Happy 225th Birthday, Pastor Loeber

Rev. Gotthold Heinrich Loeber has been mentioned on this blog on many, many occasions. Several posts have been written about him and his family members. However, he will get special treatment today for one of those birthdays that deserves to be celebrated. Since Gotthold Heinrich Loeber was born on January 5, 1797, he would be celebrating his 225th birthday today. I simply cannot ignore that.

Gotthold Heinrich was the son of Gottwerth Heinrich and Johanna Christiane Henrietta (Stopfel) Loeber. (Actually, his surname was Löber, but I’m using the Americanized spelling today.) I am able to display a transposition of his baptism record from Germany.

Gotthold Heinrich Loeber baptism record – Eichenberg, Germany

It is reported by some that G.H. was born in Eichenberg, but he was baptized a few days later in Altenburg, Germany. There is an inscription on a plaque at his gravesite that says this.

Gotthold Heinrich Loeber – gravesite plaque

It is also said that Rev. Loeber named the town in Missouri where he served after the place of his baptism. There were no original immigrants from the city of Altenburg, Germany.

Rev. Loeber was also the great grandson of another German Lutheran who is listed in the Christian Cyclopedia that documents famous Lutherans with short biographies. His ancestor’s name was Christian Loeber, whose bio is shown below.

Rev. Christian Loeber – Christian Cyclopedia entry

We have a Loeber family binder in our research library, and it follows the Loeber family even farther back. The first Loeber documented in that binder is Adam Loeber, who was born sometime around 1490. For perspective, Martin Luther was born in 1483. Adam Loeber was a locksmith. If you look at other Loeber ancestors along the way, you will find several pastors, professors, lawyers, and civic leaders.

Gotthold Heinrich Loeber married Sophia Henrietta Wilhelmina Zahn on September 22, 1825. We can take a look at a transcription of their marriage record from Germany.

Loeber/Zahn marriage record – Eichenberg, Germany

There were 4 children born to this couple, all in Germany. Their first child was born in 1826. Here is an image of that daughter’s baptism record.

Anna Loeber baptism record – Eichenberg, Germany

That daughter did not live long. According to the Loeber family binder, Anna died in 1829, but I found this death record that says she died after just a matter of days.

Anna Loeber death record – Eichenberg, Germany

I can also display the baptism records of the 3 children that came to America with the Gesellschaft in 1839. First, here is the one for Christoph Heinrich Loeber.

Christoph Heinrich Loeber baptism record – Eichenberg, Germany

Next, we can take a look at the record for Martha Loeber.

Martha Loeber baptism record – Eichenberg, Germany

The baptism of the Loeber’s last child, Gotthilf Loeber, is pictured here.

Gotthilf Loeber baptism record – Eichenberg, Germany

The Loeber family traveled to America aboard the ship, Republik. In addition to the others was a sister of Gotthold Heinrich Loeber. Her name was Christiane Loeber. She was one year older than Pastor Loeber.

Loeber family – Republik passenger list 1839

Rev. Gotthold Heinrich Loeber was the first pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Missouri. Two of his children, Christoph Heinrich and Martha, were members of the first class to attend the Log Cabin College which opened on December 9, 1839. After several of the original teachers at that school took calls to be pastors elsewhere, Rev. Loeber felt obligated to step in to teach at that school. Rev. Loeber also traveled to attend some of the early meetings that were held around the Midwest to discuss the formation of a new Lutheran synod. That synod was formed in 1847, and Rev. Loeber was one of the first signers of that organization’s constitution.

Rev. Gotthold Heinrich Loeber died in 1849 at the age of 52. The Loeber family binder refers to both cholera and typhus as causes of his death. On can conclude that he died as a result of performing his tasks as a pastor, visiting his members when they were sick.

Rev. Loeber was buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg. His gravestone has since fallen over and remains on the ground.

Rev. Gotthold Heinrich Loeber gravestone – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Sometime later, someone placed a stone with a plaque describing the life of Pastor Loeber at this gravesite. It is this plaque that says he was baptized in Altenburg, Germany.

Rev. Loeber – gravesite plaque

Pastor Loeber is also recognized in the Christian Cyclopedia.

After her husband’s death, Wilhelmina moved her family to St. Louis. You can read about the remainder of her life in the post, Mama Loeber.

The Loeber couple lived before the advent of photography, but we do have drawings that were made for both G.H. and Wilhelmina.

The more I study the life of Pastor Loeber, the more evidence I find indicating that there must have been a close relationship between the Loeber family and my Schmidt family. Wilhelmina Loeber was a baptismal sponsor for my great grandfather, Gottwerth Schmidt, in Germany. Pastor Loeber was a sponsor for Gottwerth’s younger sister, Eva Schmidt. When the church in Altenburg was established, my great great grandfather, Joachim Schmidt, was one of the first elders in that congregation. This morning, when looking through the Loeber binder, I found the last will and testament of Bernhard Schmidt, who came to America with my Schmidt family, and is very like related to my Schmidt’s. In that will, Bernhard left some of his estate to the Loeber children and the von Wurmb children. The mother of the von Wurmb children was Johanna (Zahn) von Wurmb, Mrs. Loeber’s sister. A previous post was written about Loeber/Schmidt connections titled, A Schmidt Loeber Day.

The Bible passage on Pastor Loeber’s gravestone sums up the influence that he must have had on his family, his church, and his community. It is Daniel 12:3 which says, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”

In 1844, Pastor Loeber wrote these words that continue to inspire the work that we do at the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum. We make it our mission to “not forget”.

“If it goes well with you here, dear descendants, as we hope it will, do not forget that it was a difficult task for us to clear the forest and cultivate our fields.”


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