Carl Hellwege Finds Friedheim Frau

About 5 years ago, I wrote the amazing story of Henry Hellwege who got married 4 times. That post was titled, The Fourth Marriage. Henry got married in 1837, 1847, 1851, and 1856. Henry had at least one child with each of his 4 wives. Today, you will read the story of one of Henry’s sons, one who was born to wife #4. That son is today’s birthday boy.

Carl Johannes Hellwege was born on May 18, 1862, so today would be his 161st birthday. Carl, sometimes called Charles, was the son of Henry Hellwege and his fourth wife, Friedericke Winter. He was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. We can take a look at his baptism record from that congregation’s books.

Carl Hellwege baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Carl is found in the 1870 census at the age of 8. You can see that the Hellwege household was quite large. Carl’s father was a farmer and carpenter in the Brazeau Township.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

When Carl was confirmed in 1876, that event is recorded in the books of Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, but that record says he was confirmed at Trinity in Altenburg. His confirmation took place at a time when Rev. J.F. Koestering was serving both the congregation in Altenburg and the one in Frohna. Carl’s confirmation class is displayed in the image below.

Carl Hellwege confirmation class – Concordia, Frohna 1876

Next, we find Carl in the 1880 census as a teenager.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Since Carl would get married before the next census we can view, we will take a look at the woman who would become Carl’s bride. Her name was Bertha Mehner, who was born on February 27, 1876, which means she was about 14 years younger than Carl. Bertha was the daughter of Carl and Caroline (Dickmann) Mehner. I figured that Bertha may have been baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim, but I did not find her baptism record there. However, I did find the baptism record of her sister, Pauline, who was born a year later in 1877.

Bertha’s father died when she was just 2 years old. Then, her mother married again in 1879, Her second husband was Carl Hoppe. Bertha is found in the 1880 census when she was 4 years old. She is called a step-daughter. Her stepfather was a farmer in the Apple Creek Township.

1880 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

I did locate Bertha’s confirmation record in the Trinity, Friedheim books. For some reason, she and her sister, Pauline, were in the same confirmation class.

Bertha Mehner confirmation record – Trinity, Friedheim, MO

The 1880 census turned out to be the only census in which Bertha appears as a single person. Prior to her own marriage, Bertha was part of the wedding party of Friedrich Wilke and Mary Struve in 1894. This wedding photo is the only picture I found with Bertha in it. This photo has been published on this blog in a story about another Bertha…Bertha Grossheider, who is also in this photo. The caption at the top identifies the characters in the picture. I would like to know what is being held on Bertha Mehner’s lap as well as two others in the front row. Maybe one of our readers would know if this is indicative of some sort of wedding tradition.

Fritz and Mary Wilke wedding

Carl Hellwege married Bertha Mehner on September 5, 1895. Their wedding took place at Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim. We can take a look at the church record for that event shown below.

Hellwege/Mehner marriage record – Trinity, Friedheim, MO

The Missouri marriage license for this couple is also available to view.

Hellwege/Mehner marriage license

The German Family Tree, at the present time, lists only 2 children born to Carl and Bertha that have their baptism records included. Those 2 baptisms took place at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. However, several later censuses display more than 2 children in this family. A family tree on Ancestry.com lists 8 children. Three children prior to the ones baptized in Farrar were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim. I was unable to find the Hellwege household in the 1900 census, either in the Cape Girardeau census where Friedheim is located or in the Perry County census where Farrar is located. More children were born to the Hellwege’s after the children baptized in Farrar in the early 1900’s, but I was unable to find evidence where those later baptisms took place. When the 1910 census was taken, the Hellwege household is found living in the Apple Creek Township where Carl was a blacksmith. There were 7 children in their family at that time.

1910 census – Apple Creek Township, MO

The 1920 census has the Hellwege’s living in the Hubble Township where Carl was a farmer.

1920 census – Hubble Township, MO

The last census in which we find Carl was the one taken in 1930. Just 2 children remained in the Hellwege household.

1930 census – Hubble Township, MO

Carl Hellwege almost made it to the 1940 census, but he died in 1939 at the age of 76. Stomach cancer is given as the cause of death on his death certificate.

Carl Hellwege death certificate

I should have found Bertha Hellwege in the 1940 census, but I failed. I did locate her in the 1950 census. She was living by herself in Cape Girardeau.

1950 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

Bertha died in 1961 at the age of 85. We can also view her death certificate.

Bertha Hellwege death certificate

Carl and Bertha Hellwege are buried together in the New Lorimer Cemetery in Cape Girardeau.

Carl and Bertha Hellwege gravestone – New Lorimer, Cape Girardeau, MO

Salem Lutheran Church recently called Rev. Hellwege from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and he has accepted that call. He will soon be arriving in Perry County to begin serving that church in Farrar. I am almost certain that Rev. Hellwege can trace his family back to Henry Hellwege, Carl’s father. When he gets here, I look forward to determining which of the 4 Hellwege wives he comes from.

I am glad I found a story for today that included individuals who were connected to Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim. This Sunday, that congregation will be celebrating their 175th anniversary. They became an official congregation in 1848 when Rev. Franz Julius Biltz became their first resident pastor. Rev. Biltz was one of the original students in the Log Cabin College and was one of five graduates of Concordia Seminary in Altenburg before that institution was moved to St. Louis in 1849. We wish to congratulate Trinity, Friedheim for their many years of ministering to the folks in one of our neighboring communities. May God bless you as you continue to proclaim the Word of God in southeast Missouri.


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