Sunday, November 29, 2009

Numerical Growth of St John Church

Below is a table that was included in a booklet that was published in 1952 for the 75th anniversary (1877-1952) of St John Church. (The booklet belongs to Lee Meyer and was described in the previous blog post.)

Table of Numerical Growth of St John Church in Seward Nebraska

The image can be viewed and downloaded in larger sizes at this Flickr webpage.

The columns are labeled, from left to right, as follows:

Pastor

Year

Members Baptized

Members Communicant

Members Voting

Members in Armed Forces

Children Baptized

Juniors Confirmed

Adults Confirmed or Baptized

Total Gain From Without

Communed

Marriages

Burials

Language Used

Parochial School Pupils

Parochial School Teachers

Sunday School Pupils

Sunday School Teachers

Bible Classes Enrollment

Property Value in Thousands

Contributions - Work at Home

Contributions - Work At Large

Below are the 2nd through 13th columns (Year through Burials) for the successive pastors.

Pastor Grube (1877-1880) and Pastor Bode (1881-1883):


Pastor Koenig (1884-1890):


Pastor Mueller (1891-1894):


Pastor Becker (1895-1914):


[...continued...] Pastor Becker (1915-1934):


Pastor Heinicke (1935-1945):


Pastor Heinicke with Pastor Yauk (1946-1948):

Pastor Yauk and Pastor Spitz (1949-1951):

Photographs of St John Church in 1952

Lee Meyer has provided photographs from a booklet that he owns and that was published in 1952 for the 75th anniversary (1877-1952) of St John Church. Below are six of the booklet's pictures of the church. (I think that the last shows the church basement -- correct me if I am wrong.)

All the images that I have from this booklet are in this Flickr set, where you can view and download them in larger sizes.

The booklet has some other old photographs that I will show in future blog articles.

St John Church in Seward, Nebraska, in 1952

Flickr page


St John Church in Seward, Nebraska - Altar

Flickr page


St John Church in Seward, Nebraska - Balcony Organ

Flickr page


St John Church in Seward, Nebraska - Full Congregation

Flickr page


St John Church in Seward, Nebraska - Interior in 1952

Flickr page


St John Church in Seward, Nebraska - Basement

Flickr page

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Singing the Hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy"

The lyrics of the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy were written as a poem in 1826 by Reginald Heber, an English pastor. The music was composed in 1861 by another English pastor, John Bacchus Dykes.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

The first, third and fourth verses compose a rather intellectual meditation on the mystery of the Divine Trinity -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The third verse emphasizes the inability of humans to comprehend the Trinity's mystery -- Though the darkness hide Thee / Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see.

The second verse presents odd, dramatic, bizarre images -- saints casting down their crowns around a sea, and cherubim and seraphim falling down. This second verse is omitted from many performances of the song. Without the second verse, the hymn is rather meditative and intellectual; with the second verse, the hymn is rather esctatic and emotional.

The Trinity is emphasized lyrically by other triple concepts -- was, is and shall be -- power, love and purity -- earth, sky and sea.

Below is a conventional performance by Cristy Lane, which omits the second verse:

Below is an extremely meditative version by a choir called Master of the Chant, which sings only the first verse:

Below is an energetic performance by Mahalia Jackson, which includes the second verse:

Below the song is sung by a gospel-music group, The Kurt Carr Singers. The second verse is sung as a solo by the tallest, male singer.

The link below (I cannot embed the clip into my blog) features Judith Christie McAllister singing only the second verse as a solo. The rest of the performance is sung by her entire choir:

Judith Christie McAllister singing Holy, Holy, Holy.

Below is a zany video clip, sung by Steve Green, accompanied with a Celtic folk arrangement and illustrated with scenes from the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments.

Below is an amazing clip that shows an ecstatic sermon by evangelist Reinhard Bonnke at a huge religious service in Africa -- the audience numbers in many tens of thousands. The hymn is sung at the clip's very end.


Steve Sylwester sent me the following explanation.

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty was Hymn 246 in the The Lutheran Hymnal, Copyright 1941, which was used by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod while we were growing up. The lyric is based on Revelation 4:1-11:

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in Heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this."

At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.

Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.

From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.

Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings.

Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship Him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."

The "living creatures" are the "Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee" mentioned in the hymn's second verse. See the following links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_angelic_hierarchy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seraph
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherub
http://www.osl.cc/believe/rev2visi.htm

A Couple Video Clips of Concordia University

The following video is, in my opinion, an extremely attractive video about Concordia University for prospective students. Whoever did the clip deserves some praise.

And below is a video clip showing some scenes of the 2009 Commencement ceremony. It includes our star Faculty Lane kid, Jenny Mueller-Roebke.

The Commencement clip put the idea into my head that I should assemble some clips featuring the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy.

The 75th Birthday of the Seward Bandshell

On August 2,2009, Seward celebrated the 75th birthday of its bandshell.

Below is the Seward Municipal Band playing the Washington Post March at that birthday celebration.

Search for "Seward Municipal Band" on YouTube to find other performances in the bandshell.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

George Weller at Concordia in Seward

Below, after some introductory remarks, is the fourth group of excerpts of Clara Alvina Koenig's manuscript An Afterglow of Yesterday. The manuscript was described in this earlier blog article.

The first group of excerpts, about J. George Weller's mother, was in this blog article.

The second group of excerpts, about the Weller family's move from Louisiana to Indiana, was in this blog article.

The third group of excerpts, about the migration of German Lutherans from the area of Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Staplehust, Nebraska, was in this blog article.

The fourth group of excerpts, about the Weller family's move from Fort Wayne to Staplehurst, is in this blog article.

See also this blog article about the Wellers who lived at Concordia and this blog article about some descendents of George Weller.


In 1882, J. George Weller graduated from the Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, married Louise Katharina Clara Eirich in New Minden, Illinois, and then moved to Marysville (now part of Staplehurst), Nebraska, where he began serving as a Lutheran pastor at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The Reverend J. George Weller (Johann George Weller), who from 1894 until his death in 1924 served as the first director of  the Evangelical Lutheran School Teachers Seminary in Seward, Nebraska. This school eventually became Concordia Teachers College and now has become Concordia University.

(Flickr page)

In 1894 he moved to Seward to become the first director of the The Evangelical Lutheran School Teachers Seminary, which now has become Concordia University. He served in that position until he died in 1924.

The following passages are excerpted from Ms. Koenig's manuscript:


Now let us consider various factors which led to the founding of Concordia Teachers College at Seward. Here is a passage from the book The Story of Concordia, by Professor H. O. A. Keinath:

“At the back of these events there lay years of planning by which the dream of the pioneers of Lutheranism in Nebraska had at last come true. At that time the number of Missouri Synod congregations in Nebraska was growing by leaps and bounds. The liberal land policy of the United States Government in the preceding decades had attracted many settlers, especially of German descent. The homesteading privileges offered an opportunity to many poor immigrants for acquiring a sizable tract of land. Thus a promising field beckoned the Missouri Synod to send laborers into the harvest. Congregations sprang up everywhere.

Led by that pioneer of Nebraska Lutheranism, President J. Hilgendorf, an energetic group of pastors was active in organizing the scattered Lutherans into congregations. By 1894 the Nebraska District numbered one hundred pastors and twenty-one teachers who together served one hundred fifty congregations and eighty preaching stations. This represented a three hundred percent increase within the previous twelve years.

Due to this remarkable expansion, the thought of having a synodical institution within the boundaries of Nebraska seemed entirely justified. The initial steps in this direction were taken by the Nebraska District. At its session in 1889 this district seriously considered the question of founding a new institution. ...

After further discussion by the Nebraska District, the project was placed before the meeting of Missouri Synod in 1893, and this body decided that a new teachers seminary be founded ‘somewhere in Nebraska.’

Several towns of Nebraska were eager to harbor the new school in their midst. Blue Hill offered $100,000; Lincoln was ready with an offer of a 160-acre tract of land; Norfolk made several attempts to get the new institution. From Seward came a unique offer which was finally considered the best and was accepted. Four members of the Seward congregation had developed a plan by which the new school was not only to have a plot of ground but also sufficient funds to erect the first building. The names of these energetic planners deserve to be mentioned here: Messrs. O.E. Bernbecker, H. Diers, J.F. Goehner, and P. Goehner. These men bought a plot of undeveloped land on the outskirts of Seward, laid it out in lots, provided for some improvements, and then offered them for sale. From the profits of the sale the institution received a twenty-acre tract of land and $8,000 for the erection of a building. The lots were sold rather quickly and thus the land and the first building were acquired without any cost to Synod.”

Small wonder that Synod accepted the offer from Seward when we consider the economic disturbances of the “Nineties,” especially in our own state; due to a shortage of rainfall from 1880 to 1894, crops failed and many people left their farms in western Nebraska to return to the East while others had to depend on charity. The Nebraska legislature and sympathetic citizens in all parts of the country came to the rescue. In 1891, nearly 8,000 families in thirty-seven counties were in need of help. The panic of 1893 caused a scarcity of money, unemployment, low wages, strikes, and low-priced farm products. All of these tended to make conditions worse in an agricultural state. In 1895, about 30,000 families in two out of every three Nebraska counties would have suffered starvation and exposure if they had not been assisted by the State and by county boards. Food and clothing for the people, seed to plant crops, and feed for the livestock were distributed in sixty-one counties that year.

Keeping in mind “the hard times of the Nineties,” let us continue with The Story of Concordia by H.O.A. Keinath:

On August 29, 1894, a number of men who had attended the session of the Nebraska District at Hampton stepped off the Burlington train at Seward and trudged their way to the northeastern outskirts of the city where preparations had been made to lay the cornerstone of the new teachers seminary. A foundation wall of 44 by 44 feet placed in the middle of a cornfield may not have been a very inspiring sight, but the pioneer vision which characterized the inhabitant of the Middle West of those days could easily picture the growth of a stately plant from such a small beginning.

A little less than three months later, November 18, 1894, a large number of Nebraska people braved the cold and blustery wind and assembled again at Seward to dedicate the completed building to the service of the Lord. Since the first gathering, a three-story structure, now the southern half of the ‘Old Dormitory,’ had risen and proudly lifted its head above the prairie.

President J. Hilgendorf, remembered by all Nebraska Lutherans as the pioneer worker for the church in this territory, delivered the main sermon at this dedication, and, basing his words on the text of that Sunday, preached on this theme: ‘How the Lord Jesus on the last day will say also concerning this institution: ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Pastor H. Frincke of Lincoln preached an English sermon, and Judge Holland of Seward gave a secular address and in polished English spoke of the cultural benefits of this institution of learning.

One of the first students remembered that: “The day of the dedication was a dark, gloomy day, but the hearts of the participants were full of light and joy. The Arlington, Nebraska Band under the direction of Teacher Bernthal, furnished the music at the dedication.

The following is from an article that Professor Keinath wrote for the June 1934 issue of Concordia's magazine The Broadcaster.

The beginnings were small; thirteen students were willing to cast their lot with the new venture. The one building served as dormitory, administration building, music hall, dining hall, gymnasium, director’s residence, faculty residence, housekeeper’s residence, etc. etc., for there was only one building and the whole administrative personnel was composed of Professor G. Weller and his faithful wife, although the teacher of the local congregation, Mr. Herman Martin, gave some assistance in music.

How that undaunted spirit of so many of our synodical pioneers again and again steps before us in the records of their undertakings! When they needed a school, they started one; when they needed a Lehrerseminar [teachers seminary], they started one.

Were times economically auspicious in 1894? In the same issue of the Lutheraner in which the coming dedication of the new institution is announced, there is an appeal for the drought-stricken brethren of Nebraska. And a new Lehrerseminar in such times! One feels like hanging his head in shame when we, forty years later, incline to yield to defeatism that wails: ‘We can’t."

One of those first students wrote an article about his experiences during the first year at the seminary. The following are a few paragraphs of that article, which was published in the 40th Anniversary Edition of The Broadcaster:

The year 1894 was an important year for me. It was the year in which the seminary at Seward was built and dedicated. Rev. George Weller, from the Zion Congregation at Marysville, Nebraska, was elected as professor of the new institution. I came from the same congregation and Prof. Weller had been my teacher and minister.

Both, Prof. Weller and I, entered college on the same day; he as my professor and I as his pupil...

After dinner Prof. Weller entered and said to me: ‘Ed, du bist Seminar Aeldester!’ [Ed, you are the Seminar Elder.] What this meant I did not know, but soon found out, and kept on finding out for the next three years for every night Prof. Weller would give me an order to get the bread and meat for the following day. So every night I would trudge to town with a cart and get the necessary supplies...

We never had to go hungry. Prof. Weller would often come in at mealtime and ask; ‘Boys, what would you like for tomorrow?’ and if a young student would voice his wish he would say” ‘Ed, get that for tomorrow.’ ...

Did we have pillow fights? I should say yes! The next morning Prof. Weller (he and his family lived on part of the first floor) would buttonhole me and say: ‘Did you have a good time last night? Ed it is all right once in a while, but do not overdo it! See to that!’...

One more word about Prof. Weller. He was a real sport and enjoyed a humorous act. One of our boys found a dried up biscuit in the basement and threw it out the door, hitting Prof. Weller in the head. We all expected a reprimand but Prof. Weller just said, ‘That is all right’, and had a good laugh with us. Prof. Weller was a prince.

E.W. Gradoske

Excerpts from an interview with Mrs. George Weller (by Prof. Keinath) enlarge our picture of “campus” life during the first years:

Yes, we did live a rather unusual life that first year. We lived right with the boys; our rooms were on the first and second floors of the building, and the boys occupied the remaining rooms. In the basement we had a kitchen and dining room; classrooms were right among the other rooms.

The boys came to me with all kinds of troubles. When they cut their fingers they came to me just like to mother. I mended their clothes, cooked and baked for them, and did many other things. Of course, I had some help. Miss Bertram and Miss Fuerniss helped me during those early times. As the boys became more, there was surely a lot of work. But those girls were good workers. Why they baked as high as seventy-five loaves of bread a day. It seemed that during the first year we had such terrible dust storms; we sometimes could not put the dishes on the table until the boys were ready to eat, because the dust would settle so.

We had to get along as best we could. There were some plank sidewalks and many a time I walked around on them with one of my youngsters in my arms. There were no electric lights and no steam heat.

You know in those days every room had its own stove for heating and my husband would worry so about fires. He often stayed up very late just to make sure that all the fires had burned out before he retired. In the morning he often got up to build fires rather than have the boys do it. He was more or less of a janitor around the place, too.

One boy came to the institution with a hat that simply was impossible; we just could not let him be seen in that way. So Director Weller bought him a hat before he went to church the first time.

In the first year we had one real tall fellow who came in a suit that was too small from the start; and when he just kept growing and growing during the year he at last was just a sight. At one time the ladies aid had bought a suit for a very poor boy and the first time he wore it he fell over something and a long rip was the result. What was I to do? For the ladies wanted to see their new suit on the boy. So I patched it up as carefully as I could and presented him.

I remember that in one of the early years we had a baseball team, and they beat Germantown in a game. It made me feel so proud of them that I treated them to bananas for supper.

Things happened in those days. I got a great scare one day when one boy was rushed to me with blood spurting from three badly mutilated fingers. He with some others had found one of those torpedoes which the railroads use, took it to his desk, played with it, and it exploded in his hands. I immediately tried to stop the flow of blood and ordered some boys to hitch up the buggy. My husband was not at home and we had no telephones in those days. But we got the boy to the doctor, and everything turned out all right.

In closing, Prof. Heinath says:

It was time to leave. When the door had closed behind us we thought of Tabitha of The Book of Acts. She had plied her needle and thread in the interest of the kingdom of God. Here we had met another Tabitha who had done things that are small in the eyes of the world, but great in the building of God’s Kingdom.

And the words of the poet came to mind:

The healing of the world is in its nameless saints.

Each separate star seems nothing; but a myriad scattered stars

Break up the night and make it beautiful.

During the first years, the college students at Seward paid forty eight dollars a year for board and two dollars for fuel and oil. Each desk was equipped with an oil lamp to supply light for the evening study-periods. There was no hired janitor, but Prof. Weller and his students cleaned the various rooms. They also beautified the grounds, removing the debris left by the builders, leveling the ground wherever necessary, and planting trees. Each student planted one tree and watered it faithfully until it grew.

Shortly after the first building was completed, a barn was built “on the campus” to provide shelter for several cows and the professor’s horses and buggy. Some of the early students tied ribbons and flowers on the horns of the collegiate cows. One day, some of the students secretly interchanged the front and rear wheels of Prof. Weller’s buggy. Evidently Prof. Weller had more important things on his mind when he hitched his horses to the buggy. Although he thought it strange that he always seemed to be going uphill, the professor did not discover the joke until he had driven several miles.

When thirty students enrolled for the second year, a professorial house became a necessity. The Nebraska District furnished $2,300 for which a house was built in the fall of 1895. A second class was organized that year and Teacher F. Hackstedde of Omaha was engaged as assistant professor. The next year, Synod made him a regular professor.

As time went on, the institution was enlarged by a class being added every year until the classes numbered three. After completing three years of work at Seward, the students were expected to migrate to Addison for the remaining two years of study. In those days the teacher’s course in the Missouri Synod extended over five years, an arrangement which was terminated in 1908 when both Addison and Seward were enlarged to six-year schools./p>

But the plan of having Seward function only as a preparatory institution for Addison proved a failure. In its report to Synod the Board of Control found reasons to complain about the fact that too many students who finished the courses at Seward refused to go to Addison and discontinued their studies. It became evident that the only solution would be an enlargement of the institution so that the graduates might go directly into office...

By 1903 another professor was needed and Prof. G. Ritzmann was called. Thus there was a three-man faculty until the expansion of 1905 when the institution was elevated to the rank of a full teachers seminary.

A man who was to give almost twenty-five years of his life to the institution was then called in the person of Professor E. Strieter. He had been one of the candidates for the professorship to which Professor Weller was elected, and now was called from Cleveland to fill the vacancy created by the fact that Professor Hackstedde had resigned on account of ill health. Professor Strieter will be remembered by all who came into contact with him. His cheerful disposition, democracy of manners in his association with the students, his unfailing willingness to assume the manifold duties which the position of a professor of those pioneer days brought with it are traditions that will long remain alive...

By 1905 the institution could boast of an enrollment of seventy-eight students.

Professor Keinath continues:

By 1905 the delegates at the meeting of the Missouri Synod were convinced that this synodical child at Seward would live and should be adorned in slightly more expensive clothes. Properly urged by the Nebraska District and the local Board of Control, Synod decided that the institution should become a volles Lehrerseminar [full teachers seminary].

That meant a building program and the calling of more professors. The sum of $20,000 was granted for the erection of a new administration building, (now called the ‘Old Ad’), and another $6,000 for a service building, (now serving as a hospital). We may smile at these figures as we think of the $150,000 that were needed to erect our beautiful administration building twenty years later, but in those times this represented a real outlay, and the new buildings were appreciated as much as the more elaborate structures which came later.

But this building program could not be carried out immediately, since Synod demanded that two-thirds of the appropriated sums must be collected before building operations can be undertaken. So Professor Weller found himself with ninety-five students on his hands, and space enough for about half that number. The old dormitory to which an addition had been built some years before was packed with students, pianos, organs, classrooms, bedrooms, and the many facilities necessary for student life, and the first art which the newcomer had to acquire was to study under such conditions...

A decided increase in the number of faculty was demanded by the fact that the institution became a five-year school in 1906. During this year three men were added to the staff. Professors Karl Haase, H.B. Fehner, August Schuelke. Prof. Haase was called to take charge of the instruction in music in the various branches, a capacity in which he serves to this day. Prof. Fehner became the critic in the training school for a number of years but taught also in the institution. Professor Schuelke was active in a number of fields but as time offered more opportunity he gave most of his time to the sciences, and continued in this field up to his sudden death in 1932.

From Prof. Fehner’s reminiscences in the same issue of the college paper we gather that the service building was completed in 1906:

Our Concordia Teachers College at Seward experienced its first scholastic year as volles Lehrerseminar from 1906 to 1907. The local congregation had kindly consented to have one of its school-buildings, a small one-room frame structure, transported to the College Campus, where it was somewhat altered and then dedicated as the New Training School of the Concordia Teachers College. The enrollment of pupils increased from 35 to 110. The staunch supporter of our institution, the Reverend C.H. Becker, for many years chairman of the local Board, was often seen with a yardstick, measuring and planning how more room might be obtained without causing Synod any burdensome outlay. Small additions were made to the original structure, which served as training school for more than twenty-three years, when in 1929 the present adequate and spacious building was erected.

Other institutional buildings were equally primitive in 1906. Such a luxury as an administration building was then unheard of. The old dormitory, the first building erected, and the old refectory, now serving as hospital, contained respectively three and two so-called classrooms, which were in reality so many of the larger living-rooms. They contained enough benches for a small class of students, and besides a table and a chair for the instructor. Blackboards, maps, charts, etc., were not in evidence. As the lack of such teaching aids was keenly felt, a few modest purchases were undertaken. It was not an uncommon sight in those early days to see an instructor carry under his arm a two by four hyloplate blackboard in passing from one room to another.

The music department was equally hampered. Due to lack of space, several pianos were placed in one large basement room of the old dormitory. Here various students would simultaneously practice their pieces, classical and modern. When it was discovered that this condition was not particularly conducive to the best type of ear-training, several partitions were installed.

Since these pioneer days some remarkable improvements have been made in the physical equipment of the CTC. Yet, in glancing over the field, one will find relatively many outstanding Lutheran educators that received their early training under these primitive conditions. This seems to be proof conclusive, that it is not primarily the physical equipment of a college, but rather the mental equipment, the Christian character and the proper attitude of the student that makes for success in later life. Our sainted Professor Weller often stated: Aus Nickels lassen sich keine Dimes machen [Dimes can't be made from nickels.]

Although the pioneer professor and director of Concordia Teachers College did not reach his sixty-fifth birthday, he spent thirty of those years on the campus. During that time he saw the original building enlarged and surrounded by three other buildings, a service building, an administration building, and a music hall; he experienced the visible protection of the merciful Father in Heaven when a tornado missed the college buildings by a narrow margin; he saw the institution develop to such an extent, during twenty-five years of existence, that it received legal power to issue certificates of the same scope and value as those issued by the State’s normal schools; he attended faculty meetings with the two men who succeeded him as director of the institution; and he thanked God for all of these benefits.

The Weller Family's Move From Indiana to Nebraska

Below, after some introductory remarks, is the fourth group of excerpts of Clara Alvina Koenig's manuscript An Afterglow of Yesterday. The manuscript was described in this earlier blog article.

The first group of excerpts, about J. George Weller's mother, was in this blog article.

The second group of excerpts, about the Weller family's move from Louisiana to Indiana, was in this blog article.

The third group of excerpts, about the migration of German Lutherans from the area of Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Staplehust, Nebraska, was in this blog article.


J. George Weller's parents -- Johann George Weller and Katerina Regina (Meyer) Lehnberg -- were born in Germany. They met in New Orleans, Louisiana, and eventually married there in 1854.

Two sons survived to adulthood. The older was Johann George (J. George, born in 1860), who eventually became a Lutheran pastor and then the Concordia president. The younger was Heinrich Herman (born in 1862), who eventually became a merchant.

The family moved from Louisiana to Indiana in about 1866. In 1873, when J. George Weller was 13 years old, he entered a preparatory school at Fort Wayne, Indiana, to begin his education to become a Lutheran pastor.

In 1882, J. George graduated from the Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, married Louise Katharina Clara Eirich in New Minden, Illinois, and then moved to Marysville (now part of Staplehurst), Nebraska, where he began serving as a Lutheran pastor at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.

George and Clara Weller
George and Clara Weller
(Flickr page)

J. George Weller's brother and parents also moved from Fort Wayne to Marysville.

J. George Weller remained in Marysville until 1894, when he moved to Seward to become the first teacher at the new seminary there.

The following passages are excerpted from the manuscript:


In the early 1880s we find Johann Georg and Katerina Weller still living on “the college farm” -- their son Henry helping with the farm work and their son George just home from college after completing his ministerial studies.

During the hard years following the Civil War, which caused the panic of 1873 and the inflation that lasted till 1879, George had attended the preparatory college at Fort Wayne.Thus there was no room-and-board bill to pay until George went to Saint Louis in the fall of 1879.

Times were still hard, so George could not go home for Christmas; in fact, he did not even return to his home in the summertime, but worked on a farm near Saint Louis. It so happened that a son of Willie Fruehe lived on a farm near the city. The younger Fruehe and his wife (who was one of Reverend Eirich’s daughters) welcomed George into their home and family just as Willie Fruehe had befriended George’s mother in New Orleans. Clara Eirich helped her sister during the busy summer months -- soon a friendship, which changed to love, developed between the girl and the student.

After three years of instruction by Dr. Walther and other famous theologians, George was graduated from the Seminary in the spring of 1882, and received a call from the country congregation at Marysville, Nebraska. During the early summer, Reverend Eirich performed the wedding ceremony that changed his daughter Clara’s name to Weller. Then the young couple proceeded to their future field of labor in Nebraska.

The people of Indiana and Illinois considered Nebraska rather wild and unsafe; but Reverend Weller's letters to his parents and his brother convinced them that both people and climate were agreeable. Best of all, George no longer suffered attacks of ague since coming to Nebraska. The change of climate from damp, swampy country to rolling, sunkist fields proved a better remedy than pills and tonics. Hoping that he, too, might overcome the chills, the fever, and the sweating which torment the ague sufferers, Henry visited his brother and sister-in-law in the fall of the year. Railroad fares had been reduced: “30-day permits” were reasonably priced because many people were going west to buy land.

Although the town was laid out in 1880, Staplehurst is not definitely mentioned in our story until now. The following is a copy of a legal document now in the possession of James Hartmann of Staplehurst (a grandson of Friedrich Hartmann). Besides being the founder of Staplehurst, Loui Niels was also one of the charter members of Zion Congregation.

In the late spring of 1883, the Weller family of Fort Wayne decided to seek a new home in the West. They traveled by rail, as Henry had done on his visit to Nebraska the preceding fall.

George and Clara were waiting at the little station in Staplehurst. They welcomed Father, Mother, and Henry, who had come to enjoy the golden sunshine and clear atmosphere of Nebraska. Reunited, the family drove to the parsonage at Marysville where the five members lived together for a while. Henry (at this time twenty-one years old) found employment in Henry Hartmann’s general store at Marysville.

Reverend Weller served as teacher during the week and delivered two sermons on Sunday: at Marysville in the morning and at Millerton in the afternoon. Zion Congregation bought a reed organ to furnish music for its services and the pastor’s wife served as organist. (After the birth of their first child, she taught the pastor to play the organ---then he became organist.)

The congregation at Millerton had no organ, but depended on a few good voices to lead the singing. Reverend Weller asked his brother “Hank” to accompany him to Millerton to help lead the singing. On one such occasion while riding together on their wagon, “Hank” inquired, “Say, George, who was that tall and rather pale-faced girl at church? She must be about eighteen or nineteen, and always sits with her mother and a sister of twelve, or so. Today, they were just across the aisle from us.”

“Oh, yes, you mean Lisette Scheumann. Mrs. Henry Hegeholz is her older sister. They have five brothers.”

“That’s good! What are their names?”

“Julius, the youngest, is going on eight -- I have him and Minnie in school. Then there is Chris, a boy of fourteen, and Henry, who is about two years older. Charlie is about my age and Bill is in the late twenties.

"There was another brother by the name of Fred. He died only a few months before you came here. The family took it awfully hard: he had been such a sturdy young man, but after suffering so long his body was a mere skeleton when he died. In spite of the terrible, lingering death, Fred’s faith remained unshaken to the very end.”

Eventually Charlie Scheumann and Hank Weller became friends, and Charlie brought his new friend home to dinner, occasionally.


After a few months, Mother and Father Weller decided that they would be happier in a house of their own: they had never before lived with anyone else. In Staplehurst, they found a suitable place consisting of a four-room house and a barn, surrounded by a garden and trees. A certain Eric Jacobs owned the place. His terms proved acceptable, and soon the older Wellers moved to their new home. (Six more rooms were added later. H. H. Weller still [in 1941] lives in that house.)

Henry, or “Hank” as he was usually called, came with his parents. He worked at Herman Meyer’s store in Staplehurst for a while and then became an insurance agent.


Under Reverend Weller's guidance and leadership, Zion Congregation grew by leaps and bounds. Within two years the school enrollment had increased to such an extent that the old building would not accommodate all of the pupils; so a new building, size 22 by 32 feet, was erected in 1884. The following year, a wing was added to the parsonage (which is the front part of the present parsonage).


After working in Nebraska for three or four years, Wilhelm Zwick felt himself in a position to establish his own household. He had rented Mr. Katt’s farm and was living with the Friedrich Scheumann family, but he longed for his fiancee in Indiana. So the young man went to Fort Wayne and married Sophie Mailand, a daughter of Fritz Mailand who always had been Sophie Scheumann’s favorite brother. Shortly after their wedding, the young couple came to Nebraska bringing the bride’s brother, Wilhelm Mailand, with them. Wilhelm, or “Bill” as he was usually called, was twenty years old at that time, and found employment as hired man on the Baermann farm.


While driving through the country as agent for the Nebraska-Iowa Insurance Company, Henry Weller often “happened to be near” the Scheumann home when evening came. He stopped to talk to his pal Charlie -- but I’m inclined to believe he was more interested in Charlie’s tall and rather good looking sister. Of course, Henry was invited to supper. On several occasions, when the night was very dark or even stormy (and the horse happened to be a shying one), Mother Scheumann insisted that the young man stay overnight.

The insurance business did not fill its agents’ pockets with money. They earned their pay, and often it was not so much at that. When Henry was offered the position of clerk in Herman Diers store, he gladly accepted it. With the combined income, he could contemplate marriage besides supporting his parents.

On October 14, 1886, Mother Scheumann and her family were all a’flutter over the last-minute details of the wedding. Large sprays of yellow, brown, and wine-colored chrysanthemums were brought in from the garden and arranged on the tables.

Already dressed for their role as attendants, Wilhelm Mailand and Charlie Scheumann helped Henry Weller so that he might be a well-groomed bridegroom. “Little Minnie” (just 15 since September) admired herself in the new yellow dress in which she was to be bridesmaid for her sister. The other bridesmaid, Elizabeth Mailand, was also dressed in yellow. She adjusted the wreath of wax flowers with which the plain silk veil was fastened to Lisette's lovely hair. The bride wore a light grey, silk-and-wool dress, trimmed with pleating and buttons and a single flower at the high neckline. The “over skirt” was fashioned into a bustle. There was no shower-bouquet in sight; in fact, there was no bridal bouquet of any kind.

The ceremony was performed in church by Rev. Weller. A reception followed, at the Scheumann home.

The newlyweds lived in town, with Henry’s folks. Shortly before the wedding, Henry had added a fifth room to the house: a large kitchen, complete with pantry and a small porch.

Everything looked rosy for nearly a year: “Hank” had a good job, Lisette enjoyed living in town, and Mother and Father Weller were well pleased with their daughter-in-law. Then misfortune befell the happy household. Through circumstances not under his control, Henry lost his job at Diers’ store. A baby daughter had arrived just before this, so there were five mouths to feed and not a single bread-winner. There was nothing but a few fruits and vegetables in the garden and eggs from the small flock of chickens. The cow, on which they had depended for a supply of milk and butter, died very suddenly. Unable to get work in town, “Hank” drove to the country and helped his brothers-in-law dig potatoes in exchange for hay and grain, with which to feed the horse and the chickens. Mother Scheumann came to the rescue with various other farm products.

Father Weller went to town every day, thinking he could find a little work of some kind. Finally, one day, he brought home good news: “Hichmann’s are selling out -- they only want $700 for the store -- if only we can raise that much!” After hurried consultation, everything was planned: Mr. Helmsdoerfer could return the five hundred dollars that he had borrowed from Henry Weller during better times, while Charlie Scheumann furnished the rest, as a loan without security. The plan worked well and everybody was happy once more.


Again in 1888, Zion Congregation found that it had outgrown the small church building; but, instead of erecting an entirely new church, the congregation decided to build an addition. Enough space was added to the west end to provide a vestry, an altar-niche, and room for an organ; at the east end, a hall was added. The small tower was replaced by a 75-foot steeple in which the new bell was hung.

During the early summer of 1888, those members of Zion Congregation who lived in and near Staplehurst decided to build a small church in town. With Reverend Weller’s help, “Immanuel Evangelical Congregation at Staplehurst” was organized on July 30, 1888. The first voting members were:

John Bartels

Wilhelm Bertram

C. Bieberich

H. Bieberich

F. Hartmann

Eric Jacobs

J. Jacobs

Herman Meyer

Chris Niemann

Jens Ocken

Lorenz Ocken

H. Porthun

Andreas Schultz

Henry Weller

Johann Georg Weller

The dimensions of the church in town were 24 by 40 by 14 feet; the new house of worship was dedicated August 13, 1888. Services were conducted by Rev. Weller.

A parsonage was built early in 1889, and Immanuel Congregation called its own minister, Rev. M. Leimer of Texas. The pastor was installed May 12, 1889.

Rev. Leimer organized a Christian day-school in the fall of 1889. The congregation bought a public-school building to house the pupils and their “teacher.”


The year was 1890 and the month was June -- that month in which flower gardens are at the height of their beauty, the air is heavy with the humming of bees and the perfume of blossoms, the days are long and mellow and the nights are refreshing.

After walking together in the yard, the three-year-old and her grandfather returned to the house: the old man sat in his arm chair and the little girl sat on the footstool at his feet. After a while, Johann Georg Weller called his daughter-in-law: “Lisette, can you come and put our little girl to bed? She fell asleep with her head on my knee.”

The mother lifted the sleeping child and carried her to the bedroom where Baby Henry slept peacefully.

A wagon stopped by the side of the house. Soon Rev. Weller and his son “Hans” stood in the doorway. The pastor spoke, “Hello, Father! How are you feeling?”

To which Father Weller replied: “Not very well, George,” and his head dropped forward on his bosom. Death came suddenly and silently to this devout man.


When the enrollment of the Christian Day School at Marysville increased to more than 80 children in 1892, it was considered necessary to build a larger school (26x40x12) and to call a teacher. Henry Hillman, a graduate of the Teachers’ Seminary at Addison, Illinois, was installed by Rev. Weller on the 28th day of August, 1892. The new school was dedicated on the same day. After that, the old building was used partly as a meeting place for the confirmation class and partly as a temporary home for the teacher.

During the same year, a new school and a teacher’s house were built one-half mile east and three-and-one-half miles north of Marysville. A “schoolclub” had been organized of members who lived a considerable distance north of the church. The children living in the North District attended this school. The teachers were Carl Hofman, W.H. Binder, and H.W. Hoeman -- succeeding each other in the order given, during a period of twenty-four years.

In 1894 a house was built for the teacher of Zion School.


If anyone wonders why Lutheran congregations build their own schools, hire their own teachers, and help support the teacher’s seminaries of their Synod, while paying taxes to help support public schools, he ought to find a satisfactory answer in the following resolutions of the Missouri Synod which were adopted in 1890, after an attempt had been made in Wisconsin and Illinois to compel all children of school age to attend public schools

1. Whereas the Word of God, our rule of life enjoins upon all Christian parents the duty of bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, therefore all Christian who educate their children in schools are duty bound to entrust their children who are not yet confirmed in Christian truth, to such schools only as secure the education of children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, while at the same time it is with us self-understood that we are willing to make good citizens of our children, to the utmost of our ability, and that we also endeavor to give them the best possible schooling in the use of the English language.

2. Whereas in the non-religious public schools, wherever they are conducted in the sense of the non-religious state, not only Christian education is excluded, but also, as a rule, things not in harmony with the Word of God are by way of instruction and discipline inculcated on the children, and the spiritual life of Christian children is thus endangered and impaired; therefore we as Christians are in conscience bound to submit to no law of the state which is directed or may be used toward forcing our children into such public schools.

3. In accordance with our daily prayer, ‘Thy kingdom come!’ it is our duty to preserve and extend the orthodox Evangelical Lutheran Church in this our country, and we are, therefore, in conscience bound to combat each and every law which is directed or may be used to the detriment or damage of the Lutheran parochial schools, which are effective means of extending and perpetuating the kingdom of God.

4. Forasmuch as our Lord Jesus Christ says, ‘My kingdom is not of this world,’ and ‘Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s’ the separation of Church and State is for all times to be acknowledged as in accordance with the Word of God; and since God has in this country vouchsafed unto us the precious boon of religious liberty, we may not as faithful stewards approve of any legislation which tends toward a confusion of spiritual and secular affairs and endangers our religious liberty, and we most cordially approve of combating with legitimate means such laws as have been enacted to the detriment and damage of the parochial schools in the States of Wisconsin and Illinois during the past year, while on the other hand we, for the same reason, condemn all demands upon the public funds for the erection or maintenance of parochial schools.”


While plans were being made for the erection of a college building at Seward, the board of control was looking for a suitable man to serve as professor and director. For the first there was to be a one-man faculty and Reverend Weller of Marysville was chosen.

On October 4, 1894, he placed his resignation before Zion Congregation. After accepting the resignation, the congregation wished Prof. Weller God’s continued blessing in his new field of labor. Then the congregation at Marysville called Reverend John Catenhausen of Louisville, Nebraska, to fill the vacancy. He accepted and was installed by Prof. Weller about six weeks later.


From 1889 to 1898 the pastors of Immanuel Congregation taught the pupils of the parochial school at Staplehurst. The enrollment increased rapidly during those nine years.

After teaching school for six years, besides giving special attention to the confirmation classes and performing the various duties of a pastor, Rev. Miessler asked the congregation to relieve him of the school in 1898. By that time, the number of pupils had increased to 56. Although Immanuel Congregation consisted of only 28 voting members, a graduate of Addison Teachers Seminary (now River Forest) was called for the next schoolterm. William Koenig, a member of the class of 1898 was installed by Rev. Miessler on September 4th, 1898.


On October 22nd, 1899 Rev. Miessler accepted a call to Batavia, Illinois and resigned as pastor of Immanuel Congregation.

On April 1st, 1900, Rev. G. Rademacher became the next pastor at Staplehurst. He stayed until the end of September 1902 and was succeeded by Rev. Henry Koester the following April.


Again, no events pertaining to this story and worthy of mention until July 16th, 1905. On that day, after long years of suffering, “Grandmother" Weller was called to the Eternal Rest at the age of eighty-six years. Already during childhood, her right hand was crippled; then at forty when her third child was born, Mother Weller’s left leg was weakened by an attack of milk leg and she became a semi-invalid. At seventy-three, a paralytic stroke made her a bed-ridden invalid; two more such strokes left Grandmother Weller completely paralyzed. For five years she was unable to move or even lift a small portion of her weight (about 240 pounds;) but the internal organs and the mental faculties of the paralyzed woman served her to the last. Many long hours were shortened by recounting youthful experiences to the devoted granddaughter who cared for her.


Zion Congregation again found itself without a pastor during three months of 1906. Rev. Catenhusen's health had failed during the winter and he died on March 18th, 1906. His grave is on Zion Cemetery.

Rev. Koester of Staplehurst served both his congregation and Zion until June 17th, 1906, when Rev. W.F. Rittamel of Falls City, Nebraska, was installed in his office as minister of Zion Congregation by Prof. Weller of Seward.


During the summer of 1905, Immanuel Congregation at Staplehurst sold its first school building, which stood just west of the church. The old school building was moved into the country and changed into a granary. Then the church was moved across the street, so that it stood west of the parsonage and a new church was built on the old site.

The dimensions of the second church are 34 by 60 by 18 feet and of the steeple 12 by 12 by 90 feet. The spire is crowned with a cross covered with gold leaf. Art glass windows and a white altar, and a white pulpit, both trimmed in gold and hung with purple and gold paraments (a gift of the Ladies Aid), and two gilded chandeliers added to the beauty of the new church. The cost of the church, including altar, pulpit, benches and bell, was five-thousand-six-hundred-sixty-four dollars ($5,664.00).

On the tenth of December 1905, the new house of worship was dedicated to the service of the Triune God. The old church was used exclusively as a school after that. As soon as sufficient funds ($900) were raised, a pipe organ was bought and installed. The organ was dedicated on February 4th, 1906. Immanuel Congregation rejoiced that it was well equipped with a substantial school building and a lovely new church.

“Grandmother” Weller did not live until the new building was completed and, because of her condition, could not have been taken to the dedication had she lived; but the privilege of hearing about the progress and growth of the congregation brought much happiness into the last months of the aged shut-in’s life.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Settlement of German Lutherans in Seward County

Below, after some introductory remarks, is the third group of excerpts of Clara Alvina Koenig's manuscript An Afterglow of Yesterday. The manuscript was described in this earlier blog article.

The first excerpts, about J. George Weller's mother, was in this blog article.

The second excerpts, about the Weller family's move from Louisiana to Indiana, was in this blog article.


J. George Weller's parents -- Johann George Weller and Katerina Regina (Meyer) Lehnberg -- were born in Germany. They met in New Orleans, Louisiana, and eventually married there in 1854.

Two sons survived to adulthood. The older was Johann George (J. George, born in 1860), who eventually became a Lutheran pastor and then the Concordia president. The younger was Heinrich Herman (born in 1862), who eventually became a merchant.

The family moved from Louisiana to Indiana in about 1866. In 1873, when J. George Weller was 13 years old, he entered a preparatory school at Fort Wayne, Indiana, to begin his education to become a Lutheran pastor.

In 1882, J. George graduated from the Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, married Louise Katharina Clara Eirich in New Minden, Illinois, and then moved to Marysville, Nebraska, where he began serving as a Lutheran pastor at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. He remained there until 1894, when he moved to Seward to become the first teacher at the new seminary there.


Marysville, Nebraska, which was located along Lincoln Creek, has been incorporated into the town of Staplehurst, which was about three miles east. Staplehurst is about seven miles northwest of Seward, Nebraska.

Another website provides the following information about the church.

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in 1870. The congregation shared its first pastor, the Rev. Theodore Gruber, with the Immanuel Lutheran Church of Middle Creek. In 1873, Zion was received into membership in the Missouri Synod joining the Western District. The following year the Rev. Jacob Seidel became the first resident pastor, and a church and parsonage were built. A school was added in 1884.

Since many of Zion's members came from near Staplehurst, a sister congregation, Immanuel Lutheran Church, was organized there in 1888. Although Zion had two other sister congregations, Immanuel of Gresham and Immanuel of Rising City, Zion continued to grow in Marysville.

When the Marysville mill burned down in 1915, the town began to decline. However, Zion maintained its membership and erected its present church building that same year. In 1966, Zion and Immanuel of Staplehurst merged forming Our Redeemer Lutheran Church of Staplehurst, which meets in the old Immanuel church building.


The manuscript excerpts in this blog article describe the migration of German Lutherans from the area of Fort Wayne, Indiana, to the area of Marysville, Nebraska. These excerpts revolve around a family that was formed by the marriage of Friedrich Scheumann and Sophia Mailand near Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1853.

Sophia Mailand's sister-in-law Wilhelmina Mailand (widow of Sophia's brother William Mailand) lived to the age of 96 and eventually became acquainted with Clara Alvina Koenig, the manuscript's author. Koenig acknowledges Wilhelmina as a major source of information for the manuscript.

The following passages are excerpted from the manuscript:


The Scheumann family, consisting of the father, two grown sons and a daughter, the stepmother and several younger children, came to Adams County, Indiana, in about 1844. Friedrich, the oldest son, was nearly seventeen years of age when the family left Germany. ....

Dietrich Brandt with his father and an older brother migrated to the United States in 1845 (Frau Brandt had died in 1841.) Conrad Brandt and his two sons settled in Adams County, Indiana.

Friedrich Hartmann (a cousin to Friedrich Scheumann) and his wife, Caroline Aroline, left Prussia in 1845. An infant son, little Fred, braved the perilous ocean voyage with them. The Hartmanns found a home in Allen County, Indiana. Adams and Allen are neighboring counties in Indiana.

The Scheumanns, the Brandts and the Hartmanns soon became well acquainted. The Conrad Grotz and the Louis Leibrock families lived in the same vicinity and knew the other families well.


On December 1, 1853, Friedrich Scheumannn and Sophia Mailand stood before Pastor W. Kolb as he pronounced them husband and wife. The newly-weds moved to a sixty-acre clearing in Allen County, about fifteen miles from Fort Wayne.

Various pieces of furniture were added to the household effects, thanks to Friedrich’s ability in carpentry and to Sophia’s knack of painting. Friedrich even built a cutter, which Sophia painted and decorated. Christian Mailand often took Louisa Mailand riding in that cutter. (Christian was a half-brother to Friedrich and Louisa, or “Leeza”, was Sophia’s youngest sister.) In due time, Christian and Louisa were married. They lived just across the road from Friedrich and Sophia, but in Adams County, because the road divided the two counties.

On September 21, 1854, a son gladdened the hearts of the Friedrich Scheumanns: the baby was named Friedrich, in honor of its father and its uncle. Within six weeks joy was turned to sorrow when the child died. Another son was born May 14, 1856. He was named Wilhelm, in honor of his Grandfather Mailand.

William Mailand spent about twenty-five years of his life in this country. After her bereavement, Wilhelmina Mailand stayed with Friedrich and Sophia most of the time.


Reports of “the land of promise” [Nebraska] had reached Indiana, and so we find several Indiana families on their way to Nebraska in 1868.

With a covered wagon and a team of oxen, Dietrich Brandt and his family joined the tide that swept westward. Arriving at Nebraska City, Dietrich left his wife and three children there while he, together with Conrad Grotz, Conrad Brandt and Louis Leibrock, went further into the interior of the state. After locating his claim in the precinct of Seward county, Mr. Brandt returned to bring his family to their new home. For three weeks they were obliged to live in their covered wagon until the dug-out could be completed. Every evening, they could hear the sound of the deer and the antelope, mingled with the howling of wolves and the yelling of Indians.

In the fall of the year, Ferdinand Mailand and his family packed their household effects into a covered wagon, and said “good-bye” to their relatives and friends in Indiana. Mother, father and the younger children rode in the wagon while Henry, the oldest son, followed on a horse. It was the boy’s duty to watch the cows as they plodded along behind the wagon or grazed by the wayside. At the end of a long weary journey, the Ferdinand Mailand family settled on a suitable homestead in Seward County, Nebraska.


In the fall of 1868, the two Scheumann brothers went to look at prairie land in Nebraska. After Friedrich selected a homestead they returned to Indiana.

On the 29th of November, another son was born to Sophie and Friedrich. He was named Dietrich Friedrich Heinrich Christian. The last name was used, in preference to the others.

The following spring (in March) Grandmother Mailand went to live with her youngest daughter, Mrs. Christian Scheumann. The Friedrich Scheumann family and the Hockmeyers bade friends and relatives farewell and boarded the train which was to carry them across Illinois and Iowa. There was no bridge across the Missouri River at that place. Passengers, mail, covered wagons, livestock, and household goods were taken from the train and transported, by ferryboat, to Nebraska City, on the opposite bank of the river.

There the Scheumanns and the Hockmeyers were welcomed by the Hartmann boys who had come for supplies. They asked Bill Scheumann to ride with them. Since there was safety in numbers, the three wagons proceeded in file. They followed “the Fort Kearney and Nebraska City Road” -- not a paved highway, but a trail winding across the prairie to Fort Kearney. At night, the younger children and their mothers slept in the wagons. Bill Hartmann and Bill Scheumann fought over possession of the spring seat of their wagon. They were both thirteen years of age and each one felt he was entitled to sleep in the seat. One of the men acted as sentinel while the others slept near the wagons. Their trusty guns, a faithful dog, and, above all, fervent family prayers kept them safe from Indians and wild animals.

After having been on the hot and dusty road nearly a week, our pioneers came to the village of Lincoln. This frontier town, which then had a population of thirty-two, was named in honor of the beloved President who gave his life to preserve the Union.

The following day Hockmeyers and Scheumanns stopped to visit the Dietrich Brandt and the Conrad Grotz families, who lived along Middle Creek. After a short visit, the journey was continued toward Lincoln Creek, where the Ferdinand Mailand, the Friedrich Hartmann and the Bill Meyer families lived. All these were happy to see their relatives from Indiana. Since Mrs. Hockemeyer was a sister to Bill Meyer, the Hockemeyers stayed with Sophia and Bill for a while.

The Scheumanns proceeded to the homestead that Friedrich had selected the preceding fall. The 160-acre tract of land was located about four miles south of Ulysses, along the Big Blue River. After arriving at their destination, Sophie Scheumann felt safe in ripping the hem of her petticoat to get the money she had tucked there when the family left Indiana. It was all safe -- $2,700.00 in paper money.

The original homesteaders, Mr. and Mrs. Pitt, did not leave immediately after selling their land to the Scheumanns. They lived together in the one-room dug-out (about 16 by 20 feet in size) which had only one door and two windows. The Pitts moved their few furnishings, a bed, a stove, and a small table, toward one end of the room and the Scheumanns occupied the other. Two full-sized beds and a trundle-bed (a low bed that was pushed under the other beds during the day) furnished sleeping quarters for the nine Scheumanns. A large wooden packing box that had served as a trunk on the westward trip, was used to enlarge the small table so it would accommodate ten people -- the baby did not yet sit at the table.

After about six weeks, Mr. and Mrs. Pitt bought a new homestead several miles down the Blue River, near the place where five houses and a small store marked the beginning of Seward.

In June 1868 Beaty and Davis opened a dry goods and grocery store in Seward; another general store was opened in 1869 by Herman Diers. Money was scarce, so farm products and wood were bartered for things that could not be produced at home.


Having been accustomed to regular Sunday services and daily instructions while in Indiana, the pioneers made provisions for these in their new homes. Each family had its daily devotion including a Scripture reading, songs, and prayers; on Sundays, the largest cabins or dugouts served as houses of worship for the neighborhood. The people came afoot, in wagons, or on horseback, in “Sunday best” or in calico, during the heat of summer or the cold of winter. Many of the early Sunday meetings were held in Friedrich Hartmann's dugout or in his log shed, and at Scheumann's -- first in the dugout, then in the new cabin. In their respective homes, “Hartmann’s Vater” (as he was often called) and Friedrich Scheumann led the singing and read the sermons out of an old “Predigsbuch” which had been brought from the old country.

On one of his missionary trips into the state, Rev. Kuegele of Omaha heard of these meetings and made it a point to contact the scattered families. Baptisms and weddings were postponed, for weeks or even months, until the pastor could return to this part of the country. On one occasion several children were to be baptized. The families met the pastor at the home of Bill and Sophia Meyer, who lived in a dugout near Father Hartmann. After services, preparations were made for serving the guests before they started homeward. Very unexpectedly, a piece of sod fell on the table. The women looked up to see a hoof and part of a shaggy leg protruding from the ceiling. The men folks rushed through the door to find the intruder: one of the oxen had stepped through the roof and the weight of the animal threatened to break all beams and supports. As quickly as possible, the ox was removed and the table was cleaned and set once more.

Sometimes Cupid attended the Sunday meetings. As the various families were returning to their wagons, Herr Yauch asked Friedrich Scheumann’s aid. Yauch had just recently come from Germany and wondered whether courting was done in the same way among his new friends as he had seen it in his native land. The young man was very bashful and wanted “Scheumann’s Vater” to introduce him to the Kirshner girl. The contrast was striking: Yauch was dressed in his best clothes -- a white shirt, white vest and trousers, a black Prince Albert coat and a tall silk hat -- while the girl looked as though she were Maud Muller in her gingham gown and with bare feet. But their story did not end with “it might have been” because the couple was married after only one month of courtship. Bill Meyer sold them a table, a bed, and several smaller pieces of furniture, for only four dollars. A storm door, laid over several barrels served the Meyers as table until another one could be constructed.


One day during their first year in Nebraska, Friedrich Scheumann and his son Bill were driving to Lincoln. They watched the storm as it swept eastward before them. At a distance the dark blue clouds and the silver flashes of lightning appeared strangely beautiful, but father and son had learned the dangers of thunderstorms on the open prairie and were thankful for being safe. After some time, the two Scheumanns arrived at the Grotz cabin, along Middle Creek. As the man and the boy descended from the wagon and knocked at the door, they could hear sobbing and anxious conversation.

Gradually the visitors learned what had happened: Mr. Grotz and two of his sons had been at the barn, the only daughter had gone to see about the chickens, while Mrs. Grotz and the youngest son had been in the cabin, as the storm broke. The mother asked “little brother” to close the windows in the garret; one of the older boys had hurried to the cabin with the milk and had just set his pail on the table as a bolt of lightning struck the chimney. When the daughter rushed to the cabin for shelter, she found her mother temporarily paralyzed and unable to speak, with one boy’s body lying at her feet, and the faithful dog behind the stove also dead. The girl called her father and brother from the barn. Their search for “little brother” ended in the garret where another limp body added to their grief.

Friedrich Scheumann helped Conrad Grotz construct rude coffins for the two boys and the men dug a large grave. Friedrich read words of comfort out of the family Bible and besought the Heavenly Father to help this family bear their great sorrow. After the funeral, the Scheumanns continued their journey to Lincoln and returned to their own home. Sophie met her husband and her son with anxious questioning. The sad reason for their delay was soon told.


In going from place to place the pioneers drove across the prairie without roads to guide them. A bend in the river, or a large tree, served as a landmark in many places. There were no bridges. A spot was selected where the banks sloped gently and the water was comparatively shallow. This was called a ford and the spot was marked by blazing the tree trunks on each side of the river. Whenever possible, traveling was done in the daytime so that it was easier to find blazed trees and other landmarks. When driving to Lincoln Creek, the Scheumanns were guided by a lone cottonwood tree that stood on the prairie.

One Sunday after services had been conducted at the Hartmanns, the Scheumann family stayed to visit a while because of a shower. Twilight shadows were falling as the family started homeward. Because of the fading daylight they could not see their lone-tree landmark in the distance. They drove on and on, not knowing where they were going but hoping the horses would find the right trail. Seeing a light in the distance, they headed toward it.

Father Scheumann went to the cabin to inquire which way he ought to go. It was Mr. Gillbank who opened the door. He was very much surprised to see his neighbor on such a dark, damp night. Friedrich Scheumann was relieved to find that they were within four miles of home. Even four miles proved to be a long way for a tired family, in an open wagon, on such a night. A strong wind added to their discomfort, but at the same time, the clouds were being blown away and the friendly stars appeared.

At last, the Scheumanns came to their own place, but they could not find the ford because the river had risen and the banks were slippery. Father Scheumann climbed from the wagon and led his horses to a fairly level spot. Getting into the seat again, he spoke gently and firmly to the horses. They started across the river. The water was so deep that the horses were compelled to swim and the bottom of the wagon-box was flooded. In the darkness anxious prayers were whispered as the children clung to their parents. Minutes seemed like days but finally they were safe on the other bank of the river.

After a few years, the Scheumanns constructed a rude bridge by laying three stout logs across the river, nailing crosspieces on these, covering the top with branches and finally with sod. Heavy rains often damaged this bridge or the rising current would wash it downstream.


Luke Agur built a flour mill along Lincoln Creek in 1870. At about the same time John Specht built a store near the mill. Both the mill and the general store were greatly appreciated by the whole neighborhood. If only they could add a church, their fondest dream would be realized.

Memories of their churches in Indiana lingered in the minds of the homesteaders, but Indiana was older country and was thickly populated. How could they afford a church and a resident pastor out here in Nebraska where nearly everyone was poor?

Although other people attended the reading services, it was mainly Friedrich Hartmann and his son-in-law, Wilhelm Meyer, Friedrich Scheumann and his brother-in-law, Ferdinand Mailand who were concerned about a church. When six more families moved to the immediate neighborhood, “Zion Evangelical Lutheran Congregation on Lincoln Creek” was organized--in the fall of 1870. The constitution was signed by the following:

Jakob Bertram

Claus Boehnen

Wilhelm Burgenger

August Daehling

Henry Daehling

Wilhelm Daehling

Friedrich Hartmann

Valentin Hartmann

Erhard Kaufmann

John Luetke

John Maack

Ferdinand Mailand

Wilhelm Meyer

Heinrich Neujahr

Loui Niels

Heinrich Reiling

Friedrich Scheumann

John Shoepf

Christian Templin

[A member of the Daehling family -- Alice Daehling, who married Charles Scheumann -- was one of Ms. Koenig's main sources of oral information for the manuscript. The manuscript included information about the Daehling family that I have not included here.]

This new congregation, together with the congregation at Middle Creek, called the Reverend Theodore Gruber of Hampton, Illinois.

The pastor was installed during November 1870. Besides Middle Creek and Zion, he served small mission congregations in Lincoln Creek Valley as far west as Hampton, Nebraska.

During the winter of 1870 and early spring of 1871, Rev. Gruber conducted services at Hartmanns or at Scheumanns. A church was built as soon as the weather permitted in the spring. Although most of the members were quite poor as far as money was concerned yet everyone donated time and labor. Friedrich Scheumann gave a portion of his land for the building site, (later he donated more land for a cemetery.) Trees were chopped in “Scheumann’s woods” along the Blue River. The logs were trimmed and hauled to the sawmill at Ulysses to be sawed into boards and slabs. Then the building material was taken to the church grounds.

Wilhelm Meyer and Friedrich Scheumann were handy with wood-working tools so they were chosen as carpenters. The walls of the church were built of slabs and the the roof of clapboards, which had to be split by hand with a broadax. The boards were used for a floor and for benches. Two legs were “pegged in” at each end of the board to make a substantial, though not a very comfortable, bench. A simple altar and a heating stove completed the furnishings of the church.

Rev. Gruber lived at Middle Creek and came to the little log church on Lincoln Creek about every other Sunday. The pastor hitched his faithful horse “Nancy” to the two-seated spring wagon and drove across the prairie toward the Scheumann homestead where he usually lodged while serving the little flock on Lincoln Creek. Part of the time, Rev. Gruber also taught school there; meanwhile his oldest daughter taught at home. Most of the schoolchildren lived near the log church. The Scheumann children lived seven miles away and rode to and from school with Rev. Gruber.

School was not the matter-of-fact institution it is today, neither was the equipment elaborate. The little log church served also as a school. The same benches, that had served as pews on Sunday, were used by the pupils during the week. The small table, which was both altar and lecturn, was used as a desk by the teacher who was none other than the pastor himself. Writing material consisted of slates and one blackboard. The Bible was the most important textbook: out of it the children learned to read the wonderful stories about their Savior, and memorized psalms. A thorough study of Luther’s Catechism supplemented the Bible lesson, so that the children might be able to understand the doctrines of the Church. Reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion were the main subjects taught. The children were instructed also in singing: their youthful voices joined the congregation during Sunday services.

Freckle-faced boys, dressed in coarse shirts and home-made knickerbockers, and gingham-gowned girls, wearing pinafores and pigtails, skipped off to school three days each week; three days were spent at home helping father and mother in field and home; while Sundays were reserved for church attendance, resting and visiting.


Sometime during those early years a post office was established in Mr. Specht’s general store and the name chosen for the postal address of that vicinity was “Marysville”. In spite of a great deal of inquiry, I found no definite date for the establishment of the post office, or why it was named thus. W.C. Hartmann remembers that there was a post office in 1872 when, at the age of sixteen, he hauled groceries for Mr. Specht from Raymond Brothers in Lincoln.


Early in 1873, Reverend Gruber accepted a call to another parish; Zion Congregation had “reading services” or, on rare occasions, a visiting pastor filled the pulpit. On the 30th of March, 1873, the Reverend Henry Klockemeyer baptized six children at the home of Ferdinand Mailand. Marie Mailand and Alice Daehling were two of those children.

Late in the summer, the congregation called a student of theology, a certain Mr. Huber. He arrived on the 14th of September and began his duties, as teacher for three and one half days a week, and as a student pastor during the other half of the week. Mr. Huber stayed about nine months, then returned to his theological studies.

In 1874, Zion Congregation on Lincoln Creek built its first parsonage, the dimensions of which were 16 by 28 feet. The house was constructed of boards, rather than logs; some of the building material was brought from Grand Island. (This structure is still in use today [in 1941]. It is the back part of the present parsonage. The old log church is used as a garage for the minister’s car.)

During the same year, Reverend J. Seidel of Illinois was called to serve Zion. The pastor had been forced to change climate because of his health and was staying with friends in Zion Congregation. Reverend Seidel’s salary consisted of $400.00 in cash and a free house.


After Reverend Seidel changed his field of activity, the congregation at Marysville was again without a resident pastor, but the training of the children was not neglected. From November 20, 1876 until March 1, 1877, Mr. Elfert Katt taught school five days each week. As the pastors had done before him, Mr. Katt instructed both secular and religious branches. He was paid $12.00 a month and received free board and lodging.


Zion Congregation at Marysville called Reverend Haessler of Cramer (near Crete) Nebraska, on December 10, 1877. The pastor served also Immanuel Congregation along Lincoln Creek and the congregation at Millerton in Butler County. Besides taking charge of the various pastoral duties in three churches, Reverend Haessler taught 130 days of school each year.

One of the older girls of that school (who is now a great-grandmother) remembers that Reverend Haessler often asked the girls to sing while the boys worked on their arithmetic problems. He considered it more important for girls to have a good voice, so that they could sing lullabies in later years, than to possess a thorough knowledge of arithmetic because their husbands could transact all important business transactions.

There are other memories regarding school days: an occasional chance to go to the little store, kept by Mr. Specht, for a nickel’s worth of slate pencils and a penny’s worth of white gum, which was a sort of flavored paraffin -- and the promises of silence at home concerning any punishment inflicted at school for misconduct, because the parents only added their punishment to that of the teacher’s. Parents in those days believed the old adage, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

To accommodate the growth of the congregation, a second church was begun in 1878. The dimensions of the frame building were 24 by 40 by 14 feet, there were four windows on each side, and a door at one end. A small tower distinguished the building as a church.

After the dedication of the new church, the old log-cabin was used exclusively as a school. No exact date is available, but the year is listed as “1879.”

Members of the original Scheumann family remember that the new church was the scene of “the first weddin’ in the family” on May 28th, 1879. Charlie Scheumann, Sophia Suhr, Lisette Scheumann, and Henry Mailand were the attendants. Louise Scheumann, who had celebrated her twenty-first birthday in April, was the bride and Henry Hegeholz, formerly of St. Louis, was the bridegroom.

There was singing by the congregation and a wedding sermon by Reverend Haessler before the couple took the marriage vows and knelt at the altar to implore divine blessings on their wedded life. (And they were blessed with happiness, contentment, and prosperity; but they remained humble, devout Christians, giving freely of their means to extend the Lord’s kingdom.)

Then the bridal party, their families, and the young people of the congregation drove to the Scheumann home. The garden was in full bloom. Rose bushes, that had been brought from Indiana, were covered with fragrant, pink blossoms. The various rooms of the house were decorated with garden flowers. Mother Scheumann and some of her good neighbors prepared food in the summer-kitchen while the “big kitchen” was reserved for the long table with its wedding-cake, bouquets of roses, and well-filled bowls and platters.

The “big kitchen,” which was also “the sitting room” in those days, now witnessed the climax of Louise’s courtship days. On several occasions, when she knew that some would-be suitor was coming to call on Louise, Lisette had hidden herself in the wood-box behind the stove so that she might eavesdrop.

But all the would-be suitors were forgotten when the “one and only” made his appearance. You may wonder, “How did they happen to meet? Saint Louis is quite a ways from the neighborhood of Ulysses, Nebraska.” I will tell you, for so it was told to me: when Henry Hegeholz was only a baby, his mother died. He was left to the loving care of a sister. After a short time, their father was accidentally drowned. When Henry was seventeen years of age, he, his sister, and his brother Fritz left Germany and came to Saint Loius. That was in 1869. After a few years, Fritz followed the call of the West and homesteaded in Seward County, Nebraska, near Lincoln Creek. Eventually, Henry visited his brother, they attended services in the log-church, and Henry met various members and their families. After several visits, Henry decided to take up farming in Nebraska and to ask the hand of a farmer’s daughter in marriage.


December 27, 1881, Reverend Haessler accepted a call to another congregation. Reverend Endres of Beaver Creek in York County and Reverend Gruber of Middle Creek in Seward County divided the pastoral duties of Zion Congregation.

After a vain attempt to call an older experienced pastor, the congregation called a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Saint Louis. This candidate for the ministry was none other than J. George Weller, son of Katerina and Johann Georg Weller of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The Weller Family's Move from Louisiana to Indiana

The following is the second group of excerpts of Clara Alvina Koenig's manuscript An Afterglow of Yesterday. The manuscript was described in this earlier blog article.

The first excerpts, about J. George Weller's mother, was in this blog article.

J. George Weller's parents -- Johann George Weller and Katerina Regina (Meyer) Lehnberg -- were born in Germany. They met in New Orleans, Louisiana, and eventually married there in 1854.

The manuscript is confusing about their children, but it seems they had two daughters who died in infancy and then two sons who grew to adulthood. Then a third son also died in infancy. The oldest of the two surviving sons was Johann George (born in 1860), who eventually became a Lutheran pastor and then the Concordia president. The younger surviving son was Heinrich Herman (born in 1862), who eventually became a merchant.

The family moved from Louisiana to Indiana in about 1866. In 1873, when Johann George was 13 years old, he entered a preparatory school at Fort Wayne, Indiana, to obtain an education to become a Lutheran pastor.

The manuscript's second group of excerpts begins with the family still living in New Orleans:


Eventually, Johann Georg Weller owned five drays, drawn by horses and mules: he drove one of them himself and hired four other men to take charge of the rest. They hauled hundreds of bales of cotton to the ships and brought many boxes of tea and sacks of coffee to the warehouse.

A daughter was born to the Wellers in 1856 and another daughter in 1858. Both lived but a short time.

....

When the Civil War began, the best horses and mules were seized to be used by the army. This ruined Johann Georg Weller’s business. Because of flat feet, he did not have to go to war but was left in New Orleans with several others to look after the soldiers’ families.

Supplies had to be collected for the army; food became scarce and prices soared. A single barrel of flour cost fifty dollars. The Wellers shared their meager supply of food with a neighbor and his five small motherless children. One evening, “Mother” Weller informed the neighbor that only a little flour and about two pounds of bacon remained in spite of careful rationing, but offered to share that even to the last.

Before the sun rose on the following morning, six shots echoed through the neighborhood. Katerina and Georg heard and understood: the neighbor had despaired. Perhaps they should not have told him that the supply of food was nearly exhausted. Several other men helped Georg construct rude coffins and dig the graves. Short and simple was the burial service. Lovely garden flowers, five small crosses, and one large cross marked the six mounds.

Sadly Georg returned to his work. Although the future looked dim and hopeless, there was always work to do. He made his way to the riverbank to fell dead trees, which were used as fuel for cooking purposes. Suddenly the man stopped and stooped to examine what lay before him: a shirt, a pair of trousers, a purse containing $50.00, a hat, and a pair of shoes. Georg called and searched along the river banks but found no one. He wondered what to do, then resolved to carry the purse to town to find its owner. No results were obtained although several notices were posted about town and an article was inserted in the newspaper. The contents of the purse proved a veritable godsend to the Wellers.

On an April evening in 1862, a hurried meeting was called of all the men who had been left in New Orleans. Without doubt the city would have to surrender to Union forces within a few days. Plans were made to burn all ware-houses and to destroy whatever provisions remained. They would rather lose it through fire than to surrender it to the Northern men. Johann Georg resolved not to help with the burning; Katerina warned him that he could be jailed, but nothing was ever done to punish him.

No deeds of cruelty were committed by the Union soldiers, who were too sick to molest anyone. They were not accustomed to the extreme heat and the strange food and water of the South.

It was a January evening in 1863, shortly after President Lincoln had issued his Emancipation Proclamation. Katerina sat on the wide verandah rocking little Henry while three-year-old Georg played on the lawn with his father. An old negro woman walked sadly down the street. One wrinkled hand grasped a cane while the other carried a bundle tied in a bandanna.

“What seems to be the trouble, auntie?“ asked Katerina.

“Oh, missie, ah is so sad ‘cause my massa put me out -- and ah served him many long years. He heard dat Pres’dent Linco’n set de colo’ed folks free an’ massa wouldn’t keep me even one mo’ night.

The old negress was invited to stay with the Weller family as long as she liked. “Auntie” helped as much as she could about the house. This proved a boon to Katerina when little John was born in the spring of 1864 (May 16th). He was not as healthy as the parents had hoped, and in spite of loving care, the child died shortly before its second birthday. Katerina’s health had been impaired by the birth of her first child; the anxiety and sorrow concerning little John made her condition a little worse. She was obliged to use a cane because of the pain and discomfort in her left leg. From this time on a maid, or a hired girl, was a necessity in the Weller household.

After the war had destroyed most of their property and they had lost little John, the Wellers decided to start life anew in the North. “Auntie” was asked to accompany the family but she refused because the change of climate might prove fatal to an old woman who had spent all of her life in the South. The dear old negress promised to tend the little mound in the churchyard. Tears streamed down her wrinkled cheeks as “Auntie” said good-bye.

Various members of Zion Congregation accompanied Georg and “Katy” and their two sons to the boat landing. A river steamer carried the Weller family up the Mississippi and the Ohio. At length, the family arrived in New York City, where they visited Katerina’s oldest brother and planned to establish a new home.

Georg found employment in a planing mill. During his first week of work, an accident deprived him of one finger. While temporarily unemployed, Georg considered the future: the neighborhood in which they lived offered them no Lutheran church and school -- little George was old enough to attend school and ought to have religion and the other three r’s. On the other hand, Fort Wayne was widely known as a Lutheran center, and Adam Saeger and George Kronmueller, the two brothers-in-law in Fort Wayne, would be glad to help them locate in Indiana. Besides, Johann Georg was anxious to see his sisters again and to meet their families.

So the Wellers went to Fort Wayne and were welcomed by the Saegers and the Kronmuellers, who introduced their southern relatives to neighbors and friends and to the pastor of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Dr. Sihler.

Although the Scheumanns lived only about fifteen miles from Fort Wayne, they belonged to the Friedheim Congregation and did not meet the Wellers until many years later.

Johann Georg and Katerina soon joined “Dr. Sihler’s church” in Fort Wayne, and their son George was enrolled in St. Paul’s Parochial School. Johann Georg found employment in Bassis Foundry. He worked in this place for about three years.

During this time, Wilhelm Suedhof came to Fort Wayne to live with his Aunt Katy and his Uncle Georg. After Katerina Meyer had spurned the rich young man and fled to America, her younger sister married Suedhof. Their only child, Wilhelm was left an orphan at fourteen. He lived with his grandmother for a few years. Then the grandmother died and the young man emigrated to the United States. He worked for the Wolff Clothing Store of Fort Wayne for a number of years.

In 1870, Johann Georg Weller rented part of the “college farm,” near Fort Wayne. This farm was a hundred-acre tract bought by the founders of the Practical Seminary as an endowment: the rent from the land helped pay expenses and professors’ salaries at the college.

Having been a “Landwirth” (that is a farmer who owned his land) in the old country, Georg was happy in his work. His sons George and Henry attended St. Paul’s school and helped on the farm during their spare time.

When George was thirteen years of age, he joined the communicant membership of his church through confirmation. Having decided to become a minister, George entered the preparatory college at Fort Wayne in the fall of 1873. Two years later, Henry’s school days ended with his confirmation. He helped with the farm work, spending free hours with neighbor boys or in town.