A baby boy was born in Austria 150 years ago on this date, and it is his story you will read today. His story will take us to several states in this country. More than once during his life, he served the congregation of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kornthal, Illinois.
Franz (Frank) Engelhart was born on August 20, 1872, the son of Joseph and Theresia (Gumpelmeier) Engelhart. He was child #3 of 9 in this Engelhart family. Before his 3rd birthday, his family came to America aboard the ship, Oder, which landed in New York City in 1875. We see the Engelhart’s on that ship’s passenger list.
It was the intent of the Engelhart’s to meet up with a relative of theirs, Joseph Oberndorfer, who was living in Frohna, Missouri. After travelling from New York to St. Louis, they eventually made it to Perry County and then purchased a farm in the Shawnee Township of Cape Girardeau County near Pocahontas. More children were born into this family, and their records are found in the books of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.
I will be referring to an autobiography of Frank Engelhart that is found in a binder we have in our research library that describes the history of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kornthal. It is not a complete document, with several pages missing. However, it does provide plenty of pieces of information that I would never find by just looking at documents that can be found on Ancestry.com.
In the late 1890’s, Frank became a Lutheran teacher (as part of the Iowa Synod). In 1898, Frank took a call to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kornthal, Illinois. He had 37 students in his class at that congregation’s school. While there, he began keeping company with a young lady by the name of Ida Reischauer. At this point, let me tell you that Frank’s older brother, Engelbert Engelhart, had previously moved to Kornthal and had married Ida’s sister, Elizabeth Reischauer, in 1897. Since Ida would later become Frank’s wife, let’s take a look at her early history.
Ida Hedwig Reischauer was born on April 9, 1882 in Kornthal. She was the daughter of Rupert (Robert) and Mary (Gattermeier) Reischauer. Ida was baptized at St. Paul’s, Kornthal.
Ida can be found in the 1900 census for Jonesboro, Illinois (near Kornthal) at the age of 18. Her father had died in 1888, so her mother was the head of the household and called a farmer. Some sons were likely doing much of the farm labor.
I located this photo of Ida’s mother, Mary.
In the plat map below, you can see the proximity of the R. Reischauer farm to Kornthal.
Back to Frank. He was just in Kornthal one year, and during the break for New Year’s, he made a trip to Perry County to visit a friend, H.Z. Hennig, who was the teacher at The Ridge School north of Altenburg. That trip would be significant later. After his year in Kornthal, Teacher Engelhart took a position in Parkston, South Dakota. Then during the summer of 1900, Frank returned to Kornthal, and it was during that summer that he became engaged to Ida Reischauer.
In 1901, after Teacher Hennig left The Ridge School near Altenburg, Frank was called to replace him. That brought him back much closer to his fiancé. According to the information below, Teacher Engelhart was at The Ridge School from 1901-1907.
On April 24, 1902, Frank Engelhart married Ida Reischauer in Kornthal. The marriage record from the books of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is shown here.
The wedding photo of Frank and Ida is displayed below.
Frank and Ida had as many as 8 children. The first two were born when Frank was teaching at The Ridge School and were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. In 1904, a reunion for the Joseph Engelhart family took place in Pocahontas and the photo below was taken. The caption identifies the people in the photo.
Then, it looks like after 1907, Frank must have gone to a seminary to prepare for the ministry. When the 1910 census was taken, we find the Engelhart family back in Union County, Illinois, and Frank is called a clergyman. The Engelhart’s were living with Ida’s mother and older brother, Edward Reischauer, who was a farmer.
When the 1920 census was taken, we find the Engelhart’s living in Waterville, Ohio, which is close to Toledo. Frank is called a minister, and there were 6 children in their household.
Around 1925, this photograph was taken of the Engelhart family. Elvira had been born in that year. This photo was said to be taken in Capac, Michigan.
Then, in 1930, we find the Engelhart family living in Cresco, Iowa.
A 1936 city directory for Duluth, Minnesota shows the Engelhart’s living there. It also says that his son, Frank, Jr. and his daughter, Ruth, were teachers.
In 1939, Frank and Ida returned to their old stomping grounds when Frank became the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kornthal. He served that congregation from 1939-1947, when that church officially discontinued. The 1940 census entry for Frank and Ida is pictured below. They had an empty nest.
One more census entry for Frank and Ida can be viewed. It was taken in 1950. Ida’s brother, Edward Reischauer was listed as the head of the household.
Ida Engelhart died in 1964 at the age of 82; Rev. Frank Engelhart died in 1968 at the age of 95. These two are buried in the Jonesboro Cemetery in Jonesboro, Illinois.
As you can see, today’s birthday boy spent a lot of time travelling from one place to another during his lifetime. Two places seemed to be magnets that attracted him several times. First, the area of the Shawnee Township near Pocahontas and the Brazeau Township near Altenburg attracted him. Second, the little village of Kornthal near Jonesboro, Illinois kept drawing him back.
I feel the urge to display one more photo that I ran across in the Kornthal binder. It is a photo of the Kornthal choir that was taken in 1895. It is not often that you see a photo of a church choir taken during that time period.
Here are photos of Ida and Elizabeth Reischauer. Elizabeth had married Frank’s brother, Engelbert. I’ll let you decide if either Ida (who would have been 13 years old) or Elizabeth (who would have been 23 years old) are in the choir photo.