Loose Creek parishioners share “Voices from the Past”


Pauline Bescheinen was excited to attend Immaculate Conception parish’s second “Voices from the Past” cemetery tour.

It brought back happy memories of friends and neighbors for the lifelong Loose Creek parishioner, who is 98.

The Sept. 29 tour drew history enthusiasts and friends of the parish to the old cemetery behind Immaculate Conception School, with headstones dating back to the mid-1800s.

Costumed reenactors in period dress shared stories about relatives and ancestors who are at rest under the soft earth.

The event was a fundraiser supporting the parish’s 175th anniversary history book and celebration, which is set for Oct. 10, 2020.

A parish committee has been working for over two years, collecting pictures and stories of early settlers and present-day families to tell how the parish and town have developed in tandem.

For the tour, nine families and individuals were selected to bring their history to life.

Their stories and the stories of 706 other families will be included in The Growing of Loose Creek, Volume IV.

Since 2017, the parish has put together a series of books, Volume I, II and III, telling of the parish and town history, not just in words but in hundreds of pictures.

The fourth and final volume will also include over 1,000 pictures of families, along with some parish history and color pictures of the church.

New beginnings

The first person whose story was introduced at the tour was of Anna Maria Aretz Porth, whose brother first came to the United States in 1834, purchasing land near Loose Creek.

Frances Rustemeyer gave the story of the wealthy Porth family.

Arriving in Loose Creek as newlyweds in 1865 were Carl and Josepha (Schmitz) Orscheln.

Their history was given by their great-grandson, Larry Orscheln.

Peter “August” Backes settled in Loose Creek in 1851 with his parents. Being an adventurous soul, he went to California for the “Gold Rush,” eventually returning to get married and raise his family at Loose Creek.

His great-grandson Paul Williams gave his narrative.

Widows’ might

The widow Wilhelmina Rehagen Sonnon Muehling Daube outlived three husbands and four of her 10 children, living to be almost 99 years of age.

She depended on a widow’s benefit from her husband, a Civil War veteran, to support herself in later life until her death.

Caroline Pearon described her life trails.

The last person to be laid to rest in the old cemetery was Louise Porting Lock, who was portrayed by her granddaughter Becky Hilkemeyer.

Her husband was killed in car accident in 1935.

She was a good cook and avid card player and made excellent homemade wine.

She had outlived four of her six children at the time of her death in 1974.

Portraying Maggie Muenks Haslag Dudenhoeffer, a lady who endured a lot of suffering in her short life, was Janice Haslag Muenks Backes, a distant cousin.

Mrs. Dudenhoeffer was the oldest of eight children and had seven children of her own.

She died at age 36 of a broken heart after losing her husband and six of those children.

Old family names

The Kliethermes family came to Loose Creek in 1855, beginning with Theodore and his brother.

Theodore fought in the Civil War, took up farming, married fellow German immigrant Mary Meier and raised a large family.

Great-granddaughters Rita Linhardt and Joanie Backes presented Theodore and Mary’s story.

Johann Krautmann, with his wife and children beside him, came to Loose Creek in 1842, buying land from the federal government and settling into life as a farmer.

Chris Boeckmann, a distant cousin told their story.

The Thora family was one of the earliest to come to Loose Creek in 1840.

Their son Henry’s story was narrated by Glenn Robertson, who owns their farm now.

He told of the family who lived in a dirt-floored home and seemed to shy away from the outside world.

For information about purchasing any of the The Growing of Loose Creek history, contact Janice Backes at (573) 619-8149.