At the present time, two Perry County Lutheran congregations, Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown and Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown, form a dual parish with a shared pastor. That has not always been the case. Grace, Uniontown was one of the congregations to be formed as a result of the Lutheran immigration that took place in 1839. Zion, Longtown was not established until 1897, and they recently celebrated their 125th anniversary. The story you will read today is one that involves both of those churches.
We begin with a special birthday. Emilie Bertha Franke was born on March 16, 1873, making today her 150th birthday. Since yesterday’s post was about the 150th birthday of William Ludwig, Emilie was born in the Union Township of Perry County on the day after William was born in the Apple Creek Township of Cape Girardeau County. Even though those two townships are in different counties, they are adjacent to one another, only separated by the Apple Creek. Emilie was the daughter of August and Theresa (Koenig) Franke and baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. We can take a look at an image of Emilie’s baptism record below.
Emilie is found in her first census in 1880 at the age of 7. She is listed as child #6 of 11 born into this family in our German Family Tree. Her father was a farmer in the Union Township.
As it turns out, that is the only census entry we can view that contains Emilie as a single person. So, let’s take a look at the man who would become her husband. His name was Arthur Benjamin Hopfer, who was born on June 3, 1875. Arthur was the son of Emanuel and Caroline (Rabold) Hopfer, and, like Emilie, was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. Arthur was child #5 of 10 children born into this Hopfer family An image of his baptism record from that congregation’s books is shown here.
Quite a while ago, I got used to identifying certain surnames as being “Uniontown Names”. Certainly the two surnames in this post, Franke and Hopfer, are two prominent names in that category. Emilie and Arthur had their beginnings in that congregation, but in the end, we find these two all the way up in Longtown. That is an intentional exaggeration because Uniontown and Longtown are only about 5 miles apart on Highway 61. Folks around here in Altenburg almost always go through both Uniontown and Longtown on their way to work or shop in Perryville.
I had to go through a little more effort to find Arthur in his first census entry. Emilie’s 1880 census entry can be found by searching on Ancestry.com. Not so with Arthur. His entry is found in the long-lost 1880 Union Township census pages that were only discovered fairly recently and still have not been included on Ancestry. Arthur was 4 years old in his first census entry, and he was not called Arthur. He is listed as Otto, which could have been a type of nickname. A German saying Arthur must have sounded similar to Otto to a census taker. I am a little surprised that Arthur is said to be “at school” at the age of 4. There were no pre-schools or Kindergartens back in those days. Arthur’s father was another farmer in the Union Township.
A plat map drawn later in 1915 shows the locations of the August Franke and Emanuel Hopfer farms. You can see why both families were members of the church in Uniontown.
Arthur Hopfer married Emilie Franke on November 17, 1898, and not unexpectedly, this wedding took place at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. The church record for this event is pictured below.
We can also view the marriage license for this couple.
According to the German Family Tree, this couple had 3 children, a girl followed by 2 boys. All of these babies were baptized at Grace, Uniontown. When the 1900 census was taken, we find Arthur and Emilie living with Arthur’s father. It was later in 1900 that their first child was born. Arthur was helping his father with his farming, along with one of his brothers, Rudolph.
It must have been around 1909 that this Hopfer family made a move. Their last child born in 1909 was baptized in Uniontown, but when their childrens’ confirmations began in 1914, they took place at Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown. When the 1910 census was taken, we find the Hopfer’s living in the Cinque Hommes Township of Perry County. All 3 children were in their household.
When the 1915 plat maps were produced for Perry County, we find the A.B. Hopfer farm located near Longtown. The church shown not far from their farm is the York Chapel, a defunct Methodist church that still stands on Highway 61 just north of Longtown.
In 1918, Arthur had a World War I draft registration completed. This form said he had a rural Perryville address. The R.V. Abernathy who registered Arthur on this document can be seen on the above plat map near Longtown.
The 1920 census lists the same characters, Arthur, Emilie, and their 3 children.
The above entry is the last one in which we see Emilie. She died in 1927 at the age of 54. Her death certificate below credits liver cancer as her cause of death.
An obituary for Emilie was published in the Perry County Republican.
Arthur is found as a widower in the 1940 census at the age of 64. He and his son, Herbert were farming together. Herbert had married Irene Weinrich in 1939.
I almost did not find Arthur in the 1950 census. That is because he is called Anson, not Arthur. He was still living with Herbert and Irene, but this time Herbert was called the head of the household and doing the farming. Arthur had no occupation listed.
Arthur Hopfer died in 1951 at the age of 75.
Both Arthur and Emilie Hopfer are buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Longtown.
It just so happens that I have just one Hopfer in my family tree. A “first cousin once removed” of mine married a Hopfer who can also trace his roots back to Perry County. I saw on Facebook this morning that this Hopfer is celebrating his birthday today. That means today I can celebrate both a Franke and a Hopfer birthday.