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Peters/Niermann, Wilk, Wukasch Connection

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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 8:23 pm    Post subject: Peters/Niermann, Wilk, Wukasch Connection Reply with quote

While researching the family of Rudolph Peters, a teacher at Davis School in the 1890s, I ran across an unusual convergence of the families of three teachers who taught at St. Paul's Elementary Schools.

St. Paul's called Rudolph as a regular teacher for the school north of Davis Creek in January 1888 and in April of that same year he married Marie Kuecker Niermann. Marie was a widow, having previously married Wilhelm Niermann on Feb. 27, 1881. Wilhelm died on Aug. 21,1882, leaving Marie pregnant with a son, Wilhelm H. G., born in Jan. 1883. Rudolph and Marie were blessed with five more children, Johannes, Martin, Theodor, Emil, and Dorothea; however, Dorothea died as a 7 month old infant.

Checking the 1900 Freedom Township census, one can find Rudolph, Marie, and their four sons (Dorothea was not yet born); but stepson Wilhelm is not listed with the family. Checking the 1900 census records further, one finds Wilhelm H. G. Niermann in the enumeration for Addison, IL attending the 'Ev. Luth. Teacher's Seminary' there. For those not familiar with that teacher's college, it was relocated to Addison from Ft. Wayne, IN through the efforts of Rev. Adolf A.G. Franke, the first full-time pastor at St. Paul's, who was called to Addison from Concordia in 1856. The school later became River Forest and is now known as Concordia College Chicago.

An extract from the Addison census records is shown below. What is particularly interesting are two other names just above William's in that listing. One is Emil Wilk, son of Teacher Wilk who was teaching at St. Paul's the same time as Rudolph. More information about the Wilk family is posted at Teacher Wilk Family. Teacher Wilhelm Wilk first lived in Wisconsin where he and his first wife had 10 children. She died giving birth to Emil leaving Wilhelm with a large number of young children to care for. Because Teacher Wilk was unable to cope with this, he had the children placed with various relatives. Emil and another brother were cared for by their Ernst grandparents in Mequon, WI.

The third name of interest is Joseph Wukasch. He came to Concordia and replaced Teacher Peters at Davis School. Later, Joe Wukasch moved to the Wilk School in Concordia, serving St. Paul's Elementary School his entire career for a total of 52 years. Many of us remember him as our 7th/8th grade teacher and principal when we attended St. Paul's.

Extract from 1900 Addison, IL census records
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