Holschen in Motion

Today’s main characters will give me the opportunity to highlight once again a small group of people who became part of the Gesellschaft in 1839.  This group has come to be known as the St. Louis Group, or as they are called in Zion on the Mississippi…..”Additions in St. Louis”.  This group was made up of people who had already arrived in St. Louis prior to the rest of the Stephanites.  They then decided to join this immigration society and travel with them to Perry County where they hoped to settle.  A few of these families did not remain in Perry County very long, but some of them did.  Today’s story is about a family that stayed.

Two of the families from this group were the Grothers and the Holschens.  In fact, Johann Holschen had married Margaretha Grother.  On April 20, 1839, one month before the majority of the immigration society moved to Perry County, a baby was born to Johann and Margaretha.  That baby’s name was Luetje Holschen.  So when the Holschens arrived in this wilderness, they had a one month old infant with them.  The birth record for Luetje is included in the Trinity Lutheran Church books even though this birth took place in St. Louis.

Luetjen Holschen birth record Trinity Altenburg (2)

Luetje Holschen baptism record 2 Trinity Altenburg
Luetje Holschen baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg

In 1848, Johann bought some land from the government right along the banks of the Mississippi River.  Here is a record of that purchase.


A landing place along the banks on his land became known as Holschen’s Landing.

Holschen land map 1915
Holschen land map 1915

When the split occurred between Trinity and Immanuel in Altenburg, it appears that the Holschens went with Immanuel.  In 1864, Lutje married Emilie Thurm at Immanuel.  You can see in the above map that the Holschens and the Thurms were neighbors in the area known as The Ridge.  Here is that marriage record from the Immanuel church books.

Holschen Thurm marriage record Immanuel Altenburg
Holschen/Thurm marriage record – Immanuel, Altenburg

Luetje (Louis) and Emilie had eleven children.  We will follow the ninth one in line by the name of Martin Holschen.  For some reason, between child number 8, born in 1881, and Martin, born in 1884, the Holschen family must have transferred to Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna.  Here is Martin’s baptism record in the Concordia books.

Martin Holschen baptism record Concordia Frohna
Martin Holschen baptism record – Concordia, Frohna

When Martin grew up, he married today’s birthday girl, Lydia Theiss who was born on August 26, 1884.  Lydia was the daughter of Heinrich and Ernstine (Mueller) Theiss of Wittenberg.  The Theiss land is shown on this map which shows land just north of Wittenberg on the Mississippi River.

Swan land map
Theiss land map 1915

Martin and Lydia were married on August 30, 1914 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg.

Holschen Mueller marriage record St. Paul's Wittenberg
Holschen/Theiss marriage record – St. Paul’s, Wittenberg

We have now seen records of Holschen family events which took place in four different Lutheran churches in Perry County.

Sometime not long after this wedding took place, Martin and Lydia moved to Iowa.  When Martin filled out his World War I draft registration, he was living in Bremer County near Waverly, Iowa.  He was a farmer.  Just a note:  Waverly was the city in which David Harnagel attended teachers college that was described in a post just a few days ago.

Martin Holschen – WWI draft registration

Bremer County, Iowa is also where five boys from the Thurm family settled.  A previous post, That Thurm Throng, told that story.  Census record show that Martin and Lydia must have lived in Iowa at least until 1925.  The 1930 census has them back in Perry County with Martin working odd jobs.  Martin’s World War II draft card says he was working in Wittenberg for Martin Thompson.

Martin Holschen – WWII draft card

Lydia died in 1961; Martin died in 1964.  Apparently, by the time of their death, this Holschen family returned to the first church that has records of their ancestral family.  They were buried together in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.  Here is their gravestone.

Martin and Lydia Holschen gravestone Trinity Altenburg cemetery

In these three generations of this Holschen family, we see them moving around between several Lutheran churches and two different states.  They were definitely Holschens in motion.







3 thoughts on “Holschen in Motion

  1. Another son of Louis and Emilie was Johann Heinrich “Henry”. Henry relocated to the Milwaukee area, and has descendants still in the southeast Wisconsin area.


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