cemetery is in the middle of the “Menfro Hill” on Highway C.
The cemetery is a quiet and beautiful setting and a great lookout over the bottomlands.
Interestingly, the graves of Trinity’s first two Pastors are located next to each other.
In this cemetery you can also find the gravestones with the names Hadler and Hatler. I mention this because I understand that there is a family reunion coming up in the near future.
A little research tells us that these are both variations of the surnames of descendants of Diedrich Hadeler, who immigrated with his wife Maria and their children Johann, Adelheid, and Herman to Perry County in 1868. They had another son Heinrich (Henry) born in 1871. After Maria’s death in 1872 some of the family members were separated and Herman used the name Hatler and the rest used Hadler, although it is often pronounced more like Hotler.
It is interesting to see how much history that there is associated with a small settlement and congregation that has not existed for over seventy years. We will be waiting to see if there are any other descendants of Point Rest that can add some more to the history that we are not aware of.