Teacher to Pastor

Right now, Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, and Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown are all being served by pastors who first had been Lutheran teachers before entering the ministry.  This is not a new phenomenon in the Lutheran church.  Back when the Log Cabin College was built, its three main teachers all went on to become pastors.  One of them, Rev. J.F. Buenger, went to St. Louis, taught at Old Trinity Lutheran Church for several years, and then became a pastor.  Today’s story is another example of one of those scenarios.  It is also a story about a Perry County native who leaves this area to serve the church and later returned to be a pastor at a church here in Perry County.

The main character in this story is Oscar Hemmann.  The Hemmann name is one that had its origins at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown.  Indeed, Oscar could trace his roots to J.G. Hemmann, the patriarch of the Hemmann clan, who happened to be Oscar’s grandfather.  Oscar’s father, Benjamin Hemmann, was the last child born to J.G. Hemmann.  He was born when J.G. was 72 years old.  That’s right, 72 years old.  Then a few months after Benjamin was born, his father died.  So we know that Oscar did not get to know his grandfather.  In fact, Benjamin did not get to know his own father.

Oscar was born on August 26, 1896 in Wittenberg, Missouri.  His mother was Emma (Sackmann) Hemmann.  The reason why Benjamin and Emma are living in Wittenberg is important to this story.  Benjamin had attended the Lutheran college in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and had become a Lutheran teacher.  In fact, two of Oscars older siblings were born in Indiana.  Benjamin was then called by Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg in 1892 and was assigned the task of teaching at the school this congregation operated in Wittenberg at that time.  Benjamin served at the Wittenberg school until 1902 when he moved to Altenburg to teach at the school there.  Here is a photo of one of Teacher Hemmann’s classes when he was in Wittenberg.

Witt Lutheran School Hemmann X
Teacher Hemmann’s class – c.1899

It is likely that two of Oscar’s siblings, Elda and Otto, are in this photo, but I cannot identify which ones they would be.  The photo below must have been taken during Teacher Hemmann’s time in Wittenberg.  Oscar would be the youngest one in this photo, being held by his father.

Benjamin Hemmann family early
Benjamin Hemmann family – c. 1897

Oscar, who was six years old when his father began teaching in Altenburg, probably spent all of his school years at Trinity.  That school was operated in two buildings, the Kleine Schule (Little School) and the Grosse Schule (Big School).  Teacher Hemmann taught at the Kleine Schule.  The photo below shows Teacher Fiehler’s class outside the Grosse Schule in 1908.  Oscar is in this photo indicated by the red arrow.

Fiehler class 1908
Teacher Fiehler’s class – 1908

I have enlarged Oscar for you to get a better look at him.

Oscar Hemmann

The next document I could find for Oscar Hemmann was his World War I draft registration.

Oscar Hemmann – WWI draft registration

This document says that Oscar was a school teacher in Scotch Grove Township in Iowa.  Here is a map showing that location.

Scotch Grove, IA map

Just two years later, we find two interesting developments in Oscar’s life.  First, he became a pastor and was serving a congregation in Jennings, Louisiana.  Oscar may have taken over for Rev. Wedig, who was previously a pastor there.  Rev. Wedig’s story was told in the post, Wedig Wedding.  Second, he got married.  Oscar’s bride was Alleda Palisch of Frohna. She was the daughter of Heinrich and Juliana (Fischer) Palisch.  They were married at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna on January 11, 1920.

The 1920 census provides an interesting situation.  First, here is the census for Jennings, Louisiana which shows both Oscar and Alleda.

Oscar Hemmann 1920 census Jennings LA
1920 census – Jennings, LA

But if we also look at the census for Perry County, we find this entry.

Aleda Palisch 1920 census
1920 census – Frohna, MO

Alleda is also included with the Palisch family in Frohna.  That census was said to have been submitted on February 6, 1920.  By that time, Alleda had become Mrs. Hemmann.  By the way, Alleda’s older brother, Rudolph, was the main character in the post, From Frohna to France – A WWI Wagoner.

The Hemmann’s first son, Herbert, was born at the end of 1920, and he was the only son said to be born in Louisiana.  Their second child, Dorothy, was born in Lafe, Arkansas.  Here is a photo of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lafe.

St. John's Lutheran Church Lafe AR
St. John’s Lutheran Church – Lafe, Arkansas

I must interject here that the present pastor at St. John’s is a friend of mine, Rev. A.J. Neugebauer.

In 1926, Rev. Hemmann took a call to Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown, Missouri.  So once again, he was back in Perry County.  He served that congregation until 1962.  It was while he was in Longtown, that their third and last child, Earl, was born.  We have another photo of the Benjamin Hemmann family taken later in his life.

Benjamin Hemmann family later
Benjamin Hemmann family

I know that the couple on the far left is Oscar’s sister, Eleonore, and her husband, Walter Weinhold.  That leads me to think that the couple on the far right is Oscar and Alleda Hemmann.  The son in the front of the picture is Hugo Hemmann, who was an invalid his whole life.  I have been looking for an opportunity to tell his story, but not today.

Here is Oscar’s World War II draft card which states that he was the minister at Zion in Longtown.

Oscar Hemmann – WWII draft card

From 1962 until 1966, Rev. Hemmann was the pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg.  It was in 1966 that he died.  Alleda would later die in 1986.  They are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.

Oscar and Alleda Hemmann gravestone Immanuel Perryville


Some day I’m going to have to tally up all the Teacher Hemmanns and Pastor Hemmanns that have come out of Perry County.  It may take me a while.




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