October 8, 1936 – Memories of Congregations in Earlier Times II

This article written in German by Rev. Gotthilf Birkmann and translated by Ray Martens first appeared in the 8 Oct 1936 edition of the Giddings Deutsches Volksblatt.

Motto: I shall bless you, and you are to be a blessing, and the land will produce fruit and improve itself.

It was reported last time that in 1876 there were twelve congregations in the state being served by Missouri Synod pastors. Ten more were added to these in the next ten years. I shall enumerate them according to the year of their origin.

Zion Lutheran Church in Dallas

It has existed since 1879. Five years earlier, Rev. And. Baepler was in Dallas, where he preached and tried to gather a congregation. He accepted a call to Missouri already in the following year. Rev. J. A. Proft settled in Sherman in 1877 and did mission work there and also started in Dallas again, and a small number of families united into a small congregation in the summer of 1879. Then they called the writer of this account, and he accepted the call in the fall of the same year and went from Fedor to Dallas and served the little group there, teaching school in addition. This little church was located on Live Oak Street, not far from the Texas-Pacific Railway. After three years, I returned to my first congregation in Fedor, and Candidate Theo. Kohn was my successor. He was called both by the congregation as its pastor and, at the same time, by the district as an itinerant preacher for north Texas. Ruhland and others followed him. The congregation has grown since that time and has a beautiful property on Swiss Ave., and Rev. E. M. Robert has been their pastor for almost forty years.

Neudorf, Harris County

The congregation in Neudorf, Harris County, is a sister congregation to the one in Cypress. Neudorf had been served by pastors not in fellowship with us, who, in part, failed to satisfy them. Our Rev. Paul Roesener in Rose Hill was asked to deliver a sermon in the church at Neudorf, and the result was that, after that, the congregation was served by Rev. Roesener and later by the pastor in Cypress.

1882, Walburg

At the time, the place was called Corn Hill. Rev. J. M. Maisch, who was then in Fedor, was invited to Walburg to preach and to help with words and deeds the people who wanted to put together a congregation. He did that gladly, and it resulted in the founding of the congregation. Soon he also received a call to Walburg and accepted it. He stayed there one year and then became director of an orphanage in New Orleans. Rev. L. Ernst was called to Walburg in 1883. Rev. J. H. Sieck served Walburg after him, from 1890 until the beginning of this year.

1882, Anderson, Texas

Rev. Klindworth preached there first. Klindworth strove mightily, making long trips on horseback also to Lyons and Mound Prairie, Burleson County. During the fall of 1882, I accompanied him on a trip to Anderson, and the congregation there came into existence. Thereafter, they first had a vicar, Claus Siercks from Springfield, Ill., who preached and studied diligently at the same time and submitted to a colloquy examination (that is, was examined by order of the district president) the following summer and was then ordained and installed. He died already after a few years, and Candidate Immanuel Eckhardt was called to Anderson in 1886. He worked in this place for twenty-one years. Foerster, Miertschin, Obenhaus, and W. Urban followed him, and now Rev. Karcher has been there for more than five years.

1883, Immanuel, Giddings

It was served by Rev. G. Buchschacher from Warda for about two years before it was organized. After the founding of the congregation, he continued to serve it for five more years. The people in Giddings had acquired a building which originally did not lend itself to churchly purposes. It was prepared as well as possible, and the congregation held its services there from 1883 until 1902, and the first pastors—R. Krenke, G. P. A. Kirschke, and Emil Moerbe—also conducted school there. In the year last named, the congregation acquired its present property, built a church and parsonage, and, if I am correctly informed, tore down the old church and rebuilt it as a new school.

1883, the Congregation in The Grove

Three years ago, they celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their founding. Rev. F. Wunderlich from Perry (now called Riesel) also served The Grove virtually the entire twenty years he was in Riesel, except for 1896-97, when Rev. H. Huge was in The Grove. Ernst and Sieck in Walburg also preached in The Grove temporarily.

Riesel (Perry), Falls County

This congregation was founded by Rev. J. J. Trinklein, the itinerant preacher who sought out the people [i.e., German Lutherans] there and served and gathered them. The first church building was dedicated there in 1883 in what was then called Friedensau (one does not hear that name anymore). Friedr. Wunderlich became the first resident pastor in 1884, and he managed things for twenty years, as stated above, and also conducted school that whole time.

Rev. H. Studtmann followed him in 1904 and served until 1926, when he was called to our college in Austin as its first professor and director. Now Rev. Heckmann is located at the congregation in Riesel.

1883, the Congregation at Honey Grove, Texas

The place was first visited by the author of this report when he lived in Dallas. It was not already a congregation at the time, to be sure, but a number of Lutherans from Bavaria and from the northern part of our country asked for our service. Rev. Kohn from Dallas served them after me, and under his leadership they formed a congregation. Then Ruhland served them from Dallas, and, in about 1888, Rev. Donner was called as their first pastor. After him came, one after the other, J. Buenger, Lammert, and so on. Rev. Albers has been there for years [i.e., since 1920].

1886, the Congregation in Hamilton (Aleman)

This place likewise was first visited and served by J. J. Trinklein, who also established his home address there. But it did not become a congregation until 1886, when Joh. Barthel was called by the congregation as its pastor and, at the same time, by the mission board as a missionary to the northwest part of the state, and especially also for the stations along the Texas-Pacific Railway.

1886, St. John Lutheran Church, Lincoln, Texas

A number of members of Ebenezer joined with others who lived in the area and did not yet hold membership in a congregation to build for themselves a school house, as it was first called. It stood two miles east of Ebenezer, about a mile from the Lincoln train station.

When it was finished, it was described as a church and was dedicated during the summer of 1886. A student named Cholcher first served the congregation, which called itself St. John, as a vicar. During the following year, Theo. Wolfram as installed as pastor, but he too stayed only one year and then took a call into a northern district of the synod. Rev. L. Ernst, who was installed in the congregation at Lincoln at the beginning of 1889, followed him. Rev. Wunderlich became Ernst’s successor in 1904 and stayed with the congregation for three years. Rev. R. Osthoff, who still lives there, followed him in 1907.

So, these were the ten congregations which were added to the twelve in 1876 during the ten-year period following. Later I hope to place before the eyes of the reader the next period of ten years (namely, 1886-1896). By my count, there were no fewer than twenty-six new congregation in that span of time.