Wedding Memories: Emil L. Dammann and Lena Witt

On June 20, 1917, Emil L. Dammann and Paulina “Lena” Witt were married in Davenport, Iowa by Mayor John Barewald. The Daily Times newspaper account of the wedding mentioned that Mayor Barewald performed the ceremony in Plattdeutschen, or Low German, a German dialect located in Northern Germany. While Emil and Lena both were born in Scott County, Iowa, their families, like many others in the region, had immigrated from Northern Germany and spoke Low German at home and with neighbors.

Before or after the City Hall ceremony, Emil and Lena stopped to have their photograph taken at the Hostetler Studio in Davenport. Three images were saved onto glass negatives which, unfortunately, were damaged over the years.

DPL Volume 187, dpl15952_a.

Emil L. Dammann was born June 28, 1881 in Sheridan Township, Scott County, Iowa to Hans and Katherine Dammann who were farmers. As an adult, Emil started his own farm in Sheridan Township near Eldridge. On July 27, 1906, Emil married Dora Heldt in Davenport. The couple had one son and one daughter before Dora died the day after giving birth to another son in April 1913. Dora was buried in Pine Hill Cemetery in Davenport.

Paulina “Lena” Witt was born June 9, 1884 in Scott County, Iowa to Heinrich and Magdalena Witt. Lena was the oldest of 13 children born to the couple. By the age of 16, Lena was working as a housekeeper for family and friends in Scott and Clinton counties. Her marriage to Emil was her first.

DPL Volume 187, dpl15952_b.

In the photographs, Lena is wearing a light color short-sleeve summer dress that appears to be white. Her main jewelry is a choker of beads in a darker color. Emil is in a dark three button suit and matching vest. He has a white shirt and light color tie underneath the vest and jacket. The bride and groom are wearing a matching corsage/boutonniere made with what appears to be a fern and a carnation (or similar flower) with the flower head facing down. Lena carries a mixed bouquet of ferns and flowers that matches the corsage/boutonniere.

After the wedding (and photographs) the couple returned to Emil’s farm outside Eldridge without taking a honeymoon.

Emil and Lena farmed in Sheridan Township until 1947 when they retired and moved into the town of Eldridge. Lena died on the couple’s 37th wedding anniversary in 1954. Emil passed a little over a month later on July 31, 1954. They were buried in the Dammann plot in Pine Hill Cemetery in Davenport.

DPL Volume 187, dpl15952_c.

Fun fact, Emil’s daughter (and Lena’s stepdaughter) Adeline would grow up to marry Lena’s younger brother, Ferdinand Witt, on June 8, 1929. Ferdinand was 18 years younger than Lena and only 4 years older than Adaline.

(posted by Amy D.)

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One Response to Wedding Memories: Emil L. Dammann and Lena Witt

  1. Wow, wonderful memories indeed. Priceless.

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