Mrs. Joseph Schulz – Pastor’s Wife

How does a young girl living in Uniontown, Missouri, the daughter of a farmer, manage to get to know a pastor who was attending the seminary in Springfield, Illinois, or serving a church near Springfield, Missouri, or, even worse, serving as a pastor in Ogalalla, Nebraska. She got to know such a pastor well enough that she becomes his wife? I have no clue how they were introduced to each other. My best guess is that it had something to do with pastors, not farmers. Perhaps the pastor at her church or other pastors who grew up in her church played matchmaker somehow.

The story I will tell today begins with the birth of a baby boy in the state of New York. Wilhelm Joseph Schulz was born on June 27, 1873, the son of Wilhelm and Caroline (Goerss) Schulz. I will be using several items of information today that is contained in a family history on I am often skeptical of getting information from family histories unless they are backed up by legitimate documents. However, the one I will be using today seems very reliable. It’s just a gut feeling. That source says that Joseph Schulz was born in Johnsburg, New York. That town is located in the northern portion of that state.

When the 1880 census was taken, we find Joseph’s family living in the Wheatfield Township in Niagara County, New York. Joseph was 6 years old, and his father was a farmer.

1880 census – Wheatfield Township, NY

Joseph would go on to study for the ministry at Concordia Seminary in Springfield, Illinois. He graduated in 1899, and in the 1900 census, we find him serving as a Lutheran pastor in Webster County, Missouri, which is not far from Springfield, Missouri. He was 26 years old and still single. I am thinking that he was the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in the little town of Diggins.

1900 census – East Dallas Township, Webster County, MO

Rev. Joseph Schulz would get married in 1903, so let’s take a look at the woman that would become his wife. Her name was Emilie Anna Hopfer, who was born on August 28, 1880. Emilie was the 7th child of Gotthold and Amalie (Kasten) Hopfer and baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, Missouri. Below is an image of the baptism record from that congregation’s books.

Emilie Hopfer baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Emilie did not make it into the 1880 census. If she had been in it, she would have been found with her family’s entry in the long-lost pages from Union Township. So, the first census we can view with her included is the one taken in 1900. By then, she is shown to be 19 years old. That entry looks as bad as the Salem Township records for that year. Emilie’s father had died in 1893, so her mother is listed as the head of the household.

1900 census – Union Township, MO

Rev. Joseph Schulz married Emilie Hopfer on October 1, 1903 at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. The church record for this wedding says Joseph was a pastor in Ogallala, Nebraska.

Schulz/Hopfer marriage record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

We can also view this couple’s marriage license.

Schulz/Hopfer marriage license

By the time the 1910 census was taken, the Schulz’s were living in the Columbia Township in Knox County, Nebraska. By then, this couple had 3 children. The family history I’m using on Ancestry says they had 13 children all together, and only one died in infancy.

1910 census – Columbia Township, NE

The church at which Rev. Schulz served was Golgotha Lutheran Church in Wausa, Nebraska. The photo below shows a church building for this congregation that was dedicated in 1900, not long before Rev. Schulz started serving there.

Golgotha Lutheran Church, Wausa, NE

The photo below shows what their church looks like now.

Golgotha Lutheran Church – Wausa, NE

We have this photo of Rev. Joseph Schulz.

Rev. Joseph Schulz

I paged all the way through the 1920 census for Columbia Township and did not find the Schulz family, although it is almost certain that they lived there. In 1926, when Rev. Schulz was just 53 years old, he retired from the ministry because of poor health. That family moved back to Joseph’s former stomping grounds in Niagara County, New York. We find them in the 1930 census living in Lewiston, New York, which is quite near Niagara Falls. Joseph was called a truck farmer.

1930 census – Lewiston, NY

In the 1940 census, it displays that Joseph no longer had an occupation at the age of 66.

1940 census – Lewiston, NY

Sometime later in their lives, this photo was taken of Joseph and Emilie Schulz.

Joseph and Emilie Schulz

Emilie Schulz died in 1941 at the age of 60; Joseph Schulz died in 1948 at the age of 75. These two were buried together in the St. Andrew Lutheran Cemetery in Sanborn, New York.

Joseph and Emily Schulz gravestone – St. Andrew’s, Sanborn, NY

I would love to hear from our readers. If any one either knows how Joseph and Emilie were introduced to each other, or if you have another theory about how it may have happened, I would love to hear about it.

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