Today would have been the 176th birthday of Sarah Elizabeth Kramer. She was born on February 9, 1844 in Altenburg, Missouri. Her parents were Johann Gottlob and Rosine (Sittner) Kramer, but Sarah never got to know her father. When she was just 7 months old, he died. The next year, her mother married again. Her second husband was Johann Dietrich Hellwege, who for all practical purposes, was Sarah’s father. Sarah had two older siblings, a brother and a sister. There were no children from the Hellwege marriage.
Sarah was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. She would have been baptized by Rev. Gotthold Loeber, but even the first permanent sanctuary for that congregation had yet to be built. I cannot read the German, but a translation of her baptism record in our German Family Tree says this baptism took place in church. Before the first church was built, the congregation worshiped in Pastor Loeber’s parsonage, so that is where Sarah’s baptism must have occurred. Here is that baptism record.
Sarah shows up in the 1850 census at the age of 6. He stepfather was a wagon maker.
When the 1860 census was taken, Sarah is included, but the entry makes it look like her name was Sarah Hellwege. I also included the household below the Hellwege family. There you will see the family of John P. Beyer, who was the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Rev. Beyer took a call away from Altenburg in 1863, and during that same year, his younger brother, George Beyer came to Altenburg to become a teacher at Trinity. George Beyer, who was born in Bavaria on August 4, 1842, had come to America in 1851 and had lived with his parents in Ft. Wayne, Indiana before preparing to become a Lutheran educator. He became the first teacher at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri that was not a pastor. His name can be seen on this list of teachers who have served at that school.
It may have been the case that George had on occasion come to Altenburg to visit his brother and met the neighbor girl, Sarah Kramer. On April 14, 1864, an amazing event took place at Trinity Lutheran Church that has been a topic on this blog before. It was told in the post, Three in One at Trinity. All three of the Kramer children were married on the same day. Below are the three church records for those weddings in two images.
Those weddings took place in the 1845 church sanctuary that is now part of our museum. The first census in which we see the Beyer couple was the one taken on 1870. By that year, they had their first two children.
This entry was the last one on the census page, so I looked at the next page to see if there were any more children. I did not find any, but I did find the next few households on the next page very interesting.
First of all, you will see Johann Winter, who was the first teacher at Trinity Lutheran, Altenburg who had come as part of the immigration in 1839. Next, you will see the household of Gottwerth Schmidt, who is my great grandfather.
George Beyer would be a teacher at Trinity for 43 years. During his tenure there, other teachers on the same staff with him were Johann F.F. Winter, Theo Zacharias, J. Abraham, W. Asche, Ed. Mueller, Paul Mueller, and Benjamin Hemmann. The teacher who succeeded Teacher Beyer was Henry Fiehler.
The 1880 census shows a larger Beyer family.
A set of twin boys was born in 1881, but they each lived just about 3 months. Our German Family Tree lists 11 children in all in this Beyer family. The next census in which we find George and Sarah was taken in 1900.
Teacher Beyer retired from his teaching position in 1906. After this, he remained in Altenburg until his death. The census for 1910 shows George as having no occupation. Right above the Beyer household, you will see the household of Rev. Henry Schmidt, the pastor at Trinity and the household of Henry Fiehler, the relatively new teacher at that congregation.
In the 1915 Atlas made for Perry County, the town of Altenburg includes a plot of land owned by George Beyer right on Main Street not far from Trinity.
The last census in which we find George and Sarah was the one taken in 1920. In this census, it records that George was a broom maker.
We have a photograph of the George Beyer house.
Both George and Sarah died in 1922. Sarah died in March at the age of 78. Here is her death certificate.
George died in July at the age of 79. He almost made it to his 80th birthday. Here is his death certificate.
In the case of George, we have his obituary.
Both George and Sarah Beyer are buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg, Missouri.
I have no photograph of Sarah Beyer, but I do have a few that include Teacher Beyer. One is a picture of him standing with his class.
Another one is a collage of photos of many of the early teachers at Trinity. Teacher Beyer is in the middle.
Yes, Sarah married the teacher. I wonder if she thought it might take her to many other cities where her husband would serve other Lutheran schools. I was a teacher at four different Lutheran schools during my career. If Sarah thought her marriage would take her to new places, it turned out she was wrong.