Having been a Lutheran teacher during my career, I am especially partial to writing stories that involve individuals who also entered that profession. The churches in East Perry County have provided plenty of fodder for writing such stories because this area has sent so many people into full time church work. You will be reading yet another post that tells the story of a man who became a teacher at a Lutheran school. Quite a few of such posts take you on a journey all across the country as the teacher served at several schools along the way. That is not the case today. Teacher Meyr went to a Lutheran school after graduating and remained there for most of his career, and even after that, he moved to another Lutheran school not far away from his first call. That makes this story somewhat unusual.
We begin with a special birthday. Albert Edward Meyr was born on January 28, 1898, making today his 125th birthday. Albert was the son of Gottlieb Samuel and Sarah (Haecker) Meyr. Many of the Meyr stories told on this blog are about families that lived near New Wells, but in this case, Albert’s parents had migrated across the Apple Creek and were living in Altenburg when Albert was born. Albert was the 6th of 7 children born into this Meyr family. He was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can take a look at an image of his baptism record from that church’s books.
Another thing I cannot resist is a picture of a town band. The one shown below includes Albert’s father, Gottlieb, who is holding a brass instrument.
Albert is found in his first census in 1900 at the age of 2. His father was a carpenter in the Brazeau Township. This entry spills over 2 census pages, so I have to display it in 2 images. The Meyr’s had 2 daughters followed by 4 sons. One girl would be born after this census was taken. I might also add that since Albert’s brother, Rudolph, was Vernon Meyr’s father, Vernon would have called today’s main character, Uncle Albert.
In 1910, Albert, at the age of 12, would been having his confirmation training when the census entry shown below was enumerated.
Albert was confirmed in 1911. Thanks to a set of Meyr family binders (4 of them) that we have in our research library, I can display Albert’s confirmation certificate.
Albert Meyr had a World War I draft registration completed in 1918. Albert was a student at Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Illinois at the time.
In 1919, Albert graduated from Concordia. He is seen in a gallery of the faculty and some of his classmates in the photo below. His name is misspelled as Meyer (right below the 1919).
After graduation, Albert did not have to travel very far to get to his first call. He became a teacher at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crete, Illinois, which is located just south of Chicago. It is there that he spent most of his career. A history of that school includes the following information about Albert.
In the 1920 census, we find Albert as still single and living as a boarder in the Fred Bernhard household. He is called a teacher in a parochial school.
We will now turn our attention to the woman who would become Albert’s bride. Her name was Maria Louise Piepenbrink, who was born on August 16, 1892, which means she was about 5 years older than Albert. Marie was the daughter of Wilhelm and Maria (Meyer) Piepenbrink. So, as you can see, another Meyer was already part of her family before she married a Meyr. Most likely, Marie was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crete, but I do not have access to their church records. She is found in her first census in 1900 at the age of 7. Her father was a farmer in Crete.
Next, we find Marie in the 1910 census as a teenager.
The last census in which we find Marie as a single woman is the one taken in 1920. At the age of 27, she was still living with her parents and working as a stenographer for a real estate company.
Albert Meyr married Marie Piepenbrink on June 30, 1926. I have no documentation for this, but the wedding likely took place at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crete. I do not know if this is a wedding photo or not, but it shows Albert and Marie at rather young ages. I do not see a wedding ring on Albert’s finger.
In his earlier years at Trinity, a photograph was taken of the faculty and board of education members. Both Albert and Marie’s brother, John Piepenbrink are in this photo. This picture is found in a Piepenbrink family binder that we have in our research library. It includes some post-it notes used to identify Albert and John. As you can see, this publication was written in German.
Albert and Marie had 2 children, a girl (Elsie) and a boy (Victor). Elsie was born before the 1930 census was taken.
Both of their children can be found in the 1940 census. Albert is called a primary teacher in a parochial school.
In 1942, Albert had a World War II draft card completed. His address, Park and Division Streets, was adjacent to Trinity Lutheran Church, so they likely were living in a teacherage. A few census entries indicate the Meyr’s were living next to the pastor and his family.
The last census we can view is the one taken in 1950. It says Albert was a 3,4, and 5 grade teacher. His daughter was a secretary at a public school, and his son, Victor, was a minister.
Another photo that includes Albert Meyr is this one taken of him with one of his classes. The Piepenbrink man who made the Piepenbrink binder that we have in our library, indicates that he is in this picture. I know that I never had this many students in any of my classes during my career.
Here is a photo of Teacher Meyr at a later point in his career.
During the last 5 years of his teaching career, Albert was a teacher at Hope Lutheran School in Park Forest, Illinois, which is not far from Crete. A delightful photograph showing the Albert Meyr family is also found in the Meyr family binder. This photo put a smile on my face. Victor and his sister, Elsie, are on the left in the back row.
Marie Meyr died in 1972 at the age of 79; Albert Meyr died in 1973 at the age of 75. I am able to display Albert’s obituary that was printed in a Perry County newspaper.
Albert and Marie are buried together in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Crete.
I had the privilege of meeting Rev. Victor Meyr when I was a Lutheran teacher in Minnesota. I believe he was the pastor of the church in Red Wing, Minnesota. At that time, I had no idea that he had some family roots in Altenburg.
I saw Gerard Fiehler at the local breakfast eatery this morning. He remembers Albert. One thing he told me was that Albert was a very good musician, and he once heard Albert play the Hallelujah Chorus from memory on the organ in Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Also, Gerard, since he once worked at the Altenburg Garage, knows that Albert drove Studebakers. I can also add that Pat Borgmann, a member of our museum’s Advisory Board, is connected to this Meyr family from Altenburg. She contributed the band photo for Mary Dillon’s Altenburg book.
I love a good Lutheran teacher story.