A typical Lutheran pastor works very hard during the Christmas season, especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This year, it is even more challenging because the Fourth Sunday in Advent also occurs on Christmas Eve. Today I will tell the story of a pastor’s wife who had her own version of labor on two different Christmas Eves as she delivered two baby boys on that special day.
The woman who performed this feat was Christina (Nommensen) Hueschen. She was the wife of Rev. Otto Raphael Hueschen, who served Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown from 1892-1926. However, both of the boys born on December 24th were not born in Perry County. In 1879, Otto was still studying for the ministry. We find him in this 1879 city directory for the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Two important events took place in 1880. First, Otto graduated and became a pastor. His first call was to Bethlehem Lutheran Church in a rural area near New Haven, Missouri called Drake. This 1880 census shows just Otto living in Beouf Township in Missouri.
The second major event was his marriage. He married Christina Nommensen sometime in 1880. It was while Rev. Hueschen was in Drake that several of their children were born. I will focus on the two boys that were born on Christmas Eve.
Johannes (John) Hueschen was born on December 24, 1882. He was their second-born child and first son. That certainly must have been an interesting Christmas for the Hueschen family. Welcoming a new son while already having another child that was just a little over one year old, all during the busy Christmas season, must have been a real challenge. I checked. That year was just like this year, with Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday.
Sadly, John’s life was not a long one. In August of 1902, when he was a student at the Lutheran teachers’ college in Addison, Illinois (later moved to River Forest), John drowned accidentally in the Apple Creek near Uniontown. Here is a photo taken of the location where he is said to have drowned. He was only 19 years old at the time. To add to this tragedy, Christina was pregnant with her last child when John drowned. That child was born in October.
Another girl was born in 1884, and then the second Christmas Eve baby came on December 24, 1885. At least that year, Christmas Eve was on a Thursday. This time there would have been other children at the ages of 1, 3, and 4 in this household when this baby was born. They named him Walter Hueschen. Walter would grow up to become another Lutheran pastor. The 1910 census shows Walter as a student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
From 1913-1923, Rev. Walter Hueschen served St. Paul Lutheran Church in Caledonia, Michigan. It was while there that he married Emmeline Beyer. Here is Walter’s World War I draft registration form.
Rev Hueschen also served other congregations in Owosso and Pigeon, both in Michigan, and both were churches which were part of the Wisconsin Synod. Walter would die in 1970 at the age of 84.
Altogether, there were 13 children born in the Otto Hueschen family. A few died when very young. Also, a grandchild, Herold Lanier, came to live with the Hueschens in Uniontown after his parents died in 1918. However, that child died at the age of 7 in 1921.
The following photo is said to have been taken in 1902. However, the child on her father’s lap was not born until October 24, 1902. I think the photograph was taken in 1903 or 1904.
This is how this photo is labeled on Ancestry.com. BACK ROW-Lt to Rt: Emma (LaNier), Eleonore (Preusser), Reverend Karl Kretzmann (Husband of Thekla) holding Son Reverend Adelbert, Thelka (Kretzmann), Pastor Walter & Magdalena (Luepke). FRONT ROW: Erick (Teacher), Gertrude (Hupp-Teacher), MOTHER: Christina (Nommemsen) Hueschen, Reverend Otto Paul Kretzmann (Son of Karl & Thekla), FATHER: Reverend Otto Raphael Hueschen holding Hildegard (Wright), Esther & Amanda (Schmidt)
As it says, Walter is standing in the back row, second from the right. He would have been about 18 years old in 1903. Also, you can see that this family is absolutely packed with people who either were or would eventually become Lutheran pastors and teachers.
Also, the Adelbert Kretzman being held by his father, was born on April 15, 1903, giving more proof that this photo was not taken in 1902.
One of these children, Magdalena, would marry Teacher Luepke from Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. That couple would have a son by the name of Eldor Luepke, who also became a Lutheran teacher. Eldor would have a daughter named Carol. Carol Luepke would marry Robert Jessen, who just so happens to be the brother of my wife, Sandi. It isn’t often that I find a Perry County connection to my wife who hails from Minnesota. And, by the way, Carol and Bob both were Lutheran teachers at one time.
One more picture.
Rev. Otto R. Hueschen attended this golden wedding anniversary party in 1907. He is shown with the orange arrow. Please note that Pastor Hueschen, like several other men in this photograph, boldly holds has a glass of beer in his hand. Lutheran pastors are not often embarrassed to be seen with a beer. With this photo, I will say, “Cheers” and wish you all a Merry Christmas.