Lutherans and Catholics

I discovered in our German Family Tree a person with a birthday today who had the surname Unterreiner.  I must admit that the first thing that came to my mind was that this surname was a “Catholic name”.  The cemetery for our nearest Catholic church, St. Joseph Cemetery, has 44 entries on that include the name Unterreiner.  Another nearby Catholic cemetery, St. Maurus Cemetery in Biehle, has 25 graves with the surname Unterreiner.

First, let me say that the relationships between Lutherans and Catholics in Perry County have not always been that wonderful.  However, one thing that united these two groups even from the beginning is the fact that the Lutheran and Catholic communities in Perry County were almost exclusively German in origin.  I also want to point out that the combative relationship between Lutherans and Catholics do not continue today.  I know that the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum has a wonderful relationship with the folks at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Apple Creek who have their own small museum.

Josephine Unterreiner was born on October 4, 1878.  She was the daughter of William and Mary (Fassold) Unterreiner.  I believe the marriage between William and Mary was the one in which a Catholic married a Lutheran.  One of the reasons I say this is that, according to the marriage record shown below, these two were married by a justice of the peace.  There is no church record for their wedding.

Unterreiner Fassold marriage record Perry County MO
Unterreiner/Fassold marriage record – Perry County, MO

The first census in which we find Josephine was the one taken in 1880.  She was the oldest child in the family.

Josephine Unterreiner 1880 census Cinque Hommes Township MO
1880 census – Cinque Hommes Township, MO

I have reason to believe that Josephine grew up on a farm located between Longtown and Biehle.  We see a parcel of land on this 1915 map which was labeled Wm. Unterreiner, Sr.

William Unterreiner land map 1915
Wm. Unterreiner, Sr. land map – 1915

We do not have baptism records for the children born into this Unterreiner family.  I suspect we might find them in the records of either St. Maurus Catholic Church in Biehle or St. Joseph Catholic Church in Apple Creek.  What we do know is that after Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown was established in 1897, Josephine Unterreiner, her mother, and other children in this family became members of that church.  We see them on this communion list from that church.

Unterreiner names Zion Longtown MO

Maria Unterreiner, Josephine’s mother, was at Zion Lutheran Church right when it opened in 1897.  I suspect that the only reason she was not listed as a charter member of that congregation is that she was a woman.  Josephine and all of the siblings I could find for her were eventually buried in Lutheran cemeteries.  The father, William Unterreiner, was buried in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Apple Creek.

Josephine’s future husband would be Arno Hopfer.  Arno was born on Reformation Day, October 31, 1870.  Arno was the son of Gotthold and Amalia (Kasten) Hopfer.  He was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown.

Arno was born too late in the year to be included in the 1870 census.  The first census in which he can be found was the one taken in 1880 for Union Township that was lost for many, many years and only recently found.  And even then, the entry for this Hopfer family is full of mistakes.

Arno Hopfer 1880 census Union Township MO
1880 census – Union Township, MO

First of all, Gotthold is called Gottfried.  Next, Sulamith is called a male, but she was a girl.  And then there is Arno, who is called Anna and shown to be a female.  However, there is so much information on this entry that matches the Gotthold Hopfer family, that it must be concluded that this is Arno’s correct household.

On May 13, 1900, Arno Hopfer married Josephine Unterreiner at Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown.  Below is her marriage license.

Hopfer Unterreiner marriage license
Hopfer/Unterreiner marriage license

I will also show you the church record for this wedding.

Hopfer Unterreiner marriage record Zion Longtown MO
Hopfer/Unterreiner marriage record – Zion, Longtown, MO

The Hopfer couple is listed in the 1900 census for Union Township.  It says they were married 0 years.

Arno Hopfer 1900 census Union Township MO
1900 census – Union Township, MO

A son born in 1901 died right away, but before the 1910 census, two additional boys were added to the family.

Arno Hopfer 1910 census Union Township MO
1910 census – Union Township, MO

The 1915 plat maps for Perry County include a map that shows a parcel of land for A G Hopper (misspelled).

A G Hopfer land map 1915
A G Hopfer land map – 1915

Their final child, another boy, was born in 1916, so when the 1920 census was completed, we see the following entry for the Hopfer’s.

Arno Hopfer 1920 census Union Township MO
1920 census – Union Township, MO

All of the census forms indicate that Arno was a farmer.  Below is the census taken in 1930.

Arno Hopfer 1930 census Union Township MO
1930 census – Union Township, MO

Josephine died in 1949 at the age of 71.  Here is her death certificate.

Josephine Hopfer death certificate
Josephine Hopfer death certificate

Arno died in 1962 at the age of 91.  We also have his death certificate.

Arno Hopfer death certificate
Arno Hopfer death certificate

Arno and Josephine are both buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown.


In the 1940’s before Josephine died, if she wanted to visit her parent’s grave sites, she would have had to travel to two different cemeteries.  She would have had to travel to her father’s grave in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Apple Creek, and she would have had to travel to her mother’s grave in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Longtown.


One thought on “Lutherans and Catholics

  1. It’s interesting to note how Arno Hopfer and Josephine Unterriner met and married.
    Arno was a school teacher and taught in a one room school house which was located near the William Unterriner’s farm. Arno made the daily seven mile journey from his home to the school on horseback. Rose and Cora Unterriner, younger sisters of Josephine, were two of his pupils.
    One winter day, a snow storm made the trip home impossible. Arno found refuge that night with the Unterriner’s where he met older sister Josephine. And the rest as they say is history.


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