Rev. Gustav and Agnes Wangerin

Almost two years ago, I wrote a post for this blog titled, Roemer Reverend Roommates.  That post highlighted a Roemer family that had four girls who all managed to find Lutheran pastors as their husbands.  The couple I will focus on today was mentioned in that story, but today, I will attempt to add more details from their lives.  I also went down a rabbit hole or two to find some other related stories that intertwined with today’s couple.

It was the marriage of Rev. Gustav Wangerin and Agnes Roemer that got my attention because today would have been their 149th wedding anniversary.  These two were married on September 13, 1870 in St. Louis, Missouri.  Let’s start by taking a look at Agnes Roemer.

Not only was Agnes married on September 13th, but that was also her birthday.  She was born on September 13, 1851.  She was the daughter of John Carl David and Maria (Kalbfleisch) Roemer.  Here is a photo including both of Agnes’s parents.

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JCD and Maria Roemer

It is John Carl David Roemer that connects today’s story to the 1839 immigration.  He was a 23 year-old passenger aboard the Olbers when he made the journey to America.  He was listed as a saddler.  He was not the only Roemer on that ship.  There was also an Ernst August Ferdinand Roemer with his family aboard the Olbers.  He was likely a brother.  Here is the listing of these Roemer’s as we find them on the passenger list for the Olbers.

Roemer names passenger list Olbers 1

Roemer names passenger list Olbers 2
Roemer names – Olbers passenger list

When we look at the listing for the Roemer’s in Zion on the Mississippi, we find an additional name.

Roemer passenger list Zion on the Mississippi
Roemer names – Zion on the Mississippi

There is a Martin Stephan Roemer on this list, and his name has three asterisks after it.  Those asterisks indicate that he was born on the ship.  I  wondered whether there was a medical doctor on board the Olbers, and I discovered that there were two such passengers.  One of them was Ernst Eduard Buenger, who was listed as a medical student.  Also, there was a Dr. Carl August Schnabel who came with a wife and 5 children.  Dr. Schnabel had a dispute with the leaders of the Gesellschaft.  He had been given a free ride to America in exchange for his medical services, but he felt he should also be paid a fee.  He sued the Gesellschaft and did not travel with the rest of the immigrants who came up the Mississippi River aboard the steamboat, Selma.  However, it is possible that either Ernst Eduard Buenger or Dr. Schnabel helped deliver the Roemer baby.

I just have to go down this rabbit hole.  Obviously, this child was named after the leader of the Gesellschaft, Rev. Martin Stephan, who was also a passenger on the Olbers.  I had to find out what happened to this child.  As it so happened, not long after the immigrants arrived in Perry County, Martin Stephan Roemer died on June 9, 1839.  That was not even two weeks after Rev. Stephan was kicked out of the colony.  Martin Stephan Roemer’s death record can be found in the Trinity Lutheran Church books.  In fact, his death record is the first one listed after they had arrived in Perry County.

Martin Stephan Roemer death record Trinity Altenburg MO
Martin Stephan Roemer death record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Here is a transcription of this record.

Martin Stephan Roemer death record transcription Trinity Altenburg MO

How ironic it was that the first death in Perry County after Martin Stephan’s exile, was also named Martin Stephan!

Another mystery that has never been answered is where the Altenburg Cemetery would have been located.  There are just a few records that use this term, Altenburg Cemetery.  Trinity Lutheran’s Cemetery got its land on the occasion of Christiane Loeber’s death in the spring of 1840.  We likely will never know where the “Altenburg Cemetery” was located.

Let’s get back to Agnes Roemer.  There is really no indication that her parents ever spent time in Perry County.  When you look at her mother, Maria Kalbfleisch Roemer, you discover that although there were some Kalbfleisch’s in the New York Group, Maria was not one of them.  However, she was likely the sister of Conrad Kalbfleisch, who was in that group.  She arrived in St. Louis not long after 1839.  Agnes Roemer was baptized at Old Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis.  One of her sponsors, Sophie Wyneken, was the wife of Rev. F.C.D. Wyneken, who was the 2nd President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Agnes can be found in the 1860 census for St. Louis.

Agnes Roemer 1860 census St. Louis MO
1860 census – St. Louis, MO

She was also found in the 1870 census right before her marriage during that year.  She was 18 years old.

Agnes Roemer 1870 census St. Louis MO
1870 census – St. Louis, MO

Now let’s move over to her husband, Gustav Wangerin.  Gustav was born on September 5, 1844 in Germany.  Two censuses state that he arrived in America in 1867, and yet another one says he came in 1865.  I was unable to find him in the 1870 census.  Below is the marriage record for Gustav and Agnes.

Wangerin Roemer marriage record St. Louis MO

My best guess is that as soon as he arrived in America, he attended Concordia Seminary where he studied for the ministry.  The marriage record found in the church books of Old Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis gives the following information.

Wangerin Roemer marriage record Trinity St. Louis MO
Wangerin/Roemer marriage record – Old Trinity, St. Louis, MO

It states that Gustav Wangerin was a Lutheran pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Effingham, Illinois.  That was likely Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Altamont, Illinois, which is located in Effingham County.  That church had its beginning in 1861.  We find the Wangerin family in the 1880 census living in Mound Township, which is where Altamont is located.  Another child at one year old is found on the next page of the census which I did not show.

Gustav Wangerin 1910 census St. Louis MO
1880 census – Mound Township, IL

In 1882, Rev. Gustav Wangerin became the pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Louis.  He succeeded Rev. J.F. Buenger, the first pastor of that congregation.  Rev. Buenger had died in January of 1882.  We find the Wangerin family in St. Louis in the 1900 census.

Gustav Wangerin 1900 census St. Louis MO
1900 census – St. Louis, MO

This family may have moved to Wisconsin in 1881 because there is one child who is shown to be born in that state.  If they did, they did not stay there long.  I think that there were 10 children born into this family.

When we look at the 1910 census, we find that one of their daughters, who had married Louis T. Knief, was living in their household.  Louis was a teacher at Immanuel Lutheran School.  By this time, Gustav was 65 years old.

Gustav Wangerin 1910 census St. Louis MO
1910 census – St. Louis, MO

Gustav was still around for the 1920 census, but that entry is so difficult to read that I will not display it.  Rev. Wangerin died in 1925 at the age of 81.  We have his death certificate.  On that form, we find that Gustav had been struck by an automobile, leading to his death.

Gustav Wangerin death certificate
Gustav Wangerin death certificate

Agnes can still be found in the 1930 census.  She was living with her son, Edward Wangerin.  This entry misidentifies Agnes as being Edward’s wife.

Agnes Wangerin 1930 census St. Louis MO
1930 census – St. Louis, MO

Agnes died in 1935 at the age of 84.  We also have her death certificate.

Agnes Wangerin death certificate
Agnes Wangerin death certificate

Gustav and Agnes are both buried in Western Lutheran Cemetery in St. Louis.  That is the cemetery for the now extinct Immanuel Lutheran Church.  There are no photos of their gravestones on  We do have these photos of Gustav and Agnes which I am guessing were taken during their time in St. Louis.

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Rev. Gustav and Agnes Wangerin

Rev. Gustav would have attended Concordia Seminary when it was located near Holy Cross Lutheran Church.  He would have attended the seminary when Rev. Theodore Brohm was the pastor at Holy Cross.  Later, he succeeded Rev. J.F. Buenger at Immanuel Lutheran Church.  Rev. Brohm and Rev. Buenger were two of the builders of the Log Cabin College in Perry County which later became the original Concordia Seminary.  Rev. Wangerin would have also lived long enough to see the new campus of Concordia Seminary completed in Clayton.







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