Rev. Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum
Sophia (Gusewelle) Fiegenbaum
Sophia (Gusewelle) and Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum
This photo was taken at Edwardsville, Illinois to mark the occasion of Sophia and William's Golden Wedding Anniversary, as the inscription on the back of the photo shows (see below). Bruce Fiegenbaum, William and Sophia's great grandson, has added the biographical note.
This transcription of the reverse side of the portrait of Sophia (Gusewelle) and Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum is not visible in the browser.
Golden Wedding Anniversary
Rev. William Fiegenbaum
The following handwritten note was penned by Bruce Fiegenbaum, William and Sophia's great grandson:
Rev. Fiegenbaum served as a minister at Immanuel Methodist Chruch, N. Main St. Edwardsville Ill.
Reverse side of the photo shown above
There are conflicting reports about the exact date when the marriage took place. Obituaries for Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum and Sophia (Gusewelle) Fiegenbaum, as well as an 1899 newspaper account of their golden wedding anniversary, report that they were married at St. Louis on 27 September 1849. However, a marriage record filed and recorded at St. Louis certifies that Rev. Henry Könecke married them on 1 October 1849.
Images of Immanuel Methodist Church appear elsewhere in our collection of photographs.
Fiegenbaum – Gusewelle family portrait
- In the front row, from left to right:
- Rev. Hermann Wilhelm Fiegenbaum; Lydia Mary (Fiegenbaum) Jacoby; Sophia (Gusewelle) Fiegenbaum.
- In the back row, from left to right:
- Amelila Bertha (Fiegenbaum) Blume; Dr. Julius Henry Fiegenbaum; Martha Lizette (Fiegenbaum) Lynch; Frederick Adolph Fiegenbaum; Dr. Edward W. Fiegenbaum.
Rev. Hermann Wilhelm & Sophia (Gusewelle) Fiegenbaum extended family.
Who; Where; When
This is a photo of the extended family of the Hermann Wilhelm and Sophia (Gusewelle) Fiegenbaum. It is believed that everyone had gathered at the home of Dr. Edward William Fiegenbaum, 304 Main Street, Edwardsville, Madison County, Illinois.
Exactly when the picture was taken requires better science than I have available to me. I am forced to fall back on assumptions and guesses. It would be easy to conclude that everyone had gathered together to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Wilhelm and Sophia, a notable event for the family. However, if my attempts to identify who is who in this photo are remotely accurate, it would appear that there are too many infants present for this particular family gathering to have taken place in the autumn of 1899. I am leaning towards the conclusion that the image was made between April 1894 and April 1895. Read on and see if you agree.
Wilhelm and Sophia
Rev. Hermann Wilhelm and Sophia (Gusewelle) Fiegenbaum are seated on chairs in the middle of the front row of the picture, on the walkway leading to the front steps.
Their appearance in the this photo more closely resembles their appearance in the family portrait immediately above than it does their appearance in the wedding anniversary photo at the top of this web page. I think it is easier to discern the difference with Wilhelm – the cut and shape of his hair and beard, and the lapels of his jacket (they are long and broad in the family portraits, but small and narrower in the anniversary photo).
The Lynch-Fiegenbaum Family
The family of Clay Hardin and Martha Lizette (Fiegenbaum) Lynch is the group of seven at the far right of the front row (notice the dark bodice of Martha's dress in this photo and also in the family portrait immediately above. Also, compare Clay in this picture with a photo of him taken in 1912). Matching the known birth order of Clay and Martha's children to the apparent ages of the five children in this group, it would seem that the first born child, Mina Leona Lynch, born in 1885, is standing next to her father, Clay. The child on his lap is probably Ethel Beryl Lynch, born in 1892. The girl standing between her parents is likely Julia B. Lynch, born in 1888. Just in front of Julia is the family's third child, Irwin Clay Lynch, born in 1890. The infant in her mother's lap is therefore likely to be Sophia Lynch, the fifth child in the family. She was born in April 1894.
Harris V. Lynch, the seventh child born to Clay and Martha, has observed that the photo must have been taken before 1900, for both he, born in 1904, and his brother, Edward Lynch, born in 1902, are nowhere to be found. This is an important clue to dating the photo.
The Fiegenbaum-Kriege Family
To the left of Wilhelm and Sophia is group of nine. The gentleman with the mustache seated in the front row would appear to be Frederick Adolph Fiegenbaum (compare him to the man in the family portrait, above). According to the facts known at this time, Frederick was the father of eight children. The eldest, William T. Fiegenbaum, was born in 1875; I would guess that he is seated at the far right of the back row of this family group. The young man on the far left of the back row of this family has been identified as George Edward Fiegenbaum, the second oldest child, born in 1876. The third child born into the family was Minnie O. Fiegenbaum, in 1878. I would guess that she is seated in front of George. Otto August Fiegenbaum, born in 1881, is probably the young boy in the light suit, standing in the second row directly behind his father. Standing to the left of Otto is probably his sister, Bertha Fiegenbaum, born in 1884. The sixth child, Charles Henry Fiegenbaum, was born in 1886; I believe he is standing next to his father. Julius Fiegenbaum, the seventh child, was born and died in 1888 and does not appear to be included in this photograph. The eighth child, Caroline Louise Fiegenbaum, known as Carrie, was born in October 1893; I believe she is the infant shown in this family group.
Amelia Maria Kriege was Frederick's first wife and the mother of the eight children. She died in April 1895. Frederick remarried in January 1903. I do not believe the woman seated next to Frederick and holding Carrie is the second wife, otherwise Edward Lynch, born in 1902, would be found in the picture. It seems reasonable to assume that the infant Carrie is seated in the lap of her mother, Amelia Maria (Kriege) Fiegenbaum. This is another important assumption or clue to dating the photo.
The Fiegenbaum-Pitts Family
On the left side of the front steps is the Dr. Julius & Sophie (Pitts) Fiegenbaum family. Julius Henry Fiegenbaum is holding a hat in his lap. The woman opposite him is no doubt his wife, Sophia Elizabeth Pitts. Julius and Sophia had two children: Harry Pitts Fiegenbaum, born in 1890 and died in 1891; and Bertha Clara Fiegenbaum, born in September 1891. I believe Bertha is wearing a white dress and is standing between her parents.
The Jacoby-Fiegenbaum Family
The family seated on the porch, behind the railing, seems to be the Rev. Henry & Lydia (Fiegenbaum) Jacoby family. Adolph Henry C. Jacoby is seated in the chair. His wife, Lydia Mary Fiegenbaum, is standing by the porch post. There were three children born to this couple and it seems probable that the youngest, Edgar Henry Jacoby, born in December 1893, is the infant in his mother's arms. I believe that Arthur David Jacoby, born in 1891, is on his father's lap and leaning on the porch railing. The girl standing on the porch on the opposite side of the post from Mrs. Lydia Jacoby could well be the eldest child of this family, Bertha Josephine Jacoby, born in 1887.
The Blume-Fiegenbaum Family
Seated on a chair on the porch, directly in front of the open door to the house, is Amelia Bertha Fiegenbaum. She was the wife of Rev. Charles Frederic Blume, the gentleman seated on the steps with the full, dark beard. This couple had four children, but I have very little information about any of them beyond their names. The infant in his mother's arms might be any one of the four: Julius H. Blume, Clarence Edwin Blume, Florence M. Blume, or Franklin L. Blume.
The Fiegenbaum-Gillespie-Springer Family
The gentleman seated lower down on the right side of the stairs, with the beard that appears to be touched with gray, is, I believe, Dr. Edward William Fiegenbaum. The boy seated at his knee is probably David William Fiegenbaum, his first born child whose mother, Julia B. Gillespie, died in 1886. In June 1890, Edward married his second wife, Mary Emma Springer, who is likely the woman seated on the steps in front of Dr. E. W. and her step-son, David. She was the mother of two children: Edna Fiegenbaum, born in 1891, is no doubt the girl in the white dress leaning against her father's right shoulder; and Margaret Fiegenbaum, born in February 1893, is probably being held by her mother.
The "Unknown" Boy
The small boy standing boldly in the middle of the steps, immediately behind Grandmother Sophia, is my "orphan." If I have been correct in all of my other guesses, then I am led to believe this is one of the Blume children, about whom I have such incomplete information. His act of independence at the end of the 19th century is causing a ripple in the 21st century.
The Date, Again
How did I do? Will you give me a passing grade?
I think the presence of the four infants I have attempted to identify (Margaret Fiegenbaum, born in February 1893; Caroline Louise Fiegenbaum, born in October 1893; Edgar Henry Jacoby, born in December 1893; and Sophia Lynch, born in April 1894) make it unlikely that this family gathering took place in the autumn of 1899. Each of these children would have been much older than they appear in this photo.
The crux of the argument hinges on two important identities. If my attempts to name the members of the Lynch-Fiegenbaum family are correct — that the infant pictured in her mother's lap is Sophia — then the photograph could not have been taken before April 1894. And if I am not wrong about the members of the Fiegenbaum-Kriege family — especially that the "mother" is Frederick Adolph's first wife, Amelia Maria Kriege, who died in April 1895 — the photo could not have been taken after that date.
It would follow that the time frame is April 1894 to April 1895.
A Plea for Help
If you know where I went wrong and are able to correct me, I would be most grateful if you would contact me.