In February of 1856, Johann Christian Militzer married Caroline Wachter at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. They were married when Rev. Christoph Loeber was the pastor at that church. This is an image of their marriage record in the Concordia books.
After they were married, this couple began having children. Their firstborn was Emma Militzer, and she was born on this day, November 4th, in 1857. Here is an image of her baptism record at Concordia.
Their first six children would be girls. Then their last two would be boys. The last of the children in this Militzer family was Martin Friedrich Militzer, and he, like his older sister, was born on November 4th, only in 1872. When he was born, Emma was celebrating her 15th birthday. Here is Martin’s baptism record.
As you can see, the handwriting is different on this record. In 1872, Rev. J.F. Koestering was the pastor.
Emma Militzer married Heinrich Grupe in 1876, but after that marriage, she kind of falls off the radar. At least I could not be sure about where this couple could be found. They are certainly not found in any of the church books or censuses around here. So I am going to focus today’s post on the birthday boy of 1872. In the 1880 census, Martin is shown still living in Perry County, and his father is a carpenter.
With the lack of an 1890 census to work with, we do not find Martin until the 1900 census. We find him living in Janesville, Wisconsin.
Two important things have already taken place in the time before this census. First, we see that Martin has become a teacher. In fact, he is a Lutheran teacher. In this 1903 city directory for Janesville, we see that Martin is not only a teacher, but also a principal, and he is serving St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
The other important thing that took place is his marriage. Martin married Bertha Weseloh in 1898. It happens that the surname Weseloh is a fairly common one in the church books in Jacob, Illinois, so I was curious if he had married a girl from there. However, that is not the case. Bertha Weseloh was born in Sauk County, Wisconsin. She is shown in a census for what is called the Westfield Township in that county. I am curious to find out how Martin came in contact with Bertha. Here is a map of Wisconsin which shows some locations where we find either Martin or Bertha during their lives. The outlined area is Sauk County.
According to a church history for St. John’s Lutheran Church in Princeton, Wisconsin, Martin accepted a call to become their teacher in 1907. He remained at that school for the rest of his career. He served St. John’s for 35 years. It is reported that he was not only a teacher, but also an organist, a choir director, and a secretary. I suspect that he was also the principal. In the 1940 census, it states that he was a German teacher. Martin retired from teaching in 1942 as a result of poor health. Here is a picture of St. John’s Lutheran Church as it appeared in 1907 when Martin started teaching there.
Here is what it looks like now.
The Militzers had four children, three girls and a boy. Martin died in 1945; Bertha died in 1946. The are buried in the Reeseville Cemetery in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
The Perry County churches certainly provided the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod with plenty of full-time church workers over the years. One of Martin’s sisters married a Lutheran pastor also. Martin is just one more example of a Perry County boy who went on to be an amazing servant of his church.