Wittenberg Holschen’s

Whenever considering doing a story on Holschen’s, I automatically think that the story will focus on Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. I think almost all the local Holschen stories I have told have been ones in which the characters were born, baptized, and buried there. That will not be the case today, even though the Holschen character in today’s tale lived his entire life in East Perry County. I had to ask the question, “How did Holschen’s end up in the cemetery in Wittenberg?”

The story today begins in Uniontown. On February 8, 1894, the family of Heinrich and Ernstine (Proehl) Doberenz had their 6th child, a girl by the name of Juliane Paulina Doberenz. That makes today Juliane’s 127th birthday. She was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. I have displayed an image of her baptism record below.

Juliana Doberenz baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

There was one more child born into the Doberenz family after Juliane, but that child died right away. So, Juliane was basically the baby of that family. Juliane shows up in her first census in 1900 when she is shown to be 7 years old. Her father was a farmer.

1900 census – Union Township, MO

Next, we find Juliane in the 1910 census. There were only two Doberenz children remaining in this household, one of them being Juliane. She was 17 years old at the time.

1910 census – Union Township, MO

Not long before the next census was taken, Juliane got married, so let’s take a look at her future husband. This is where we enter the Holschen family. His name was Theodore Franz Holschen. Theodore was born on January 26, 1889, the son of Louis and Emilie (Thurm) Holschen. Theodore was the 11th of 11 children in this Holschen family, so, like his future wife, he was the baby of his family. Theodore was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. For some unknown reason, most of the Holschen children were baptized at Immanuel, Altenburg, but a few of them were baptized in Frohna, including Theodore. An image of his baptism record is displayed below.

Theodore Holschen baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

When the 1900 census was taken, we find Theodore at the age of 11. His father was a farmer.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Theodore’s father had died in 1907, so when the 1910 census rolled around, his mother was the head of the household. Two sons, Paul and Theodore, are found living with her.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

On June 22, 1919, Theodore Holschen married Juliane Doberenz at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. We can take a look at the marriage license for this couple.

Holschen/Doberenz marriage license

We can also view the church record for this wedding.

Holschen/Doberenz marriage record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

When the 1920 census was taken one year after their marriage, we find the following census entry. Theodore is listed as the head of the household, which included two laborers, Martin Kuntze and Albert Holschen. Martin was the son of Gustav and Maria (Pilz) Kuntze, who were members of Immanuel, Altenburg. Albert Holschen was Theodore’s nephew, the son of Carl and Emma (Lorenz) Holschen. Theodore’s mother, Emilie, was also living with them.

1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

At this point, let me say that the Holschen/Lorenz couple mentioned above is probably the first case of Holschen’s becoming members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg. They are included in that congregation’s list of membership in 1904, one year after that congregation was established. In that case, I think it was Emma (Lorenz) Holschen that was the moving force in getting that Holschen family to become members of that new church. I think their membership in Wittenberg will have an impact on Theodore and Juliane.

All indications are that this couple had no children of their own. However, that does not mean they did not raise any children. In 1927, a baptism record found at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg says a girl by the name of Anna May, an 8 year-old, was adopted by Theodore and Juliane.

Anna May Holschen baptism record – St. Paul’s, Wittenberg, MO

There seems to be several reasons the Holschen’s became members of St. Paul’s in Wittenberg. First, there was the fact that Theodore’s brother and his family were already members of that congregation. There was also the adoption of Anna May. St. Paul’s seemed to be a hot-spot for adoptions. It’s almost as if there was an adoption agency at work there. Finally, I think there’s a possibility that Juliane may have been more comfortable being part of a Missouri Synod congregation. Anna May shows up in the 1930 census.

1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

When the 1940 census was taken, we find another interesting situation. Not only was Anna May included in this entry, but another boy by the name of Alvin Schirmer, who is called a stepson (although I think this is incorrect), is included in their household.

1940 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Alvin Schirmer was the son of Joseph and Emma (Holschen) Schirmer of Pocahontas. Emma was a descendant of Theodore’s uncle. I believe that sometime in the 1930’s, Joseph and Emma got divorced and Emma remarried and moved out of town. Alvin needed a home, and it looks like Theodore and Juliane Holschen provided one for him. In 1940, we find this confirmation record for Alvin at St. Paul’s, Wittenberg.

Alvin Schirmer confirmation record – St. Paul’s, Wittenberg, MO

Theodore Holschen died in 1962 at the age of 73. His death certificate says he died at Perry County Memorial Hospital in Perryville.

Theodore Holschen death certificate

Juliane Holschen died in 1971 at the age of 77. She and her husband are buried at St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Wittenberg. Photos shown on Findagrave of their gravestones are rather unique. They have photographic images of Theodore and Juliane on them.

What’s even more interesting is the fact that Theodore’s mother, Emilie Holschen, has a gravestone in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg that also has such an image. Perhaps Theodore had something to do with having such a gravestone made.

Emilie Holschen gravestone

I realized that the only photos I have of Theodore and Juliane are the ones on their gravestones. So, yesterday, I went to the Wittenberg cemetery to get more close-up photos of the images on the gravestones. First, here is one for Juliane.

Juliane Holschen

However, when I got to Theodore’s gravestone, I found a surprise. His “photo” is now missing, as you can see in the image below.

Theodore Holschen gravestone – missing photo

Where is Theo???

Theodore and Juliane Holschen had no children of their own, but like several other such childless couples about which I have written on this blog, they ended up helping to raise children anyway.


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