August 24, 1933 – Pastor Jacob Kaspar is Dead

This article written by Rev. G. Birkmann in German for the Giddings Deutsches Volksblatt, on 24 Aug 1933 was translated by Ray Martens.

Rev. Jacob Kaspar Dies

One read in the paper several days ago that on Thursday of last week, on August 17, Rev. Kaspar from Anderson died at the age of ninety-one and so was set free from all evil. Because I had many dealings with him over the course of many years and in order to preserve a faithful remembrance for him, I wish to share with the readers of this newspaper several items of information about my former neighbor and brother in the ministry, now deceased.

He was born in the Aargau Canton of Switzerland in July of 1842. He received his training as a pastor at [St.] Crischona [a seminary in Basel which still exists], an institution for the preparing of missionaries and preachers. Quite a number of their pastors were certified especially by the former Texas Synod, as it was called. Most of the pastors of this synod in its early days had studied at Chrishona.

Kaspar told me that, during his time in the first half of the 1860’s, quite a few artisans enrolled at the institution and then prepared for church work there, while, at the same time, practicing their craft in certain special workshops. One could use such work well in his mission.

Kaspar came to Texas in 1867, and his sphere of activity was in the area called Blackjack at the time, or the place near Freiburg, and the congregation which he gathered and which traces its beginning back to 1869 was exactly the same one which today is called the congregation at Engle. At the time, it, along with its Pastor Kaspar, belonged to the Texas Synod.

But the pastor changed over to the Missouri Synod about six years later, and the congregation joined him. Rev. Kaspar had come to a better understanding through reading Der Lutheraner and through exchanges with Rev. Stiemke from Warda, and, afterward, remained always faithful to the Missouri Synod.

When Rev. Proft left the old Ebenezer congregation on the San Antonio Prairie and moved to Sherman, Texas, Rev. Kaspar was called to this congregation and then served there faithfully and diligently in church and school for twelve years. Many readers will be aware of this.

It is not possible to recall everything because there is too much that happened under Kaspar in the church and school, and his instructions and [ ]. But, yet, I wish to name some who were able to attend his services, for example, August Birnbaum, Theodor Tonn, Beisert, and, most of all, August Wurm. The latter played the organ for many years in the services with Kaspar. Most of the members of the old congregation on the San Antonio Prairie have gone to their eternal home long before now, and so I shall forego recounting more names, as much as would like to, for I know how these people who belonged to Kaspar’s church valued and loved the man, even if they found something to criticize at times, as sometimes happens without evil intent.

Rev. Kaspar himself was always a good friend to me. How many times was it that I was welcomed by him and spent unforgettable hours in his home? He lived, as one repeatedly found to be the case back then, in the church, which is to say, that his home and the space for the church were under one and the same roof. Kaspar’s church was not large, with room for no more than 130, maybe even only for one hundred. School was conducted throughout the week by the pastor in the same room, and that with great zeal and devotion on the part of the teacher, and, I believe, also with good results. The furnishings for school purposes back then were primitive. The school children had to use the church pews for their seating.

People listened to Rev. Kaspar’s preaching quite gladly. His way of doing it included something quite direct and warm. Even though he used books in his preparation, the message did not flow out of books. He spoke from the heart [without a manuscript?], and with that, he became somewhat lengthy and detailed, but he probably never let anyone leave the church without being caught up in what the preacher presented.

Kaspar was called to the congregation in Cypress in 1889, and he continued to serve there for ten or eleven years. In 1900, he resigned his ministry and since then lived in the area of Anderson, Texas, where his son Paul manages a farm. Rev. Kaspar was active as a preacher for thirty-three years, and then he lived on in retirement for the same length of time. Damage to his body (he suffered a serious break) probably was the reason he had to stop work so early. In his final days, he became bedridden and blind, requiring the constant care of his faithful wife, whom our loving God presented to him already in 1870. So it was that she lived at his side for almost sixty-three years. She was an excellent housewife and mother, always friendly and pleasant, and hospitable without complaint, as it should be among Christians according to the Word of God.

God gave the couple ten children, if I remember correctly. Supposedly, I am told, three are buried in a cemetery at the edge of the San Antonio Prairie. I know that I saw two who died of diphtheria put to rest in the ground and tried to comfort the mourners with the Word of God. One son (Immanuel), a teacher in Peoria, Illinois, was called away in death only a few months ago. Six children are still living, namely, August in Shiner, Theophil in Oklahoma City, Paul near Anderson, Texas, and the daughters Mrs. Wottrich and Mrs. Schorch in Houston, and the wife of Rev. Albers in Honey Grove, Texas.

A noteworthy coincidence is the fact that Kaspar expired on the same date as did his fellow worker in service to the Synod, Rev. G. Buchschacher in Warda, who passed away on August 17, 1930. And Kaspar, like Buchschacher, likewise was buried on August 20. I can report nothing about this, however, for I was not permitted to be present at his funeral.

The sainted Dr. Walther is reported to have said, “May God give to his church many faithful servants.” By the grace of God, our beloved Kaspar was such a faithful servant.

May God comfort the survivors, especially the aged widow and mother, with his grace and support.

Rev. G. Birkmann, em.