17 June 2012

Adolph Heinrich Fiegenbaum

1855 — 1930

Biographical Information

FIEGENBAUM A. H. - Farmer, section 14, P. O. Ankeny. Was born March 7, 1855, and is a native of Lake county, Indiana.  His father being a Methodist minister his residence in various places was necessarily of short duration.  He received his education at the Iowa Wesleyan University, where he attended school for three years.  Since 1875 he has been engaged in teaching in this county, having been a resident here since 1869.  He is at present (1880) living on his father's farm, near Ankeny, and besides teaching the schools of that village, superintends the work on the farm.  In 1879 he was elected justice of the peace for Crocker township, being perhaps the youngest official occupying that position in the county.

Source: The History of Polk County, Iowa, Containing a History of The County, Its Cities, Towns, &c., Biographical Sketches of Its 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 Polk County, Constitution of Iowa, Miscellaneous Matters, &c., &c. (Des Moines, Iowa: Union Historical Company, 1880) page 989.

Adolph Heinrich's father, Rev. Friedrich Wilhelm Fiegenbaum, wrote an autobiographical letter to his children, in the course of which he mentions the farm that this biographical sketch mentions.

The Des Moines circuit was divided.  My health failed again.  I was not able to take charge and do full work.  For that reason I took Polk City and a settlement appointment as my field of labor [from 1870-1873].  … I moved in a small house on the open prairie eleven miles north of Des Moines – 160 acres which I had bought as a home as I did not think I could ever do full work again.  I again took up three new appointments; had then five appointments.  The first year all went well.  But after conference, part of the church members rebelled.  Said it was again the discipline.  …  Then in the spring I was struck by paralysis of the head.  I still preached as best I could.  I had hard time fearing all the time, it might be any time.  I had to take one of the boys with me to drive the team, if I should fall over.  I, with the help of the boys and girls too, farmed the best we could.  Nine children, all small and at home, but we lived through the first years as best we could.  God was good.  God was our friend and help in time of need.  That second year was better.  We had good crops – made hay and sold it.  Stock cleared $300.  I did not preach regular, but we had good prospect to make money – at least $1,000.  All this time I tried to get reconciled with the rebellious people, but the devil would not let them.  My health was poor again and we concluded to move away to get peace.  Our daughter Minnie got married [on 13 June 1872] to Mathew Sexauer – a farmer.  We had to leave her.  Then we moved to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa to educate our children.  I did some farming, my health then recovered.  I felt better then.  Here the same old call again.  Go preach the gospel; let others feed hogs and cattle.  …  I did go – Wilton, Iowa in 1876.  Here again God wonderfully blessed my labors.  …  Here too at Wilton, Adolph left home and went to Des Moines to work farm which we left.  Have it yet.  Where we – Mother and I – get bread and butter in our old age.  Thank God that we have that yet.

Minor Robberies Reported.

A gold bar breastpin has been stolen from the residence of Adolph H. Fiegenbaum, No. 408 East Capitol street.

Source: Washington Post, Monday, 14 January 1889; p. 8, column 2.


FIEGENBAUM - On Wednesday, June 18, 1930, at 9:50 a. m., at the residence of his daughter, 3810 Jenifer street northwest, ADOLPH H., beloved husband of Margaret Fiegenbaum.

Notice of funeral hereafter.

Source: Washington Post, Thursday, 19 June 1930; p. 3, column 1.

Adolph Heinrich Fiegenbaum and his wife, Margaret (McKee) Fiegenbaum, were buried in the Van Ness Section, Lot 260 East, of Oak Hill Cemetery (3001 R Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.).


7 March 1855
Adolph was born at Cedar Lake, Lake County, Indiana.
His father was a pastor at Sherrill Mount (now called simply Sherrill), Dubuque County, Iowa.
6 September 1856
A brother, Louis, was born. He died six days later and was buried at Sherrill, Iowa. 1 
His father was a pastor at the Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois circuit.
11 October 1857
A sister, Lydia Maria, was born at Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois.
His father was a pastor at Salem, Dakota County, Minnesota, a large circuit with five appointments. On 22 October 1859 a brother, Louis Theodore Stephan, was born at Salem, Minnesota.
His father was pastor at First Congregation, St. Paul, Minnesota. On 9 November 1861, a brother, Theodore Johann, was born at St. Paul, Minnesota.
His father was a pastor at Woodbury, Washington County, Minnesota, a circuit of six appointments, which probably included several congregations in Wisconsin. On 16 December 1864 a sister, Emma Maria, was born at Woodbury, Minnesota.
His father was Presiding Elder of the Burlington, Iowa District, of Southwest German Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The family lived at Wapello, Louisa County, Iowa. On 7 January 1866 a brother, Benjamin Friedrich, was born at Wapello.
His father was a pastor of the Wapello, Iowa circuit. On 10 January 1868 a brother, Heinrich F., was born at Wapello.
1869- about 1880

The biographical sketch, above, reports that Adolph moved to Polk County, Iowa in 1869. It would appear that he lived in the county until at least 1880, except for the three years while attending Iowa Wesleyan University at Mount Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa.

According to the 1880 U.S. census, Adolph, age 25, was the head of a household in Crocker Township, Polk County, Iowa. Living in the household with him was Lydia, a sister (age 21), and Benjamin, a brother (age 14); also, P. Howrick (age 41) and Christina Howrick (age 31), both born in Denmark, and their daughter (age 3), Kate, born in Iowa.

11 July 1880
Adolph married Margaret McKee in Story County, Iowa.
17 June 1883
A daughter, Grace Gertrude Fiegenbaum, was born in Washington, D.C. to Adolph and Maggie.
Adolph lived in Washington, D.C., where he was an employee in the War Department.
  • An article in the Washington Post on 14 January 1889 mentioned that "A gold bar breastpin has been stolen from the residence of Adolph H. Fiegenbaum, No. 408 East Capitol street."
  • According to the 1900 U.S. census, Adolph Fiegenbaum (age 45), Maggie Fiegenbaum (age 38) and Grace G. Fiegenbaum (age 16) lived at 30 7th Street.
  • A city directory published in 1906 gave separate entries for Adolph H. Fiegenbaum, a clerk, and Grace G. Fiegenbaum, a teacher. Both resided at 30 7th Street, NE.
19 November 1913
George Wood Merwin Vinal (son of Washington Irving Vinal and Emily Merwin Wood) and Grace Gertrude Fiegenbaum were married at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, at Washington, D.C.
26 April 1914
According to a record in the parish registers of St. Mark's Episcopal Church (3rd Street, SE & A Street, SE; Washington, D.C.), Adolph H. Fiegenbaum was "confirmed by bishop in St. Mark's."
1 May 1916
The Washington Post, reporting on new officers of Episcopal churches in the District, noted that Adolph had been elected a vestryman at St. Mark's Episcopal Church (3rd & A Streets, SE).
18 June 1930
Adolph died at 9:50 a.m. at 3810 Jenifer Street, NW, the home of his married daughter. He was buried on 20 June 1930 in the Van Ness Section, Lot 260 East, of Oak Hill Cemetery (3001 R Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.).
21 July 1948
Margaret (McKee) Fiegenbaum died. She was buried on 23 July 1848 beside her husband in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Notes to Chronology

  1. See "Sherrill Methodist Cemetery." This is a transcription of gravestones in this cemetery by Vicki Schlarman and Tom Schlarman, 7 October 2001. Web site accessed 20 March 2005. Their work lists a Louis Fiegenbaum; son of Rev. F. and L. Fiegenbaum; died 12 September 1856, age 6 days. He was buried in the Sherrill, Dubuque County, Iowa Methodist Church cemetery - section A, row 5, stone 7.

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Brief Genealogy

Adolph Heinrich Fiegenbaum's family

Margaret McKee's family

Fiegenbaum - McKee family

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