When I was a student at Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, the students ate their meals at Brommer Hall. This is a photo of that building back in those days.
Now you may be like me and think there could never be a connection between that building and Perry County, Missouri, but there is, and today’s post will attempt to tell that story.
I have to attack this story from both sides. I will track a family as it moves from its roots in Perry County out to the state of Nebraska. I will also track another family with no roots in Missouri, but it makes its way all around the country before it, too, ends up in Nebraska. I find histories of both these family on ancestry.com, but the ones from Perry County lose track of the family after it moves to Nebraska, and the ones from the other family do not recognize a connection to Missouri. So today, I get to make the connection.
First, let’s look as the Perry County family. It all started with the Seibels. Jacob Conrad Heinrich Seibel was one of the first German Lutheran settlers in Perry County. He was part of the New York Group. He had a son by the same name that was born in 1849. Jacob Heinrich Seibel, Jr. had a son in 1879 by the name of Theodore Joseph Seibel. It is this Seibel that ended up in Nebraska. He moved his family to a place in Nebraska where several Perry County natives moved in the early part of the 20th century. Theodore was still in Perry County in the 1910 census, but when he filled out his World War I draft registration, he was located in Potter, Nebraska. Here is that form.
This form also indicates that Theodore was a carpenter who worked for John W. Mueller, who was another Perry County native. He was the subject of a previous blog titled, A Nebraska Builder. John Mueller was known for building several church sanctuaries in Nebraska. He is also known for having several other carpenters who worked for him who had Perry County roots. Theodore was one of them.
Before he left for Nebraska, Theodore and his wife, Agnes (Brandes) Seibel had a daughter by the name of Erna Bertha Seibel who was born and baptized in Uniontown, Missouri in 1907. Erna would then find her husband in Nebraska, and his name was Otto Brommer. I will get back to the Brommer/Seibel couple later.
Carl Frederick Brommer was born in Vaihingen, Ludwigsburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. This map shows where that is located.
In 1893, after his family moved to America, Carl married Helena Toelke in St. Louis, Missouri. Carl had graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 1891 and was serving a congregation in Tampa, Florida in the year he was married. Rev. Brommer must have been one of the first LCMS pastors to be located in Florida. This entry in the Lutheran Cyclopedia gives a good resumé of Pastor Brommer’s career.
It was while he was serving in Beatrice, Nebraska, that one of his sons, Otto Henry Joseph Brommer, was born in 1905. He happened to be born on this day, August 16th. Most of Otto’s childhood was spent in Hampton, Nebraska. In 1924, Rev. C.F. Brommer became the president of Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska. Here is a short article which describes his service there. Please note that the person serving after him is a Fuerbringer, another name associated with Perry County.
Here is a photo of Dr. C.F. Brommer in a 1928 yearbook from Concordia.
That finally leads us up to 1929, when Otto married Erna in Omaha, Nebraska. That marriage reportedly took place on July 28, 1929, but I have no documentation for it. So how did a girl from Potter, Nebraska manage to catch the eye of a young man, the son of a college president, from Seward, Nebraska? The answer can be found in a 1929 city directory from Omaha. First, we find Erna and some of her family living in Omaha during that year.
She was apparently still living with her parents, Theo J and Agnes, and she was working as a stenographer for Lockwood Mfg Co, the same place of business as her mother. Meanwhile, we find Otto Brommer in that same city directory.
Here is a map showing the proximity of these addresses in Omaha.
It was that same year of this directory that the marriage of Otto and Erna took place. This finally puts together a Perry County native with a Lutheran college president’s son in Nebraska.
Otto was a sheet metal worker for the railroad, and the couple ended up living in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Interestingly, Otto’s father had served in Cheyenne not long before Otto was born. Both Otto and Erna are buried in Cheyenne Memorial Gardens in that city. Findagrave.com has no photo of their gravestone.
In closing, I am posting this video that brings back memories for me. It is a video which contains a photo of Dr. C.F. Brommer at about the 1:00 minute mark. However, what really sparks memories for me is the fact that the gentleman being interviewed for this video is Dr. Gerald Pfabe. Dr. Pfabe was a history teacher for me in my last year at Lutheran High School North in St. Louis, and he followed me out to Concordia Teachers College in Seward where I had him for another history class during my first year there. He is a wonderful man and a terrific teacher. Even though I was a Math major, maybe you could say he had an influence on me having a great interest in history to this day. I encourage you to watch it. It’s only about 5 minutes long.