The Schmidt-Ermer-Weibrecht Story

Today would have been the 120th anniversary of Henry and Catherine Weibrecht.  The record of this marriage in our German Family Tree led me to discover another Schmidt story.  It also resulted in my newfound understanding of another Lutheran Church that once existed in this area.  I can also state that, after a conversation with one of my fellow choir members, I now know approximately where an area known as Dogtrot is located.

In order to tell this story, I need to start with the story of Johann Schmidt, who came to America in 1888, already married with two children.  His first wife was Margarete Schmidt.  This was another one of those Schmidt-Schmidt marriages.  Here is a photo of Margarete.

margarete schmidt
Margarete Schmidt

I also found this photograph of Johann Schmidt.

johann schmidt
Johann Schmidt

An ancestor of Johann Schmidt has written this description of Johann’s life.

Johann was a tailor in Germany. He arrived in the U.S. with his first wife, Margaret & their first two children in 1888 at the Port of New Orleans. They first settled in Dogtrot near Menfro, Perry, MO, but in 1890 moved a few miles farther south where other German immigrants had established a small church near Crosstown. Johann became an active member of the newly built Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church, where he was soon elected secretary. He earned a living farming & Margaret gave birth to four more children. Their last child was born on 05 July 1896 & Margaret died 30 July 1896. Johann then married Sophie Ermer, a German girl he had known before migrating to the U.S. Sophie had two daughters when she married Johann, Katherine & Mary. The couple then had a daughter of their own, Anna. Sophie then gave birth to a son on 19 Feb 1900. The baby died at birth & Sophie died three days later. Johann then married Sally Votau, but the marriage ended quickly. Julia Preiscell was Johann’s fourth wife. Julia had one daughter, Emma, when she entered the marriage, and Frieda with John.

Here is the marriage license of Johann and Sophie Ermer, Johann’s second wife.  This marriage record can also be found in the Salem Lutheran, Farrar church books.  It took place on October 24, 1897.

schmidt ermer marriage license
Schmidt/Ermer marriage license

Before I move on, I want to also show this photograph of Johann and his fourth wife, Julia.  Julia was 21 years younger than Johann.

john and julia schmidt
John and Julia Schmidt

Johann’s first two wives are buried in the Holy Cross Lutheran Cemetery.  Findagrave.com has this photo of a sign that can be found at this cemetery.

holy cross cemetery sign perry county mo

The Findagrave.com site also states the following about that cemetery:  “Also known as Cross Congregation Cemetery, Dry Fork Cemetery, Stumpf Cemetery.”  That congregation was only in existence from 1883 until 1898.  Here are the gravestones of Johann’s first two wives in that cemetery.

Both of these wives died from childbirth.  These stories can be found in the church books of Holy Cross (or Cross).  First, the one for Margarete.

margarete schmidt death record cross congregation perry co. mo

Next, we have one for Sophia.

sophia schmidt death record cross congregation perry co. mo

I tell the story of Johann Schmidt because he became the step-father of today’s bride, Catherine Ermer.  Johann’s second wife was actually named Sophia Catharine Ermer.  I assume that was her married name, and I do not know her first husband’s name nor Sophia’s maiden name.  Their daughter’s name was Catharine Sophia Ermer.  That’s enough to cause some confusion.  Three Ermer females arrived in Baltimore in October of 1897 aboard the ship, Alladorf.

katherine ermer passenger list munchen 1897
Ermer females – passenger list – Alladorf

The mother was 38 years old, and her children were 15 and 7 years old.  Sophia arrived in America in October of 1897 and was married in Perry County before the end of that month.  I am a little surprised that her marriage license says that she was from Perry County.

The other Ermer girl, Marie, who was 7 years old in 1897, was confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Point Rest, Missouri.  Here is a record from that congregation.

maria ermer confirmation record trinity point rest mo

It also did not take Catherine to find a husband.  She married Heinrich Weibrecht on January 6, 1898.  Henry was the son of John and Margaret (Schubert) Weibrecht.  These Weibrechts had arrived in America aboard the ship, Ocean, in 1866.

weibrecht schubert passenger list ocean 1866
Weibrechts – passenger list Ocean

The marriage record between Henry and Catherine can be found in the church books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville.  Catherine had been born on April 28, 1882.  That means she was married before her 16th birthday.  Our German Family Tree lists 12 children born to Henry and Catherine.  Four of them died as infants.  The first child was baptized at Salem, Farrar.  Their second child was baptized at Immanuel, Perryville.  All of the other children were baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Crosstown.  That church got its first pastor in 1901.

Henry Weibrecht was a farmer all his life.  Henry died in 1953; Catherine died in 1964. They are both buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Crosstown.  Whoever made Henry’s gravestone butchered his last name.

I will close with one simple observation.  Researching for these blog posts almost always lead me to learn something new about the East Perry Community and its people.  I hope to discover even more.


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