Today’s birthday boy did not even have to wait for his baptism to be called a Christian. That’s because his name was Christian Kassel. He was born on September 29, 1861. Christian was the son of Philip and Fredericka (Bueltman) Kassel. Although I cannot find any documentation, I believe that Christian was born in Egypt Mills, Missouri in Cape Girardeau County.
Here is a map which shows the location of Egypt Mills. I included enough of the surrounding area to show other cities, Thebes and Cairo, in Illinois that also were named after ancient Egypt locations. Farther down the river, another major city, Memphis, carries an Egyptian name. Being in the Mississippi River Valley, these locations resembled areas along the Nile River in Egypt.
A Lutheran church started in the Egypt Mills area, but not until 1867. That became what is now Trinity Lutheran Church, and it is still in operation to this day. There are some Kassels to be found in their church records, but not for Christian or his parents. Here is a present-day photo of Trinity Lutheran Church in Egypt Mills.
Christian’s father and possibly his uncle, George Kassel, are shown on this image of a list of young men who registered for the Civil War draft which took place in 1864. They were from Cape Girardeau County.
This form indicates the Kassels are from France. The Kassels were from the Alsace-Lorraine area which is located on the border between France and Germany. Belgium and Luxemburg are to the north and Switzerland is to the south.
The first record I could find of Christian’s presence in Perry County is in the 1876 Missouri census. Here is an image of that record.
Christian is listed next to a 73 year old named Catherine Zocphel. It is somewhat likely that this person was Catherine Saalfeld, who we find in the 1870 census.
I am guessing that Christian was living with Catherine in 1876 as a 15 year old who may have been helping around this widow’s household.
In 1889, at the age of 27, Christian married Sulamith Hopfer at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. Here is their marriage license.
Sulamith was the daughter of Gotthold and Amalia (Kasten) Hopfer of Uniontown.
The Kassel family lived on property that was located just east of Uniontown. Here is a 1915 map which shows where their property was located. The property is indicated by the red arrow.
The Ben Hopfer on the neighboring land was Sulamith’s brother.
Rev. Roger Abernathy, the present pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar, who is a great grandson of these Kassels, sent me some present-day images of this property. On the left is a Kassel mailbox at this location, and on the right is a photo of the Kassel farmhouse.
Nearby this land, an old schoolhouse is still standing. Rev. Abernathy’s grandmother, Elda Kassel, attended this school for a few years before going to Grace Lutheran School in Uniontown.
In a booklet we have at the museum, it says that this school was once called the Fiehler School.
Christian and Sulamith would have 15 children, most of which lived to adulthood. Here is a list of their children as shown on a family history which can be found on Ancestry.com. This list corresponds with what we find in our German Family Tree.
Sulamith gave birth to one baby a year between the years 1893-1897. I find that amazing.
A family photo of this Kassel clan was published in the story titled, Frohna Machine Shop. Here is that photo again. This time, Pastor Abernathy has provided us with an identification of every person in the photo.
Back row (left to right): Theodore, Arthur, Bertha, August, Lydia, Paul, Josephine, Oscar, Karl (Charlie)
Front row (left to right): Dora (Mueller), Theodore’s wife, and child, Melvin, Benjamin, Sulamith (Hopfer), Elda, Christian, Edwin, Martha (Lueders), Charlie’s first wife and her children, Leola, Irene, and Gilbert.
In the 1920 census, Christian is called a thresherman of wheat and clover, and is shown with 12 children still living in his household.
We have this photo of Sulamith in an advanced age.
Christian died in 1924; Sulamith died in 1957. They are buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown, but for some reason, Findagrave.com only shows Sulamith’s gravestone. Here is an image of that marker.
Our German Family Tree indicates that when Sulamith died, she had 44 grandchildren and 51 great grandchildren. I find that incredible. Based on that, I think we should have a lot of readers of this blog today if they all share this story with each other.