2 January 2012

Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum


Sophia Gusewelle

Marriage Record

The exact date of the marriage of Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum and Sophia Gusewelle is under question. The marriage record, below, filed and recorded at St. Louis on 23 October 1849 certifies that Rev. Henry Könecke married the couple on 1 October 1849.

image of a hand-written marriage record

A transcription of the image:

This is to certify that Revd William Figenbaum [sic] of Highland Madi
son County Ills. + Miss Sophia Gise■welle [sic] of St. Louis Mo. were joined
by me in wedlock on the 1 day of October 1849. St. Louis Octob. 23th [sic] 1849           Henry Könecke Minister of the Gospel

Filed and Recorded Oct. 23d 1849   Recorder.

Source: Ancestry.com. Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002 [online database]. <http://www.ancestrylibrary.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1171> (as of 9 May 2011). Provo, Utah: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data from microfilm: Missouri Marriage Records. Jefferson City, Missouri: Missouri State Archives. St. Louis marriages, 1849; volume 4, page 373.

Obituaries for Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum and Sophia (Gusewelle) Fiegenbaum, as well as the following newspaper account of their golden wedding anniversary, report that the marriage occurred at St. Louis on 27 September 1849.

Rev. and Mrs. William Fiegenbaum celebrated their golden wedding Wednesday.  As the anniversary, so was the day, bright and fair, and with sunshine as clear and golden as the purest ingot of the precious metal that ever ran from a crucible.  Every circumstance smiled upon the anniversary and combined to make it a joyous one.  The venerable couple were in the best of health and spirits, friends old and new were there to greet them and wish them well, and it is safe to say that no one of all the throng derived as much pleasure by half from the affair as did the guests of honor.  The celebration occurred at the residence on Main Street of their son, Dr. E. W. Fiegenbaum.  The house and grounds had been lavishly decorated in honor of the event.  Taking advantage of the season, every corner and nook of the residence blossomed with golden rod, and its appropriateness was remarked upon all sides.  At night the handsome lawn was lighted with many electric lights, forming a very pretty picture.  According to the invitations the festivities began at 2:30, but in reality they commenced at noon, when the family gathered at dinner.  Forty relatives sat down to the meal.  Rev. and Mrs. Fiegenbaum occupied the places of honor.  Rev. H. C. Jacoby made an address, the family united in singing a verse and then after grace came the discussion of the meal.  In the afternoon the guests began to arrive, and they came until the house was packed.  Some to spend the afternoon, others who could tarry but a little while dropped in to pay their compliments, listen to the music and then return to business or other pursuits.  Rev. Jacoby delivered an address in German and was followed with short addresses in English by Past Presiding Elder W. E. Ravenscroft and Dr. J. L. Cunningham.  In the evening there was an address by Dr. J. A. Autrim, of St. Andrew's.  One feature which was especially pleasing to the assemblage was the music.  Schwarz orchestra played throughout the celebration, concluding with the "Golden Wedding March."  During intervals the Fiegenbaum Mandolin Club rendered choice selections, and there was vocal music by the members of the German Methodist Choir.  It was thought that perhaps all the members of the German Methodist Church could not be reached by mailing invitations, so a general invitation was extended from the pulpit, and the members were present almost without exception.  Among the many handsome presents was a $10 gold piece, accompanied by a congratulatory poem from the Church Society.  Rev. and Mrs. Fiegenbaum have not had uneventful lives as are usually supposed to tend to long life.  Both are natives of Prussia.  Rev. Fiegenbaum came to this country at an early age.  He was licensed as an exhorter in 1847 and the following year was ordained to the ministry.  His first charge was at Highland, and after the completion of his first year there he went to St. Louis to claim his bride, Miss Sophia Gusewelle, who had been in America at that time about a year.  They were married on September 27 in the afternoon at the German Methodist Church on Washington Street then one of the most pretentious structures in St. Louis.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. Dr. Henry Koeneke.  Rev. Koeneke and Mrs. Timpkin, of Peoria, who were the witnesses to the wedding, are still living, as is also Mrs. Dora Lahrman, of St. Joseph, Missouri, the lady who tendered them a wedding supper.  At that time ministers were allowed but two years as a charge, so at the completion of the year following their wedding, Rev. and Mrs. Fiegenbaum were assigned to a new town.  They went to Watertown, Wisconsin, driving overland all the way.  Then they were transferred to Booneville, Missouri, and during the forty or more years following, traversed nearly the whole of Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois.  Rev. Fiegenbaum's service for the Master covered a period of over 50 years, and he still preaches when occasion demands.  The family is noted for the fact of its connection with the ministry.  The three brothers, Henry of St. Joseph, Missouri; Fred of Oregon, Missouri; and Rudolph of Garner, Iowa, were all ministers, the former two now superannuated.  The two sisters, Mrs. Minna Winter of Omaha, Nebraska and Mrs. Katherine Wellemeyer of Garner, Iowa, each married a minister.  Henry Fiegenbaum and Mrs. Wellemeyer celebrated golden weddings a year ago, and Fred's occurs next year.  All the children of Rev. and Mrs. Fiegenbaum were present with their families, 19 of their 21 grandchildren being there.  The children are:  Mrs. Charles F. Blume of Winona, Minnesota; Mrs. Jacoby, wife of Rev. H. C. Jacoby, pastor of the Taylor Avenue German Methodist Church, St. Louis; Dr. J. H. Fiegenbaum of Alton, and Dr. E. W. Fiegenbaum, Fred Fiegenbaum and Mrs. C. H. Lynch of this city.  Other out of town guests were:  Mrs. Christian Kaeser of Pittsfield, a sister of Mrs. Fiegenbaum, who was present at the wedding 50 years ago; Mrs. Henry Krome, of near Wanda, who was seatmate with Mrs. Fiegenbaum at school in Germany 62 years ago; Mr. and Mrs. John Zimmerman, Mrs. Brinkman and Mrs. Goesch of Bunker Hill and Mr. and Mrs. Sam Pitts of Alton.

Source: This transcription was generously provided by Frances Gretchen (Klein) Leenerts in 2002. She reported that this account had been published on 29 September 1899 in The Edwardsville Intelligencer, of Edwardsville, Illinois.

A picture of William and Sophia taken especially for their 50th wedding anniversary has been posted on this web site in the collection of family photos.

Brief Genealogy

Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum's family

Sophia Gusewelle's family

Fiegenbaum - Gusewelle family

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