Not long ago, some visitors entered our museum from Bremer County, Iowa. I had to ask, “Do you know any Thurm’s?” Their eyebrows shot up and the man said, “One of my neighbors is a Thurm.” I was not surprised, but he was surprised by my mention of a Thurm. In a previous post on this blog, That Thurm Throng, it was mentioned that 5 members of a Thurm family from Perry County ended up living in Bremer County. Today, you will read the story of one member of that Thurm Throng in Iowa.
Paul Gerhardt Thurm was born on February 15, 1889, the son of Gerhardt and Johanna (Kutscher) Thurm. Paul had the same names as his father, but his father went by the name, Gerhardt. There were 10 children born into this Thurm family, and 9 of them were boys. The only daughter died in infancy. I guess you could say that the Thurm boys are another group of 9 that could make up a baseball team (or a dartball team). Paul was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can take a look at his baptism record below.
Paul is found in his first census in 1900. His year of birth is mistakenly given as 1888, so he also is called 12 years old when he was only 11. His father was a farmer on The Ridge, which sometimes was called Friedland in days gone by. The term, Friedland, is used in the above baptism record for Paul. You actually see the only daughter, Lydia, in the entry below. She was born in 1900 and later died that same year.
As it turns out, that would be the only census in which Paul is found living in Perry County. When the 1910 census was taken, we find the 21 year-old Paul living in the Jefferson Township in Bremer County, Iowa. That township is found not far from Denver, Iowa. He was a hired hand on the John Griese farm.
Now, we turn our attention to the woman who would become Paul’s bride, and she happens to be our birthday girl for today. Rosa Anna Maria Schade was born on February 6, 1891, so today would be her 132nd birthday. Rosa was the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Engert) Schade. She was #2 of the 7 children born to her parents. A previous post on this blog, Engert #21, told the story of Rosa’s parents. Rosa, like Paul, was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Her baptism record is shown here.
Rosa is found in the 1900 census at the age of 8. The census taker for that year must have been having a tough time. He mistakenly says that Rosa was born in 1892. Rosa was probably 9 years old at that time, not 8. Her father was a farmer in the Brazeau Township.
Like it was with Paul, the 1900 census was the only one in which Rosa was found living in Perry County. In the 1910 census, we find Rosa living in St. Louis and working as a helper in a nursery. Not only was Rosa working at that nursery, but also her younger sister, Ida Schade.
In 1913, we find both Paul Thurm and Rosa Schade back in Altenburg for their wedding on May 11th. As you might expect, that wedding took place at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can take a look at the church marriage record for this occasion in 2 images. This is another place where we see The Ridge referred to as Friedland.
The marriage license for this couple can also be viewed.
Based on a family tree on Ancestry.com put together by our friend, Diane Anderson, this pair had 5 children. Diane is also our local expert on the Thurm family, so I have confidence in the facts found on her family tree. The first 3 children were born in Altenburg and baptized at Immanuel. Later obituaries say that the Thurm’s moved to Tripoli, Iowa in 1917. Paul then had a World War I draft registration completed in 1917. He was a farmer employed by Bernhard Everding and living in Tripoli.
In the 1920 census, we find the Thurm household living in the Fredericka Township in Bremer County. There were 3 children in the household, and Paul was a farm laborer.
The last Thurm child was born in 1925 and baptized at St. John Lutheran Church in Tripoli. The two oldest Thurm children were confirmed at St. John Lutheran Church in Plainfield, Iowa. If you do a search on Findagrave.com for cemeteries in Bremer County, Iowa, there are 7 results that have the name St. John, all of them Lutheran. It is so confusing. I am going to place a map of a portion of Bremer County, Iowa that contains several of the locations featured in this story so you can keep track of the Thurm’s over the years.
In the 1930 census, the Thurm’s were living in the Douglas Township. All 5 children were now listed in their family’s entry.
Before the 1940 census was taken, Paul and Rosa moved to Denver, Iowa where Paul became a janitor at a public school. Just one teenage daughter remained in their household.
Paul’s World War II draft card completed in 1942 gives another detail about his job. He was employed by Denver High School.
We can view the Thurm’s in one more census. The 1950 census entry shows Paul and Rosa with an empty nest. Paul continued as a janitor.
Rosa Thurm died in 1983 at the age of 92. We can read Rosa’s obituary that was published when she died.
Paul Thurm died in 1985 at the age of 96. We can also read his obituary.
Paul and Rosa Thurm are buried together in the St. Peter’s Lutheran Cemetery in Denver, Iowa.
I don’t think the move by the several boys who were part of Altenburg’s Thurm Throng to Bremer County, Iowa was a complete accident. Bremer County was the birthplace and headquarters of the Iowa Synod of the Lutheran Church. Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg was also part of the Iowa Synod back in those days. Members of Immanuel, Altenburg likely heard plenty about Lutherans in that part of Iowa.