July 26, 1934 – Memories of Pastor/Teacher Conferences at an Earlier Time, Second Continuation

This article by Rev. G. Birkmann, em., and translated by Ray Martens, first appeared in the Giddings Deutsches Volksblatt on 26 July 1934.

Conference in Rose Hill, Fall 1886

Rev. Hy. Wischmeyer was at this congregation from 1881 and also conducted school after the departure of Teacher Hennig in 1883. Three candidates for the holy ministry came into our state in the fall of 1886. John Barthel was Trinklein’s successor in the mission in the northwest part of the state, and Ruhland stepped into the work of Kohn in Dallas and other places. That is to say, Trinklein was called to Trinity, Houston, at the end of 1885, and soon thereafter Kohn went up north from Dallas. The third candidate who entered Texas in 1886 was Imm. Echhardt, who was installed as the successor to the deceased Rev. Sieck in Anderson. As I remember, only Eckhardt of the three candidates was present at our conference.

            Rev. G. W. Behnken still took part in this gathering, but it was his last. Soon thereafter he had to retire.

            A Rev. Jesse visited our conference on that occasion. He read a paper to us in which he professed correct doctrine. It was years, however, before he with three others transferred from the Texas Synod to the Missouri Synod. These were August Wenzel, J. H. Sieck, and a Rev. Schwan. This Jesse was the father of the current Rev. Jesse in Atchison, Kansas, and the grandfather of the Rev. Jesse in Houston.

Conference in Swiss Alp, the Rev. M. Leimer, in 1887

Student Cholcher at the time was serving the new St. John congregation on the San Antonio Prairie [Lincoln], where Rev. R. Osthoff is serving now. Cholcher accompanied me on the drive to Swiss Alp. Rev. Trinklein lectured on section of Walther’s Pastorale [Pastoral Theology]. A Teacher Merz, not of our synod, attempted a colloquy examination, but did not pass it and was not employed. Rev. Leimer, who saw to it that the conference was provided for, has been in Swiss Alp since the fall of 1884, but also had to serve other widely remote places, Millers Creek, Neubielau, Shiner, and more, and he had to search out all these places and visit them repeatedly on horseback, often in bad weather and on difficult roads.

Conference in Houston, Fall, 1887

            Trinklein (J. J.) was the pastor. Fr. Doepke, the teacher who had conducted school there for several years, probably already had been called elsewhere at the time of the conference. Trinklein’s congregation had its first church building on Caroline Street, near Buffalo Bayou. President Stiemke came from New Orleans to this conference of ours.

Conference at St. John, Lincoln, Lee County, Rev. Ernst, Fall, 1889

Only in this very year, 1889, was the railroad which went through Lincoln built and the little town established. The congregation formed itself four years earlier as an offshoot of the previous Ebenezer [first on the San Antonio Prairie, then relocated to Manheim]. It was served first by the Vicar Cholcher, then called a candidate [new graduate], the Rev. Theo. Wolfram, who was there for just one year, 1887 to 1888.

Then at the beginning of the next year, 1889, Rev. Ernst came to the congregation after five years as pastor in Walburg, Williamson County. At first, he still conducted school there for a year, but then in the next year the congregation called a teacher of their own, Hermann Schroeder, who took care of the school for about twenty-six years. Rev. Ernst worked in the congregation for about fourteen years.

When this conference took place in 1889, the congregation was still using its first church building, which, after the construction of another two years later, was used for school purposes.

Members attending the conference were several fewer than those we were allowed to welcome earlier. Rev. Ruhland had left Dallas already the previous year because of throat problems, just as in the same year Wischmeyer went up north because of his wife’s illness. Then in 1889, also because of throat problems, Rev. Leimer resigned, and then Trinklein from Houston because of illness, and then also Wilder for the same reason. The latter, however, was still with us at the conference. Those were casualties which now were hard to replace, and we suffered much distress because it was so difficult to get capable workers.

The president of the synod, Schwann, comforted us by saying, “At the appropriate time, there will be a remedy; God will continue to help.” And so it went on for a time without great damage, and, by and by, the gaps were filled, and the number of pastors was even significantly increased.

A mission festival was held in a small grove of trees on the Sunday of the conference, and the Rev. Gotthold Mueller from Rose Hill edified the assembly with a good mission sermon. Naturally, other worship services also were held, but I do not know anymore who else preached.

Conference in Swiss Alp, Fall, 1890, Rev. Schupmann

In the spring of that year, a conference took place in Cypress with Rev. Jakob Kaspar, but I was not there and can report nothing more about it. I can observe only this, that Kaspar was called to Cypress in 1889 after working twelve years in Lee County.

Rev. Schupmann had vicared in Houston as a student, especially as the teacher of Trinity’s school (Rev. Stiemke, in 1888). He was pastor at Swiss Alp for only one year, 1889-1890. Our conference took place shortly before his departure. We did not know at all that he intended to leave so soon. After all, he accommodated and cared for us happily and well. Rev. Wunderlich lectured about the doctrine of Holy Communion. C. Bernthal was with us for the first time after he had taken a call to Shiner, where he lasted two years before he was called to St. Peter in Serbin after the death of Rev. Geyer in 1892, staying there for thirteen years.