Today would have been the 126th birthday of Theobald Wukasch. His father, Matthias Wukasch, is pretty famous in East Perry County. He and a colleague, Henry Welp, had a combined 101 years of teaching at Concordia Lutheran School in Frohna, Missouri. Teacher Wukasch had a total of 10 children by way of two wives, Anna Fischer and Johanna Schieferdecker. Theobald, who was born on February 16, 1894, was child #10, the baby of the family. His mother was Johanna (Schieferdecker) Wukasch. Theobald was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church. Below is his baptism record.
Theobald’s mother died about 6 months after he was born. The Concordia death records say she died of a colon infection. The remaining Wukasch household including Theobald can be found in the 1900 census. One can only imagine that Teacher Wukasch relied heavily on this twin daughters, Clara and Emma, to help run his household. By the way, Theodore’s age on this census is wrong. He would have been the 6 year old and his sister, Ida, was 8.
This Wukasch family photo was taken. There were just 4 boys in this family, so I am thinking that Theobald is the youngest one in this picture.
Ten years later, we find Theobald as a farm laborer in the household of two single Militzer sisters, Ernestine (age 50) and Lena (age 46).
Theobald would attend Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Illinois to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a Lutheran teacher. We have a photo of him in a yearbook for that school.
Theobald had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917. It says that Theo was a teacher at St. John’s Lutheran School in Marion County, Indiana. That congregation was in a rural area just outside Indianapolis. Now, it has an Indianapolis address.
According to the history of St. John’s, that congregation constructed a new school building in 1919 while Theobald was on their faculty. These days, this is what the campus of St. John’s Lutheran Church and School looks like.
I was having trouble finding Theobald in the 1920 census. Then, when I was looking for his future wife, Marie Wampner, in that year’s census, I found him. He was living in the Wampner household. Marie was 19 years old and Theobald was 25. It also indicates that Marie was a music teacher. Perhaps they taught at the same school.
I was not able to find an official document for this, but an Ancestry.com family history says that Theobald Wukasch married Marie Wampner on November 28, 1923. Let’s take a look at Marie’s early years. She was born on July 15, 1900. A family history says that she and her younger sister, Esther, were adopted by George and Anna (Hartman) Wampner. I am able to show you photos of Marie’s parents.
A photograph of Marie and Esther was taken when they were quite young. Perhaps this photo was taken when these two were adopted. Marie must have had a good hold on Esther as she sat on a chair that was atop another chair.
Marie can be found in the 1910 census for Marion County, Indiana. It says her father was a brick mason.
If the photo of Marie below was a confirmation picture, it must have been taken around 1914.
I have already displayed the 1920 census including both Marie and Theobald. When these two were married, Marie had this photo taken. Unfortunately, I do not have Theobald included in a wedding photo. It’s a typical Roaring Twenties wedding dress.
When the 1930 census came around, Theobald and Marie were living in the Chicago area where Theo was a teacher. By then, they had all three of their children…two boys and a girl. The youngest, named Ruth, could be found on the next page of the census which I chose not to display.
We have this photo of Theobald’s 1936 class at St. John’s in Indianapolis. He had moved back to the school at which he previously taught.
There are two Wampner’s in the class, one which is spelled Woempner. Also Pastor Wambsganss has his son, Theodore, in this class.
I have included the Wukasch and the Wambsganss households in this entry from the 1940 census.
This is another census record showing what would become a married couple later. Ruth Wukasch would marry Theodore Wambsganss in 1949.
Marie Wukasch died in 1959 at the age of 59. We have her Indiana death certificate.
Teacher Wukasch was a widower for a few years, but then in 1962, he married Mildred Kritsch. She was 52 years old and had never been married. Mildred was born on September 11, 1909, the daughter of Frank and Anna (Rugenstein) Kritsch.
Theobald Wukasch died in 1981 at the age of 87. We also have his Indiana death certificate.
Theobald and his first wife, Marie, are buried together in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Indianapolis.
I am going to include a gallery of photos which include members of the Wukasch family.
The Indianapolis metropolitan area was blessed with several Lutheran teachers who had their roots in East Perry County. They carried the surnames, Wukasch, Mueller, and Nennert. Each of these men had interests and talents in sports and music. I was very happy to find the many photographs that accompanied this Wukasch and Wampner story.
One more confession. My curiosity was piqued by the surname, Wampner. Could this be some relative of the fairly famous Judge Wampner of TV fame? It did not take me long to discover that the judge was the son of Jewish parents, so that takes care of my curiosity.
I did my student teaching at Calvary Lutheran School in Indianapolis back in 1971. Because of its notoriety as the home of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, I got the opportunity to visit the famous landmark where that race takes place and take a trip around that track. Now that I have completed this post, I plan to spend some of my afternoon watching cars make left turns around another famous racetrack in Daytona, Florida.