A Speaking Tour of False Starts, 1884

The diary of Pastor Trinklein was printed in German in the Giddings Deutsches Volksblatt in 1939. It has been translated by his 2nd great niece, Ellen Trinklein. When the diary was printed in the Volksblatt, it came out in installments. It is presented here in complete form.


It was the beginning of September of that year that I, at the suggestion of my “mission-eyed” friends and colleagues, undertook to lose myself in the mountainous regions of Burnet County, directly west of Walburg. We understood from rumors that Germans had settled in these hills, possibly Lutherans, and if not well understood, they had likely grown lonely. Rumors such as these, dressed in the clothes of an approaching woman, have always found a sympathetic ear in me. So it was this time as well. In the meantime, it was not merely one rumor that would be shared with me by mission-enthused Christians. Names of people, places, and vistas often came to me in tempting forms.  But even the “flying Reiseprediger”[1] had not in his worldly possessions the necessary quills with which to give, with or without exaggeration, merit to some of the honorable, if somewhat hyperbolic, names. For example, the idea of reaching Rhea in the Panhandle of Texas through natural means was dismissed at the outset. Such attempts would not only have made me and the somewhat modest mission treasury go bankrupt, but would also have swallowed up weeks of my valuable mission time. The four German families in Rhea that I had already identified I could only serve by commanding them to the Almighty and appointing the missionary field, which is already growing over my head, and give thanks with the sowing of this heavenly seed. But how the urge, and the resulting wish, to build and protect the kingdom of our beloved Savior has always inspired me onward. So also I at times have done something which did not succeed, which we can observe as a failure with our eyes but could have stamped as a success with our so highly “capable” speaking-machines.

This inscription covers my speaking tour from Walburg over into the desolate, rock-barricaded Burnet County. Because it was the blessed Pastor Louis Ernst who was the informant that gave me the hint [to make this trip], I had to head to this Godly region of Lyons and Round Prairie[2], via Caldwell and Thorndale (? ? ? Oh, my memory! After 56 years a fish or two has slipped through this somewhat ripped net of Petrus’,[3] after which it likely took on the form of an alligator, the one that I saw over Mill Creek one time, out of the way of which my horse, instinctively, out of fear, as though trapped in the jaws of this leviathan, pursued the least predictable course possible) – and then out from Taylor in fellowship with Mr. Neitsch to work in the pastoral dwelling of the pastors of Walburg. This trip was not simply for the movement and onward carriage of the 157 bodily pounds of this traveling preacher. O, far from it! In Lyons and Round Prairie I preached. On the way back from Round Prairie to Lyons I “bucked”[4] around 6-8 corners of barred fence with my mustang in the forest. One could find plenty of Schadenfreude to take pleasure in, because outside of the wood ticks “conquering” my body wherever the skin could be most easily pierced and the blood-sucking of this parasitic forest pest was most convenient, that same night my “buck-happy” Mustang laid itself down in its stall and completely forgot about “bucking” or getting up, forever. Most likely Mr. Jerics from Round Prairie had given him a few too many ears of corn.

I left this horrific scene and hurried on to the flea-riddled Caldwell, in order to preach in the forsaken Texas synod parish in that very place. In Thorndale I dismounted and made inquiries. But the nice people told me, that the Texas Synod [illegible…something happened to it according to their own wishes]. So I then came to Taylor. But! – Now, what now? – Not my pants, indeed, but one of my shoes, my brand new, “sturdy” pair from the Jewish store in sky-high Saginaw, Mich., had locked its jaws on the side due to a 2-inch long rip gaping wide open. Split leather – thought I, and I bought a good pair of back calf lace ups in the little city of Taylor. Unfortunately, I could only buy myself somewhat too tight of a pair, and my corns very obligatorily joined with those itching red spots of wood tick origins. Mr. Neitsch, who was transporting me from Taylor to Walburg because of an appointment he had in Walburg, compensated me for all of these fowl-bred acts of violence by letting loose on me all manner of information straight out of a chapter of Wendish history. It was a real “treat” for me and for a time I forgot about my revenge plan against wood ticks and mustangs. Mr. Neitsch also took this opportunity to induct me somewhat into the tradition of Wendish church hymns, including their most treasured song, which he recited to me so often that I myself could sing and say,

                “Ach porucz Bohu szieru

                Twoj pucz srudobu,” etc.  [Hymn 520 in the 1941 Lutheran Hymnal]

So we continued on, in tune and right on schedule with the travel plan to Pastor L. Ernst’s. Here we were affectionately welcomed and, after an engagement with the necessary vehicle, became equipped for the following two days. On Thursday it was back to the calendar as I set out in the early morning, trotting westward in my mission on Pastor Ernst’s 5-year-old Grauschimmel[5]. The whole lovely day we went west and further west, and ever westwards. The hills of Williamson County changed to higher, peaked mountains of solid granite and at Hamilton Creek or River I lost the main trail. Because I knew I must be approaching the Colorado River soon, I steered with good luck not back to the main trail, but with great intention crossed the river about 18 times in a space of 2 miles, before I came to the Colorado river. Mindful of the fact that the water had no beams[6], I was a bit unsure as to whether I dared to cross. Yet the cowstall[7]-clear waters allowed me to observe 30 feet ahead and to see that crossing would be quite easily possible. And so it was. The water only came up to the thirsty Grauschimmel’s flanks. Along with feeling it, I let him quench his thirst before we continued west, reached the riverside and followed the other side of the main trail. We recall well the twin mountains, Shovel Horn and Double Mountain, which according to the evening sun we would not have succeeded in reaching. Because we hadn’t encountered a single human dwelling for miles now, we held two considerations in mind. With his tired legs the trusty, willing Grauschimmel carried on very precariously, and I myself must confess that the Swiss farm house[8] hanging on the side of the steep mountains was exactly the right answer to the questions of how we should best spend the night and how we might find a place to dine. So we steered right, straight towards the farmstead. Our petition for hospitable admission was granted in a sublime fashion. Brother Grauschimmel took precedence – and required considerable care, which he also obtained. With this procedure all the considerations of my soul burst out. Traveling so far, and that the first house we see should be that of a German! That was nearly fatal for the realization of my missionary efforts. After the evening meal I kept my eye always on my missionary goals during conversation. Thirty-five years of residence on this “goat-ranch” with a perimeter of a quarter mile had completely sufficiently achieved all of their earthly needs. They had never been visited by a Lutheran pastor. Parents and children alike were unbaptized. Instruction – Ha, a tutor had both administered the elementary lessons and imparted on the children the art of piano playing. Calls for a religious upbringing had been completely shut out. It was surely a highly-civilized family; but no notion had ever come to them that they should want to be associated with any form of church. The settlers were also so isolated and so scattered, that even with the strongest will to do so they could not manage to bring themselves to the state schools for even a few months of the year. Yes, that was the simple, naked truth. It was from the outset clear that no mission station would be opened here.

After a restorative night’s sleep, we gave ourselves – host and guest – the guiltless pleasure of seeing a bit of the big “goat ranch”. On top of a high hilltop we allowed our eyes to glide wide and far over the Cibolo Valley. Far, far on the other side of the valley we saw a little city in miniature, hanging on the side of the mountain. It was well 80[9] miles away. The air and sunshine were so clear that I must have seen it unbelievably easily. It was the small town of New Braunfels that we saw. I also gained the answer to the question of why the new capital in Austin gets its massive, red granite blocks from here. Everywhere the black witnesses of the creative omnipotence of God stretched from the forest and the plains skywards, mindful of their origins. Oh, if a little paradise garden of the earth’s Redeemer could have been built in this course, desolate country! My long, fruitless journey would not have seemed so onerous. But for the time being there was simply nothing to expect. So Friday was spent in preparation. On Saturday I absolutely had to return to Walburg, because I had promised Pastor Ernst that I would take over his sermon for him as I had already done previously once for Pastor J. R. Maisch.

So early on Saturday morning I betook the journey back, which seemed to me very monotonous and prohibitive. Though my horse had had rest and knew that it was returning homeward, there was no real inclination or atmosphere of hurry in him. So it came, then, that night fell. But I needed to continue onwards to Walburg. There, at 11 o’clock, my trusty old steed came to a stubborn standstill in front of a house. He simply would not be moved, would not even go one step further. What now? My somewhat jokingly-bold, subdued “Hallo” was answered with the shine of a light through a window, signaling that help was approaching. When I explained my position to the then-appearing man of the house, he immediately volunteered to care for and offer hospitality to both of us stranded creatures. Because it was a young married couple, new to the farm, they gave me their bed and the next day I could return to my previously set goal [of getting to Walburg]. Around half an hour before eight we were on our way. The good host did not want to receive anything for the lodgings. I insisted that he must accept $1.00, and gave the lovely horse kind words, that we might both get to the church on time. All my pleas were in vain. In trot we were disengaged, but then were going gradually at a leisurely pace. In this way we would never reach the church in time. Luckily, after my absence at his house the previous evening, Pastor Ernst had prepared overnight. As I walked into the church, he was already standing at the pulpit. Indeed, he knew a small amount, that I would have to let him pass. But my reassurance was successful. But, what now? Due to the strenuous summer and the somewhat unnerving blaze of the sun, my whole system began to feel as my faithful horse had in his legs. I arranged henceforth with the pastor’s wife to spend the greater part of the week with them in order to observe a diet of boiled potatoes and herring salad. Said and done. Early on Monday then we rode to the small town of Taylor and picked up as my purchases a small barrel of pickled salted herrings along with a few, quickly diminishing in their bottles, liquid accessories[10]. Morning, noon and night I held myself punctually to the recipe of the “doctor”, which was myself, of boiled potatoes and herring salad. When the thirst could no longer be quenched with water, the other supplies would need to render their services. O, how invigorated and with what vitality I traveled on that Friday, headed toward Riesel in order to once again pick up the customary threads of the awaiting mission field on the other side of the Brazos. I tell you this not, perhaps, out of pure, boisterous bravado, but because I am still thankful to God today that He in His simple ways strengthened me to go on to do further work. Should any of my readers excuse this with a slightly dubious smile, to you I’d like to present the question, in all earnestness: Should I have done otherwise? Not one month of these 2 ½ years passed, as not in the whole 7 years of my missionary work, that I was not afflicted for a few days by the vicious malaria. And the daily-ingested Chinin[11] managed to get the malaria out of the way for a time, but one’s might was in no way replenished. So I was, due to a radical restoration of my bodily strength through the diet that I followed, not only myself a little surprised, but more filled with thanks that I had more pep. Of course, this long-winded argument will probably be rebuked by the somewhat skeptical Lachmann.[12] Provided that I come into his consideration, I won’t feel obliged to apologize in the slightest, even if the thunderbolts of Odin[13] should be invoked down upon me. I am simply explaining how it was at the beginning of the mission inside the state,[14] whereby, for however brief a time, enough air and time, ink and patience remain for me to spend my time making all manner of fine-spun excuses.

                One thing, however, I do not want to omit, namely to rightly venerate the hospitality of the pastors and their families. In the act of hospitality in this parsonage I enjoyed a Reformation[15] blessing from the big man in Wittenberg, who in addition to innumerable other blessings also created the front steps of heaven in the Lutheran parsonage and through his example passed it on [to all Lutheran pastors]. Yes, Pastor and Mrs. Ernst, I will praise you until the end of my life for the modest and marvelous way, you, without any of the conventional coercion, opened the doors of your house and your hearts so hospitably to me. I especially want to mention that the four-year-old Alma and her younger little sister still fill my heart with truly joyous laughter today, when I think back on what such a comical child can do to the heart of a man by simply skipping and jumping with such good will. If any of you little friends from that time are reading, I give to you my greetings and I will think of you until my end.

                Yes, God blesses every Lutheran parsonage, wherever he can find one! In these Reformation Days[16] we do not want to underestimate the blessing of the work of Dr. Martin Luther. Who doesn’t agree with me here is either – well, I would rather not say; scolding is not becoming of any Christian, not to mention a traveling preacher. Because of his blessing, we are all of us, without a dictator, up to the last Lutheran man unanimously of one mind. And with that I’ll end for today. Adios! Because it concludes so well here.

As I arrived in Perry (Riesel) from my exploration journey through Burnet County through Walburg, Bartlett and Waco, and after finishing a church service on Sunday, quartering with Mr. Gaskamp, he made me the offer of arranging for a good riding horse for a few days, so that I could get from Marlin through Brazos Bottom all the way to the new little town of Temple to work there. Once there, I could also search through the southern McLennan County for German Lutherans. This proposition was very welcome to me, as we had heard all kinds of rumors from the local Lutheran Germans, though I couldn’t obtain any specific addresses. Because the horse would be left to me at no cost and I had a few free days just then, I began to make my way early on Monday at 7 o’clock, as I would need to advance to Temple and, if possible, come back to Riesel the next day through Waco. The small towns there had dashed forward out of Black Way Prairie[17] like a fungus overnight, where people were also located with whom I might be granted entry as a Lutheran pastor.  As per the customary precaution, I only had half a cup of black coffee with a bit of cornbread for breakfast, as I didn’t want to become too plagued by thirst if the day’s heat set in strongly. First, I steered towards Marlin, southward, and curved through the Bottom[18] then west to Prairiedogtown,[19] then up from the South. The Bottom was well covered with all kinds of woods and undergrowth, so that I could look neither out nor around very easily to get a view. I did not encounter a single human dwelling, not even a Negro cabin, but then the biggest inland river in Texas, the historic Brazos, then came into sight. The water level was normally low for this time of year. The floods were clear, translucent as crystal; they left me no doubt that the ford could be easily crossed. I crossed over and let my horse quench its thirst in the middle of the current. The water in the middle of the current was around three and a half feet deep, but I had no need to fear that I might get my feet wet. But while riding further my wonderful old horse[20] stumbled so clumsily that he sank down on his knees and, practically by the book,[21] plunged me up to the knees in water. My riding boots, a good pair from Frankenmuth – I felt them full to the top and now there was something to do on the bank on the other side. I pulled the boots off, obviously emptied them, gave my brown wool stockings the needed muscular movement, and rode barefoot through the Bottom, which for miles on the other side of the river offered no diversions. When we finally emerged from the forest, we made gains on the prairie, all the way to the store that carried the name Prairiedogtown. The name was long enough that in Russia it should have been well admired for its virtues. Here I first looked after my feet by slipping them barefoot into my boots. It was between 3 and 4 o’clock in the afternoon. But nothing happened on the whole ride that could have taken my interest to put down, so now I’ll report that I allowed myself to survey the general store for something delectable. Coffee? No. Bacon? No. – Only crackers and plums, without the necessary ingredient of sugar that makes them bearable to our tastes. A few bites of the crackers and a mouthful of plums was enough to convince me that the pale-colored contents of the canister would not be very promising for me and my tastes. I mounted and rode not a quarter mile before I, deathly ill, purged myself in a corner of fence with the healing powers of stomach self-help. After a fully administered cure the same gave me an obvious hint that we should head to Temple in a hurry, because there could be found palatable goods to eat that wouldn’t put my life in danger. Around 6:30 in the evening we came to that little town, whose young existence was already discernable from Prairiedogtown as the prettiest “yellowfire.” Only very few houses, no hotel, various places that peddled food, many piles of wooden planks, naturally no color and the coarse boarded buildings; a real pioneer town: and so we met Temple in its youthful toilet, as was to be expected.

I walked into the store of Mr. Jahnk, a German Lutheran from Brenham, and inquired about the missionary prospects here. Not yet; he was the only German and the confusion of those already settled would not be especially promising as my next goal. Night lodgings? Yes, in Ceanto there was still a free bed. A Meal? Yes: bacon, eggs, French fried and Johnnie Coffee with black coffee. That was extraordinarily splendid to my still quite invalid tastes. Although a little disappointed on account of the failure for my mission work, after the marvelous dinner I made inquiries elsewhere. The result was the same. After the customary night’s sleep we thought about the return home. At Waco I steered south toward Tehuacana Creek where a few members, four families, belonging to the congregation in Riesel lived. I paid a visit to said families and then went back to Mr. Gaskamp overnight to return his faithful horse and on the next morning to travel from Perry on the H and T.C. lines to Navasota with my free pass. Mr. Gaskamp brought me to my friend, Napier, the station agent, who also gave us the news right away that the train was on time and would be due in a short half hour, not later.

Saying farewell and boarding had to be done in a hurry; for, for such an isolated station of only a station building and one home, it had nothing that could cause the express train from Albany to Bremond to delay. Stopping and again continuing were pushed as close together as possible. With my free pass in my hand I encountered my regular conductor, Mr. Todd, with a fresh, joyful good morning. He noted the number of my free pass in his notebook and my trip to Bremond was “paid for.”

A change of trains in Bremond brought me to the train’s main line, extending from Denison to Houston. The same procedure as before was repeated on the part of the train conductor. Mr. Littig, who had recently decided to be of service, as well as the three other regular train clerks, seemed less than interested in my travel destination. It was enough that they had registered the number of my pass. It went through Calvert and Bryan to Navasota. There I got out and, because I had conceived of a definite plan, I took my travel bag over the shoulder and went with spry, chipper steps over the Brazos bridge from Grimes County into the historic Washington County. This foot trail covered the 25 miles[22] to William Penn in measurable time. Sometime around 3 o’clock I reported to the front door of the parsonage. Frau Pastor Klindworth told me that her husband was away making visits to the sick, but would return soon. She also put two chairs in the study for me for fortification, because the 25 miles per pedes apostolorum[23] had used up those feet a little too strongly, and the September sun had worked a modicum of its scorching heat into the bargain as well. Like my trusty Grauschimmel down in Walburg, so I also was not to be moved from the spot for the time being. I won’t argue it too firmly; but I had a sense of foreboding that I might never rise from the chair when my good friend Pastor Peter Klindworth entered.

What did I even want, there in such a condition, up in the hidden rim of Washington County? In short, this: The faithful Pastor Klindworth had for the past year sought out, organized and helped provide church property to Anderson, put in place a vicar, who would later be called as a proper pastor; he had brought the Lutherans in Lyons and Mount Prairie to my attention. The breakdown due to the abdication of the vicar in Anderson left me an idea. As Pastor Klindworth was the closest to my two preaching posts, and as his beloved parish also gave him one Sunday a month free for missionary work, it had entered my thoughts that he could and might want to serve Anderson, just as before, and so also these two posts.  I myself would gain from this agreement more free time to spend in the remote parts in the Northwest of Texas.  The true and zealous servant that Pastor Klindworth always was – when necessary, he was always prepared to step into the breach so long as his Lord Commander gave the signal—required no artificial persuasion. He immediately agreed and I never saw Lyons or Mount Prairie again.

After settling this important matter, we discussed the advancement of the missionary work in Anderson and the surrounding regions, where the prematurely deceased Pastor Clarence Sierks had expanded the beautiful, prosperous Zion Lodge. Yes, these were important hours that we took advantage of as often as was possible.

The development of named preaching posts in the Grimes and Burleson Counties I cannot describe, because I personally left that field of work.

Meanwhile the dinner table of the pastor’s wife had been most appetizingly covered, so that we were abundantly bestowed with the necessary strength for our upcoming journey together to the city of Brenham. After a refreshing sleep my limbs carried themselves quite normally, of course they were completely aware that we were taking the journey of Pastor Klindworth in holy service. The journey had two motives. Not only did it allow us to catch a glimpse of the capital of the Republic of Texas, presenting itself proudly and full of freedom, seen from the outside while riding by, and then ride through the little city of Washington – though not D.C., but Texas – but also we could pay a visit to Pastor Samuel. He was a member of the old Texas Synod, and also occasionally attended our conferences, as Pastors R. Jesse and Osthoff did. Pastor Klindworth visited Pastor Samuel frequently and discussed apprenticeships and other church matters with him. I was also not a complete stranger to the Pastor Samuel. We could not visit there long, as the roughly 46 miles there and back reminded one of the not unlimited potential of the one-horse carriage.

In Brenham I visited Mr. Brockschmidt, who I had already met through his friend Wm. Remmert from Sealy. The prospect of establishing a preaching spot in the not unimportant city of Brenham was not an attractive one, especially as a lance with an inclination towards the Texas Synod had already been thrown, whose name is not present to me at this moment. With this church I often had gatherings during my travels through Sealy, Pattison, Hempstead and Read’s Prairie. It was in teaching and practice fairly different from pure Lutheranism and they occasionally attended our conferences.  The two of us called on this congregation and maintained our customary manner after a discussion about interchurch relations. Yes, so a traveling preacher must take part in seemingly everything that the work of the Almighty places him near.

When my train was due in Houston, I said farewell to Pastor Klindworth until the next conference in Post Oak.

This chapter should probably find an end somewhere here. But as a good Texan I have always held its historic cities such as Alamo, San Jacinto, San Felipe, Washington and others fondly in my memory. So in my conclusion I would like to also point out that, several weeks earlier, I received an interesting report by way of Washington from my youngest brother, the father of the blessed pastor from Winchester, Texas, Louis A. Trinklein, in which he told me the following: He recently took a look at the capital of the old Republic of Texas and found the decoration and outfitting of the capitol very interesting, and found the whole construction of its ancientness worthy of the great state of Texas. I should also mention that at Pastor Samuel’s we found a studiosus theologiae[24] from Kropp.[25] After the influx of many candidates for the ministry of the General Council, the institution of P. Paulsen for the position is well known to us older members of the Synod. Mr. Studios Theologie Kurth wanted to conclude his studies in St. Louis. If I remember correctly, he held an office with our Synod in the state of Illinois after finishing his studies. But that was long ago and the impression of this singular, fleeting encounter hasn’t remained very reliably. I still have the lasting impression, which the young man made on me, of a promising figure, as all of Paulsen’s students could compete very well with others from similar institutions.

I enclose this all here apropos, because it seemed important enough to me to store in my memory.

With the end of my journey I will also conclude my report of the beginning of the inner mission in Texas. The longer report, which I have already sent in, will shed light on the rest of the story, if you wish to read it. So I will now bid you, kind reader, a celebratory, conclusive farewell, because I have herewith offered you, in finality, everything worth recording that occurred in the years of my missionary occupation. At the same time, I feel compelled to recommend our dear Zion in the state of Texas to further prosperity in the faithful hands of the Almighty. He alone is the giver of prosperity; to Him alone is the glory.

How shall I begin? In order to instill a bit of order into my train of thought, as well as to be a bit more understandable to you, kind, patient readers, and as also to make you understand the importance – not out of poor wretchedness, although it would have been a very appropriate sentiment, but out of sheer weightiness – I need to go backwards in time a few days. It was on the 19th of December, 1885 that I sat studiously at my makeshift work desk in my lodgings at Mr. Stoeckli’s in Houston, developing my sermons in which I wished to speak of industrious, thought-engrossing, and world-forgotten heavenly things[26]. This was completely according to the program. But then something happened that belonged neither in my program nor in civilized order, not least because my esteemed colleague Mr. Friedrich Döpke, teacher at the parish school, burst into my room “disruptively” at 9:30 o’clock in the morning – such a visit in principle adds a few hundred pounds of burden to my heart – but because he very agitatedly let the Hiobspost[27] fall on my ears: “Pastor, the City Bank of Houston went bankrupt about 10 minutes ago.”

What concern of mine was this rag of a bank, which, although insolvent for more than three years, continued to breezily assume the deposits of poorer and poorer people? Yes, now that was it. As custodian of the mission funds, and as successor to Mr. Jacob Scherer, I had in my possession all the mission funds sent to me by Mr. G. W. Frye in New Orleans, and, precisely as my predecessor had done, deposited it, along with my own few dollars, in that bank – bunk would be more fitting. Luckily, I had already made out all of my checks to the various persons of interest, so the loss to the mission funds was somewhat minimized. But my last bit of cash, which should have met the costs of not only my outgoing expenses, but also the entirety of my next-to-last mission journey through Texas, as well as my already fixed honeymoon in the beginning of February, for which all manner of special outfitting would be required, allowed me to truly emphatically understand the importance of this Hiobspost. You might think that I’d have fallen stiffly from my wooden seat. Thereafter, the situation was very splendidly worked out. But in my years as a Reiseprediger, I experienced physical help – I would call it assistance – so often, yes so often, that the news of this disgraceful bankruptcy gave me a clarified view of my own financial situation. And furthermore the lovely widow, Mrs. Keck, in addition to the overflowing weight of my financial failures, had entrusted me with the conveyance of $41.65 to the Gast Wine Co. in St. Louis, Mo. Without losing a word, I waved my teacher away and wrote having faith in God into every letter of that morning’s sermon. In the sermon I could neither allow myself to be upset nor allow my own personal matters and concerns to interfere. God’s concerns, as is his honor, cannot be supported my mortal concerns, and even less so by worry-weighted hindrances.

You think perhaps: Ah! So this wise guy knew how to tug on the delicate heartstrings of friendly, pitying people to scrap together a fat collection! Alright, then I would like to present here the honor of my good president, Timotheus Stiemke. That which I had spoken not a syllable of, and had also not in the least thought, he offered me: a collection. Naturally I did not accept this noble, honorable assistance. But I was very much in need of money. I had not borrowed a single cent. I was only given the wage stipulated to me by my profession. This journey in my furthest mission territory in Northwest Texas was expeditious and executed according to the directive of the events already described. My wedding suit was quite splendidly messed up, as I can well demonstrate ad oculos[28] with my wedding photos. Our wedding ceremony was arranged by my lovely bride, a niece of the blessed Dr. Walther, for Valentine’s Day, the 14th of February, and took place at the right hour without a hitch. Dr. Walther gave the wedding sermon and blessed us on the altar of the Immanuel Lutheran Church. All according to the program. Yes, but, what I really would like to instill in your ears, or even more in your inner hearts and consciences, is this: that God helps us more than we ourselves can imagine. And I can easily prove this. He of my readers who tells me how our dear Lord has helped and can truly, as the prophets of old, demonstrate it – think of Joseph and Daniel – he I recognize as a revealer of the hidden secrets of my life. I mean this not in jest but in all earnestness.

But back to the mission journey! Since that’s what we want to hear about. I must only point out the detour that I traveled for a stretch on the route from Houston to Albany, so that you can immediately understand that I worked out southward from Albany. In Albany I preached for the last time, and therefore I could not postpone payment for the ordering and delivery of 6 new hymnals until “next time.” The good Oldenburger[29] was simply “out of cash.” And still today I carry the wish in my soul, that the treasured songs purchased by the bankruptcy-ridden Reiseprediger today, third or fourth hand, ring solace into peoples’ hearts: God helps at all times. I mention this not to shame the recipients of these hymnals. They would have paid me back, and paid me back right away, but where there is nothing, the dear Lord finds another way. So it was in this case as well.

According to earlier agreements, Cisco was the next preaching place on this leg of my journey. Everything that was German and Lutheran gathered together here for a regular, monthly worship service. Even if it was six degrees Fahrenheit under zero outside, my Cisco-enser[30] — yes , Enser was the name of one, 3 were named Schäfer, a third was named Reich, Leveur the banker, but now Müller and Schiller closes the door to my memory of names. All came regularly. There were still more. But at my 80 years of age, after the passage of some 50 years, I am not to be blamed that I can’t list the name of every person introduced to me off the top of my head. There is only one that I have not forgotten, that after a several hour-long ride through stomach-high snow not only the horse, but I myself took a liking to some furnace heat without any protest. After the end of the worship service Mrs. Leveur had me as a guest. This lovely, highly educated Christian was the daughter of Dr. Ad. Spaeths, the professor of theology at Mt. Airy Seminary of the General Council. Not only was Mrs. Leveur a very educated and entertaining person, who could really tell me a lot of news from Philadelphia — for instance the condition, conduct and allowances of Dr. Mann, my classmate in Fort Wayne. She also demonstrated a good understanding of the importance of the Lutheran church in this country – true unity, and also showed her loyalty to the churches of the Reformation, even though her husband comes from the reformed church. Not completely to be forgotten here, also, is that she astonished me with her adept culinary and housekeeping skills. Such superb hospitality was not shown me every day; but of course Mr. Leveur was a banker. I mention these details so that you, dear reader, don’t come to the idea that traveling preachers have to live like dogs. Far from it! My days as a Reiseprediger were the nicest and the happiest of my entire life. I mention this, because our dear fellow Christians missionaries in the field have well-earned for their good deeds not to be kept secret in a Reiseprediger report. If I’m not looking at St. Paulus completely lopsided, he has always put in a good word for his hosts. I am thinking in particular of the Daughters of King Laviatacus of Britannia, Gladys (Claudia) and their brother, Linut, who were held as hostages in Rome[31], where they were shown such praise-worthy hospitality that they stayed for two years and were treated as royals.

I had to continue onwards, or I would arrive late to my own wedding. So in the train I went. The next place was called Dublin. It was my only English preaching post. Here lived a number of Lutherans from the Tennessee-Synod. The ripely-aged lay preacher was named Sechrist. He had three sons and a son-in-law who understood the Do Re Me Fa So Ja La’s to the ff[32] and must have given wonderful auditory assistance to the church hymns. Here I did not need to sing out. It goes without saying that I preached. More so than in official sermons, I could elevate the passions of the congregation through a simple presentation of the doctrine of mercy, which caused them distress due to the standards of Columbus, Ohio[33]. After a particular short, understandable and practical explanation I was afforded the invaluable services of the master of brevity and the conveyor of comprehensibility, my old pastor in Frankenmuth, Mich. The lesson is, in short, this: After God redeemed our sins through his dear Son out of unprompted compassion—this merciful decision made it so, that forever more he would be the only person to bring us His grace-bringing word, baptism, and supper, and that these acts would bring us to the end of eternity. Dear reader, study this sentence. The same says to you, so long as you hear and take to heart in a true evangelical sermon, that you should think on this: The lesson[34] God preached to me today, He had already intended for me since before the time of eternity so that He could bring me to believe, and therefore until the end I will speak and through the power of these words will help bring people to His heavenly kingdom. Everything that He did for me through my baptism is the blessing of His merciful conviction: that He would bring me into heaven in defiance of my adversaries. With baptism He gave me the “deed” to the eternal kingdom. And this deed is unbreakable.  This gives me comfort through evil, wrath and death[35]. O, His rich power of invaluable godly compassion over me, that He, just as he did to the sinking Peter[36], would reach out to me and pull me to my eternal salvation with His merciful hand!

This brief statement appeals very well to my orioischangehauchten[37] descendants of Salzburg salesmen. Soon the old patriarch Sechrist will begin to tell of it. His grandfather, one of the Exulanten[38] Salzburg salesmen, told him often of the song these descendants, impoverished and in ruins, would sing on the journey to Germany. This song is well known to us, if not exactly in the Salzburg dialect, at least in Hochdeutsch. It goes:

                I will never forsake my god;

                Because he will never leave us.[39]

Of course, such a Reiseprediger visit is subject to the law of the travel plan. I had to continue onwards: Dublin to Hico, overland to Hamilton through by stagecoach, as we already are aware. After a celebration of the worship service, I could see there was a potential that the dear Hamiltonians, after my visit, would be provided for by another Reiseprediger in Northwestern Texas. The realization of this planned venture you already know. With this knowledge I could content myself and hurry back to the train in Hico. I could only call on Pastor Wunderlich in Perry (Riesel) in flight and witness the effect of the bankruptcy with my own eyes. The check of $29.00 plus unmemorable cents stared me in the eyes, uncashed. How difficult it was to find air to breathe with in such matters, well, you understand just as well as I could tell you. Of course it did not help the good Wunderlich any, that I so suddenly beat it out of that mesquite wilderness– Mr. von Schlümbach called it a Texas-Orangery to the Baron von Oersen – on train I balancing the dear Fritz Wunderlich’s, later my honored brother-in-law, credit with a P. W. House-issued money order. So I could then continue onwards with a good financial conscience– not with checks—but southwards on great long stretches of the train. Hempstead, Reeds Prairie, Sealy and Pattison brought me somewhat nearer to Houston. There, on the first Sunday, the 7th of February 1886, I could give my last sermon as a bachelor, then life would move in earnest towards the wedding celebration. Of that I will remain completely silent, as my report of the beginning of the inner mission in the state of Texas should not end like a romance-novel. That chapter must therefore remain very strictly preserved, unwritten and unprinted in my innermost heart, until –. Now, out with it! No, siree! The postage for long letters costs money, and a bankruptcy-entangled Reiseprediger must be frugal with his writing paper. That is better used for the chronicling of sermons than for fanciful effusions of emotion, if I don’t wish to waste it. You likely don’t quite agree, especially as this second-to-last report has already far exceeded the limits of your patience and I in any case have put myself at risk of losing you as attentive readers. So, in these circumstances have some loving understanding.

                If my preceding extensive report has placed any pressure on your eyes, you will marvel at what all such a secretive Reiseprediger can let loose. So – but also the other way around – Au revoir, or never to be seen again! As you wish.



[1] traveling preacher, or circuit rider. The phrase “circuit rider” is most commonly associated with the Methodist church, which sent preachers on horseback throughout the south because they could not afford to set up and train a pastor for every parish. It would appear that in the early days of Texas settlement, the Lutheran church adopted a similar strategy to maintain the relationship of Texas Germans with God. In this case, I do believe the correct term to use is the german “Reiseprediger.”

[2] Jake spells this “Round Prärie.”

[3]This refers to Peter, of the twelve apostles.

[4] Jake uses quotations here because he German-ified the English word for “buck” in the original, using the word “buckte.”

[5] “Grauschimmel” means gray mold or, more scientifically, botrytis bunch rot. In this case, however, it is the name of Jake’s horse.

[6] The word used was “Balken,” which means timber, bar, or beam. Unclear what the exact meaning of the sentence was.

[7] Perhaps a pun off of crystal-clear.

[8] The word used here was “Schweizergehöft”, which is the regional word used for traditional swiss farm houses one often sees in postcards or films.

[9] This estimation is impeccably accurate. From where I have located Shovel Mountain and Double Horn (now memorialized only in the names of creeks and roads, as they cannot be considered mountains), Google Maps estimates that it would be a 72-74 mile walk to New Braunfels.

[10] It is fair to assume that Jake was drinking alcohol here.

[11] A drug taken for malaria at the time, Quinine.

[12] Karl Lachmann (1793-1851) was a German philologist best known for being the founder of modern textual criticism. As Jake jokes, critical arguments were his forte.

[13] The Norse and Germanic god.

[14] He calls this, and perhaps it was officially termed, “Die Innere Mission im Staate Texas.”

[15] Reference to the Protestant Reformation spurred by Martin Luther in the early 16th century.

[16] Reformation Day is the day that Lutherans and other Protestants commemorate the Protestant Reformation. It is celebrated on October 31st, which in 1517 was the day that Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. 

[17] I could not find any record of Black Way Prairie. There is, however, a Blackland Prairie in a similar region.

[18] Bottom was a town in Texas six miles north of Temple in northeastern Bell County. It consolidated its schools with the nearby town of Troy and has not been shown on the map since 1948, according to the Texas State Historical Association. However, he always calls it “the Bottom”, which makes me think he might be referring to a particular region.

[19] I have found no reference to such a town that existed at his time. He was quite old at the time of writing this and it is very possible that he had forgotten the names somewhat.

[20] Ripe with sarcasm here.

[21] Jake may be making a joke that the horse dunked him in water as one might baptize a human in a river.

[22] Google Maps notes that this is a 15-mile walk.

[23] This means “by the feet of the apostles,” in Latin. In other words, on foot.

[24] Latin for “student of theology.”

[25] Kropp is a town in the state of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany.

[26] I believe he is making fun of his own earnestness here.

[27] “Hiobspost” means very bad news.

[28] Latin phrase meaning “by sight” or “obvious by sight.”

[29] This is a region in Germany, also a particular kind of horse. Unclear whether he was referring to himself or someone at the church in Albany.

[30] Another of Jake’s word plays. He uses “Cisco-enser” to reference people from Cisco, but then also ties it into one of those peoples’ names.

[31] This is a reference to some of the first Christians to become well known in Rome, King Caractacus of Britain and his relatives. According to various online sources (most notably ancient-origins.net, spiritmythos.org, and The Beginnings of Christianity in Britain by Harvey Gardner (2010)), Caractus was a Celtic king who ruled Briton from 43-50 AD. He was known for his impressive battle techniques, which led to a large expansion of his tribe’s territory and incited a Roman invasion in 43 AD by Emperor Claudius. After fierce battles between the Britons and the Romans Caractacus was finally defeated at the Battle of Medway. They sought to capture him, but Caractacus managed to hide in the Welsh mountains for another seven years using guerilla tactics. A betrayal by Queen Cartimandua, queen of the Brigantes tribe and secret ally of the Romans, led to his capture in 51 AD. Caractacus was taken to Rome along with his wife, his three sons (Cylinus, Cyron, and Linus) and his two daughters (Gladys, later known as Claudia, and Eurgain), who were all extremely devout Christians, having all been baptized by Joseph of Arimathea back in Britain. Caractacus was initially sentenced to death in Rome, but at his trial gave a speech so impressive that he was pardoned and allowed to live so long as he remained in Rome for seven years. The family lived among Roman royalty, and before long the emperor became so enamored by the young Gladys that he requested to adopt her. She consented and changed her name to Claudia in honor of her adopted father, Claudius. Impressively, she was allowed to remain a Christian. Soon after, Claudia married the Roman senator Pudens, and in a Christian wedding no less. Their home became a gathering place and refuge for many of the apostles, especially St. Paul, as well as other Christians. As a result of this, Claudia’s brother, husband, and four children were all eventually martyred.

[32] I believe his is saying, jokingly, that they sang incredibly loudly.

[33] This is perhaps a reference to a doctrine taught by one synod out of Columbus at the time that Jake disagreed with.

[34] Jake used the word “Ei,” or “egg,” but I could not find any meaning in this.

[35] He wrote this much catchier: “wider Sünde, Rot und Tot.”

[36] He used the word “Petro”, which I took to mean Peter (the disciple), but could also have meant a region in Egypt.

[37] I could not find any meaning for ”orioischan.“ “Gehauchten” means “whispered,” or “breathed.”

[38] Religious exiles from Bohemia.

[39] In the salzburgischen Dialekt, this reads: “De Gott will i nit lassen;/Denn du verloscht uns nit.”