Monday, February 27, 2017

Was Emma Catholic or Lutheran?

L: St. Joseph's Catholic Church
R: St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica
Galveston, Texas
Pics taken Aug 2016; Collage: Feb 2017
© Copyright 2016-17 Caroline M. Pointer

Just like I knew her tombstone was there, I knew my Great Grandmother Emma had lived and died in Galveston, Texas, but other than who she married and the children she birthed, I didn't know much else about her.

But I so desperately wanted to know more.

So, I started digging.

(In records. I didn't dig-up her grave ... Do you think that might help? Just kidding. Sorta. Did I mention 'desperate'? ;) )

Born 14 Feb 1857, Emma's parents were Otto Schleicher and Bertha Schumann and she was baptized a little after her 14th birthday, 30 Mar 1871, at the First Lutheran Church in Galveston. [1]

Original Baptismal Font, St. Joseph's Catholic Church,
© Copyright 2016 Caroline M. Pointer

However, all of her children, including my grandfather Big Paw Paw (Joseph Marschall), were baptized at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. [2] When I toured St. Joseph's last summer, I learned that it served the German community, specifically the German farmers and others in the German working class in Galveston. All of the details on the ceiling in the church were painted to make it look like carved wood detail instead of it being actual carved wood detail.

And it turns out Emma and John were married in St. Mary's Cathedral (Catholic, now a Basilica) in Galveston after obtaining a dispensation from the bishop. [3, 4] Emma was not Catholic and in order to marry John Marschall, who was Catholic, they had to ask for special permission to marry. What's interesting to note here is that Emma did not decide to become Catholic in order to marry John, and that John didn't decide to become Lutheran to marry Emma. (Something to ponder in the wee hours of the night...)

Emma Marschall's tombstone,
Lakeview Cemetery, Galveston, Texas.

After Emma died 30 Jun 1928 in Galveston, she was buried in Lakeview Cemetery. [5, 6] Interestingly, her burial record appears in the First Lutheran Church's records.

I find that curious, especially since her parents — Bertha Schumann and Otto Schleicher (Listed as "Oston" on the marriage record.) — are married 28 Oct 1846 in Galveston by a Methodist Episcopal missionary, Henry P. Young [7] (a.k.a., Heinrich P. Jung, a missionary from the Methodist Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas).

And as mentioned, Bertha has Emma baptized at the First Lutheran Church in 1871. I've not found any other church records for Bertha. (Note: I said "church" records. I've found out quite a bit about her in other records. More to come later!)

However, both Bertha's and Emma's choices in churches seem to have one thing in common — they offered services in the German language. Kind of important considering Bertha immigrated to Texas from Köthen in the Duchy of Anhalt (Prussia) probably arriving 8 days before she married Otto, who emmigrated from Görzig, near Köthen, probably on the same ship. [8] Gee, did they know each other before getting on the ship? Or did they meet during that 3-month voyage? But I digress...

So, it seems Emma was, indeed, Lutheran, and not Catholic. But her mother and her husband John Marschall had been Prussian and, more importantly, they spoke German.

While I don't know if Emma spoke it fluently, it's not a stretch of the imagination to believe Emma probably spoke at least some German, especially since her husband spoke it as well. I wouldn't be surprised if she spoke both German and English fluently.

Not surprisingly, her family's language (and her friends) probably influenced her choices of where she worshiped, and her marriage to a Catholic certainly influenced her to have their children baptized, at least, in the Catholic Church.

Makes me wish I had taken German in high school instead of French. For my senior year of high school, I had registered for French 3, but they put me in German 1 because the pre-requisite of 10 students didn't register for French 3. (No idea why. *snort*) But even though the German teacher begged me to stay in German 1 (I'd made a 100 on our first quiz.), I chose to switch out of it into Sociology because after taking 9 years of Spanish and 2 years of French, I didn't want to start another language right before graduating. I regret that now.

However, I'm thinking of taking a German language class locally. Because why not? (I also love German food. It'd be great if I could find a German language/German cooking class, but I'll settle for a German language class, a German restaurant, a German cookbook, YouTube videos, and some spare time...*snort*)

And I also need to visit the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Galveston to take some pictures. You know, to complete my collection. ;)

Which brings me to an upcoming blog post teaser: Emma had a sister who lived to be an adult and at least two other siblings who didn't. More on them and their parents, my 2nd great grandparents, later. But her sister's place of worship changes too. And it's a different church than any listed above. Oh, these Schleicher women!



1. "Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940," indexed database and digital image, Ancestry ( : accessed 6 May 2016), Texas > Galveston > First, Baptisms, page 118 (image 712 of 1592), Emma Schleicher entry, 1871; citing original data in: Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. ELCA, Birth, Marriage, Deaths. Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Chicago, Illinois.

2. Josephum Marschall baptism entry (1893); certified translation issued 2016 by Lisa May, Archivist, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Archives, Houston, Texas, citing vol 1, p. 252. Privately held by Caroline M. Pointer, address for private use.
3. Marschall-Schleicher marriage entry, (1880); certified photocopy of entry issued 2016 by Lisa May Archivist, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Archives, Houston, Texas, citing St. Mary's Cathedral, volume 7, p. 10, second entry. Privately held by Caroline M. Pointer, address for private use. 
4. Johanneni Von Marschall-Emilium Schleicher, dispensation granted, 13 January 1880, unpaginated entry; "Marriage Dispensations, Galveston," Dispensation Files; Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Archives, Houston, Texas.
5. "Texas Deaths, 1890-1976," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 December 2012), Emma Marschall, 30 Jun 1928; citing certificate number 25815, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2,114,541.
6. "Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940," indexed database and digital image, Ancestry ( : accessed 21 Apr 2016), Texas > Galveston > First, Burials, page 392 (image 1449 of 1592), line 135, Emma Marschel entry, 1928; citing original data in: Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. ELCA, Birth, Marriage, Deaths. Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Chicago, Illinois.
7. Galveston County, Texas, Record of Marriages, vol. A (1838-1850): 79, 1846 entry for Oston Schleicher and Bertha Schumann; County Clerk's Office, Galveston. Texas State Library and Archives microfilm No. 1008865. 
8. Chester W. and Ethel H. Geue, A New Land Beckoned: German Immigration to Texas, 1844-1847 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1982), 141. The authors obtain their information from multiple sources including German Immigration Contracts, passengers lists in various archives, etc. Bertha's mother, brothers, and future husband are all listed in this book as coming to Texas in 1846 on the Margaretha ship. I haven't obtained the passenger lists to ascertain if Bertha or her sisters are listed specifically. 


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