31 May 2013

Rev. Johann Herman Heinrich Bierbaum

1841 — 1896

Biograpical Material

Rev. J. H. H. Bierbaum, a clergyman of Cecil, Wis., and a former soldier of the civil war, was born Oct 7, 1841, in Femme Osage, St. Charles Co., Missouri, and is the son of Adolph and Mary (Foderhase) Bierbaum. 1   His father was a native of Germany, where he was bred in the manner in which every male child is reared under the laws of "Der Faderland."  He was a tailor by calling and after coming to Missouri he became a farmer, in which vocation he passed his life after coming to America.  He was a man of cultivation and gave his children good educations.  Mr. Bierbaum attended the Missouri College until the war, and was only 19 years old when the troubles in his native State began.  Two alternatives lay before him - fight for or against the confederacy and he chose the latter without considering the former.  In the statistical history connected with this work, the service performed in Missouri by the various regiments raised within her boarders for the Union service is, of necessity, faintly outlined.  But only those who served or suffered for principles' sake knew what it was to be a Union man in a state which had been the stamping ground of succession for years.  The history of that element in Missouri during the discussions in Congress, the Kansas difficulties and the enactment of laws touching the vexed question of slavery in the territories is one that will engage the attention of statesmen and students of history through many decades of the future; and the quality of the patriotism which sustained a Union man who took up arms at the very outset of the internecine difficulties in behalf of liberty will be fully appreciated.

Mr. Bierbaum enlisted Sept. 20, 1860, in Company E, Missouri Infantry in the regiment of Colonel Arnold Krekel at St. Charles, Mo., and was discharged in February, 1861, in accordance with an order from the Department abolishing the command.  In August, 1862, Mr. Bierbaum re-enlisted in the State Militia at Marthasville, Mo.  He had been, meanwhile, in the midst of the activities consequent on the struggle of Governor Jackson to compel Missouri to follow other slave States into secession, and had been a witness of much that had transpired in his native county.  After he enlisted regularly in the Missouri Volunteers and Militia he was in constant action.  On the organization of his company he was made Corporal and afterwards was promoted to Sergeant, passing the grades of promotion until he became 1st Lieutenant and in 1863 was made Captain of his company.  He was in the sharp actions at Mexico, Wright City and Fulton and in numerous skirmishes between the local guerrillas and the Union enrolled troops of Missouri.  His brother Frank enlisted at the same time with himself, was hurt in action at Wright City, and died afterwards.  The service differed in some respects from that in the regiments of the general Government and included bowie knife practice as well as shot gun activities and required men who understood tactics not laid down in Hardee and other works on military instruction.  But Mr. Bierbaum lived to see his native State free from the element of bushwhackers and guerrillas, and had the satisfaction of knowing that he did his share to establish law and order in the very heart of discord and disrule.  During the war he was twice slightly wounded and contracted measles and rheumatism from the effects of which diseases he has continued to suffer since.  After partial recovery in 1864 and 1865 he weighed 94 pounds, his present weight is 208 pounds. (1888)

After the war was over he resumed his studies for the ministry of the gospel at the Missouri Seminary and was a student there until May, 1868, when he was ordained by the Evangelical Synod of North America and settled in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. 2   In 1873 he changed his field of labor to New Holstein where he preached four years.  In 1877 he removed to Cecil where he has since officiated.  The field of his operations includes a radius of about 20 miles and his influence is of far greater extent, as he possesses the character in his good work which he displayed in his contest with rebellion.  He is a man of excellent business capacity and combines executive ability of a high order with his versatile qualifications.

He was married Sept. 20, 1870 to Pauline Fiebig, 3  and they had 12 children, eight of whom have passed to the land of the Hereafter.  The oldest son, Arminius, born July 5, 1871, died Aug. 28, 1887, of heart disease at the age of 16 years.  He was a boy of great promise and the pride of his parents. 4 

Source: Soldiers' and Citizens' Album of Biographical Record Containing Personal Sketeches of Army Men and Citizens Prominent in Loyalty to the Union. Also a Chronological and Statistical History of the Civil War, and a History of the Grand Army of the Republic, with Portraits of Soldiers and Prominent Citizens (Chicago, Illinois: Grand Army Publishing Company, 1888), pages 660-661.

Rev. Johann Hermann Heinrich Bierbaum should not be confused with Rev. Andreas Johann Heinrich Bierbaum even though their life stories share many similiarities, including marriage to a member of the Fiebig family of Wisconsin.

The Shawano County [Wisconsin] Genealogy web site has a whole page of additional information devoted to Rev. John H. H. Bierbaum.


  1. In the published registers of the German evangelical church at Femme Osage, St. Charles County, Missouri (founded in 1833 as die deutsche evangelische Kirchengemeinde and known since 1957 as Femme Osage United Church of Christ), Maria Elisabeth's family name is most often spelled Vorderhase. A few times it is spelled Forderhase, which would be consistent with the way the "V" would be pronounced in German.

    In the record of her marriage on 6 September 1837 to "Johann Ad. Bierbaum" she is identified as the widow of G. Schaberg. The church's burial register lists the death of a Gerhard Schaberg on 22 January 1837 at the age of 34½ years and burial on 24 January. I assume this is Maria Elisabeth's first husband.

    The church at Femme Osage does not have a record of the marriage of a Gerhard Schaberg and a Maria Elisabeth Vorderhase, which may indicate that it took place in Germany prior to their immigration to Missouri.

    The baptism register does however have a record of three children born to Gerhard and Maria (Vorderhase) Schaberg: Heinr. Wilhelm (born in August 1834); Maria Elisabeth (born in November 1835); and Gerhard (born 20 February 1837). I do not know if there were any children born prior to 1834, perhaps in Germany before the family emigrated.

    It seems likely that when Johann Adolph Bierbaum became Maria Elisabeth's husband he also became a father to the children from her first marriage.

    In addition to at least the three children born during her marriage to Gerhard Schaberg, Maria and Johann Adolph Bierbaum were known to be the parents of at least five children.

    Maria Elisabeth Bierbaum, nee Vorderhase, died on 12 July 1845 at the age of 35½ years.

    According to the burial register of the Femme Osage church, Johann Adolph Bierbaum died on 31 March 1872 at the age 61 years, 3 months, 15 days.

    Return to Text

  2. The "Missouri Seminary" is probably a reference to the educational institution founded at Marthasville, Warren County, Missouri in 1850 as the Evangelisches Predigerseminar (Evangelical Preacher’s Seminary). It would have been located rather close to the Bierbaum farm and not far from the church at Femme Osage. It eventually became the present-day Eden Theological Seminary, at Webster Groves, Missouri.

    At the time of his ordination in 1868, the denomination was known as Die Deutsche Evangelische Synode des Westens (The German Evangelical Synod of the West). It was in 1877 that the name changed to Die Deutsche Evangelische Synode von Nord-Amerika (German Evangelical Synod of North America)

    Return to Text

  3. Some online indices of Wisconsin marriages report that John Hermann Henry Bierbaum and Ernstine Pauline Fiebig, daughter of August Fiebig, were married on 16 September 1869 at Rhine, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Pauline was born in 1850.

    I currently have no information about the Fiebig family, except to note that Rev. Andreas Johann Heinrich Bierbaum, also born in St. Charles County, Missouri and ordained in Die Deutsche Evangelische Synode des Westens (The German Evangelical Synod of the West), was married to Ernestine Louise Fiebig, a daughter of August Fiebig, on 18 October 1874 in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.

    I can't help but think that Ernstine Pauline Fiebig and Ernestine Louise Fiebig must be related. I just need to find the documentation.

    Return to Text

  4. Ernstine Pauline (Fiebig) Bierbaum died at a young age, sometime between 1888, when the biographical sketch, above, was published, and January 1893, when her husband re-married.

    Johann Herman Heinrich Bierbaum died in January 1896 at the age of 56; heart disease was the suspected cause.

    It strikes me that Rev. Bierbaum was well acquainted with loss. His mother died before he was 4 years old; two brothers died within a month of each other before he was 13; his remaining brother died before J. H. H. was 26. In the first 18 years of his marriage, he and his wife suffered the loss of eight of their 12 children. And when his wife died, she could not have been older than her early 40s.

    Return to Text

Brief Genealogy

Johann Herman Heinrich Bierbaum's family

Ernstine Pauline Fiebig's family

Details of the birth family of Ernstine Pauline Fiebig (1850- ? ) are not currently known.

Bierbaum - Fiebig family

Johann Herman Heinrich Bierbaum's 1st marriage

Caroline H. Capelle's family

Details of the birth family and life of Caroline H. Capelle are not currently known.

Bierbaum - Capelle family

Johann Herman Heinrich Bierbaum's 2nd marriage

More Resources