I started looking for a story to write today by looking for an event that took place not only on October 30th, but on October 30, 1867. I did that because I wanted to find an event that took place the day before Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg was going to dedicate their new church. I did not find an event that took place at Trinity, but I did find one that took place down the road in Frohna, and since both Trinity in Altenburg and Concordia in Frohna were being served by the same pastor, this event at least involved Trinity’s minister. This story will start in Frohna, but its tentacles will reach out to Farrar, and to Wittenberg, and all the way to the west coast of the United States.
The event was a baptism. A baby boy by the name of Johann Heinrich Miesner became a member of God’s family on that day. October 30th was a Wednesday that year, so this baptism likely took place in the Miesner home. Little Johann was born a week earlier on October 23, 1867. He was the son of another Johann Heinrich Miesner and his wife, Maria (Meier) Miesner. The pastor who was serving both Trinity and Concordia was Rev. J.F. Koestering. Here is an image of Johann’s baptism record in the Concordia church books.
This Miesner family must have moved into the Salem Township not long after this baptism. The next child born into this family in 1869 was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar, Missouri. The 1880 census shows them living in this area.
We discussed this topic in yesterday’s post, and this is another case where a Perry County resident takes in an orphan, giving him both a place to live and work to do.
When Johann was 25 years old, he married Magdalena Roth at Salem Lutheran Church. Here is the record that you find in the Salem church books.
We also have this wedding photo which was taken of this couple.
It’s another “shaking hands” photo, as well as another dark wedding dress with a white veil.
Now things get interesting in this branch of the Miesner clan. In 1900, Johann’s brother, Martin married Clara Heins at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Ten years later, in the 1910 census, we find Martin living in Altenburg and running a building material company. That would have been the Miesner Lumber Company which is shown in this photo which is said to have been taken before 1906 because he sold the business in that year.
Martin and his family lived in the house shown next to the lumber yard. A previous post told the story of this building. It was titled, Supplying a Building Boom. You can see its location on this map of the east side of Altenburg.
This business is connected to Johann Miesner because some stories record that both Martin and his brother, Johann, were partners in this business. After selling the business in 1906, the Miesners started another business in Wittenberg, but Martin and his family must have still lived in their Altenburg home. The business in Wittenberg was the Miesner Lumber and Manufacturing Company. Or, as it was commonly called…..the swing factory.
The story of this business was told in the post, Frogtown Furniture.
What I find interesting is the fact that during all this time, and in fact for his whole life, you find that Johann Miesner and his family were always located in Farrar, and Johann was always called a farmer. This is why I titled this story the Silent Partner. It appears to me, and I may be wrong, that Johann was more or less just an investor in these businesses without actually being actively involved much.
I will just tell you a little bit about Martin’s life after his time at the swing factory. In 1918, we find him living in Portland, Oregon and as a superintendent of a furniture factory there. This was according to his World War I draft registration form.
Martin and Clara both died in Alameda, California. There is a story there, but I think I will wait to tell it on another day.
Meanwhile, both Johann and Magdalena lived their entire lives in Perry County. Magdalena died in 1922 at the age of 54. Johann died in 1944 at the age of 76. They are both buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar. Here are their gravestones.
I told this story in preparation for tomorrow’s story. In that same year that Johann was born and one day after his baptism, there was a special church dedication in Altenburg. I will tell a little about that event tomorrow. You will just have to wait.