Another Teacher Popp

John PoppThe blog post today was written by John Popp.  He tells the story of his mother.  Previously, John has shared a story about his father, Richard Popp, who was a teacher at Trinity, Altenburg for many years.  Today, you will read the story of the other teacher in John’s family.  I am so grateful for John’s contribution today.  I will be very busy trying to entertain several grandchildren and may not be able to stay focused on blog writing.  So this post is a little Christmas present for me from John on the day after Christmas.


Today’s blog revolves around a couple themes that have been  discussed previously, and my mother, Rose Elda Mahnke, figures into those themes.  She left Perry County as an infant, returned as an adult, and left again.  She was born on this day in 1915 in Altenburg MO.  Her parents were Martin and Martha (Jacob) Mahnke.

Fig 1_1901-08-11-001_Martin & Martha Mahnke
Martin and Martha Mahnke

She was the 4th of four children.

Fig 2_1936-001_Martin Mahnke family
Martin Mahnke family – Rose seated in front

Rose’s paternal grandfather Heinrich (Henry) Jacob was a Saxon immigrant who practiced carpentry, and helped build the “new” Trinity Lutheran Church.  And according to Warren’s research ( Which of the Original Immigrants Was the Last to Die? Part 2 ), he was the last original immigrant to die.  Her paternal grandmother was Martha Popp Mahnke, who also was great-aunt for Richard Popp, her future husband.

Fig 3_Henry & Martha Mahnke
Henry and Martha Mahnke

The Mahnke’s lived on a 105-acre farm south of Altenburg and were good friends with the Degenhardt’s and the Bellman’s.

Fig 4_Mahnke property_Perry Co MO_abt1914
Mahnke land map – 1915

By about 1917, the Mahnke’s joined an outward migration from Perry County to Lincoln County KS, where a number of Perry Countians had moved.  Refer to Fred Eggers’ blog for background (From Perry County to the Mountains to the Plains).  My mother said one of the draws for the move was the positive image painted by her maternal uncle, Rev. John H. Jacob, who was pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Sylvan Grove KS from 1897-1910.  Likewise, Rose’s maternal aunt, Rosa, had made the move and married a local farmer, Emil Boettcher.  It is likely the Mahnke’s moved onto some Boettcher land to begin farming after the move.

But farming in Lincoln County did not compare with farming in Perry County MO – the land was fertile and gently rolling in Lincoln Co., but had less annual rain.  The Mahnke’s failed at farming and moved to town, which in some ways may have been a godsend.  The Mahnke’s stressed education, and Rose attended Bethlehem’s elementary school, which still stands today.

Fig 5_Bethlehem Lutheran school_Sylvan Grove KS
Bethlehem Lutheran School – Sylvan Grove, KS

She was confirmed April 13, 1930, and was class salutatorian in high school.

Fig 6_1930-04-0001_Rose Popp confirmation class
Rose Mahnke confirmation class – She is standing in the back row

Though brother Rudy graduated from University of Kansas, Rose could afford only one year of college at Central Missouri State Teachers College.  That one year earned her a teaching certificate and launched a career in teaching.

On a rare return trip to Perry County in 1937, Rose, brother Rudy, and parents visited Paul and Emma Popp who were friends as well as relatives.  A photo of Richard Popp caught the eye of Rose, and soon a long-distance romance developed.  On a hot summer evening, August 9, 1942, in Sylvan Grove KS, Rose married Richard.

Fig 7_1942-08-09-002
Popp/Mahnke wedding

A snap shot on August 10 includes the newlyweds, their parents, and other relatives, with the iconic Sylvan Grove water tower in the background, which still stands today.

Fig 8_1942-08-10-001

Rose soon became a full-time mother at their  first home in Summit IL where Richard taught at Zion Lutheran School  (see Teacher Popp – My Pop).  In 1942 Rose returned to her Perry County roots nearly 30 years after leaving, when Richard accepted a call to Trinity Lutheran Church.  With 3 children in school and me staying with the neighbors (Laverne Hughey), Rose was able to accept substitute teaching duties (at New Wells, I believe), thus beginning an era as Another Teacher Popp.

A call from Immanuel Lutheran Church in 1956 took the Popp’s to Altamont IL, a small but growing town with large Lutheran population and significant network of Lutheran schools.  Rose began teaching at the only remaining one-room school in rural Altamont, at Zion Lutheran Church.  When that school closed, she was asked to start a kindergarten program at Immanuel’s school in 1959, where she remained until retirement in 1981.  The emphasis on education she received in Kansas carried through her entire life as well as into her children and grandchildren.  Mom was Another Teacher Popp.

Fig 9_1998-08-009
Richard and Rose Popp

Finally, please note the controversy regarding “Mahnke” vs “Mahnken.” It has been addressed by Warren Schmidt on this blog (Mahnken or Mahnke?) and Fred Eggers has provided me with useful information.  Rose Mahnke Popp hinted the Mahnke name was shortened at some point, though I have no direct indication in her records.  Stay tuned!

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