Teacher Henry’s Son, Pastor Harry

In the history of Concordia Lutheran School in Frohna, we find an amazing duo of teachers. The two teachers both had names that started with a “W”. Between the two of them, they put in 101 years of service to that congregation and school. During many of those years, the faculty of Concordia consisted of that pair…Matthias Wukasch and Henry Welp. Their years of service are displayed in the image below.

It looks like, after Teacher Wukasch was at that school for 10 years, the congregation decided they needed a second teacher, and that was when Teacher Welp showed up on the scene. During his tenure in Frohna, Teacher Welp and his wife, Regina (Twenhafel) Welp had 9 children, all baptized at that congregation. That couple had gotten married right before they arrived in Perry County in 1883. Today, you will hear the story of child # 7 in that family. In several ways, this baby boy was a case of an apple that didn’t fall far from the tree. Here is a photo of Teacher Welp and his wife, Regina.

Henry and Regina Welp

Harry Carl Welp was born on August 12, 1897, so today would have been his 124th birthday. The baptism record for Harry found in the Concordia books is shown here.

Harry Welp baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

At the age of 2, Harry is found in the 1900 census for the Brazeau Township. As you can see, Harry had plenty of siblings, and all of them listed were girls. He had an older brother, Albert Welp, who was attending the Lutheran Teachers Seminary in Addison, Illinios in 1900. Harry had one other brother, Erich Welp, who was born in 1902. The other 6 children in the Welp family were girls.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

A photo taken in 1907 of the Welp family on the occasion of Rosa Welp’s wedding is displayed below. Rosa was one of Harry’s older sisters. Harry, at age 10, is the young boy standing in front to the left. This photo was taken in front of the August Lueders home in Frohna, which means it was probably taken by August’s son, Paul Lueders, who became a well-known photographer in this area.

Henry Welp family – 1907

Next, we find Harry in the 1910 census at the age of 12. A year after this census, Harry was confirmed at Concordia.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Harry had his World War I draft registration completed in 1918. Harry’s address is given as Frohna, Missouri, but he is also called a divinity student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.

Harry Welp – WWI draft registration

I was unable to find Harry in a 1920 census. I know he was not living with his parents in Frohna anymore. So, now we have to turn our attention to the future bride for Harry. Her name was Alma Rafert, who was born on September 2, 1900 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Alma was the daughter of Albert and Elizabeth (Otto) Rafert. Here are photos of Alma’s parents.

Alma is found in the 1910 census living in Indianapolis at the age of 9. Her father had died in 1908, so her mother was the head of the household.

1910 census – Indianapolis, IN

Next, we find Alma in the 1920 census at the age of 19. She is called an auditing clerk for a dry goods company.

1920 census – Indianapolis, IN

I am thinking that the two photos shown below were taken before these two got married.

On October 12, 1921, Harry Welp married Alma Rafert in Marion County, Indiana, where Indianapolis is located.

Welp/Rafert marriage record – Marion County, IN

A wedding photo can be shown of Harry and Alma’s marriage that includes a few others who were in the wedding party. The other young man in the photo was Erich Welp, Harry’s younger brother.

Harry and Alma Welp wedding

I am not sure exactly when Harry was ordained as a Lutheran pastor, but not long after his marriage, he became the pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Campbell Hill, Illinois. The first child born to this couple was born in 1922 in Illinois. I put Campbell Hill into a map program on my phone, and it told me that Campbell Hill is a mere 50 miles away from Altenburg. It is found near Steelville, Illinois. The church sanctuary for that congregation is shown below.

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church – Campbell HIll, IL

When the 1930 census was taken, we find this household which included two children.

1930 census – Campbell Hill, IL

I have to display the 1940 census in two images because it spills over 2 census pages. This entry shows 5 children. All but one of them are girls.

1940 census – Campbell Hill, IL

In 1942, Harry Welp had his World War II draft card completed.

Harry Welp – WWII draft card

The photo below shows Rev. Harry Welp standing in front of the altar inside St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Campbell Hill.

Rev. Harry Welp

Another photo of Pastor Welp was taken later during his life.

Rev. Harry Welp

An article published in a Carbondale newspaper in 1970 says Harry served 46 years at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. He also served as president of the Southern Illinois District of the LCMS for about 10 years. It looks like Harry followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a full-time Lutheran church worker who served his entire career at one congregation.

Rev. Harry Welp newspaper article – 1970

Both Harry and Alma Welp lived into their 90’s, each dying in the 1990’s. It appears that later in their lives, these two moved to Altamont, Illinois. Harry died in 1992 at the age of 94; Alma died in 1996 at the age of 95. These two are buried together in the Arborcrest Cemetery in Altamont.

Harry and Alma Welp gravestone – Arborcrest, Altamont, IL

Take another look at an expanded list of teachers who have served at Concordia, Frohna in past years. I have highlighted the ones whose surnames begin with a “W”. It is an impressive list.

Teachers at Concordia, Frohna over the years

Concordia, Frohna is now part of an association of three schools, along with Trinity, Altenburg and Salem, Farrar. That school is called United in Christ Lutheran School (UCLS). This Sunday, UCLS will have their new teacher installed at Concordia. Her name (drum roll)….is Dorothy Weincke. The “W” tradition continues.

2 thoughts on “Teacher Henry’s Son, Pastor Harry

  1. Rev Harry Welp was my pastor at Campbell Hill and was the reason I became a pastor. I also attended St Paul’s High School and College. After graduating from Concordia Seminary in St Louis, I was placed in a congregation in Alberta Canada. This year is the 50th anniversary of my ordination—my whole ministry spent in Canada. I thank God for Rev Welp who encouraged me to study for the ministry.


  2. To the author, I would like to hear from you regarding the source of your information, especially the photographs. Rev. Harry and Alma (geb. Rafert) Welp are my maternal grandparents. btw..My grandfather served St. Peters for 48 years, not 46. Thank you, Joel Russell


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