From the Hills of Perry County to the Fields of Tripoli

Today’s story centers around Ruben Engert who would have been 100 years old today.  He was born in Altenburg on November 5, 1917 and baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church.  Ruben’s parents were Theodore and Anna (Schroeder) Engert who lived in Friedland, or The Ridge.  Ruben’s mother, Anna, was the sister of the Molly Schroeder that was highlighted in our blog post two days ago, Molly and Manuel.  We see Anna in this photo with another sister, Ida Schroeder.

Ida and Anna Schroeder
Ida and Anna Schroeder

Also, here is the wedding photo of Ruben’s parents, Theodore and Anna.

Engert Schroeder wedding
Engert/Schroeder wedding

Ruben’s father, Theodore, was in a large family, and Ruben himself was going to be in a family of three, all of which were boys.  This leads up to a plot that played out in many Perry County families.  There simply was not enough land or employment opportunities to accommodate all the children in the large families that were so common in this area.  Many young men had to find other places to go.  It was the same for Ruben Engert.  Sometime between 1935 and 1940, Ruben moved to Franklin Township in Bremer County, Iowa where he was a hired hand for a Hesse family.  He was 22 years old at the time.

Ruben Engert 1940 census Bremer IA
1940 census – Bremer County, IA

Ruben was not the first young man from Perry County to move to Bremer County, Iowa.  A previous post titled That Thurm Throng told the story about many in the Thurm family who moved into Bremer County.  A common denominator of these moves to Iowa was the fact that they were all from the Immanuel congregation in Altenburg.  During that time, Immanuel was part of the Iowa Synod.  That synod was headquartered very near Bremer County.

On November 1, 1942, Ruben married a girl from Tripoli, Iowa.  Here is a map showing Tripoli and the area around it.

Tripoli Iowa map

Ruben’s wife was named Lucynda Niemeyer.  Her parents were Fritz and Maria Niemeyer.  We have this image of her baptism record from St. John Lutheran Church in Tripoli.  St. John was an Iowa Synod church.  Since that synod joined the ELCA, there is now a Northeastern Iowa Synod which is headquartered in Waverly, Iowa, right there in Bremer County.

Lucynda Niemeyer baptism record Tripoli IA
Lucynda Niemeyer baptism record – St. John Lutheran, Tripoli, IA

There is another interesting baptism record to be found on the same page as this one in those church records.

Renata Thurm baptism record Tripoli IA
Renetta Thurm baptism record – St. John Lutheran, Tripoli, IA

Renetta Thurm was born to some former Perry County residents, Paul and Rosa (Schade) Thurm.  We have this photo of St. John Lutheran in Tripoli.

St. John Lutheran Tripoli IA

Here is a portion of Ruben’s obituary which describes some of his life activities.

Ruben Engert obituary

Lucynda died in 1993; Ruben died in 2008.  They are buried together in the St. John Lutheran Cemetery in Tripoli, Iowa.  Here is their gravestone.

Ruben and Lucynda Engert gravestone

Ruben’s two brothers, Gilbert and Eugene, remained in Perry County their whole, but each of them apparently migrated to Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna because that is where they are buried.

Here is a photo of Ruben in his later years.

Ruben Engert
Ruben Engert

Ruben’s story would be included in an anthology of Perry County boys who moved to Bremer County, Iowa.  However, contrary to a lot of other out-migrations, this one seems to deal with just those coming out of Immanuel in Altenburg.  I conclude that it has something to do with Immanuel and several churches in the Bremer County area being part of the Iowa Synod.  Many Perry Countians moved to St. Louis, where the headquarters of the Missouri Synod is located.  In a similar fashion, many Immanuel members moved to an area near the headquarters of the Iowa Synod.


3 thoughts on “From the Hills of Perry County to the Fields of Tripoli

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