Peter Johann Heinrich Jacob Hellwege was born in Lamstedt, Germany on what we now call Groundhog Day, February 2, 1812. It is not often that I can share records from Germany, but in this case, I can show you a birth record for Heinrich.
Before all was said and done, Heinrich was going to have four different wives, and he would end up living in Perry County, Missouri. He became a widower three times. Each of his wives bore children, but several of them died early.
His first marriage took place in Germany before he came to the United States. His first wife was Anna Köhn. Here is a church marriage record for this wedding in Lamstedt, Germany. They were married on February 12, 1837.
According to one of our research experts, Ken Craft, the founder of our ZionRoots Library, Anna came from Helgoland, an island located in the North Sea. Here is a record of that from our library.
This is a map we have in our library which has a pin indicating that we have an immigrant who came from that island that ended up here in Perry County.
It is believed that the Hellweges came to America in 1842. They came with two daughters. However, not long after they got settled in Perry County, another baby girl was born dead, and Anna also died on the same day, making Heinrich a widower for the first time. Those deaths took place on September 6, 1843.
On August 1, 1847, Heinrich married Justine (Hopfer) Hesse. Rev. Gotthold Loeber was still alive at that time and performed this marriage. Here is the church record of that marriage which took place at Trinity Lutheran Church.
However, Justine did not live long. In 1848, she gave birth to a daughter on September 17th. The baby survived, but Justine died in childbirth. Even though the daughter, Justine, who was named after her mother, survived the birth, she did not live till her second birthday. She died in 1850.
The first census in which we find Heinrich Hellwege was the 1850 census. Here is an image of that record. Heinrich is documented as being a carpenter.
You can see that Heinrich is the only adult, and the two children who were born in Germany are living with him, along with Emanuel Hesse, who was probably a son of Justine by her previous marriage.
On February 4, 1851, Heinrich married a third time. He married Anna Margaretha Resen, again at Trinity Lutheran Church. However, in 1851, Rev. Georg Schieferdecker was the pastor who took over after Rev. Loeber died. Here is that marriage record.
You can tell the different handwriting in this record. Rev. Schieferdecker had very distinctive penmanship that he used for these records. There were two children born to this couple, but the first one died within a month. Then in 1854, Anna died from cholera, leaving Heinrich a widower for the third time.
Finally we get to an event that took place on this date. On January 20, 1857, Heinrich married Fredericke Winter. That marriage also took place at Trinity. It must have been one of the last marriages that Rev. Schieferdecker performed at that church because later that year, he was kicked out as pastor, took about a third of the members with him, and formed Immanuel Lutheran Church. Here is the church record for Heinrich’s fourth marriage.
We also have this image of the civil record for this wedding.
Here is the 1860 census which shows this Hellwege family.
Our German Family Tree has records for 10 more children to come from this last marriage. Several of those died early. The 1870 census shows quite a full household.
This census shows that Heinrich is both a carpenter and a farmer. The last two children who were born to this couple in the early 1870’s were baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. The family must have moved closer to the Frohna congregation. When Heinrich died in 1904 at the age of 91, he was buried in the Concordia Cemetery in Frohna.
Here is some biographical information you can read on Findagrave.com for Heinrich Hellwege. It must have been written by one of his descendants.
Not long ago, a Hellwege family reunion took place here in Perry County. I believe it was just made up of descendants from the third and fourth wives, because there are still several who live in this area. It was an interesting time because we were able to unearth a lot of unknown information for those family members, especially about the other wives of Heinrich.