Emanuel Hellwege had two wives during his lifetime, and he married the first one of them on this day back in 1908. I will attempt to share Emanuel’s life story with you today.
Emanuel Theodor Hellwege was born on December 28, 1885, the son of Henry and Mina (Rettig) Hellwege. There is a puzzle here. For some unknown reason, most of the baptism records for the children in this family give Rettig as the maiden name of the mother. However, for Emanuel and one other child, the church records give her maiden name as Meyr. Emanuel was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Here is his baptism record. You can see that the name Rettig appears to be added later.
Emanuel is found in the 1900 census at the age of 14. Already at that age, Emanuel was a farm laborer. He would be a farmer his entire life.
Let’s take a look at Emanuel’s first heartthrob. Her name was Eleonore Magdalene Weber, but she was called Nora. She was the daughter of Ernst and Anna (Popp) Weber. She was born on August 17, 1888 and baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Below is her baptism record.
We find Nora in the 1900 census at age 10 which is not correct. Her birth year is given as 1889, which is also incorrect.
On June 21, 1908, Emanuel Hellwege married Nora Weber at Trinity Lutheran Church. Today would have been their 112th anniversary. Here is the marriage license for this couple.
Let’s also take a look at the church record for this wedding.
The 1910 census shows this couple with their first child, Gilbert.
Another special event took place in the year 1910. Emanuel and Nora took in a young 7 year-old boy, Fred Schultz, as a foster child. Fred was baptized on October 9, 1910. Here is that baptism record.
We see this Hellwege household in the 1920 census. Fred is listed at the end of this entry which is out of the ordinary. He is called a son and the name Schultz does not appear.
This 1920 census was taken very early in the year and was submitted on January 19th. About two weeks later, Nora Hellwege died at the age of 31. Her death certificate says she died of influenza.
The 1920 census shows 5 children in Emanuel’s family when his wife died. That included a 5 month-old baby. It must have been a very difficult time for him.
The next chapter of Emanuel’s life must have had a fascinating story associated with it, but I do not know it. What I do know is that his second wife was a woman by the name of Sarah Guy. We do not have a church record for this wedding, so it must have taken place somewhere else. I also could not find a Missouri marriage license for this wedding, so it is somewhat likely that it took place in another state. It turns out that Sarah Guy was born and raised in Alabama. She was born on October 19, 1899, the daughter of Joe and Adelia Guy. I admit that I am giggling over the fact that Sarah’s dad…on Father’s Day…had a father named Joe Guy. By the way, Sarah (sometimes called Sadie) had a younger sister named Snow Guy. I think that would be a good name for Frosty the Snowman. Sarah Guy can be found in the 1900 census from Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.
We can find Sarah once again in the 1910 census for the same location.
We still find Sarah in Tuscaloosa County in the 1920 census.
I was almost done with this story when I talked with Gerard Fiehler. Gerard told me there always was a tale floating around town that Emanuel had a mail order bride. I guess that would explain how a farmer in Altenburg managed to find a Southern belle from Tuscaloosa, Alabama for his bride. The marriage also occurred at an opportune time when Emanuel needed a mother for a very young child. A later obituary for Sarah says the marriage took place on May 18, 1921. We find the Hellwege household in the 1930 census. The 8 year-old child, Wilma, was a daughter of Sarah Hellwege.
Next, we find this family in the 1940 census. Amazingly, after almost 18 years of no additional children, a son named Wilford Hellwege was born to Emanuel and Sarah right before this census was taken. Our German Family Tree says that Wilford’s nickname was Corky.
Sarah Hellwege died in 1966 at the age of 66. Here is her death certificate.
I was also able to locate an obituary for Sarah Hellwege that gives a few more details about her life. This obituary also refers to the foster child, Fred Schultz.
Emanuel Hellwege died in 1973 at the age of 87. He died too recently for us to view his death certificate. Emanuel and both of his wives are buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg. Nora has a separate gravestone, while Emanuel and Sarah are buried together.
There you have it. Emanuel’s two heartthrobs were quite the contrast. His first wife was a local gal, growing up in the same church with him. His second wife came from south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I wonder if she maintained her Southern accent throughout her life after moving to Altenburg.
After publishing this post, I realized that I forgot to include a photograph I had found which included Emanuel Hellwege. He is the man on the far left in this photo taken inside the original Johnny’s Place in Altenburg with several other local residents.