Jacob’s Bellmann Boehme Business

I may have said it in a different way in the past, but I have noticed that store owners and their children would often find their spouses in other stores.  In today’s case, a store worker from Jacob, Illinois came back across the river to find his bride.  That person was Emanuel Bellmann.  Let me set the scene.

Emanuel was born in Altenburg, the son of Henry and Engel (Wichern) Bellmann.  He was born on June 18, 1880 and baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church.  In 1900, when he was 20 years old, the census for that year says that he was still in Altenburg and working as a farm laborer.  However, in 1903, the Christ Lutheran Church records state that Emanuel became a voting member at that congregation in Jacob, Illinois.

That bring us to the event that took place on this date, September 18th, in 1904.  Emanuel married Martha Boehme at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg.  Martha was the brother of a store owner in Wittenberg.  That Boehme Store was discussed in the post, The Life of Louis and Lulu.  Martha’s parents were Ludwig and Sarah (Hartung) Boehme.  Martha was born on December 11, 1880, and she, too, was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  Here is the marriage license for this couple.  Pastor Abrecht perfomed this ceremony.  He was the first  pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Bellmann Boehme marriage license
Bellmann/Boehme marriage license

In fact, the Bellmann/Boehme wedding was just the third of only three weddings during the first year of St. Paul Lutheran’s existence.

Bellmann Boehme marriage record St. Paul's Wittenberg

The Bellmanns would have several children.  All of the children that I could find were baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob.  The majority of the lives of Emanuel and Martha was spent in Jacob, Illinois, and Emanuel eventually operated his own store there.  Here is a photograph of downtown Jacob, Illinois in its heyday.  The red arrow points to the building that has been identified as the Bellmann Store.

Downtown Jacob IL Bellmann Store
Jacob, Illinois

This photograph and much other information in this post come from a new acquisition here at our museum.  Sally (Theis) Gustin, who is a descendant from the Arbeiter family from Jacob, Illinois, sent us a binder that mostly consists of the recollections and history told by Freemont Arbeiter.  In among the family information is some good history as well as some photographs that help us understand what life was like in this little town across the river in Illinois.  We are so thankful to Sally for this great resource.

Another photograph of the Bellmann Store shows it during a flood.  This was a later photo than the one above.  You can see an automobile to the left of the store.

Bellmann Store Jacob IL flood

According to some accounts, the Bellmann Store was noted for certain things.

  • For a while, the Bellmann Store was the only one in town that took in eggs from local chicken growers.  These eggs would often be dealt to the other stores in town, or they would be put on the train that was located just across the road to be taken to St. Louis.
  • Also for a time, Emanuel was the postmaster in Jacob, so a post office was located in his store.
  • The Bellmann Store was not only a place to purchase chewing tobacco, but apparently its customers were also permitted to spit inside the store.  It is said that the Bellmann Store had three doors…..a front door, a back door, and a cuspidor.

I wish I had pictures of this Bellmann couple and their family.  If any of our readers have such photos, we would love to have them here at our museum.

Emanuel died in 1937.  Here are words included in his obituary.  His birth year and the spelling of his name are incorrect here.

Emanuel Bellmann obituary
Emanuel Bellmann obituary

Martha would live thirty more years, dying in 1967 at the age of 87.  They are buried together in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Jacob, Illinois.  Here is an image of their gravestone.

Emanuel and Bertha Bellmann gravestone Jacob IL




2 thoughts on “Jacob’s Bellmann Boehme Business

  1. Interesting. Paragraph 3 has a couple of typos: she is referred to “Bertha is the brother of…” The name Bertha appears several more times, but the documents show her as “Martha”.


    1. Thanks for setting me straight. As for the Bertha mistake, her record in the church books says her name was Martha Bertha Boehme, and my mind just registered her name as Bertha, and I never noticed that she basically went by the name, Martha. I guess I’m getting old, and my mind is working in very unusual ways these days. The changes have been made.


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