Not Such a Jolly Band

Yesterday’s story about the Jolley Boys Band was a pretty uplifting type of post.  Today’s is not.  However, there is something similar about yesterday’s blog and today’s.  In both cases, the story started with a photograph.  Yesterday, a photograph showing a bunch of young men in a band clowning around just had to be used.  Today, I have another photograph that once again is fascinating, but its theme is just the opposite……tragedy and mourning.  Here is that photograph.

Bertha and Meta Lichtenegger

It consists of a wife and daughter standing at the grave site of their newly buried husband/father.  I know I haven’t seen too many such photographs taken showing mourners at the grave of their loved one.  This one was taken in 1927.

I ran across this photograph yesterday because the people in it are related to a few of the band members.  The older woman in this photo was named Louise Lichtenegger at the time it was taken.  Louise is shown here with her daughter, Meta.  The occasion for the photo was the death of Fred Lichtenegger.  Fred was the older brother of August and Henry Lichtenegger who were members of the Jolley Boys Band.  Also, since Louise Lichtenegger’s maiden name was Pfeiffer, the Theodore Leimer from the band was her brother-in-law.  Theodore’s wife, Bertha, was Louise’s younger sister.

As was said yesterday, these Lichtenegger boys were sons of Joseph and Anna Maria (Pilz) Lichtenegger.  We have this photo of Fred when he was fairly young.  It is possible that this could be his confirmation picture.  It looks like he is wearing one of those suitcoats that might be buttoned only at the top that has been discussed on this blog.

Fred Lichtenegger young

Later in his life, this portrait of Fred was made.

Fred Lichtenegger portrait

On November 10, 1907, Fred married Louise Pfeiffer at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells.  Louise was the daughter of Herman and Louise (Klaus) Pfeiffer.  My guess is that the Jolley Boys photo from yesterday may have been taken about the general time of this wedding… the early 1900’s.  Who knows?  Maybe Fred talked his friends and family members into playing some music for his wedding reception.  We do know that August Lichtenegger was included in Fred’s wedding party.  Here is the marriage license for this couple.

Lichtenegger Pfeiffer marriage license
Lichtenegger/Pfeiffer marriage license

Meta Lichtenegger was the only child of Fred and Louise.  She was born in 1909 and was baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.  We do know, however, that this family later transferred their membership to Zion Lutheran Church, the other Lutheran church in Pocahontas.  Zion is the Missouri Synod congregation.

Meta was confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church in 1923.  Here is her confirmation picture.

Meta Lichtenegger confirmation

We also have this family photo of the Lichteneggers.  Since Meta is wearing the same dress, this photo must have been taken at the same time as her confirmation in 1923.

Fred Lichtenegger

Several documents indicate that Fred operated a grocery store in Pocahontas.  This census from1910 shows that he may have also lived closely to his brother, August, and his father-in-law, Herman Pfeiffer.

Fred Lichtenegger 1910 census Pocahontas
1910 census – Pocahontas, MO

Tragedy then struck in 1927 when Fred died.  Here is his death certificate.  It says he died of pernicious anemia.

Fred Lichtenegger death certificate
Fred Lichtenegger death certificate

This event leads us up to the photo taken at Fred’s grave.  Let’s take another look at that photo.  The fact that Fred died in February explains why Louise and Meta are dressed as they are.

Bertha and Meta Lichtenegger

This photo had a few of us puzzled for a while.  If you look in the background, you will see a church building.  Since we know that Fred was buried at Zion Lutheran Cemetery, it only made sense that the church would have been Zion’s.  However, when you look at a recent photo of Zion, it does not look like the church in this photo.

zion lutheran church

The steeple looks different and there are no chimneys in the back.  This puzzle was solved when we ran across this older photo of Zion in an anniversary booklet from their congregation.

Zion Lutheran Church Pocahontas

As you can see, structural changes were made to this building in 1951.  This current aerial photo of the church’s property shows the location of the church building and the cemetery.  Some buildings have been removed since 1927, but you can get an idea about where this Lichtenegger photo was taken.

Zion Lutheran overhead map

Louise would later get married again.  Her second husband was August Reisenbichler.  Meta would marry Oscar Wichern in 1932.

Oscar Wichern
Oscar Wichern

The process we went through to solve a mystery in this post reminds me how useful our research library is here at our museum.  We may not be able to answer every question, but we have resources that are so helpful in solving genealogical puzzles.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s