Catholic Wedding – Lutheran Pastor

The surnames Armbruster, Litsch, Behrle, and Killian show up in our German Family Tree in a very limited way.  When they do show up, they are always included in marriage records, but you never find any of them being baptized in one of the Lutheran churches around here.  That is because these surnames are what we might call “Catholic names”.  The name Killian is a prominent name in the Perryville area.  I have wanted to do a story about the Killians, but needed a good reason to do such a story about this Catholic family.  I found a record that will lead to the Killians in the form of a marriage which took place on this day in 1853.  Therefore, this couple would be celebrating their 165th wedding anniversary today.  Here is the record as we find it in our German Family Tree.

Litsch Armbruster marriage record GFT
Litsch/Armbruster marriage record

The big question about this marriage is the reason why members of the Catholic Church would be married by a Lutheran pastor.  I do not know the answer.  I do know that this marriage did not result in the couple becoming members of a Lutheran church.  All sorts of records indicate they remained Catholics.

This Grace Lutheran Church record indicates that Franscisca Armbruster married Wilhelm Litsch in the home of Montz (should be Moritz) Behrle.  I do not know exactly where Moritz Behrle lived, but I do know that he is buried in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Apple Creek, Missouri.  That is not far from Uniontown, Missouri, where Rev. Gruber was the pastor.

In this 1860 census, we find William and Francis living in the Cinque Hommes Township in Perry County.  That township is located to the west of Highway 61.  Highway 61 has often been referred to as the dividing line between the Lutherans and the Catholics in Perry County.  Many Catholics live west of that highway.

Wilhelm Litsch 1860 census Perry CO MO
1860 census – Cinque Hommes Township, MO

The marriage record stated that William was a store owner.  This census record indicates that he was still in that occupation in 1860.  I did not show the next page of this census record, but it showed that the Litsches had three children at that time.  I believe they had one more child after 1860.

This 1870 census has some interesting features.

Wilhelm Litsch 1870 census Perry CO MO
1870 census – Cinque Hommes Township, MO

There is a Moritz Behrle living in the Litsch household.  He was the son of the Moritz Behrle mentioned earlier.  There is also a Teresa Behrle living with them, as well as an Ellen Ponder.  Ponder is another predominantly Catholic surname, although that name has crept into East Perry County after several Ponder men have married Lutheran women.

William died in 1876; Franciska died in 1899.  They are both buried in the St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery in Perryville, Missouri.  Here are their gravestones.


Now I have to make the connection to the Killian family.  The first document that I have that connects the Killian name to the Litsch name is a Civil War record for William Litsch.

William Litsch military record


William was mustered into the military by J.C. Killian in 1862.  That would have been Lieutenant Colonel Joseph C. Killian.  Here is a photo of him in his military uniform.

Lt. Col. Joseph C Killian
Lt. Col. Joseph C. Killian

The oldest child in the William Litsch family was Julia Litsch, and she married one of the sons of Joseph Killian.  His name was Jacob Killian.  They were married on November 11, 1879.  Here is their Perry County marriage record.

Killian Litsch marriage record
Killian/Litsch marriage record

We have this photograph of Julia.

Julia Litsch Killian
Julia (Litsch) Killian

In 1880, one year after their marriage, we find them living in Perryville.  They are listed right next to Frances Litsch, who was then a widow.

Jacob Killian 1880 census Perryville MO
1880 census – Perryville, MO

Jacob was worker at the mill.  Jacob had a brother named Charles who was a lawyer as well as a judge.  Jacob would later become a merchant.

The Killian name has a rich history.  Way back in the 1500’s, a preacher by the name of John Killian sympathized with Rev. Martin Luther and was considered an enemy of the Catholic church.  The first Killian came to America before the American Revolution.  Andreas Killian arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1732.  Already in the 1740’s, the Killian family ended up owning property in North Carolina.  By the 1760’s, the Killians were living in what is now Rowan County in that state.  That is the county from which many Presbyterians came who settled in Brazeau, Missouri.  It is also stated in a history of the Killian family that if Andreas was a member of any protestant congregation, it was probably Lutheran.  The history of the Killian family in Perry County, though, has always been associated with the Catholic church.  If you are interested in studying more about this Killian family, you can find some information at the link shown below.

This photograph shows several members of this Killian family.  Judge Killian and his wife, Matilda, are on the left.  Jacob and Julia are on the right.

Killian family members

Grandma McAtee was Matilda Killian’s mother.  I’m not sure who Margaret McNew was.

I cannot resist also posting this photo of Judge Killian giving his wife, Matilda, the eye.

Judge Killian and Matilda
Judge Killian and Matilda

Both Julia and Jacob Killian died in 1932.  Jacob died in September.  Here is his death certificate.

Jacob Killian death certificate
Jacob Killian death certificate

Julia died in December.  Here is her death certificate.

Julia Killian death certificate
Julia Killian death certificate

Jacob and Julia are buried together in the St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery in Perryville.  Here is their gravestone.

Jacob and Julia Killian gravestone St. Boniface Perryville MO
Jacob and Julia Killian gravestone – St. Boniface, Perryville, MO

I have to point this out.  Joseph Weinhold was once a judge in Perry County, and he was a Democrat from Wittenberg.  Charles Killian was also a judge in Perry County and lived at approximately the same time.  Judge Killian was a Republican.  These two must have been political rivals for many years.

One thought on “Catholic Wedding – Lutheran Pastor

  1. Hello in the picture above the women known as Margaret McNew is my Great Great Great Grandma Margaret Elizabeth (Hudson) Mcnew. Her son Albert Orr McNew married into the Killian family to Emma Josephine (Killian) McNew. Emma’s parents are also pictured above Charles “Chas” and Matilda (McAtee) Killian.


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