After writing these posts for a while now, I keep wondering if I will run out of stories to tell. It has not happened yet. In fact, I am amazed at how many stories that I run across that simply fascinate me. One of my favorite hymns is “I Love to Tell the Story”. During my teaching career, I had my class sing that song many, many times. Every once in a while I would state that maybe I would have “I Love to Tell the Story” etched into my gravestone someday. I really do love telling these stories. Today’s tale is yet another one that is right up my alley. It is the story of Lutheran schoolteachers. And the story starts in Perry County, even though today’s birthday girl was born elsewhere.
I am going to start this story with Joseph and Emilie (Schmidt) Bachmann. Here is the wedding photo of this this couple.
Our German Family Tree says that Joseph and Emilie had 10 children. Here is a photo for this family.
The fifth one in line was Paul Bachmann. He is standing right between his mother and father, and between his older siblings behind him. He was born on June 21, 1891. He was said to be born in Appleton, Missouri, and he was confirmed at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. When he became old enough, he worked with his father on his farm. Then when he was 24 years old, he married Laura Burroughs on August 15, 1915 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri. We have this very interesting set of entries in the Concordia church books that tell the story of how Laura’s brother, Martin Burroughs, was married on August 8th and one week later, Laura married Paul.
Martin married the daughter of Teacher Welp, who was at Concordia’s school at the time. What makes these two entries even more intriguing is the fact that the two grooms are both described as being student teachers. I am guessing that these two were getting close to being done with their schooling at the teachers college in Addison, Illinois. Both of these young men did indeed become Lutheran educators. By the way, another of the Burroughs sons married a daughter of the Rev. Zschochke, the pastor at Concordia.
Laura was the daughter of Franklin Thomas and Maria (Schmidt) Burroughs of Frohna. Laura was born on September 10, 1894 and baptized at Concordia. Her father was some sort of judge for that area for a time because he is often referred to as Judge Burroughs. Here is a photo of him.
After they were married, Paul and Laura were living in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, where Paul was a Lutheran teacher. We see this fact on Paul’s World War I draft registration.
It was while they were in Wisconsin that today’s birthday girl was born. Doris Bachmann was born on March 2, 1918. The Bachmanns were still in Sheboygan Falls in 1920 because we find them in the census for that year. That census is almost unreadable so I will not post an image of it. It must not have been long after 1920 that Paul accepted a teaching position in Kodaikanal, India. As near as I can tell, his school was established to be a place for the children of missionaries to attend school where the environment was a bit healthier for them. There was plenty of disease in India. On this map of Kodaikanal, India you can see that it is in a forested, mountainous area of southern India.
Laura also became a housemother for several of the students that boarded at the school. This then also became the place where Doris Bachmann spent most of her childhood. Here is a photo of the building that was originally used in Kodaikanal for a school.
A Lutheran church sanctuary was built near that school at about the same time that the Bachmanns were there.
In 1929, the Bachmanns are found in a passenger list on a ship heading back to the United States. They were sailing from Bremen, Germany to New York City aboard the Karlsruhe. I suppose they were coming back for a furlough.
Here is the 1930 census for the city of St. Louis which shows this family. It indicates that Paul is a missionary.
In 1935, we once again find Doris as a passenger on a ship returning to the United States. This time, Doris was traveling by herself and was aboard the ship, President Cleveland, which landed in Los Angeles. Her intended destination was Seward, Nebraska, where Doris was going to be attending Concordia Teachers College.
It was at Seward that Doris met her future husband, Alfred Freitag. In 1938, we find the Bachmann family returning from India to stay. This time the family was aboard the Mariposa, which was heading from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles, California.
The next place we find the Paul Bachmann family is in Freistatt, Missouri in the 1940 census.
This census states that Paul is a public school teacher. We also find Doris as a 22 year old teacher at a parochial school. That must have been Trinity Lutheran School in Freistatt. Here is a photo of the church that was located there at that time.
That same year, Doris married Alfred Freitag. That would make their marriage a Freitag wedding taking place in Freistatt. Here is their marriage license.
Alfred is shown to be from Lincoln Park in Wayne County, Michigan. Lincoln Park is in the Detroit area. In this city directory for Detroit, we see Alfred and Doris living there, with Alfred serving as principal of Calvary Lutheran School.
In a 1953 city directory, Alfred is listed as the principal of Detroit Lutheran High School.
At the end of 1953, Alfred and Doris moved to Los Angeles, California, where Alfred became the founding principal for Los Angeles Lutheran High School. He served in that capacity from 1953-1971. On a Facebook page for alumni from this school I found this collage.
The bottom portion shows a photo of this high school being dedicated in 1953. Sometime along the way, Alfred also became an ordained minister. Later in his life, he became the pastor at two different Zion Lutheran Churches……Zion, Glendale and Zion, Rosemead in California. Rev. Alfred died in 2006; Doris died in 2011. They are buried together in the Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Here is their gravestone.
We are also blessed to have the obituaries for these two. First, here is the obituary for Rev. Alfred Freitag.
Secondly, here is Doris’s obituary.
Both of these obituaries, as well as their gravestone, give you the impression of having been people that were very well loved and respected by their colleagues, their churches and schools, and their family. You can almost get the feeling that these two educators could well have had the words, “They Loved to Tell the Story” inscribed on their gravestone too.
I wrote this story on a Friday. I could not resist the temptation to tie in the fact that Freitag is the German word for Friday. I consulted my good friend in Germany, Lutz Backmann for the best way for me to say “Thank God It’s Friday”, or TGIF, in German. He suggested the German phrase that I have used as the title for today’s post. I am guessing that Doris Bachmann Freitag may have at least thought that she was thankful to have a Freitag in her life.
Just a quick note about Lutz. I cannot figure out how he managed to get a “k” into his name. It just doesn’t seem right that a German would have the name Backmann. It just seems to me that he should be a Bachmann.
I also ran across a YouTube video that shows a man playing an old reed organ located in the Lutheran church in Kodaikanal, India. He plays the hymn, “O God Our Help in Ages Past”. I find this hymn very timely for this post. If you watch the video, I think you may see that the organist may have taken a look at an old 1941 version of The Lutheran Hymnal before playing. Enjoy.