I do not often choose a date of a baptism as the starting point for stories on this blog. However, when I found not just one, not just two, but three baptisms that took place on the same day in a local church, I could not resist writing the story. Add to that the fact that these 3 baptisms took place on Reformation Day. Plus, those baptisms took place 125 years ago. Those facts make it even more irresistible.
This post will be different than most. I am not going to go into detail about the lives of all 3 of the children who were baptized on the same day. I think it would make this post too long. I will just share limited biographies of them. I am going to discuss the parents first.
Adolph and Josephine (Antonier) Aurich were married on August 15, 1880. They were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. Ten children were born to this couple. Only the first one was baptized at Immanuel, New Wells. Starting with child #2, the children were baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. So, this family must have moved north to Perry County in about 1881. All of the Aurich’s included in our German Family Tree are attached to this family. I did a quick search on the term, Aurich, on this blog, and it came up with 13 different posts that mention this surname.
October 31st in 1897 was a Sunday. It was also the 380th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation that began on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. It was likely that Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar had its pews full of German Lutherans who were ready to worship around the theme of the Reformation. Three Aurich children were baptized on that day. Their baptism records displayed below give no indication that the baptisms were held in the home, so I have to assume that they were baptized during the Sunday morning worship.
If you look at the birthdays in the first column listing dates, you will see that two of these young children would have been able to walk by themselves to the baptismal font. Melissa was almost 5 years old. William had recently celebrated his 3rd birthday. Elmer was about 8 months old, and he is likely the only one to be carried to the font. All of these ages are beyond the average time parents would wait after a child’s birth to have them baptized. One more fact that I would like to point out is that one of William’s sponsors was Friedrich Pieske, who was a teacher at the Lutheran school operated at Salem. Herr Pieske would later become the superintendent of the Lutheran orphanage in St. Louis.
All of the other Aurich children, including the one who would be baptized after 1897, were baptized rather soon after they were born. However, that was not the case with Melissa, William, and Elmer. There has to be a story explaining this triple baptism, but I do not know it. Perhaps we have a reader of this blog who knows the story and would share it with us.
The last Aurich child was born in 1898, so I think the photo of the Adolph Aurich family displayed here was taken sometime around 1900. All 10 children are in the photo. Melissa is the girl standing next to her mother on the left. William is standing between his parents behind the youngest child, Waldemar. Elmer is standing next to his father on the right.
All 10 of the Aurich children are found in the 1900 census for Salem Township, but I am not going to show it because it is so difficult to read. In 1910, we see a smaller Aurich family, but it does include all 3 of the children that were baptized together, Melissa (Lizzie), William, and Elmer. Lizzie was a cook for a private family.
I am going to give a brief biography of each of the 3 highlighted children.
Melissa (Lizzie) Aurich, according to a record in the Salem, Farrar books, was married to Lee Franz and had one child that was baptized at Salem. Lee Franz probably died, and then Lizzie married Joseph Theodore Roth. What is puzzling is that, even though both Melissa and Theodore were members of local churches, no church record for this marriage is found. I also could find no civil record. It looks like this couple had 2 children, both girls. Melissa and Theodore are each buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.
I have already written a biography of William Aurich in a post titled, Bill and Esther – The Aurich’s. William spent his entire life in Perry County.
Elmer Aurich, when he was a young man, moved to Cheyenne County, Nebraska, which is where the city of Potter is located. He married Martha Dahlkoetter, who was from the area of Nebraska near West Point. After this couple spent a short time in Cheyenne County, they moved closer to where Martha’s home was and had the rest of their children. Elmer and Martha are buried in Beemer, Nebraska.
Of all the Aurich children, Lizzie outlived them all. She died in 1991 at the age of 98. I can display a photo taken of Lizzie when she was quite old.
Just one last note. My granddaughter attends a Lutheran school in Minnesota and has a Kindergarten teacher this year who is Mrs. Aurich. I am waiting for the opportunity to find out if her husband can trace his family roots back to Perry County. I know there are several Aurich descendants who became church workers.
I wish all our readers a blessed Reformation Day. It’s a great day to remember your baptism.