23 November 2011

Clara Catherine (Kastenbudt) Fiegenbaum

1823 — 1897


A Well Rounded Life.

One by one the pioneer mothers of Methodism are dropping out, and passing over the great river, to take their places in the ranks of those of an immortality, and we are called upon this week, to record the death of one of the grand old Methodist mothers:  The spirit of "Mother" Fiegenbaum, wife of Rev. Henry Fiegenbaum, of the German M. E. church, burst its mortal fetters and went out to meet the Master, whom she loved so much to serve while on earth, and whom she had devotedly served for over half a century, at her home in St. Joseph on Thursday evening last, September 2, 1897, from paralysis, at the age of 74 years.

She was a devoted Christian woman.  She believed that Christianity presented the true philosophy of life - giving contentment of mind and peace within that this world cannot give nor take away.  She was always to be found where duty called, whether it was by her husband's side in his great religious work or at some lonely hut in sweet charity's name.  If she quitted her God at the altar, it was to find Him in her domestic duties.  She did service as if it was a pleasure or privilege, accepting the thorns with the roses without a murmur.  Indeed her life was a candle that wasted and burns itself up shining, so patient was she, so thoughtful, so forgiving, so charitable.

Clara Kastenbudt was born in Osnabrueck, Hanover, Germany, December 9, 1823.  In 1844 she came to America, first locating at Cincinnati.  She then came to St. Louis in 1846, and that year she united with the German M. E. church, and it was here that she first met her now bereaved husband, and in this church, where these two were converted, the marriage ceremony was said, Sunday, April 11, 1847.  With him, hand in hand, heart to heart, she shared the toils and privations, the joys and the sorrows, in the itinerant ministry, until a few years ago failing health made it necessary for her husband to retire from active ministerial work.

Her religion was fundamental, and all her life grew out of it.  She was probably a greater instrumentality in leading lost souls to Christ than we may be able to comprehend, and how much of her husband's great success during his effective service in the ministry was due to her strengthening and encouraging influence, only eternity will reveal.

As a true wife and self-sacrificing Christian mother, "Mother" Fiegenbaum might be said to have been a model of perfection.  It was the dearest wish of her heart to make her home what it should be, and in this she succeeded in a most admirable manner.  Her hospitality was proverbial, and those who partook of it will remember her with the kindest of feelings.  She was a true helpmeet to her now bereaved husband, who, in her death, he and surviving children loses one who was tenderness and love.

She was a most obliging neighbor, and generous toward the needy - never did any one [sic] go away from her door hungry, any [sic] truly it may be said that she was a friend to all, and all were her friends.

April 11th, of this year, 1897, their golden wedding was celebrated.  Some anxiety had been expressed to see the aged pilgrims reach this milestone in their earthly career, which through the mercy of Him, who doeth all things well, was granted them.

She leaves a husband and four daughters, Mrs. Carrie Steinmetz, Misses Mary and Anna, of St. Joseph, and Mrs. Mina Curry, of this city, to cherish the fond memory of one of the truest and noblest of wives and mothers.

Funeral services were held from the German M. E. church in St. Joseph on Saturday, September 4, conducted by her pastor, Rev. Charles Harmes, assisted by Presiding Elder Tanner and Bishop Fitzgerald.

The remains were laid to rest in the family lot in the Ashland cemetery.

Source: "A Well Rounded Life," The Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Missouri); Friday, 10 September 1897; Page 4, Column 4.

Digital copies accessed through Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (The Library of Congress) in November 2011.

The original article appeared in a single column. The digital image presented here has been altered to conserve space.

Brief Genealogy

Clara Catherine Kastenbudt's family

Heinrich Hermann Fiegenbaum's family

Fiegenbaum - Kastenbudt family

More Resources