The Kramer’s – A Breeding Ground for Church Workers

The posts on this blog this week have spent a lot of time at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. We end up there again today to tell the story of a couple that was married on this day 130 years ago. Since we discussed a woman by the name of Clara Burfeind just a few days ago, let’s start by looking at the bride in today’s story because she is Clara’s younger sister, Matilda Burfeind.

Maria Matilda Burfeind was born on August 13, 1866, the daughter of Herman and Elizabeth (Schuessler) Burfeind. Matilda was the second child of 9 in her family. She was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. Her baptism record is displayed below.

Matilda Burfeind baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Matilda is seen in her first census in 1870 at the age of 4. Her father was a farmer from Hanover.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1880, Matilda was a teenager. You can see that most of the children in this family were girls. In fact, the youngest child in this list, Frida, who is called a 1 year-old son, was actually another daughter.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Now, we need to take a look at Matilda’s future husband. His name was Gottlob Theodore Johannes Kramer, who was born on May 30, 1865. He was the firstborn child of Johann and Magdalena (Bergt) Kramer. He was also baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. The record for Theodore’s baptism found in that congregation’s books is shown here.

Theodore Kramer baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Theodore is found in his first census in 1870 at the age of 5. His father was a farmer. Living in their household was 16 year-old, Martin Poppitz, who was the half-brother of yesterday’s character, Pauline Poppitz.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In the 1880 census, Theodore was a teenager and working on his father’s farm.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

On today’s date, November 19th, in 1891, Theodore Kramer married Matilda Burfeind at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. We can take a look at the church record for this occasion.

Kramer/Burfeind marriage record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

The marriage license for this couple can also be viewed.

Kramer/Burfeind marriage license

Our German Family Tree lists 9 children born to this couple. One of them was stillborn. When the 1900 census was taken, we find the Kramer family with 4 sons.

1900 census – Union Township, MO

I figure it must have been around 1904 when the photo below was taken. It shows the 6 boys born into this family. In 1904 and 1908, the only two girls to live to adulthood were born. The youngest boy in this photo was born in 1902.

Kramer boys

The 1910 census shows the following Kramer household. All 8 children are included in this entry.

1910 census – Union Township, MO

I figure that sometime between the 1910 and 1920 censuses, a photo was taken of the Theodore Kramer family. I find this to be an amazing photograph.

Theodore Kramer family

In today’s terminology, you could say that this image was photoshopped. It’s done so well, that many do not notice until it is pointed out to them that Alfred Kramer, the second from the left in the back row, was not present for this photo but his image was added later. Knowing that, one has to think that when this photo was taken in a studio, it was planned ahead of time to add Alfred to the photo later. They had to have left a space for him to be added. I wonder if this photograph was taken at the Paul Lueders studio which was located in Frohna.

An article published in the Perry County Republican in 1916 can give a possible explanation for Alfred’s absence. In that year, Alfred was ordained as a pastor and was about to depart for Argentina where he would be a missionary. You may have to click on the below images to read the entire article.

Rev. Adolph Vogel, who was the pastor at Trinity, Altenburg, preached the sermon for Alfred’s ordination. Rev. Vogel had also been a missionary in Brazil in South America. This article gives some amazing statistics about Lutheran pastors and teachers that had come from this congregation in Frohna. As it turned out, of the 6 Kramer boys shown in the previous photo, 5 of them became full-time church workers, and one of the Kramer daughters married a missionary.

When the 1920 census was taken, we find the following Kramer household. One son and the two daughters remained.

1920 census – Union Township, MO

Next, we find the Kramer’s in the 1930 census. Theodore and Matilda now had an empty nest, and they were living in the Brazeau Township. I think they moved closer to Frohna, possibly in the village of Frohna. Theodore was doing odd jobs.

1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Theodore and Matilda had these individual photographs taken at some time in their lives.

The last census in which we find Theodore and Matilda was the one taken in 1940. Theodore, at the age of 74, no longer had an occupation.

1940 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Matilda Kramer died during the year of the above census, 1940. Her death certificate indicates that she was 73 years old at the time of her death.

Matilda Kramer death certificate

An obituary for Matilda appeared in the Perry County Republican.

Matilda Kramer obituary

Theodore Kramer died in 1948 at the age of 83. His death certificate says he died “near Frohna”.

Theodore Kramer death certificate

Theodore and Matilda Kramer were both buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.

This Kramer pair ended up providing the Lutheran church with plenty of church workers. To add to the list, I know of other examples of Lutheran pastors, teachers, and missionaries with the surnames of Burfeind, Bergt, and Schuessler in the past history of our synod. As I have said in the past, the list of Perry County natives who have become full-time Lutheran church workers is a pretty long list. If you include women who became the spouses of full-time church workers, the list gets even longer.

One thought on “The Kramer’s – A Breeding Ground for Church Workers

  1. Hi Steve,

    I am forwarding today’s issue of the Perry County news articles. There is nothing new to us in the text or most of the pictures. But I don’t ever remember seeing these individual photos of Theodore and Matilda. The picture of Matilda is quite youthful, probably before she was married. Theodore looks quite a bit older than 23 or 24, the age at which he married. It’s interesting that he would have an individual picture taken when he was at least in his 30’s or 40’s.

    Can you make adequate copies off these photos? If not, I will ask Warren Schmidt how we can get better copies.





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