I suppose I should start today by explaining what a PK is. You may be aware that I was a Lutheran educator for quite a few years. In Lutheran Teacher Lingo (or is that Lutheran Lehrer Lingo?), a PK was a Pastor’s Kid. And over the years I had several PK’s in my classroom. Today’s story is one of those where you discover a fairly familiar scenerio in which we find that PK’s often marry other PK’s, and when one of those PK’s is also a pastor, they breed other PK’s.
Rev. Henry Guemmer and his wife, Elizabeth (Schack) became the proud parents of their fourth child by the name of Martin on March 2, 1881. He was baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg, Missouri where his father was the pastor. In fact, his father’s 26 years of service at that congregation was the longest stint of service in their church’s history. Here is a photo of Rev. H. Guemmer. (I should say that around here, this name is pronounced Gimmer.)
We find Martin in a city directory from St. Louis in 1901. At that time, he was attending Concordia Seminary where he was studying to become a Lutheran minister.
The next time we find Martin, he was the pastor of the Lutheran church in Lixville, Missouri. Lixville is actually in Bollinger County, but it is not that far from here, as is seen in this map, and it is not far from Perryville, which will become significant in this story.
It appears that Rev. Martin Guemmer became pastor at this church sometime in 1903. We have the Lixville church records here in our museum.
It appears that the pastor of this congregation was also the recording secretary when minutes for their church meetings were recorded. We find Rev. Guemmer first showing up in the church minutes for this congregation in November of 1903.
You can see that M. Guemmer signed these minutes at the end.
On March 5, 1905, Martin Guemmer married Emily Griebel at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville, Missouri. Here is their marriage license.
This marriage was performed by Rev. J.G. Griebel, who was Emily’s father and the pastor at Immanuel. Therefore, Emily another PK. Rev. Henry Guemmer was still alive at that time, so I imagine he attended this wedding which was held at a congregation that was a daughter congregation of his church in Friedenberg. I think it is also likely that Martin’s father had some sort of role in this marriage ceremony.
We find Emily showing up in the Lixville church book where they recorded communion attendance. Emily shows up in 1905 after this marriage.
You can also see that her attendance completely stops after the fifth tally mark. She attended communion early in 1907, and then disappears.
Meanwhile, the last set of minutes recorded by Martin at Lixville was recorded in February of 1907.
It was then that Rev. M. Guemmer accepted a call to Zion Lutheran Church in New Holland, Illinois. He served that congregation for the rest of his preaching career. In this 1920 census, we find his family including four children. That would be 4 PK’s.
This map shows that New Holland is located about halfway between Springfield and Peoria, Illinois.
When Martin filled out his World War II draft card, he is still shown as living in New Holland at the age of 61.
I find this form interesting for another reason. Gerald Guemmer, his son, lived on West Pine Blvd. in St. Louis. My grandparents lived on West Pine. As near as I can figure, Gerald could not have lived any more that 2 or 3 blocks away from my grandpa and grandma.
Rev. Martin Guemmer died in 1950; Emily died in 1963. I think Martin died in Illinois, where it is difficult to find death records. However, since Emily died in Missouri, I was able to find her death certificate.
One new fact can be seen on this form. It says Emily was born in California, Missouri. Rev. Griebel must have been a pastor there before moving to Perryville. Martin and Emily are both buried in the Sunset Memorial Park in St. Louis County. This is the same cemetery where some famous members of the August Busch family (of beer-making fame) are buried.
I suppose you could say that PK’s got started in the Lutheran church. After all, it was Martin Luther who dramatically declared that Scripture did not dictate that pastors remain celibate. And indeed, Martin Luther himself got married and had some PK’s of his own.
I found our own Little Marty pointing out the fact that the first pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg had five consecutive generations of Lutheran pastors in his family. Now there’s a family with a lot of PK’s.