Back in October, when we were in the midst of preparations for our Immigration Conference, I ran across a story about Zion Lutheran Church in Prairie City, Missouri, celebrating their 150th anniversary as a congregation. Because of all the hubbub around here, I was unable to write a story on this blog about that anniversary. However, I noticed how today’s date is associated with that church, so I decided to do this story. In order to understand some of the origins of this story, I advise you to read a story written back in 2017 by Fred Eggers. It tells the story about how several Perry County residents moved to Bates County, Missouri around 1870. That story was titled, An Early Out-Migration of Original Immigrants. To give you an idea about where Prairie City is located, here is a map that should help.
The birth that jump starts this story does not even occur in Missouri. Emily Fischer was born in Atchison, Kansas on December 21, 1874. She was the daughter of Johannes Gottlieb and Fredericke Louisa (Durst) Fischer. According to what appears to be a very reliable family history on Ancestry.com, this Fischer family arrived in America in 1865 and first settled in Collinsville, Illinois. I know there was Fischer family that moved to Collinsville after living in Perry County for a while, but I do not know if there is a connection between these Fischers. In 1873, the Fischers moved to Atchison, Kansas. That is when Emily was born. But then the Fischer family moved to Bates County, Missouri in 1877.
On November 13, 1898, Emily Fischer married Charles Ludwig Bracher. Here is their marriage license.
Charles was the son of Traugott and Catherine (Stueve) Bracher. Charles was born on October 28, 1873. By that time, all the Bracher and Braeuner families mentioned in Fred’s article were in Bates County, Missouri. An 1895 plat map shows Bracher and Braeuner property. Some of this land is right on the border between two townships, so I have to show two images. The pertinent land has been put in red boxes.
Make sure you do not confuse the Charles Bracher on this map with the Charles Bracher who married Emilie Fischer. The Charles on the map was Traugott’s brother. So today’s Charles had an Uncle Charles. The A. Braeuner on the map had a sister married to a Bracher.
According to one family history on Ancestry.com, Charles and Emilie had six children, one who died as an infant, and another that died at the age of five. Charles was a farmer all his life. He filled out this World War I draft registration in 1918.
Emilie died in the early part of 1942. Here is her death certificate.
Charles died later during that same year. This is his death certificate.
Charles and Emilie are buried together in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Prairie City, Missouri. By the way, that cemetery has a little over 300 entries on Findagrave.com, and 38 of them contain the name Bracher.
One other fact that I want to mention before I speak about the church in Prairie City. Charles had a sister, Mary Bracher, who married John Jacob Fischer, Emilie’s brother. So today’s couple was not the first Bracher/Fischer marriage to take place in Prairie City. Here is a photo of the John Jacob Fischer family.
In 1868, two years before the Brachers and Braeuners arrived in Bates County, Zion Lutheran Church had its beginning. This past year has been their 150th anniversary year. That congregation has had several special events take place during the past year. This notice was placed on their Facebook page a while back.
Below is a list of pastors who served Zion Lutheran Church during their early years. I will not go into details, but several of the names on this list have direct or indirect connection to the East Perry County area.
Here are some additional photos of Zion’s church.
We would like to congratulate Zion Lutheran Church belatedly on their 150th anniversary. We hope we have visitors in our future to our museum in Altenburg from this congregation. We would love to tell them the story about our contribution to their church.