The post we publish today was written by one of our guest bloggers whose posts have shown up here before. Clayton Erdmann took time out of his busy Lutheran teacher schedule to write a story about one of his ancestors. He shares that story with you today, and as usual, it contains lots of photos and plenty of information. Thanks to Clayton for sharing this story which centers on the Friedenberg vicinity.
130 years ago today, my great grandfather was born. This is a blog about his life.
Alvin Karl George Hoehn was born on a farm near Frankenberg, Missouri on April 29, 1889. His nickname was “Phene” or “Feen” which came for the German pronunciation of the second syllable of Alvin. His parents were Albert Hoehn and Kunigunda Fassold and he was their second son. However, Alvin’s father had four children with his first wife, Margaret Rauh, who died in 1886. In need of someone to help him raise the three surviving children from his first marriage, Albert married Kunigunda in January 1887. Kunigunda had a son in early 1888 and then little Alvin was born just 15 months after his brother, Mike. In all, their family would include ten children, 9 living to adulthood.
The communities of Frankenberg and Friedenberg were largely populated by Alsatian and Bavarian Lutherans and Alvin’s ancestry reflects that fact. His paternal grandfather, Michael Georg Hoehn had immigrated in 1836 with his parents from what is now Runtzenheim, France, in the Alsatian region. Michael’s parents settled in Pennsylvania, but he continued west and settled in Perry County before 1841. Alvin’s paternal grandmother was Anna Margaretha Bergmann and she was born in Schirradorf, Bavaria and immigrated in 1840 with her siblings. His maternal grandparents, Andreas Fassold and Gertrude Haefner had come to the United States in 1854 and were both born in Bavaria.
The exact date of Alvin’s baptism is unknown, but it is safe to assume that it took place at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg, where his extended family had been members from its founding. In 1889, the church building would have been only four years old, having been completed in 1885.
Alvin was confirmed at Peace on March 23, 1902.
On October 22, 1911, Alvin married Alma Ochs. She was the daughter of Judge Henry Ochs, Jr. and Josephine Rauh. Alma was raised on a farm near Friedenberg. Alma was only a year younger than Alvin so they would have grown up and attended school together. In addition to Alvin and Alma’s wedding picture I have included two newspaper clippings related to their wedding.
Front Row: Alma Ochs Hoehn, Hulda Knoll Hoehn, and Hettie Ochs Bergman
Back Row: Alvin Hoehn, Mike Hoehn, and August Ochs
Alvin grew up on a farm and made farming his career as well. After their wedding, Alvin farmed near Friedenberg. However, in 1927 he moved to Menfro, Missouri to farm in the Mississippi River bottoms on land purchased by his father-in-law. Farming in the river bottoms was not easy. There were multiple years when flood waters destroyed his crops and forced his family to flee from the rising water. The flood of 1943 was especially devastating. Alvin and his family were members of Zion Lutheran Church in Crosstown during the years they lived in Menfro. In the late 1940s, Alvin purchased a farm near Friedenberg and he, Alma, and Betty moved there. The farm was adjacent to his brother Mike’s farm. Walter, who was married by then, remained in the Crosstown area and continued to farm. Some of Alvin’s descendants are still living and farming in the area.
Alvin had to register for both World War I and World War II, but was not drafted into either conflict.
Alvin and Alma had an interesting dynamic in their family. In October 1914, their son Walter was born near Friedenberg. For over 18 years, Walter was an only child, but in June 1933 Alma gave birth to their daughter, Betty, near Menfro. The really interesting fact, is that Alma had not told Walter she was pregnant. You can imagine his surprise when he came home to find a little baby sister.
Alvin struggled with nerve and other health problems which made it necessary for his daughter Betty to quit high school and help him on the farm. After Betty married in 1951, her husband Paul Kasten, began farming Alvin’s land and eventually bought Alvin and Alma’s farm. The land continues to be owned by Alvin’s descendants. Alvin and Alma lived with Paul and Betty the rest of their lives.
Alvin and Alma celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1961.
Alvin and Alma with their grandchildren at their 50th anniversary celebration. Back Row: LeRoy Hoehn, Dorothy Hoehn Schuessler, and Calvin Hoehn. Front Row: Wayne Kasten, Beverly Kasten Erdmann, and LaDonna Kasten Wills
Alma died in Perryville Hospital in December 1962 after breaking her hip. Alvin died on July 6, 1963 at his farm near Friedenberg, MO from heart disease. Both he and Alma are buried in the Peace Lutheran Cemetery in Frankenberg, just over a mile from where he was born.
Map showing important places in Alvin’s life: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zNS39fzMpniU8R0i-Hl6qjGVz_H6gGGR&usp=sharing
Much of the information used in writing this blog was taken from The Hoehn Families from Runtzenheim to Friedenberg by Larry Hoehn.