1845-1924

February, 22 1845, Waldböckelheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.

March, 12 1924, Stolp, Pomerania (now Słupsk, Poland).

Wernigerode, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

Wilhelmina was the second of six children of pastor Karl August Schapper (1815–1898) and Amalie Weinrich (1816–1856).

In 1860, Karl Schapper became Professor and Director of the Royal Theological Seminary and Superintendent for Wittenberg. The family moved there to a house at the parish church square where Johann Bugenhagen had lived and where Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon had met. Wilhelmina spent her first years there in a girls’ school in Droyßig at Zeitz. The Wittenberg church music director and organist Carl Stein (1824–1902) gave her music theory and harmony lessons.

In 1865 Wilhelmina married August Koch (1836–1910) in the Wittenberg church, with her father officiating; she eventually gave birth to 10 children. In 1876 her family moved to Elberfeld, where August Koch received a Lutheran parish and later became the superintendent in office. During a visit in 1887 to her brother Karl, pastor at Groß Möringen, near Stendal, she composed the tune to Krummacher’s poem Stern, auf den ich schaue. At age 50, Wilhelmina went blind.

After August retired in 1906, the couple moved to Wernigerode. When August died in 1910, Wilhelmina went to live with her youngest daughter in Stolp, Pomerania.

  1. Étoile Splendide

where to get Koch’s photo