Herman, Bertha, and the Teacher Wunderlich’s

Herman and Bertha would be celebrating their 126th wedding anniversary today if they were still alive. You will be reading the story of their lives in this post. As I researched the lives of the two that made up this couple, I discovered that these two would have been celebrating not only their anniversary, but also each of their birthdays, during the same week. We will begin with Herman.

Herman Joseph Wunderlich was born on September 11, 1870, so I guess I could have written his story yesterday. Herman was the son of John and Mary (Bendel) Wunderlich. He was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. His baptism record is pictured here.

Herman Wunderlich baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

The only census in which we find Herman as a single person was the one taken in 1880. His family was living in the Shawnee Township. Herman was 10 years old at the time, and his father was a farmer.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Now, we will take a look at Herman’s future wife, Bertha Johanna Emilie Mirly. Bertha was born on September 17, 1875, the daughter of Matthias and Mary (Lehner) Mirly. Like Herman, Bertha was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. We can view an image of her baptism record from that congregation’s books.

Bertha Mirly baptism record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Like Herman, Bertha only appears in one census in which she was a single person. That one was taken in 1880. Bertha was 4 years old, and her father was a farmer.

1880 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Herman Wunderlich married Bertha Mirly on September 12, 1895. As you might suspect, this couple was married at Immanuel, New Wells. Here is an image of the marriage record from the Immanuel books.

Wunderlich/Mirly marriage record – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

The German Family Tree lists 5 children born to this couple, and 4 of them were boys. Three of these children were born before the 1900 census was taken.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Next, we find this family in the 1910 census. We see a daughter followed by the four sons.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The 1920 census shows the same group of children. Their daughter, Josephine, was called a nurse in a hospital.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The Wunderlich household is found in the 1930 census. We can see that they went from a full house in 1920 to an empty house in 1930.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Plat maps were produced for Cape Girardeau County in 1930. We find a parcel of land owned by H.J. Wunderlich not far from New Wells.

H.J. Wunderlich land map – 1930

Finally, we find the Wunderlich’s in the 1940 census. Once again, we see Herman and Bertha with an empty nest.

1940 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Herman Wunderlich died in 1943 at the age of 72. His death certificate indicates that he had cancer of the jaw, but that is not the main cause of death listed.

Herman Wunderlich death certificate

Herman Wunderlich was buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells.

Herman Wunderlich gravestone – Immanuel, New Wells, MO

Up until this point, I thought we were looking at another situation which had a couple that was born, baptized, confirmed, married, and buried at the same congregation. However, after Herman’s death, Bertha did not remain in New Wells. She can be found in a city directory for Decatur, Illinois in 1946. Her son, Fred, is also on this list. He was a teacher at St. John’s Lutheran School in Decatur.

Bertha Wunderlich – 1946 Decatur city directory

Then, not long after that, we find Bertha in a city directory for Norfolk, Nebraska in 1950.

Bertha Wunderlich – 1950 Norfolk city directory

Bertha Wunderlich died in 1953 at the age of 78. She was buried at the Prospect Hill Cemetery in Norfolk, Nebraska.

Bertha Wunderlich gravestone – Prospect Hill, Norfolk, NE

The places Bertha was found after her husband’s death can be explained by the fact that three of her sons became Lutheran school educators. I will demonstrate this fact by looking at military draft documents for each of them. First of all, two sons registered for the World War I draft in 1918. Here is the form for the oldest son, Eugene Wunderlich.

Eugene Wunderlich – WWI draft registration

Next, we can look at the form for Fred Wunderlich.

Fred Wunderlich – WWI draft registration

Both Eugene and Fred were students at Concordia College in Oak Park (River Forest), Illinois. I found evidence that Eugene became a Lutheran school principal in Compton, California. As seen before, Fred was a teacher in Decatur, Illinois for a while.

The youngest son, Marvin Wunderlich, filled out a World War II draft card in 1942. We see here that he was a teacher at Concordia Lutheran School in Frohna. He was a teacher there from 1930 to 1944. Later, we see him as a teacher at Concordia Trinity Lutheran School from 1947 to 1951. That was an association school made up by Concordia, Frohna and Trinity, Altenburg.

Marvin Wunderlich – WWII draft card

I was not able to find out all the places where these 3 Teacher Wunderlich’s served, but I am guessing that one of them was a teacher in Norfolk, Nebraska at one time. When Bertha was buried, someone made sure to say on her gravestone that she was “Mother”.

Since I have been writing posts on this blog, I have found several folks with the surname Wunderlich who have served as pastors or teachers in Lutheran churches and schools. This post adds three more Wundelich’s to that list.


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