Hometown Preacher

Yesterday, I wrote about a native from East Perry County who went off to school to learn a profession only to return back to his home to serve that community.  I have a similar story today.  This time it is not a doctor, but a preacher.  This story has its differences.  One big one is that the young man who returned to Perry County to preach did not stay here for his whole career like Dr. Fischer did.  He went on from here to serve elsewhere.

Friedrich Ludwig Mahnken was born on April 6, 1892, so he is today’s birthday boy.  I will refer to him as Fred.  He was the son of Johann and Maria (Heitmann) Mahnken.  A rather interesting story was published on this blog a while back about Fred’s parents.  I did not write that post.  In a way, it was written by two other people.  It was a story sent to us by Hartmut Mensendiek who lives in Germany, and it came to us written in German.  Fred Eggers then took that German text and translated it so it could be read in English.  That post was titled, From Jeersdorf to Missouri.  As the title indicates, this branch of the Mahnken family came from the town of Jeersdorf in the Scheeβel region of Germany.

Fred was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar, Missouri.  Here is an image of his baptism record from that church.

Fred Mahnken baptism record Salem Farrar MO
Fred Mahnken baptism record – Salem, Farrar, MO

Before I get too far into this story, let me mention that I had to be careful with Fred’s history because there was a Friedrich Wilhelm Mahnken, who was born in 1886 in Farrar.  What makes this even more confusing is the fact that both of these Mahnken boys had a father named Johann and a mother named Maria.

Fred is found in the 1900 census for Salem Township that is often so difficult to read.  I have to show it in two images.  One page is easier to read than the other.  Fred was 8 years old.

Frederick Mahnken 1900 census 1 Farrar MO

Frederick Mahnken 1900 census 2 Farrar MO
1900 census – Salem Township, MO

Fred was confirmed at that same church two days after his 14th birthday on April 8, 1906.  Below is his confirmation record.

Fred Mahnken confirmation record Salem Farrar MO
Fred Mahnken confirmation record – Salem, Farrar, MO

We also have his confirmation photograph.  It is the only photo of Fred that I could locate, and even so, there is some debate as to whether this may be a photo of the other Fred Mahnken.  I also found this photo being used on Ancestry.com for Friedrich W. Mahnken.  Fred (either one) was confirmed at that time when it was fashionable to have a suit coat that was buttoned only at the top.

Fred Mahnken
Fred Manhken confirmaton

Next, we find Fred in the Mahnken household in the 1910 census.

Frederick L Mahnken 1910 census Farrar MO
1910 census – Salem Township, MO

Not long after the above census, Fred must have gone to school to prepare to become a Lutheran minister.  We find him in a city directory for St. Louis in 1916 where he listed as a student at Concordia Seminary.

Fred Mahnken 1916 St. Louis city directory
Fred Mahnken – 1916 St. Louis city directory

At the time when Fred attended the seminary, it was still located in the neighborhood near Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Concordia Publishing House.  The seminary looked like this back in those days.

Concordia Seminary – 1875

A few important events happened in 1916.  On July 30, 1916, Fred Mahnken married Alwine Eckert.  Alwine was the daughter of Herman and Regina (Schneider) Eckert of Lenzburg, Illinois which is located in St. Clair County.  She was born on May 16, 1894.  The first census in which we find Alwine is the 1900 census where she was 6 years old.  This census record is from Marissa, Illinois which is quite near the town of Lenzburg.

Alwine Eckert 1900 census Marissa IL
1900 census – Marissa, IL

We also find Alwine in a similar census entry in 1910.

Alwine Eckert 1910 census Marissa IL
1910 census – Marissa, IL

I think I know how Fred got to know this girl from Illinois.  Fred’s older sister, Anna Mahnken, had married Peter Eckert, Alwine’s older brother in 1913.  That couple had even moved to Perry County.  What I do not know is how Peter and Anna got to know each other.  Fred and Alwine were married in Illinois, and I do not have any sort of document for that wedding.

It must have also been the same year that Fred was married that he graduated.  We find Fred returning to Perry County for his first call.  He became the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Crosstown, Missouri.  Rev. J. Krueger was still the pastor of Salem, Farrar at that time.  He baptized and confirmed Fred, and now Fred has become the pastor at a neighboring church.  That must have been very gratifying for Pastor Krueger.

Rev. Fred Mahnken had this World War I draft registration completed in 1917 or 1918.


While serving the congregation in Crosstown, Fred and Alwine had two children who were baptized there.  This couple can still be found in the Salem Township in the 1920 census.

Frederick Mahnken 1920 census Farrar MO
1920 census – Salem Township, MO

Only one child is seen in the above census.  Another daughter was born during that year, but that would also be the last year for Rev. Mahnken to be at Zion Lutheran Church.  The next congregation he served was Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ferrin, Illinois.  Bethlehem was a church that was established in Ferrin in 1905.

A side note:  I found this excerpt from the history of Bethlehem Lutheran Church:

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Ferrin IL history excerpt

The pastor mentioned as preaching the sermon in German, Rev. Schoenleber, was the great grandfather of our pastor’s wife, Linda (Schoenleber) Dressler.

The photo below is an early one of Bethlehem’s church sanctuary in Ferrin.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Ferrin IL
Bethlehem Lutheran Church – Ferrin, IL

I also located a fairly recently photo of the interior of that church.  The altar, pulpit, and baptismal font look very similar to the ones we have in our museum that were once located in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg, Missouri.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Ferrin IL interior
Bethlehem Lutheran Church interior – Ferrin, IL

The Mahnken family can be found in the 1930 census for Meridian Township, in which Ferrin is located.  They had all four of their girls by then.

Frederick Mahnken 1930 census Farrar MO
1930 census – Meridian Township, IL

I was unable to find the Mahnken’s in the 1940 census, but they must still have been in Ferrin because two years later, when Fred had his World War II draft card filled out, they were still living in Ferrin.

Fred Mahnken – WWII draft card

I do not know if it was his next call, but I do know that Rev. Mahnken once again came to this area in 1952 to become the pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells.  He served there until 1958.  Since he would have been 66 years old in 1958, I think it might also have been where he retired from the ministry.

Rev. Fred Mahnken died in 1960 at the age of 67.  His death certificate says he died of prostate cancer.  He died at the Lutheran Hospital in St. Louis, but the form says he was living in Washington, Missouri.

Fred Mahnken death certificate
Fred Mahnken death certificate

Alwine Mahnken died in 1984 at the age of 89.  She and her husband are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Washington, Missouri.

Fred and Alwine Mahnken gravestone Immanuel Washington MO
Fred and Alwina Mahnken gravestone – Immanuel, Washington, MO

If I have calculated correctly, Rev. Fred Mahnken, born and raised in Perry County, began and ended his preaching career not far from his hometown.


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