The story I will relate today will demonstrate several documents that are much different than you usually see in the posts I write. That is because the main characters in this story spent much of their lives living outside the United States. I have written several stories on this blog about men who served their church in foreign countries like China, India, and Brazil. This is another one of those tales.
Gustav Ottomar Kramer was born on October 5, 1895, making today his 126th birthday. Gustav was the son of Theodore and Mathilda (Burfeind) Kramer. He was the 3rd child of 9 born into this family. Gustav, as well as all of the children in his family, was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. His baptism record is pictured here.
Gustav is found in his first census in 1900. He was 5 years old at the time. His name is the one that is shown as a different color in this entry that is rather difficult to read.
Next, we find Gustav as a teenager in the 1910 census. Gustav had been confirmed the year before. Of the children listed here, you see that the 6 oldest children were boys followed by two girls.
Gustav Kramer is included in a photo of the Theodore Kramer family. Gustav is standing in the back on the far left.
Gustav Kramer had his World War I draft registration completed in 1917 or 1918. This form says that he was a student of theology for the Lutheran church. In other words, he was a student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
An article in the Perry County Republican in June of 1919 gives an idea of Gustav’s future. As you can see, Gustav would be heading to Argentina, but he was not the first Kramer boy to do that.
In July of 1919, Gustav applied for a passport, and that form says that he intended to travel to Argentina. What is interesting is that he states on this form that his wife, Gertrude Miller Kramer, was going with him. At this point in time, Gustav had not yet gotten married. That marriage took place a few months later. I am displaying this passport application in two images showing the pertinent information.
Let’s take a look at Gustav’s wife. Gertrude Miller was born on November 20, 1898, the daughter of Henry and Mary (Bangert) Miller. She was born in or near Kimmswick, Missouri. Gertrude is found as a youngster in the 1900 census. Her father was a farmer.
Gertrude’s father died a year after the above census was taken, so we do not see him in the 1910 census. In that entry, Gertrude was 11 years old.
Gustav Kramer married Gertrude Miller. I found a marriage date of October 1, 1919 for this couple in the Kramer family binder that we have in our research library, but I did not find any documentation for it. An early photograph was taken of Gustav and Gertrude. I have no idea where it was taken. Could it have been a wedding photo?
A birth record from Argentina documents the birth of Robert Kramer in 1920. This form says Gustav was a minister in Guatrache, Pampa Central, Argentina.
The city of Guatrache can be see on the map below.
It appears that Gustav and Gertrude had six children born in Guatrache. I found evidence that Gustav was back in the United States in 1932. An article in the Jefferson County Republican says he represented other Argentinian missionaries at a convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Gustav and Gertrude are found on a passenger list for the ship, Uruguay, that arrived in New York in 1948. the address given for them indicates they were headed toward Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
One year later, we see just Gustav and Gertrude on a passenger list for the same ship that was headed back to Argentina. I displayed it in two images so you can see what information is found in the columns. This form indicates this couple intended to remain in that country for 9 years.
Nine years later, in 1958, this couple returned to the USA aboard the ship, Argentina. Two daughters accompanied them.
That year, 1958, was an interesting year. First of all, it was the year that Rev. Kramer would become the pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. We see his name on this partial list of pastors who served at that congregation.
The church books for that congregation include this entry in 1958 about Rev. Kramer’s call.
That year was also the centennial anniversary for Salem, Farrar, and Rev. Kramer was on the anniversary committee.
In the history of that congregation that was produced that year, it says Rev. Kramer put together the portion of that history for 1934-1958.
Pastor Kramer is also seen pictured with the church council for that congregation at that time.
We also see Rev. Kramer picture with the staff of that church and school.
I will also note that Leo Fastenau, who is shown above as the principal, also married Esther Kramer, Gustav and Gertrude’s daughter. Teacher Fastenau would also later teach at Concordia/Trinity Lutheran School in Altenburg/Frohna from 1960-1966.
The German Family Tree also includes this note concerning Rev. Kramer’s service.
[FriedenbergMO]: Rev Gustav O Kramer, Was interim pastor from Apr 1973 to 1980, He was released, effective 31 Jan 1980, due to deteriorating health & his doctor’s recommendations;
Rev. Gustav Kramer died in 1981 at the age of 85; Gertrude Kramer died in 1996 at the age of 97. These two are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.
In closing, let me point out that two other previous posts have been written about missionaries from this Kramer family. They can be found by clicking on the links below: