And They Shall Call His Name Emanuel

Back in my teaching days, I had a student whose parents had chosen a different name for their baby girl, but because she was born on Christmas Day, she was named Holly instead. Although I cannot say for sure, I think today’s birthday boy was named because of the day of his birth.

Today’s tale is yet another one that has a date of birth which is debatable. Believe it or not, the two possible dates of birth are either Christmas Eve, December 24th or Christmas Day, December 25th. August Emanuel Weber was born in 1861, right about the time when the Civil War was breaking out across America. Emanuel was the son of August and Catharina (Falgheder) Weber. He was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can view an image of his baptism record from that congregation’s books.

Emanuel Weber baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Emanuel’s father did spend some time serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. His military record is pictured below.

August Weber – Civil War military record

Emanuel is found in his first census in 1870 at the age of 8. His mother had died not long after the birth of Emanuel’s younger sister, Josephine, in 1867. His father then married Gesche Urban prior to this census. This is the only census in which Emanuel is called August. His father was working in a flour mill in the Brazeau Township. A baby girl was born in 1869 to August and Gesche, but that child does not show up in this census entry, so she likely died shortly after her birth.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we find Emanuel in the 1800 census. Two more Weber children were born in the early 1870’s, but then Emanuel’s father died in 1874. Emanuel and Josephine are correctly called stepchildren in this entry. Emanuel was an 18 year-old farm worker.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Now, we will take a look at the woman who would become Emanuel’s bride. Her name was Anna Louise Preusser who was born on June 28, 1863. Anna was the daughter of John and Juliane (Kuehn) Preusser. Her parents were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis, and the first 4 children in this Preusser family were baptized at that church. Anna’s mother, by the way, was one of the original immigrants that were part of the Gesellschaft. She came to this country aboard the ship, Copernicus, at the age of 5. Her parents both died in the early 1840’s, so perhaps Anna’s mother spent part of her growing-up years in St. Louis after their death. The last two children younger than Anna born in this Preusser family were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg, but I was unable to find a baptism record for Anna either in St. Louis or Perry County. Her father had a brother who was living in Altenburg, which might explain the fact that this family moved to this area in the 1860’s. We find Anna in the 1870 census at the age of 7. This is the only entry for her that calls her Louise. I included the other Preusser family in this image to display how close they must have lived to one another. Anna’s father was a saddler, and her uncle, Frederick Preusser, was a farmer.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Anna is then found in the 1880 census. His father was a saddler in Altenburg. Anna’s cousin, Adolph was living in this household and learning to be a saddler under the instruction of Anna’s father.

1880 census – Altenburg, MO

Emanuel Weber married Anna Preusser on May 26, 1890 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. The church record for this occasion is shown below. This document says that Emanuel was from the Fountain Bluff Township in Jackson County, Illinois, so he must have moved to that area at some point in time.

Weber/Preusser marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

We can also take a look at the marriage license for this couple.

Weber/Preusser marriage license.

It is in the Fountain Bluff Township that we find the Weber’s in 1900 where Emanuel was a farmer. This entry says Emanuel was born in Illinois, but that is incorrect. All other census entries say he was born in Missouri. Included in their family was a girl named Ethel Brown, who is called a daughter and I think likely adopted. Ethel was born the year before Emanuel and Anna were married, and her parents were born in Indiana. Also in the household was a 21 year-old boarder named Fred Dixon who was a farm laborer.

1900 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

A son was born to Emanuel and Anna in 1901 and baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. However, that child died a tragic death in 1908, so he never shows up in a census. His death record from the Christ, Jacob books says he was kicked by a horse and had his skull fractured. That death record is displayed below.

Edward Weber death record – Christ, Jacob, IL

The 1910 census for the Weber’s is shown here in which there are no children. It includes a hired girl named Maria Weseloh and a boarder named Charles Rubling, who was a bookkeeper for the grain elevator.

1910 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

The 1920 census shows another small Weber household. With Emanuel and Anna were Otto Weber, a cousin of Emanuel’s, who was a farm laborer, and a servant named Martha Rodewald.

1920 census – Fountain Bluff Township, IL

In the last census in which we find Emanuel and Anna, they were living in Murphysboro, Illinois. They were both in their 60’s and had no occupation.

1930 census – Murphysboro, IL

Anna Weber died in 1932 at the age of 69; Emanuel Weber died in 1939 at the age of 77. These two are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Murphysboro. This is where we see a birthday of December 25th for Emanuel.

Emanuel and Anna Weber gravestone – Immanuel, Murphysboro, IL

What better name for a cemetery to bury someone with such a birthday, regardless of whether it was Christmas Eve or Christmas Day than Immanuel? I did just a little research on the spelling of the Biblical term, Immanuel or Emmanuel. The German language is one of several languages in which you usually find this name spelled with just one “m”, making it Emanuel. Today’s little baby was born at Christmas time in Altenburg, and his parents decided that they shall call his name Emanuel.

If I choose to not write a story tomorrow, let me take the time now to wish you all a very Blessed Christmas. Please take some time to worship the baby who was called Jesus, our Immanuel…God with us.


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