All right. I admit it. I always have trouble keeping the Kasten family and the Kassel family straight in my mind, so today’s story about a Kasten marrying a Kassel is a real challenge for me. I hope I get through this story without writing Kassel when I meant Kasten, or vice versa. At least the Kassels and the Kastens are found very near each other in our German Family Tree which is organized alphabetically.
We start with a birthday girl. Her name was Bertha Kassel. She was born on August 8, 1902. That means she was born just one day after yesterday’s birthday girl, Clara Loebs. Bertha was the daughter of Christian and Sulamith (Hopfer) Kassel. She was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, Missouri. Bertha can be seen in this photo of Teacher Luepke’s class at Grace, as indicated by the red arrow.
When Bertha was 21 years old, she married Wilhelm Kasten, Jr., also of Uniontown. Wilhelm was the son of Wilhelm and Clara (Bodenschatz) Kasten. He was born on Epiphany Day, January 6, 1896 and baptized at Grace Lutheran. The map below shows where the Kasten family had their farm near Uniontown.
The photos below show Wilhelm as a boy along with his younger brother, Oscar, as well as Wilhelm’s confirmation photo.
Here are the baptism records and the marriage record from the Grace, Uniontown church books for these two.
Add to that this marriage license for this couple.
We have also been blessed with this wedding photo of Wilhelm and Bertha.
And if that is not enough, we also have this photo of not only the wedding couple, but also their wedding party.
By the way, that little boy, Oscar, from the previous photo is standing on the left in this picture.
Let’s go back in time for a while. Before he was married, there was another period in the life of Wilhelm Kasten that must have had an impact on his life. Wilhelm went off to help fight for our country in World War I in 1917. According to some military records, he enlisted in September of 1917 and served until he was released in August of 1919. Here is an image of one of the records that indicates his military action.
Wilhelm served overseas from June of 1918 until August of 1919. At other places online, it says the 354th infantry was involved in the Battle of St. Mihiel which took place toward the end of the war.
In this photo of the Wilhelm Kasten family, you see Wilhelm, Jr. in his military uniform. There are noticeable medals pinned on his chest.
We have two photos showing Wilhelm Kasten as a soldier.
A photo of Bertha’s family has shown up on a previous post on this blog. Bertha is indicated by the red arrow.
According to our German Family Tree, Wilhelm and Bertha had six children, one of which died right away, but I think another child was born after 1940 that is too recent to show up in that document. Another family photograph was taken at Wilhem’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Wilhelm is standing on the left.
The 1920 census taken right after Wilhelm came back from the war, and before he was married, shows that he was working at a saw mill.
The Kassel family was known to operate a sawmill in Perry County. Back in those days, you would not take the logs to a saw mill. The saw mill would go where the logs were. This photo shows a sawmill being transported down Main Street in Altenburg. It was apparently traveling to a location where some lumber was going to be manufactured.
Another photo shows a sawmill being used “on location”.
On April 3, 1919, while Wilhelm was still serving his country, the steam engine used to power the Kassel sawmill exploded. Some photos were take of that event and articles were written about it in some local newspapers. Here is one of those photos.
That event also drew quite a crowd to see the results of the explosion.
I do not know for sure if Wilhelm worked for the Kassels who operated a sawmill, but I think there is a good chance that he did. It certainly would help explain why he ended up marrying a Kassel girl.
Wilhelm died in 1976; Bertha died in 1979. They are both buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown. Here are their gravestones.
I must take the time to thank our friend, Clayton Erdmann. He has a wealth of photos for people in his family, which includes the Kastens. Clayton provided several of the photos in this story. He also took the time to do this for us today despite the fact that a lot of his time is taken up these days getting ready for his upcoming school year. I am sure the students at Immanuel Lutheran School appreciate having him as one of their teachers, especially one who has such an interest in history. Thanks, Teacher Erdmann.