Silly me. I just published this post without telling you that I did not write it. This article was written by our friend, Fred Eggers. He is an incredible researcher and happens to also be working at our museum today as a docent. As I have told you on several occasions, Fred is our “go to” guy on the history of Salem Lutheran Church and the village in which it is located, Farrar, Missouri. I am sure you will enjoy this article which is packed full of interesting information.
Today is the anniversary of the baptism of Gotthilf Georg Albrecht on December 26, 1885 who was born a few days earlier on December 20. He was the son of Pastor Heinrich Georg Albrecht of Salem Lutheran Church. Thus, he was born in the Pfarrhaus (parsonage) in the village that is now known as Farrar, although it did not take that name until 1892 when the post office was established there. The post office took the name of the first postmaster, Robert P. “R. P.” Farrar, because when he applied for Salem, this name had already been taken by a town in Dent County, Missouri.
I will have more on Gotthilf later, but this blog will primarily focus on Pastor Heinrich Albrecht and his interesting, but relatively short, life, his family, and his ministry.
Rev. Georg Heinrich Albrecht was born on 24 May 1853 in Eschenau, Wuerttemberg, Germany to Rev. Johann Georg Heinrich and Christina Katharina Schilling Albrecht. His father was a pastor in Germany for the state run church. His parents were also vineyard owners (weingarteners). All of their children helped with this endeavor. The winery is still in operation but was sold by the Albrecht family, and is now called Eschenauer Paradies. Three of his brothers, Johann Christian “JC” (1845-1918), Christian Johann “CJ” (1847-1924), and Jacob Gottlieb (1855-1920), became Lutheran ministers and all eventually served congregations within sixty miles of one another in South Central Minnesota. In addition one of their sisters, Katharina Magdalena “Lena” (1850-1919), married Margott Heyldor Quehl, a Lutheran minister. He served for several years in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area then moved to the same area as her brothers. Two other sisters, Dorothea Katharina (1857-1918) and Dorothea Marie (1859-1922), remained in Eschenau to look after the vineyards. A younger brother, Georg Friedrich (1861-1862), died as a young child. “CJ” Albrecht was the President of the Minnesota Synod from 1883 to 1894, was the founder and first director of Dr. Martin Luther College (now Martin Luther College) in New Ulm, Minnesota in 1884, and was instrumental in the affiliation of the Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin Synods into what is now known as the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Time and space will not allow for a complete history and biography of the entire Albrecht family.
Although his baptismal name was Georg Heinrich, nearly every document of his life uses the name Heinrich. He was a very studious learner and was confirmed in 1867. After confirmation he first took up the study of horticulture to work in the family business. He then entered the St. Chrischona Pilgrim Mission near Basel, Switzerland to study for the ministry.
In 1872 he emigrated to the United States with his brother “CJ”, who had recently graduated from St. Chrischona on the ship Thuringia. They left Hamburg on October 30 and arrived in New York on November 13 on the ship Thuringia. On the ship’s manifest “CJ” is listed as Joh., occupation of missionary, and Heinrich is listed as Hein.Koeh, occupation of teacher. They were accompanied by Maria, the new bride of “CJ”. Passenger lists for both the departure and arrival can be found on Ancestry.com.
In 1873 he enrolled in the Concordia Practical Seminary in St. Louis. After three years of serious study and hard work he graduated in 1876 from the Seminary in Springfield, Illinois where it had moved in the fall of 1875. He was then called by the Minnesota Synod to become Pastor of St. Matthew’s congregation in Penn Township, McLeod County, Minnesota.
On November 14, 1876 Heinrich married Christiane Koehler from Maple Grove, Hennepin County, Minnesota. Their first two children were born while he served at St. Matthew’s. Conrad Johann Heinrich was born on December 24, 1877 and baptized on January 20, 1878.
Heinrich Gottlieb was born on September 10, 1879 and baptized on September 30.
Pastor Albrecht’s service at St. Matthew’s is documented in an anniversary booklet of that congregation. It was while he was there that he started to have health problems with his throat.
In 1880 he accepted a call to Trinity Congregation near Bremen in Wabasha County, Minnesota.
The Albrecht’s third son Christian Jakob was born on October 31, 1881 and baptized at Trinity on November 6.
An anniversary history of that congregation tells of Pastor Albrecht’s time there. During his time at Bremen his health problems became worse and he hoped to receive a call to a warmer climate as that might help his health. In 1883 he received and accepted a call to a congregation at Salem in Perry County, Missouri.
The Salem Congregation had been formed in 1859 by eleven young men and their wives who had settled in the area in the previous five years. Seven of them had ties to the Paitzdorf (now Uniontown) congregation and they were first served on a part-time basis by Pastors Theodor Gruber and Frederick C. Besel from the Peace, Frankenberg (Later Friedenberg) church and Pastors Bergt and Polock of the Paitzdorf church. After Pastor Polock’s health forced him to discontinue his service to Salem, they were served during the vacancy by Pastor Clarence L. Janzow of the Frohna congregation. Because the congregation had grown significantly following the Civil War by the immigration of people from the areas of Lamstedt and Scheeßel in Hanover and others from the Saxon settlements in Perry County, the sentiment of the congregation at that time was to call a resident pastor. A call was issued to Pastor Albrecht and he accepted. It is very likely that Pastors Albrecht and Janzow knew each other well as Pastor Janzow had served at St. John Lutheran Church in Mountville, Minnesota, less than six miles from St. Matthew’s Church, from 1876 to 1879 prior to coming to Frohna.
When it was learned that Pastor Albrecht had accepted the call, construction of a parsonage was begun. The home was ready when he arrived with his family in August 1883.
Three more children were born to Heinrich and Christiane Albrecht at Salem. Anna Emilie Sophia was born on September 30, 1883 and baptized on October 5, 1883. She was baptized by Pastor Andreas Bäpler, who was the missionary of the Western District to the English speaking Lutherans of Southeast Missouri. Her sponsors were Pastors Polock and Janzow and Mrs. Justine Lorenz, a neighbor and wife of one of Salem’s founders.
Next was our Christmas baby Gotthilf Georg who was born December 20, 1885 and baptized on December 26. His sponsors included my grandfather Heinrich Eggers who was a neighbor to the Albrechts.
Agnes Tabia was the Albrecht’s final child. She was born on August 3, 1889 and baptized on August 11. My grandmother Katherine Soehl Eggers was one of her sponsors.
Sadly, their son Heinrich Gottlieb died when he was less than nine years old on May 7, 1888 and buried at Salem on May 9.
The warmer climate of Missouri was beneficial and Pastor Albrecht was able to undertake more of a workload. Salem’s history written in 1909 by Pastor Johann Krueger states that the eight years of Pastor Albrecht’s pastorate saw one of the most marked periods of growth experienced by the congregation. The church built in 1860 and enlarged once before again had become too small. Under Pastor Albrecht’s leadership a new brick church was built that still serves Salem today. But his sickness came back more and more and in the summer of 1885 he took a trip back to Germany for health reasons and that seemed to help him. Perry County Probate Judge Charles A. Weber assisted him with his passport application.
Summoning all of his strength and with much difficulty he took care of his congregation’s needs. But his health was going downhill and he wanted to resign, but the members did not want to accept it. In the fall of 1890 he seemed to be getting better but then he had a relapse, from which he did not recover. He succumbed to tuberculosis on January 28, 1891. He was less than 38 years old. He had hoped to serve the Salem Congregation much longer, but God had other plans for him. He was buried on January 30 with a short sermon and prayer at the parsonage by Pastor Karl Mende of Uniontown. After this the body was taken to the cemetery and buried with a short service by Pastor Wilhem Matthes. All the pastors that were attending sang the hymn “This body in the grave we lay”. Then the congregation gathered in the church for the funeral service that was conducted by Pastor William Zschoche. The text of his sermon was Hebrews 13, verses 5 to 8. He presented a sermon of comfort but also admonition that the people should always be ready for we never know when God will call us home.
Much of this information comes from the Obituary that was published in Der Lutheraner, the official newspaper of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod at that time. The obituary was translated for me by Mr. Edgar Dreyer of Frohna.
Following the death of Pastor Albrecht, his wife Chistiane (known in her family as Nancy) and her children returned to her family in Minnesota. Warren Schmidt wrote a blog about her later life entitled Missouri to Minnesota to Mexico on August 3, 2017. In 1894 she married a widower named Julius Bursch and they lived in Burschville where they ran a store and post office. After his death in 1914 she continued to run the store until after 1930.
Pastor Heinrich’s five remaining children lived to adulthood and they all married and raised families of their own. Many of the descendants still live in the Hennepin County area. I made contact with Allan Weinand who is a Great Great Grandson of Pastor Albrecht through Ancestry.com and he was able to provide me with a photo of the five adult children of Heinrich and Christiane Albrecht.