Around here, December 9th is a special day because it was the day the Log Cabin College, which later transitioned to become Concordia Seminary, opened its door to the first class of students in 1839. I decided to take a look through our German Family Tree to see if there were any other events listed for December 9, 1839. I found one. Only one person in the GFT is attached to that date, and it is Wilhelmina Kasten, who was born on that date in Germany. So she wasn’t born in Perry County on that date, but she would eventually find her way to America and spend enough time in Perry County to get married here. It even appears that she died and was buried near here.
After looking at the records associated with her, a question arises about just who is this Wilhelmina Kasten. Who were her parents? If you just look at our German Family Tree as it is right now, that question is not answered. However, if you take a look at some other records that can be found by using Ancestry.com, I think that we have a pretty reasonable answer. First, let’s take a look at the passenger list for a ship named Diana which arrived in America in 1843.
This passenger list shows Heinrich Christoph Kasten and his wife, Wilhelmina, both in their 30’s, traveling with two children, Heinrich Christian and Wilhelmina (her name appears to have a line through it). Heinrich Christian is shown as 4 years old (I think) and Wilhelmina is shown as 1 year old.
Our German Family Tree shows a Kasten family which has a father named Christoph Heinrich and a mother named Wilhelmina nee Greve. They had a son named Heinrich who was born around 1840 and died in 1846. Other Kasten children were born after 1843, but there is no record of an older child named Wilhelmina and born in 1839. Wilhelmina is probably not mentioned in the German Family Tree with this Kasten family because a census taken in 1850 shows this family with some other children, but no Wilhelmina, who would have been about 11 years old at the time.
Everything else seems to correspond with the Diana passenger list, even the ages of the parents, but there is no Wilhelmina daughter. I have no idea why there isn’t, but I happen to think there was a daughter named Wilhelmina in this Kasten family, and if she was born on December 9, 1839, she would have been about 11 years old in 1850. I do know that there are family histories on Ancestry.com that include a Wilhelmina as a child in this family.
The next record we find for Wilhelmina Kasten is for her marriage on July 25, 1858. We have this civil marriage record for Perry County.
Wilhelmina’s groom was Reinhold Voigt, and this document shows that he was from Jefferson County, Missouri. We also see that the pastor on this record was E. Riedel. In 1858, Rev. Erhardt Riedel was the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim, Missouri. During that year, he is also listed as the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. The marriage record for this couple is not in the Grace church books, although that is the church where the Kasten family were members. We have the Friedheim records, and I thought I might find this record there, but it was not. Not only that, Friedheim is located in Cape Girardeau County, which would not account for the above document from Perry County. I think that since Rev. Riedel was filling in as pastor at Grace while they were looking for a new pastor, he neglected to record it in those church books.
Let’s get back to the groom. Just who is this Reinhold Voigt. It turns out that he is Rev. Reinhold Voigt, a Lutheran pastor who was serving a church in Beck, Missouri. This a listing of some of the early pastors at the congregation that eventually became what is now St. John’s Lutheran Church in Arnold, Missouri.
Rev. Voigt served that congregation from 1858-1863. That means he was serving that congregation during the tumultuous years of the Civil War. Two children were born while the Voigts were in Jefferson County, Missouri.
The photo below shows Rev. Reinhold and Wilhelmina Voigt when they were fairly young.
Their third child, another Wilhelmina, is said to have been born in Staunton, Illinois in 1864. Rev. Voigt must have arrived in Staunton in 1863, because he is reported in that church’s history as being there when that congregation built this new church in 1863.
The next three Voigt children were born in Iowa. This 1870 census for Des Moines County, Iowa shows this family with five children. Do not get Des Moines County confused with the city of Des Moines. Des Moines County is located in the eastern part of Iowa right along the Mississippi River with the county seat of Burlington. This census has to be shown in two images because it is found on two separate pages.
This census verifies that two children were born in Missouri, one in Illinois, and two more in Iowa. Another son was born in the same year as this census, bringing the number of children up to six. This baptism record from Zion Lutheran Church in Burlington, Iowa documents the baptism of Maria Voigt.
That brings us to some very unusual records found in 1872. On October 23, 1872, a seventh child named Marie Ernestine Wilhelmine Theresie was born in New Wells, Missouri. That child was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. I wonder why Wilhelmina was in northern Cape Girardeau County to have that child. I do know that if she indeed was the oldest daughter in the Heinrich Christoph Kasten family, then she had a sister names Marie living in New Wells in 1872. We find these records in our German Family Tree for Marie Kasten.
Marie was married twice, first to Herman Koenig, and second to Valentine Fiedler.
This pregnancy and birth did not go well for Wilhelmina. A day after she gave birth to Ernestine, she died. Wilhelmina did not even live long enough to see her last daughter baptized. She was baptized on October 25, 1872. Ernestine did not live long either. She died on November 4th. We find these adjoining death records in the Immanuel, New Wells church books.
It is assumed that these two are buried in Immanuel’s old cemetery, but there are no gravestones shown on Findagrave.com.
I found photographs of two of the Voigt’s children. First, here is Sophia Voigt. She was born in 1868 in Iowa.
Sophia married Louis Faulstich of Staunton, Illinois. She is buried in the Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.
I also found this photograph showing another of the Voigt children. His name was Henry Voigt. He was also born in Iowa. He is on the left of this photo with his wife and nine children.
Therefore, this photo taken in 1940 shows nine of Rev. Reinhold and Wilhelmina’s grandchildren. None of these grandchildren would have known their Grandma Wilhelmina.
Rev. Reinhold Voigt died in 1907. It is said that he died in Staunton, Illinois, where he was a pastor for a very short time. One of his daughter’s husbands was also from that town. I was unable to find where he is buried. However, we do have this photo which was taken when he was quite old.
I must tell you one more interesting fact. Wilhelmina Kasten was born on December 9, 1839. Her father, Heinrich Christoph Kasten died on December 9, 1898….the 59th anniversary of the opening of the Log Cabin College.