Ben and Bertha

Bertha Ernestine Doberenz was born on February 25, 1851 in Germany.  While she was still quite young, in 1852, Bertha came with her parents and an older brother to America.  Bertha’s parents were David and Anna (Thiemer) Doberenz.  When this family arrived here, they became members of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown (although it was still called Paitzdorf at the time).

The first census in which we find Bertha (I think) was the 1860 census for Brazeau Township (Union Township had not yet been formed).  If this is Bertha, then she for some reason was called Wilhelmina in this census.  All the other names correspond to the persons in that Doberenz family.  The name Doberenz is pretty well butchered too.

David Doberenz 1860 census Brazeau Township MO
1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The first church record we have for Bertha is for her confirmation in 1865.  For some reason, we have another occurrence of a different first name for Bertha.  This time she is called Emma.  I have no idea why this is the case.  Every other record I find for her has her name as Bertha Ernestine.  I tried to find a baptism record for her in Germany, but I was unsuccessful.

Bertha Doberenz confirmation record Grace Uniontown MO
1865 confirmation class – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Bertha’s future husband was baptized at Grace, Uniontown.  Benjamin Fiehler was born on April 4, 1844.  His parents were Johann Gottlob and Justine (Bock) Fiehler, who were part of the Gesellschaft in 1839.  Below is his baptism record in two images.

Benjamin Fiehler baptism record Grace Uniontown MO

Benjamin Fiehler baptism record 1 Grace Uniontown MO
Benjamin Fiehler baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Benjamin went to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War.  We have two images showing a record of his service.


Benjamin Fiehler Civil War record 1
Benjamin Fiehler Civil War Record – 64th Regiment
Benjamin Fiehler Civil War record 2
Benjamin Fiehler Civil War Record – 8th Prov. Regiment

On January 10, 1869, Benjamin and Bertha were married at Grace, Uniontown.  Below is the church record for this marriage.

Fiehler Doberenz marriage record Grace Uniontown MO
Fiehler/Doberenz marriage record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

We also have the civil record for this wedding from Perry County.

Fiehler Doberenz marriage record Perry County
Fiehler/Doberenz marriage record – Perry County, MO

This couple made their home near Frohna, Missouri, and when their first child was born in 1871, he was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna.  The remainder of their lives, Ben and Bertha would be members of that congregation.  We find this couple in the 1870 census for Brazeau Township.

Benjamin Fiehler 1870 census Brazeau Township MO
1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Ben and Bertha have eleven children listed in our German Family Tree.  One of these children died very early, but the other ones lived full lives.  Benjamin died on January 6, 1894.  At that time, the last child had not yet been born.  That is because Bertha was pregnant at the time of her husband’s death.  The last child was born in September of that year.

The 1900 census shows Bertha as a widow with only three children in her household.

Bertha Fiehler 1900 census Brazeau Township MO
1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

We also know that Bertha received a pension from Benjamin’s Civil War service.

Bertha Fiehler Civil War Pension record

Bertha died on April 25, 1921.  Both she and her husband were buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.


A wonderful photograph was taken in front of Bertha’s house in Frohna which included all 10 of the Fiehler children.

10 Fiehler children

Here is a caption which goes with this photo that identifies all of the siblings and also gives the names of the spouses (who are not pictured).

Benjamin Fiehler children photo

I have this suspicion that this photograph may have been taken when all of the family was gathered for Bertha’s funeral in 1921.  One clue can be found in the fact that Joseph Fiehler, who is sitting in the front row on the right, is not wearing a wedding ring.  He became married in 1923.  I think the funeral of their mother would have been the reason all of these siblings gathered in Perry County for this photograph.

I have another suspicion that this photo may have been taken by the local photographer, Paul Lueders, also from Frohna.  Gerard Fiehler (whose grandfather was Joseph Fiehler), along with my wife, have been discussing whether you can see the photographer as a reflection in the middle window behind the family.  Maybe you will have an opinion too.

When Bertha died, a memorial card was printed.  The words, In Liebender Erinnerung, say “In loving memory” in German.  This card also contains the only photographs of Ben and Bertha that I could locate.

Bertha & Benjamin Fiehler

By the way, Henry Fiehler is the second person from the left seated in the front.  Henry was the Teacher Fiehler who taught at Trinity Lutheran School in Altenburg from 1906-1942.

The other three brothers were at once involved in the establishment of the Altenburg Garage, which eventually became under the sole ownership of Joseph Fiehler.  Joseph had a son named Robert Fiehler, who also operated that garage for many years.  Here we see Joseph Fiehler along with one of his mechanics, John Wichern, standing in front of the Altenburg Garage in the 1930’s.

Fiehler Altenburg garage early 1930's

Robert’s son is Gerard Fiehler, who also had many years of experience working on automobiles at that location.  The photo below shows Robert (on the left), Curt Palisch in the middle, along with Gerard on the right, holding his son.  That young son of Gerard now has children of his own.  Those children would be great great great grandchildren of Ben and Bertha.

Fiehlers and Curt Palisch in front of garage

I have heard Gerard say lately, because of some recent Fiehler deaths, that he may be the only person left living in East Perry County who carries the surname Fiehler.



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