John Wichern is our birthday boy today. He was born on February 13, 1893, so he would have been 127 years old today. John was the son of Henry and Louise (Leible) Wichern, the 4th of 9 children born into that family. Only 3 of the 9 were boys. I have written several stories that have come out of the Daniel Wichern family. Daniel and Henry were brothers, although our German Family Tree does not tie them together. That may be because when Henry married Louise Leible, it appears he may have become a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Apple Creek, Missouri. That is where Henry and Louise Wichern are buried. Here is a photograph of John’s parents.
We have a transcription of John’s baptism record from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
John can be found in the 1900 census living in the Union Township of Perry County. He was 6 years old.
It must have been about the time of that census when the photograph below was taken. It shows father, Henry, with his two oldest sons, Charles and John. The 3rd son had yet to be born.
John can be seen in the 1910 census living in the Ignatius Trapp household. Henry’s mother, Louise, had been married for a short time to Anton Ponder, and that couple had one daughter named Barbara. About the time that Barbara was born, Anton died, and Louise would later marry Henry Wichern. Barbara Ponder married Ignatius Trapp, and it was with that family that John was living in 1910.
Below is a photo of Ignatius and Barbara Trapp.
John had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917. At that time, he was living in St. Louis and working as a repairman for Curtis Manufacturing Company. He was still single at the time. For a while, I wondered if this was the correct John Wichern, but the correct birth date confirmed it in my mind.
Here is where there is a little mystery in this story. I found a John Wichern living in St. Louis in the 1920 census. He was about the right age and called a machinist in a machine shop, which all makes sense to me. However, this census says John had a wife named Anna.
The entry says John was living with a brother-in-law and sister-in-law with the name Pfenninger. I looked for a marriage record for John and an Anna Pfenninger that took place before 1920, but I found none. The only marriage record I could find for John was the one I am about to discuss which took place in Altenburg.
John’s future wife from Perry County was to be Emma Noennig of Altenburg. Emma was born on September 2, 1897, the daughter of Gottfried and Emma (Kuehnert) Noennig. Emma was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Below is her baptism record.
Emma can first be seen in the 1900 census for Brazeau Township. She was shown to be 2 years old.
When Emma was quite young, she was included in a photograph of the Noennig children. There are two young girls dressed alike in the picture, and one of them is Emma. The other is her sister, Amanda who was a little younger.
Another photograph was taken of the Gottfried Noennig family in a studio. Emma is standing to the right of her mother wearing a white dress.
We find Emma again in the 1910 census for Altenburg.
In the 1920 census, we find Emma in what I refer to as an infamous census entry. She is living with the Otto Lueders family in Wittenberg as a servant. However, this entry also shows Joseph Weinhold, and he is shown as being “dead”. I don’t think I’ve seen another census stating that situation.
That leads us up to the marriage of John Wichern and Emma Noennig which took place on May 27, 1923 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Here is the church record for that wedding. I have included the marriage shown just above theirs which also took place in 1923. That was the wedding of Joseph Fiehler and Ida Meyr. Joseph will show up later in this story.
We also have the marriage license for this couple.
John and Emma had two children, both girls. Their names were Mary Jane and Velma. When we look at the 1930 census, we see the following Wichern household. I included the Joseph Fiehler household above the Wichern’s. John Wichern was called a salesman for an auto repair shop, and that shop was owned by Joseph Fiehler.
We have this photo of John Wichern and Joseph Fiehler standing in front of the Altenburg Garage. The photo is said to have been taken sometime around 1930.
The 1940 census has the Wichern family still living in Altenburg. John was still a mechanic at the garage.
It was about this time that John moved his family to Perryville. His World War II draft card filled out in 1942 indicates he was living in Perryville and working at the Frohna Machine Shop that was located there.
I am going to include a small gallery of photos here which pertain to this Wichern couple. The thumbnails may be clicked to enlarge them.
John Wichern died in 1971 at the age of 78, Emma Wichern died in 1998 at the age of 100. She died on her husband’s birthday, February 13th. John and Emma are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.
I really enjoy writing stories about the Wichern family. Someone in that family has not only gathered a nice collection of family photos, but has placed nice captions on them. It makes things so much easier for me. I wish that was the case for every story I write. I am a hypocrite, however, because I have not done this with my own family photos.