Family matters

I enjoyed “Uncovering History,” your June/July Lutheran Witness article about Pastor Biltz.

I always appreciate your historical articles. Perhaps you could provide a little more information about Pastor Biltz’s family. It was interesting that Biltz’s daughter married into the Walther family. Does Biltz have any descendants? Did he have other children? The gravestone you pictured named two sons who died young, at 26 and 25. One apparently was a pastor. Do you know anything about them? I’m always interested in families of these noteworthy people. It brings out their humanity somehow.

Claire Siebert
New Fairfield, Conn.

We asked Rev. Marvin Huggins, Concordia Historical Institute interim director, to fill us in on the Biltz family. Here is his reply. –Ed.

“In 1849, Biltz married Marie von Wurmb (d. 10 July 1891), a former classmate from the log cabin school in Perry County. They had 13 children, of whom seven survived to adulthood. Of these, three were daughters: Clara (b. 1851), who married Martin L. Wyneken (son of F.C.D. Wyneken); Bertha (b. 1853), who married Ferdinand G. Walther (son of C.F.W. Walther); and Maria (b. 1864), who remained unmarried and cared for her father in his old age. The adult sons were Theodore Julius (1854–1881), who served as pastor in Ottawa and Morris, Ill.; Adolph Wilhelm (b. 1856); and Julius Friedrich (1860–1919), a layman who helped establish St. John’s College in Winfield, Kan. One more son, Gustav Heinrich (1865–1890), also appears in the surviving correspondence.

“We have more information on the Biltz genealogy in our files. A Biltz descendant was at the dedication of our new museum at the LCMS International Center in St. Louis July 25. She indicated that there is one known living descendant who still bears the Biltz surname. Several children died during the Civil War period, and there is a note from Biltz’s diary about one of them in the flipbook in the museum exhibit. Maria was born about the time of the Oct. 10, 1864, Confederate attack on the Concordia, Mo., settlers. The diary notes postponed plans for her baptism while they were in hiding in the woods, eventually accomplishing the baptism a few days later.”


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