This article was published in three installments called Step Into the Past, in one of the Lee or Bastrop County newspapers, sometime after 1942. It was transcribed by Marcella Hamff Chapple in May 2015. Unfortunatley, the date and newspaper were not left on the articles as they were cut from the paper. If you know the exact year and date would you please let us know?
History of Grassyville Church
Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of articles on the history of the Grassyville Methodist Church which is no longer in existence. The only thing left to mark its existence in that area is the church cemetery which has been preserved and is now surrounded by a sturdy fence.
PAIGE - The earliest organized Methodist Church in the Paige vicinity was established in Grassyville in the year 1856. Rev Edward Schneider served as pastor. This congregation grew and prospered. A parsonage was built but there was no special building for worship services, so the pastor and his congregation in various homes for this purpose.
QUARTERLY conferences and worship services were held in the home of various members. This naturally called for quite a bit of preparation on the part of the hosts and hostesses. And due to the many delays in traveling in those days, the quarterly conference was not always a definitely scheduled affair.
This incident is related concerning one of those meetings:
THE PRESIDING elder and other member of the quarterly conference arrived at the home of Sam Kieleman for a meeting. The custom of that day was that the home at which the meeting was to be held furnished the meat for the group. Mr Kieleman was taken somewhat by surprise because he had no domestic animals on hand for butchering. He took his gun and went out in the forest to hunt for meat.
LIKE MANY men of his day, he lived close to God and had utmost faith in his providence. He knelt to pray under a large tree. A strange noise aroused him. On looking around he beheld a large fat deer. He was a poor marksman, but the deer was so near to him that he had no trouble in getting it. Thereby, meat was supplied bountifully for all the members of the conference.
IN 1868 this congregation built their first church. It was called the Grassfork Church. The name and location of this organization was later changed to Salem Methodist Church of Grassyville.
HERE IS A quote from a document found in the corner stone of this church:
In the year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy Five, the congregation met to discuss the possibility of building a church.
PRESENT AT the meeting were Rev. J. C. Kies, Rev. J. A. Paule, Presiding Elder, and Rev. William Leiser to assist in this plan.
At this meeting the Salem Methodist Church was organized under the rules and regulations of the New Orleans District of the Methodist Church South.
ALSO PRESENT at this meeting were Herman Hempel, George Hempel, Sophia Hempel, Christian Hempel, Ida Hempel, A. Behrens, Anton Eisenbach, Emma Eisenbach, Wilhelm Peschke, Heinrich Dunk, Anna Dunk, August Kattner, Josephine Kattner, Christian Hamff, Jr., Anna Hamff, Christian Hamff, Sr., Caroline Hamff, August Hamff, Elizabeth Hamff, Ferdinand Hamff, Maria Hamff, John Dunk, Anna Dunk, John Dunk, Fredaricka Dunk.
ALSO Aug. Dolenger, Wilhelmina Dolenger, Franz Weise, Carolina Weise, Albert Orts, Sr., Dorothea Orts, William Ebner, John Krauter, Christina Krauter, John Sinn, John Kunkel, Sr., Gotlieb Kunkel, Anna Kunkel, Carl Raschke, Samuel Dalchui, Edward Dalchui, Anna Dalchui, Carrollette Dalchui, Theofield Vetter, Leopold Burgdorf, Wilhelmina Burgdorf.
ALSO Wilhelm Mosebach, Julianna Mosebach, Joseph O. Mosebach, Carl Boese, Catherine Boese, Catharine Boese, Catharine Franz, John Behrens, Wilhelmina Behrens, Bernard Behrens, Johanna Behrens, L. Sinn, Heinrich Weise, Herbert Schuman, L. Schuman, Wilhelmina Kortlang, Edward Hoffman, Pauline Hoffman, Peter Franz, Sr., Peter Franz, Jr., August Spieler, Reinhold Oltjen, Helen Oltjen, Wilhelm Spieler, Christine Spieler, Elizabeth Leiser, and Christine Hille.
IT WAS VOTED to send the Board of Trustees to the New Orleans Quarterly Conference to be authorized to build a new church. Those going were Herman Hempel, August Hamff, Ferdinand Hamff, Christian Hamff, Franz Weise, Edward Dalchui and William Ebers.
At the New Orleans conference was unanimously decided that a newer and larger church should be built to accommodate the increasing number of members living on the Grassy and Pin Oak Creeks.
THE BUILDING committee consisted of August Hamff, Albert Orts, Sr., William Ebers, John Behrens, L. Burgdorf and William Leiser (Continued next week)
Editor's note: This is the second in a series of article on the history of the Grassyville Methodist Church as compiled by Mr & Mrs A J Foerster and Mrs Olga Schultz.
THIS NEW CHURCH was named the Grassyville Salem Methodist Church. A parsonage was also built at this location. The lumber from the Grassyfork church built in 1868 was used to build this new parsonage.
This congregation became the second largest in the German Conference due to their deep and unwavering faith and their thorough and efficient methods in discharging their Christian duty to their church.
FROM THIS church went out into the ministry, J. C. Krauter, H. Ebers, H. W. Weise, J. A. G. Rabe, R. Moerner, A. R. Vetter, Ben Behrens, Dr. J. B. A. Ahrens, prominent in New Orleans, was converted in Grassyville.
Some of the pastors to serve this church were Rev. Jul. E. Urbanke, Rev. V. Bohmfalk, Rev. J. Sharper, Rev. F. Vordenbaumen, Rev. Dan Schrimpf, Rev. P. H. Hench, Rev. J. Kern, Rev. J. A. G. Rabe, Rev. E. A. Konken, Rev. J. F. Koch, Rev. D. Hart, Rev. W. F. Buss, Rev. R. Gamenthaler, Rev. O. W. Benhold, Rev. A. R. Vetter, Rev. W. C. Sterns, Rev. Sam Bowman, Rev. H. Miller, Rev. George Ryan, Rev. Lowell Ryan, Rev. Lundell, Rev. Henry Graves, G. A. Hempel, also served as local preacher.
IN JANUARY 1926 The Grassyville Church bought the Paige Church from the Christian Church. The only surviving trustees of the Christian Church that signed the deed were Harry Chapple and H. T. Wunneburger.
The trustees that bought this property were William Mosebach, Albert Orts, Jr., W. E. Burgdorf and William Hamff.
THE PAIGE church was never in reality organized as a separate church but was a branch of the Grassyville church [rest of sentence cut off, the next column starts with] stewards and trustee of Grassyville Church. The reason it was acquired was to better serve a group of member of the Grassyville Church that lived in and near Paige.
In 1927 the parsonage at Grassyville was burned and the church records were consumed in this fire making research impossible before that impossible. This membership was composed of the descendants of the patriarchs who organized the church. In 1875 a new parsonage was built to replace the one destroyed by fire.
SERVICES were held regularly in this church until 1941 but due to diminishing members, services were discontinued at Grassyville. Some of the members were transferred to Paige, and some to Giddings. The last pastor to live in the Grassyville parsonage and to serve the church was Rev. H. Grave. The members that live in Paige and the group that was transferred from Grassyville were joined by the group that came in from Mesquite Charge.
This gave the Paige church a membership large enough to give it better working unity. This was easily accomplished because the three churches had been served by the same pastor.
IN THE SPRING of 1943 the church property at Grassyville was sold except for the parsonage which was moved to Paige. Pastors who served the Paige church are John T. Sanders, Wayne Dunson, D. D. Hogan, Don Harwell, Calvin Peterson, J. K. Ader, Van Sickle, Griffin and E. E. Reeves.
(Continued from Sept 9 issue) The Paige Congregation has recently suffered a great loss in the passing of Wm Mosebach, E. O. Wilde, Louise Hooper, Orts, John Dunk, who were faithful members of long standing. The present members of the Paige Congregation are E. C. Behrens, Mollie Behrens, Herbert Stuessy, Marie Stuessy, Dean Stuessy, George Osteen, Alma Osteen, Rufus Osteen, Lillie May Queen, Willie Wusterhausen, Mattie Wusterhausen, Lawrence Hart, Dorothy Rohde, Walter Lindner, Louise Lindner, Otillie Goerner, Louis Peshke, Louise Peschke, Curtis Peschke, Margaret Peschke, Calvin Peschke, Dorothy Peschke, R. F. Peschke, Katy Peschke, Willie Peschke, Lina Wilde.
Also Olga Schultz, Louise Foerster, Bertha Burgdorf, Edna Burgdorf, Emil Schultz, Louise Foerster, Bertha Burgdorf, Edna Burgdorf, Emil Schultz, E. H. Kunkel, Delia Kunkel, Mildred Kunkel, Hugh R. Light, Alvina Light, Jerome Light, Mabel Anne Light, Bruce Light, Bettie Light, Earl Light, Bee Chapple, Bertha Wunn, Lizzie Kmoch, Maggie Orts.
The trustees are E. C. Behrens, E. H. Kunkel, Willie Wusterhausen, Louise Foerster, Olga Schultz, R. F. Peschke.
The Stewards are Louis Peschke, Herbert Stuessy, Bruce Light, Willie Wusterhausen, Olga Schultz, E. H. Kunkel, and Curtis Peschke.
This information was collected by A. J. Foerster, Louise Foerster, and Olga Schultz. We extend our gratitude to E. C. Behrens for the use of the papers that were in the corner stone of the Grassyville Church established in 1875.
DIXON PRAIRIE CHURCH
The German speaking Methodists around Paige were at first a part of the Grassyville congregation. This group grew in numbers and soon felt that they were able to support an organization of their own. The trip to and from Grassyville was a long one to take in one day when people traveled in wagons and buggies, hacks and surreys. In 1885 a church was erected at Dixon Prairie. The carpenters were John Wunneburger and Krumnow. A parsonage was also built. Land was set aside for a cemetery close to the church.
This cemetery is still kept up and still serves as a resting place for many of the descendants of the fathers, who were responsible for the building and organization of this church. Among the families that formed this new congregation were: John Wunneburger, Julius Hill, Albert Frey, Abraham Brodbeck, Charlie Schneider, Richard Lindner, A. E. Schultz, Emil Lindner, August Kattner, Robert Kattner, Wm Fickle, August Dolgener, Fritsche, Gerhard, Krumnow, Wm Wusterhausen and others.
Some of the pastors that served this congregation and lived in the parsonage were; J. H. Bohmfalk, Julius Urbanke, W. A. Moers and John Hierholzer. Rev. Moers, while serving at Dixon Prairie organized a congregation at Paige and a church was erected there. After some years this congregation was absorbed by the Grassyville and Dixon Prairie organization. The church building was sold to the Woodmen of the World for a meeting hall. The W. O. W. sold it after their decline in Paige. It is now a part of a residence.
The last pastor to live in the Dixon Prairie parsonage was Rev John Hierholzer during his last year of service at this pale. The Bastrop Methodist Church (German) built a parsonage in Bastrop. After this the pastors lived in Bastrop and for a few years at the Dixon Prairie and Paige congregations were served by Rev J. Kleinknecht and Ivey.
Groth from Lexington, later the Dixon Prairie Church, was served by the pastors from Bastrop Methodist Church (German) Rev Doerr, Rev. D. Moehle and Rev. Ditzum made the trip from Bastrop by horse and buggy, a distance of 20 miles or more through a sandy pine woods country. Rev. D. Moehle often made the trip by bicycle. After the Dixon Prairie church was served by pastors from Bastrop, the church building was used for public school as well as a church. The teachers often lived in the parsonage. During Rev. Ditzum's service the church moved from Dixon Prairie to Mesquite. This new church known as the Mesquite Methodist Church was dedicated by Rev Ditzum, November 11, 1912. Family members of this church were E. H. Kunkel, Emil Lindner, Sr., Richard Lindner, A. E. Schultz, J. T. McPhaul, Wm Wusterhausen, John Lindner, Walter Lindner, Aug. O. Schultz and others.
Rev. B. Z. Breihan, Rev. Roeke, Rev. G. C. Brannies, were pastors that served the Mesquite church from Bastrop. The Bastrop Methodist Church (German) was merged with the Bastrop M. E. Church (English). After this merger, the Methodist Church was served mainly students from Blinn Medical College. Some of these students were: Arthur Peterson, Peterson, Hornung, [ ] Haug, Elmer Hierholzer, and Milton Bohmfalk. The students have become fine doctors and are an honor to [their] calling. Mesquite was proud have given them a lift to [the] ground.
The Mesquite M. E. Church after struggling for a number of years merged with the Methodist Church (Salem) in 1942 while Rev Wayne [ ] was serving both churches [as] their pastor.