Road Trip to Jacob, Illinois

This past Sunday, Gerard Fiehler and I made a road trip to Jacob, Illinois where we attended worship at Christ Lutheran Church and spoke at a Heins family reunion. Take a look at this map below. The red arrow points to the location of the church and the reunion.

Christ Lutheran, Jacob, Illinois map

If you look at the scale of miles in the lower right hand corner, you may be able to discern that the distance as the crow flies from Altenburg to the church in Jacob is less than 10 miles. However, because my car had no wings to get us across the Mississippi River, it took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get there.

This post will not follow the usual script. Although I will later discuss a matter of family research, I will spend time describing our day across the river. Let’s start with the place of worship. The present church sanctuary for Christ Lutheran Church was built in 1906. The date of its dedication is seen above the church door.

Christ Lutheran Church – Jacob, IL

This is a beautiful church on the outside and the inside. Let me show you a few photos from the inside. You can click on these images to have them enlarged.

One characteristic of the interior of this church has similarities to our church in Altenburg. On the walls on each side of the altar, you will find paintings illustrating Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. I love it when you can see evidence of Word and Sacraments inside a church.

That congregation actually started in the 1870’s, and their first church was located near their cemetery, which is indicated by the yellow arrow on the map shown earlier. In a post a few days ago, it was said that John Oetjen sold a piece of his land to the congregation and the above church was built on it. A school was also built there and existed for 145 years. This past year that school had to close. A photo of that school building is shown below.

Christ Lutheran School – Jacob, IL

Until this year, this congregation has also hosted an annual meal called Wurstmart. I find it amazing that this congregation located in such a sparsely populated area would attract over 1000 people to eat their homemade pork sausage with the trimmings. A photo showing some buildings used to make this event possible is displayed below. Another structure located next to this church is one which not too many Lutheran churches have. It is a bandstand. It is no longer used in that capacity and has been reutilized now, but perhaps you can imagine how it once looked.

I found this photo of a what is called the Neunert Silver Band from back in the day.

Later, another photo was taken of the Jacob band under the direction of Teacher Harnagel.

During the time between the church service and the reunion which took place in the school’s gymnasium, Gerard and I did a little exploring. We decided to head toward the cemetery. On the way, we passed a business that has been in this community for a lot of years. It is now called the Bottoms Up, known for its good food and adult beverages. We found out later that the meal for the reunion was prepared by the folks at Bottoms Up.

The above business is located not far from an intersection of two roads. A road sign found there displays the names of two of the little villages that exist in this area…Jacob and Neunert. Also, when we arrived at the cemetery, we had to turn onto another interesting road…Brunkhorst Road.

That brought us to the entrance to the Christ Lutheran Cemetery, where their original church also once stood.

Christ Lutheran Cemetery – Jacob, IL

We wanted to find out how many gravesites in the cemetery had names that we are familiar with in East Perry County. As it turned out, it was harder to find surnames that were NOT ones also found in the cemeteries around here. I will display a number of photos I took in the cemetery.

After visiting the cemetery, we headed toward the town of Jacob. The photos below show some sights we saw there, including the Fountain Bluff Township Hall and their Post Office.

I must add here that Gerard and I were requested by our friend, Sally Gustin, who has been a guest blogger on this site, to find her ancestral home once owned by an Estel which is found right on the outskirts of Jacob. Sadly, this house is in a state of disrepair.

I did not get any photos of Gerard and me giving our presentation to the family reunion, but I did get a few of the Heins family gathering.

Now, I want to take a little bit of time to look at a question that I asked the folks at the Heins reunion about the patriarch of their family, Lueder (Leo) Heins. When was he born? The confirmation record for Luers Heinsen is pictured below. It states that he was born on January 23, 1842.

Lueder Heins confirmation record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

I located a baptism record found in Germany that I think is that of Lueders Heinsen. It supports the January 23, 1842 birth date for him.

Lueder Heinsen baptism record – Germany

However, when Lueder Heinsen, who later took the name Leo Heins, died, his death record in the books of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob says he was born on January 13, 1841. That is a different day and year for his birth.

Leo Heins death record – Christ, Jacob, IL

To match that birth date, his gravestone also gives the date of birth as January 13, 1841.

Leo Hines gravestone – Christ, Jacob, IL

To add to this confusion, Leo’s last will and testament gives yet another date of birth, January 31, 1841.

Leo Heins last will and testament

After Gerard and I finished with our presentation, one of the participants showed us yet another document. It was a copy of Leo’s confirmation certificate from 1856. I will show it to you here.

Lueders Heinsen confirmation certificate – 1856

Next, I will show an enlarged portion that includes the birth date for him.

Believe it or not, this document looks like it originally had the date of January 23, 1842, but later that date was crossed out and replaced with January 13, 1841.

I don’t know about you, but I have not come to a conclusion that answers the question, “When was he born?” Have you?

5 thoughts on “Road Trip to Jacob, Illinois

  1. Warren…. Thank you for the wonderful presentation you and Gerard provided at our Heins Family Reunion on Sunday afternoon. You truly brought to life the history of the local community in which I was born and raised, and where my mother’s family originated and later settled in the Jacob, Neunert, and Gorham areas. The photos you took during your excursion through the River Bottoms added an extra special touch which triggered many wonderful memories for me.
    I look forward to visiting the Museum in the near future and following your many posts regarding the history of many of the families dear to my heart throughout my entire life. Thanks again for contributing your time and great knowledge to enhance our reunion with such historical information!
    ~ Robert Frischkorn
    Jackson, Mississippi


  2. Really enjoyed the post, especially the photos inside their church – such pride in preserving their worship place. I often visited Fountain Bluff while a grad student at SIU; just sorry to have missed Jacob IL.


  3. My mother. Mildred Wichern Kranawetter grew up on the Missouri bluff overlooking Mississippi River and the Jacob bottoms. Dad dated her by boat in the early forties. Their trip was probably shorter in time then yours today!! Thanks for providing so many families with historical information !!


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