Rev. Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum
1830 — 1914
Biographical Material & Chronology
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Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum, Sohn der selbigen Eltern, ist geboren den 10. April und getauft den 18. April 1830.
Transcription of German
Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum, son of the same parents, was born on 10 April and baptized on 18 April 1830.
This paragraph is taken from a letter written in June 1867 by the pastor of the evangelical church at Lengerich, Province of Westphalia, Kingdom of Prussia. In response to a inquiry from the Fiegenbaum family in Madison County, Illinois, Rev. Kolemann (spelling?) had consulted the registers of the church to confirm the births of Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum and his brother, Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum.
The phrase "son of the same parents" refers to the preceding paragraph where the pastor identified Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum as the son of "the married couple Adolph Heinrich Fredr. Fiegenbaum and Christina Elisabeth Peterjohann."
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F. W. Fiegenbaum wurde geboren im Kirchspiel Lengerich, Reg.-Bez. Münster, Prueßen, am 12. April 1830. Mit seinen Eltern, Adolf und Christina Fiegenbaum, kam er 1834 nach Amerika. Sie wohnten in der Nähe von Hopewell, Warren Co., Mo., bis er 21 Jahre alt war. Er wurde am 19. Februar 1846 an einer vierteljährlichen Versammlung bekehrt unter der Arbeit des Vorstehenden Aeltesten, H. Köneke, und des Predigers, Franz Horstmann. Er bekamm den nächsten Morgen den Ruf ins Predigtamt, aber aus drei Gründen weigerte er sich zu gehen: 1. Das Predigtamt schien ihm ein Bettelleben zu sein, da das Gehatl $150 bit $200 betrug; 2. die Verantwortlichkeit schien ihm zu groß, und 3. seine Schulkenntnisse zu gering zu sein. Nach jahrelangem Kampf und ernster Prüfung erklärte er sich willig, dem Rufe zu folgen, und ging im Frühjahr 1853 aus. Er bediente folgende Felder: Peoria, Ill., 1½ Jahre, 1853-54; Cedar Lake, Ind., 1854-55; Sherrills Mount, Iowa, 1855-57; Freeport, Ill., 1857-59; Salem, Minn., 1859-60; St. Paul, Erste Gemeinde, 1860-62; Washington 1862-64; Burlington, Iowa, Distrikt, 1864-66; Wapello 1866-68; Des Moines 1868-70; Polk City 1870-73. Dann bekam er einem Nervenschlag und mußte einige Jahre superannuieren und ging dann wieder ans Predigen: Milton, Iowa, 1876-79; Canton, Mo., 1879-82. Dann wurde er in de West Deutsche Konferenz transferiert und bediente Wathena, Kan., 1882-84; Eudora 1884-86; Clay Center 1886-88; Lawrence 1888-92; Oregon, Mo., 1892-96. Hier brach dann seine Gesundheit zusammen, so daß er sich wieder superannuieren ließ. Er dankt von Herzen, daß Gott seie Arbeit gesegnet hat. Es reut ihn nicht, für den Herrn gearbeitet zu haben; nur thut es ihm leid, daß er nicht besser vorbereitet war für das große Werk. Seine Heimat ist Wathena, Kan.
F. W. Fiegenbaum was born in the parish of Lengerich, Administrative District of Münster, Prussia on 12 April 1830. With his parents, Adolf and Christina Fiegenbaum, he came to America in 1834. They lived near Hopewell, Warren Co., Mo., until he was 21 years of age. On 19 February 1846, at a quarterly convocation under the leadership of Presiding Elder H. Köneke and Preacher Franz Horstmann, he was converted. On the next morning he received the call to the ministry, but refused, on three grounds: 1. the ministry appeared to him to be a pauper's life, with a salary of only $150 to $200; 2. the responsibilities appeared too great; 3. his schooling was too scanty. After years of struggle and earnest trial, he declared himself willing to accept the call, and in the Spring of 1853 ventured forth. He served in the following fields: Peoria, Ill, 1½ years, 1853-54; Cedar Lake, Ind., 1854-55; Sherrills Mount, Iowa, 1855-57; Freeport, Ill., 1857-59; Salem, Minn., 1859-60; St. Paul, First Congregation, 1860-62; Washington 1862-64; Burlington, Iowa District, 1864-66; Wapello 1866-68; Des Moines 1868-70; Polk City 1870-73. He was then the victim of a nervous disorder and was for several years superannuated and then returned to the ministry: Milton, Iowa, 1876-79; Canton, Mo., 1879-82. He was then transferred to the West German Conference and served Wathena, Kan., 1882-84; Eudora 1884-86; Clay Center 1886-88; Lawrence 1888-92; Oregon, Mo., 1892-96. At this point his health collapsed and he was again superannuated. He gives heartfelt thanks that God has blessed his work. He has no regrets that he served the Lord; he is sorry only that he was not better prepared for the great task before him. His home is at Wathena, Kan.
Source: Otto E. Kriege, Gustav Beker, Matthäus Herrmann, and T. L Körner, Souvenir der West Deutschen Konferenz der Bischöflichen Methodistenkirche (S.l.: the Conference, 1906); pages 251-252. Translation by J. Mark Fiegenbaum.
This short sketch should be read beside the passionate personal statement which Friedrich Wilhelm addressed to his children. He spoke plainly about the trials and triumphs of his life.
The family's history was briefly recounted in an article of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday, 26 June 1898. Friedrich Wilhelm's sister, Maria Wilhelmine (Fiegenbaum) Winter composed an autobiographical essay near the end of her life. See also the life stories of Heinrich Hermann Fiegenbaum, and a statement written by Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum, his brothers and fellow pastors in the German Methodist Episcopal Church.
The German Methodist Church [of Wilton, Muscatine County, Iowa] was organized by branching off from the mother church located three miles south of Wilton, November 25, 1876, with Rev. F. W. Fiegenbaum as Pastor. The house of worship was built the same fall. The original membership was sixteen, which number still constitutes the congregation. There has been no change of minister. The Pastor has three country churches under his care. Connected with the Church is a Sunday school. The Church property is estimated at $2,000.
Source: History of Muscatine County, Iowa: Containing a History of the County, Its Cities, Towns, &c., Biographical Sketches of Citizens, War Record of Its Volunteers in the Late Rebellion, General and Local Statistics, Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, History of the Northwest, History of Iowa, Map of Muscatine County, Constitution of the United States, Miscellaneous Matters, &c., &c. (Chicago, Illinois: Western Historical Company, 1879); page 577.
Source: The Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Missouri); Friday, 9 September 1892 (vol. 28; no. 15); page 3, column 1.
The peripatetic nature of Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum's work for the German Methodist Episcopal Church, which preferred its circuit preachers to serve an appointment for no more than a few years, has made it difficult to create an accurate chronology of his life. The emerging picture looks something like this:
- 19 December 1793
- Friedrich Wilhelm's father, Adolph Heinrich Fiegenbaum, was born at Ladbergen, Grafschaft Tecklenburg (in northwestern Germany).
- 5 March 1797
- Friedrich Wilhelm's mother, Christine Elisabeth Peterjohann, was born. The year of birth may also have been 1795 or 1796. The exact place is not known; either Ladbergen or Lengerich, Grafschaft Tecklenburg, (in northwestern Germany).
- 25 October 1820
- Adolph Heinrich Fiegenbaum and Christine Elisabeth Peterjohann were married in the evangelical church at Ladbergen, Province of Westphalia, Kingdom of Prussia. It appears that following their wedding, they settled in the Hohne section of nearby Lengerich, Christine's home town.
- 10 April 1830
- Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum, son of Adolph Heinrich and Christine Elisabeth (Peterjohann) Fiegenbaum, was born at Lengerich, Province of Westphalia, Kingdom of Prussia. 1 Three children had been born before Friedrich and two more would follow him. In his adult years he was commonly referred to by his first given name - Friedrich or Frederick or Fred.
- 18 April 1830
- Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum was baptized in the evangelical church at Lengerich (see the letter reproduced, above).
- 13 August 1832
- Louisa Otto was born at Venne, Osnabrück, Kingdom of Hannover.
- The Otto family emigrated from Osnabrück when Louisa was about 9-12 months old. The family stopped first in Warren County, Missouri. Some years later they relocated to Washington County, Iowa, and then settled near Wapello, in Louisa County, Iowa.
Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum's family – his father (age 40), his mother (age 37), and the five children (ages 13 years to about 9 months) – emigrated from Lengerich, Kingdom of Prussia. Friedrich recalled the event later in his life:
When I was four years old, we left the old country, set sail for New Orleans, North America. Nine weeks we were on the sea where we saw nothing but the blue sky and water and ship in which we lived at that time. The last part of June 1834 we landed in New Orleans. Then we went up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri which was then but a small town where we landed about third or fourth of July 1834. From there we traveled west by wagon and about sixty miles crossed the Missouri River at St. Charles, then west on the north side till we struck the line of Warren County, or near it, where we lived about seventeen years. 2
The family appears to have settled initially in Femme Osage Township, St. Charles County, Missouri, however, the possibility that they lived just over the line in Charrette Township, Warren County cannot be ruled out.
- 2 January 1837
- A brother, Heinrich Rudolph, was born in St. Charles County, Missouri. The birth and his baptism on 5 February 1837 were recorded in the baptismal register of the German evangelical church at Femme Osage, Missouri (founded in 1833 as the deutsche evangelische Kirchegemeinde and known since 1957 as Femme Osage United Church of Christ). As an adult, he was most often known as H. R. or Rudolph.
- 2 April 1838
- In St. Charles County Circuit Court, the father, Adolph Fiegenbaum declared his intention to become a citizen of the USA.
- June 1840
The federal census of 1840 illustrates the difficulty of establishing where the Fiegenbaum-Peterjohann family resided during their early years in Missouri. The census provides the name of only the head of each household and then a count of the number of people of each sex in the household who fall into a range of ages. For example, the number of males less than 5 years of age; the number of males 5 years to less than 10 years of age; the number of males 10 years to less than 15 years of age; etc.
The census enumerated eight people living in the "A. Frigenbottom" household in Femme Osage Township, St. Charles County, Missouri.
The census also enumerated eight people living in the "Rudolph Feigenbaum" household in Charrette Township, Warren County, Missouri (in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article in 1898, Herman Wilhelm Fiegenbaum referred to his father as Rudolph).
In each enumeration, the total number of male and female members of the households was what would be expected based on information provided by other genealogical sources, but the distribution among age groups raises questions which have not yet been answered.
- 1 October 1840
- Adolph Fiegenbaum obtained a federal land patent in St. Louis, Missouri for 40 acres of land in St. Charles County, east of the village of Femme Osage.
- The extended family of one of Friedrich Wilhelm's uncles (his father's elder brother), Johann Heinrich Fiegenbaum, numbering a group of at least 13 people, emigrated from Ladbergen, Province of Westphalia, Kingdom of Prussia. They landed at Baltimore, Maryland on 28 June 1841 and settled in the area of Hopewell and Holstein, in neighboring Warren County, Missouri (see the passenger list of the bark, Leontine).
- 1 August 1844
- Friedrich's father obtained a federal land patent in St. Louis, Missouri for 81.47 acres of land in the area of Hopewell and Holstein, in neighboring Warren County, where his uncle's family had settled.
- An article about the family in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1898 quoted Friedrich's brother, Rev. Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum: "Mother had in former years admonished us against the doctrine of the Methodists, but this preacher changed her mind. She embraced the creed, as did all of us, in brief time. That was in 1844...."
- about 1845
About this time when I was fifteen years old, I went away from home to find work. I went to St. Louis. It was the first time I left home to work out. ...I found work in a brickyard, and board in a common boarding house where there was a bar-room. I was much tempted to drink with the company, but God helped me to withstand. So I did not become a drunkard, thank God. In the fall I took sick, typhoid fever I think it was. I had to leave St. Louis, went home. Got very sick. Parent's doctors all had given me up to die. I heard them say so, in the room I was in. 3
- February 1846
- Under the influence of Rev. Franz Horstman, Friedrich Wilhelm was converted in Warren County, Missouri and formally joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. 4
- 1846 – 1848
- Friedrich was a class leader, an exhorter, and a local preacher near his home Warren County, Missouri. In spite of his increasing involvement with the Church, he resisted becoming a full-fledged pastor. 5
- The 1850 U.S. Census found the Fiegenbaum-Peterjohann family living in Wapello Township, Louisa County, Iowa. According to the enumeration, the household was composed of Adolph, age 57, a farmer; Christine, age 54; Frederick, age 21, a day laborer; and, Rudolph, age 14.
- 11 April 1852
- Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum and Louisa Otto were married at Wapello, Louisa County, Iowa.
- 1853 – 1854
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois.
- 5 July 1853
- A daughter, Wilhelmine Christine Elizabeth, was born at Peoria, Illinois.
- 1854 – 1855
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Cedar Lake, Lake County, Indiana. 6
- 7 March 1855
- A son, Adolph Heinrich, was born at Cedar Lake, Indiana.
- 1855 – 1857
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Sherrill Mount (now called simply Sherrill), Dubuque County, Iowa.
- 6 September 1856
- A son, Louis, was born. He died six days later and was buried at Sherrill, Iowa. 7
- 1857 – 1859
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois. There were four appointments on this circuit.
- 11 October 1857
- A daughter, Lydia Maria, born at Freeport, Illinois.
- 1859 – 1860
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Salem, Dakota County, Minnesota. This was a large circuit with five appointments.
- 22 October 1859
- A son, Louis Theodore Stephan, was born at Salem, Minnesota.
- 1860 – 1862
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at First Church, St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.
- 9 November 1861
- A son, Theodore Johann, was born at St. Paul, Minnesota.
- 1862 – 1864
- Friedrich Wilhelm and his family lived at Woodbury, Washington County, Minnesota while he served a number of congregations in the area.
At the end of two years we moved to Woodbury – eight miles northeast of St. Paul. A circuit of six appointments, and for more money. I started over in Wisconsin. Here again we stayed our full time – two years. Thirty-five were added to the church – fine. Minnie was converted in our house one Sunday afternoon. Mama and she were reading the Sunday School lesson and had prayed together. 8
- September 1864
- At the first annual session of the newly formed Southwest German Conference at Washington Street Church, St. Louis, Friedrich Wilhelm was named presiding elder of the Burlington District.
- 16 December 1864
- A daughter, Emma Maria, was born at Woodbury, Minnesota.
- 1864 – 1866
- Friedrich Wilhelm served as the Presiding Elder of the Burlington District, of the Southwest German Conference of the Church. The family lived at Wapello, Louisa County, Iowa, not far from Friedrich's parents.
- 7 January 1865
- A son, Benjamin Friedrich, was born at Wapello, Louisa County, Iowa.
- 1866 – 1868
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor of the Wapello, Iowa circuit.
- 10 January 1868
- A son, Heinrich F., was born at Wapello, Louisa County, Iowa.
- 1869 – about 1880
It seems very likely that the family of Friedrich and Louisa Fiegenbaum lived in Polk County, Iowa from 1869 to about 1880. A brief biography of Friedrich and Louisa's son, Adolph Heinrich, as part of a selection of biographical sketches of residents of Crocker Township, Polk County, Iowa, was published in 1880 in The History of Polk County, Iowa, Containing a History of The County, Its Cities, Towns, &c., Biographical Sketches of Its Citizens….
The biography reported that Adolph had been a resident of the county since 1869. At the time, he would have been about 14 years old and it seems probable that he would have been living with his parents and siblings.
This was certainly the case one year later when the family of eleven was enumerated in Ward 3 of Des Moines, Iowa, in the 1870 U.S census.
The 1880 biography also reported that in 1880, Adolph was teaching in the local schools in addition to supervising the work on his father's farm near Ankeny, where Adolph lived.
- 1868 or 1869/1870
Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Des Moines, Iowa.
According to the 1870 U.S. census, the family lived in Ward 3 of Des Moines, Iowa. The household consisted of Frederick Fiegenbaum, age 39, born in Prussia, a U. S. citizen; Louisa Fiegenbaum, age 37, born in Prussia; Minnie Fiegenbaum, age 17, born in Illinois, attending school; Adolph Fiegenbaum, age 15, born in Indiana, attending school; Lydia Fiegenbaum, age 12, born in Illinois, attending school; Louis Fiegenbaum, age 10, born in Minnesota, attending school; Theodore Fiegenbaum, age 8, born in Minnesota, attending school; Emma Fiegenbaum, age 6, born in Minnesota, attending school; Benjamin Fiegenbaum, age 4, born in Iowa; Henry Fiegenbaum, age 2, born in Iowa; and William Fiegenbaum, age 6 months, born in Iowa in January 1870.
- 5 January 1870
- A son, Wilhelm Edward, was born at Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa.
- 13 June 1872
- Daughter Wilhelmine Christine Elizabeth Fiegenbaum and Mathew Sexauer were married at Ankeny, Polk County, Iowa.
- 1870 – 1873
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Polk City, Polk County, Iowa. The family lived 11 miles north of Des Moines.
- 1873 – 1876
- Friedrich Wilhelm took a leave of absence from the Church due to poor health. At some point, "we moved to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa to educate our children."
- 1876 – 1879/1880
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Wilton, Cedar and Muscatine Counties, Iowa.
- 11 July 1880
- Son Adolph Heinrich Fiegenbaum and Margaret McKee were married in Story County, Iowa.
- 1879/1880 – 1882
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Canton, Lewis County, Missouri.
- 27 February 1881
- Daughter Lydia Maria Fiegenbaum and Francis Irwin Howard were married at Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa.
- 1882 – 1884
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Wathena, Doniphan County, Kansas. He transferred to West German Conference of the Church.
- Sept 1884 – Sept 1886
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Eudora, Douglas County, Kansas.
- about 1885
- Son Louis Theodore Stephan Fiegenbaum and Luella May Shumway were married at Geneva, Fillmore County, Nebraska.
- 1886 – 1888
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Clay Center, Clay County, Kansas.
- about 1885
- Daughter Emma Maria Fiegenbaum and Jacob Miller were married at Eudora, Douglas County, Kansas.
- 1888 – 1891/1892
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas.
- Sept 1892 – Sept 1896
- Friedrich Wilhelm was pastor at Oregon, Holt County, Missouri.
- 20 December 1893
- Son Benjamin Friedrich Fiegenbaum and Myrtle Maud Darling were married at Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas.
- Friedrich Wilhelm was superannuated, suffering from "Lagrippe or Malaria Fever."
- The Fiegenbaum-Otto family was living at Oregon, Holt County, Missouri. According to the 1900 U.S. census, the household in the West Ward consisted of Fred Fiegenbaum, head of household, born April 1830 in Germany, age 70, emigrated to USA in 1834 (resident of USA for 66 years), a naturalized citizen, married for 48 years; and Louisa Fiegenbaum, wife, born August 1833 in Germany, age 66, married for 48 years, mother of 10 children (9 of whom were still living).
- 3 October 1900
- Son Heinrich F. Fiegenbaum and Nellie Blance Montgomery were married at Oregon, Holt County, Missouri.
- 8 October 1901
- Son Wilhelm Edward Fiegenbaum and Maude Mary Montgomery were married at Oregon, Holt County, Missouri.
- October 1902
- Friedrich and Louisa moved from Oregon, Missouri to Wathena, Doniphan County, Kansas.
- The Fiegenbaum-Otto family was living at Wathena, Kansas. According to the 1910 U.S. census, the household consisted of Frederich W. Fiegenbaum, head of household, age 80, born in Germany, immigrated to USA in 1834, married for 58 years, retired; and Louisa Fiegenbaum, wife, age 77, born in Germany, immigrated to USA in 1834, married for 58 years.
- 30 November 1911
- Louisa (Otto) Fiegenbaum died at Wathena, Doniphan County, Kansas. She was buried in Bellemont Cemetery, at Wathena.
- 27 February 1914
- Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum died at Wathena, Kansas. He was buried in Bellemont Cemetery, at Wathena.
Notes to Chronology
Some U.S. sources give Friedrich's place of birth as the village of Ladbergen. However, he himself reported in his autobiographical letter to his children that he was born at nearby Lengerich. Researchers of church records in Germany confirm this. They note that the father, Adolph Heinrich Fiegenbaum, was born and raised at Ladbergen, but following his marriage to Christine Elisabeth Peterjohann, the couple moved to Lengerich, his wife's home town. The couple's first five children were born at Lengerich. The sixth and last child, Heinrich Rudolph, was born after the entire family had immigrated to Missouri.
In the transcription of the autobiographical letter I have received, Friedrich Wilhelm stated that he was born on 11 April, but the correct date is 10 April, as confirmed by the letter reproduced at the top of this page.
The quote is from Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum's autobiographical statement. See More Resources, below, for additional documentation. Of particular note: Adolph Fiegenbaum's Declaration of Intention, a biographical sketch of Heinrich Hermann Fiegenbaum, and recollections from Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum in an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1898.
See Friedrich Wilhelm's autobiographical letter to his children.
For more on his conversion, see Friedrich Wilhelm's autobiographical letter to his children.
A local preacher in the Methodist Church is a lay pastor, a member of the community who has no official pastoral work and who serves informally without compensation from the church.
For Friedrich Wilhelm's struggle accepting his call, refer to his autobiographical letter.
In his autobiographical letter to his children, Friedrich writes that he was sent to Clear Lake, Indiana, forty miles south of Chicago in Lake County, Indiana. Clear Lake is located in Steuben County, in the extreme northeast corner of the state and over 190 miles due west of Chicago (that does not include the distance dropping down and around the south end of Lake Michigan). On the other hand, Cedar Lake is to be found in Lake County, directly south of Chicago.
Cedar Lake is the posting mentioned in his biographical sketch (see above).
Moreover, a biographical sketch of Friedrich's son, Adolph Heinrich (born in 1855), published in 1880, states that Adolph was born in "Lake county, Indiana."
See Dubuque County Genealogy. "Sherrill Methodist Cemetery " [online database]. Compiled by Vicki Schlarman and Tom Schlarman, 7 October 2001. Accessed 20 March 2005.
This is a transcription of gravestones in the church cemetery at 5501 South Mound Road, Sherrill, Iowa. Listed is: Louis Fiegenbaum; son of Rev. F. and L. Fiegenbaum; died 12 September 1856, age 6 days; buried in the Sherrill Methodist Church cemetery - section A, row 5, stone 7.
See Friedrich Wilhelm's autobiographical letter.