Happy Birthday, Teacher Fiehler

Yesterday, I told the story of Charles Hoehn, who was born December 10, 1871 near Friedenberg. One day later, another baby boy was born on December 11th near Frohna. That newborn was named Heinrich Benjamin Fiehler. That means that Henry would not only be celebrating his birthday today if he was still alive, but he would be celebrating a special 150th birthday. Henry was the firstborn child of Benjamin and Bertha Fiehler. The story of Henry’s parents was told in the post, Ben and Bertha. Henry’s baptism record shown below is found in the books of Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna.

Henry Fiehler baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

The first census in which we find Henry was the one taken in 1880. It is also the only one in which we find him as a single person. He was 8 years old at the time, and his father was a farmer.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Even if we could view the 1890 census, we would likely not find him living in Perry County. Henry would become a Lutheran teacher, so we would probably find him living in Addison, Illinois where he would have been attending the Lutheran Teachers Seminary (later called Concordia University, Chicago). In the mid-1890’s, Henry would be found teaching in Edgerton, Wisconsin, which is also where he found his bride. Let’s take a look at her.

Martha Henrietta Arbetina Dallmann was born on Epiphany Day, January 6, 1876 in Pomerania, Germany. She was the daughter of Albert and Johanna (Schieldt) Dallmann. Her family did not arrive in America until after the 1880 census, so we do not find her in a census entry until after she was married. I did find a passenger list for the ship, German Empire, that included the Dallmann family. That ship arrived in this country in 1882. Martha was listed as being 5 years old at the time.

Dallmann family – German Empire passenger list 1882

Henry Fiehler married Martha Dallmann on January 9, 1896. A Wisconsin index of marriages documents this marriage. Although this transcription only included Henry’s name, there is another one that lists Martha that I chose not to show. Rock County is where Edgerton is located.

Fiehler/Dallmann marriage record – Rock County, WI

We may not have many marriage documents to view, but we can take a look at the wedding photo of Henry and Martha.

Henry and Martha Fiehler wedding

Seven children were born into this family, but two of them did not live to adulthood. The first 3 were born in Wisconsin. A Fiehler family binder that we have in our research library says that Henry taught in 3 different cities in Wisconsin, Edgerton, Columbus, and Milwaukee. When the 1900 census was taken, the Fiehler’s were living in Columbus, Wisconsin. There was one son in the family.

1900 census – Columbus, WI

According to our records, it was in 1906 that Henry Fiehler became a teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Altenburg. He would spend the rest of his career at that school. The 1910 census has this family back in Missouri living in the Brazeau Township. The first 2 children on this list were born in Wisconsin. A 3rd one was born there but died early.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

It must have been sometime around 1910 that the photo below was taken of Teacher Fiehler’s class. As a former teacher myself, it always amazes me that teachers back then had so many students at one time. This class seems to be dominated by boys also.

Teacher Fiehler’s class

I figure the photo of the Fiehler family shown below was taken around 1916. The youngest child in this photo was born in 1915. When this photo was taken, their oldest son was living in Nebraska, so he is not included.

Henry and Martha Fiehler family

Next, we find the Fiehler household in the 1920 census. Five children remained in the family at this time. Henry’s brother, Joseph, was living in the household as well.

1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The 1930 census shows a considerably smaller household.

1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Another one of Teacher Fiehler’s classes had their photo taken in 1928.

Teacher Fiehler’s class – 1928

The last census we can view is the one taken in 1940. Henry and Martha had an empty nest by that time.

1940 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Henry was a teacher at Trinity Lutheran School until 1942. It appears that Henry and Martha were in St. Louis with their single daughter, Esther, when Henry died in 1951. That is where Henry’s death certificate was filled out. Henry was 78 years old at the time of his death.

Henry Fiehler death certificate

Martha Fiehler died in 1961 at the age of 85. She died in Altenburg.

Martha Fiehler death certificate

Teacher Fiehler spent 36 years as the teacher at Trinity. During his time, he would also use his musical skills to teach piano lessons. Several years ago, the piano used by Teacher Fiehler to teach those lessons made its way back to our museum. One of Henry’s granddaughters, Delores Darnstadt, had possession of the piano and donated it to us. That piano is now located in the part of the museum that was once Teacher Fiehler’s classroom. It is pictured below. Right now it is surrounded by Christmas decorations.

Fiehler piano

Our museum’s development director, Carla Fiehler Grebing, and her brother, our museum archivist, Gerard Fiehler, would today be saying Happy 150th Birthday, Great Uncle Henry. He was the brother of their grandpa.


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