Martin or Martha

The starting point for today’s story is a wedding that took place on this day in 1894. This may not seem significant, but today is the first day of a new church liturgical year. It is also the beginning of the season of Advent. Things have changed over the years, but the liturgical color for Advent is now considered blue by most churches that care about liturgical colors, and the emphasis during Advent is preparing for the coming of Christ. Many of you will remember that the liturgical color for Advent was purple in years gone by, and Advent once had an emphasis on penitence, along with the season of Lent, which was also designated with the color of purple. I have commented in several previous blog posts that there was a time when weddings in Lutheran churches were not performed during these penitential seasons. Having said that, let me point out that the season of Advent began on December 2nd in 1894, so I think it may have been possible that the marriage I will discuss today took place on November 28th in order to get it done before Advent started.

Let’s begin with the groom. Martin Joseph Hollmann was born on August 13, 1870, the son of Friedrich and Anna (Rathjen) Hollmann. The church history of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois shown below explains why Martin was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Missouri, even though his family was going to live across the river in Illinois.

Christ Lutheran Church, Jacob, Illinois history

Martin’s baptism record from Trinity’s church books is pictured below.

Martin Hollmann baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Martin was born too late in 1870 to make it into the census taken that year, so the first census in which we find him is the one taken in 1880. His family was living in the Fountain Bluff Township in Jackson County, Illinois. Martin’s father was a farmer. This entry had me flummoxed for a short time because it included all the right names for the Hollmann family, but Martin, who would have been 10 years old in 1880, was not listed. Instead, there was a 10 year-old daughter named Martha Hollmann on the list.

1880 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

I eventually concluded that this must have been a census taker’s error. Martha had to be Martin. This is not the first time I have seen such an incorrect census entry giving the wrong gender for a child. I must admit, that, after writing many posts about a Martin marrying a Martha, I couldn’t resist another title mentioning those two names, even if it only had to do with a census taker’s mistake.

Next, let’s look at Martin’s future bride. Her name was Anna Louise Weis, who was born on January 29, 1874. Louise was the daughter of Gustav and Anna (Weseloh) Weis. She was baptized somewhere in St. Louis, so I cannot display a baptism record for her. At the age of 6, she shows up in her first census. Her family was living in St. Louis where her father was a brick layer.

1880 census – St. Louis, MO

Louise’s father died when she was rather young, and her mother remarried. Her second husband was Heinrich Luedemann, and that marriage took place in Jacob, Illinois. That explains how Louise managed to find Martin Hollmann.

As said before, Martin Hollmann married Louise Weis on November 28, 1894. That marriage took place at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. The church record for that event is shown here. It is one of Rev. Ph. S. Estel’s very thorough marriage records.

Hollmann/Weis marriage record – Christ, Jacob, IL

Our German Family Tree includes 5 children born to this couple and baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob. The first 3 were born before the 1900 census was taken. At that time in his life, Martin was a farmer.

1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, MO

The Christ Lutheran church records say that Martin and his family were released from church membership in 1904 when they moved to St. Louis. That is where we find the Hollmann family in the 1910 census. Martin was a laborer in a coal business. It appears that 2 more children had been born in St. Louis.

1910 census – St. Louis, MO

Next, we find the Hollman household in the 1920 census. This time, it says that Martin was the proprietor of a business that sold ice and coal. Many homes burned coal to run furnaces, and ice was used to preserve food in “ice boxes”.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

The 1930 census shows a similar situation. Not only did Martin have an occupation, but almost all the other household members were working also.

1930 census – St. Louis, MO

The last census to view is the one taken in 1940. At the age of 69, Martin has no occupation listed.

1940 census – St. Louis, MO

Martin Hollmann died in 1944 at the age of 72. His death certificate gives coal dealer as his usual occupation.

Martin Hollmann death certificate

Louise Hollmann died in 1954 at the age of 80. We can also take a look at her death certificate.

Louise Hollmann death certificate

Martin and Louise Hollmann are buried together in the Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis.

Martin and Louise Hollmann gravestone – Concordia, St. Louis, MO

The story of Martin and Louise is yet another one that tells the tale of folks who spent time as members of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois who would later move to St. Louis to raise their family in a bigger city.


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