Iowa, John Linn, organized some churches. He presented the need for missionary work among our people in the new country at the Central Illinois Conference, held at Moline, Illinois, in 1875, and Bishop E. R. Ames appointed the Rev. J. Burstrom for the Swedish work in Nebraska. He was given the whole state as his field of labor, and he had to move his family nearly five hundred miles from Vic-



toria, Illinois, his former charge. He made his home in Sutton, Nebraska, but visited other settlements and preached the Gospel. He labored faithfully one year and was reappointed for his second year, but his health failed and in January, 1877, he was called to the eternal rest. He was a zealous and faithful man and his death was a great loss to the new mission. The work was carried on the remaining part of the conference year by a local preacher, who had come from Sweden in company with a number of emigrants.
   The first Swedish conference of the Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1877 and was called the Northwest Swedish Conference. At its first session, held in Galesburg, Illinois, Bishop Jesse T. Peck presiding, two preachers were sent to Nebraska. Rev. Olin Swanson was appointed for West Hill, near Genoa and Oakland, and Rev. Oscar J. Swan was sent to Sutton circuit, which included Stromsburg. In 1878 another man was added to the list, namely Rev. John Bendix, who was appointed to Oakland circuit. Rev. Olin Swanson was then sent to Stromsburg and West Hill and 0. J. Swan to Sutton and Fillmore counties. The work in Sutton has since been moved to Saronville, where we find today a strong Swedish Methodist church.
   Forty-three years have now passed since the missionary work among the Swedish people of Nebraska was begun by the Methodist church, and today (1919) there are a number of strong churches in our state. In 1860 there were only seventy Swedes in Nebraska, born in Sweden, in 1870 there were 2,352, in 1880 there were 10,164, and in 1890 the numbers had increased to 28,364.
   The Methodist church has not less than six conferences organized among the Swedish speaking people in the United States. The Western Swedish Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church comprises Nebraska and also Iowa and Kansas. It was organized in Omaha in 1894, with Bishop Thomas Bowman as the presiding officer. Within the state of Nebraska there are at the time when this is written (1919) seventeen Swedish Methodist churches and fifteen parsonages representing together in value a sum of nearly $100,000. These churches are located in the following places and served by the following pastors: Gustav Erickson, district superintendent; Axtell, Otto Chellberg; Concord, C. H. Lind; Davey, to be supplied; Genoa, O. J. Lundberg; Holdrege, A. W. Carlson; Keene, A. W. Lundeen; Lincoln and Havelock, John A. Carlson; Looking Glass, Gustav Malmquist; Oakland, Leonard Stromberg; Omaha, K. S. Norberg; Ong, Emil Malm-



strom; St. Paul, O. W. Strombom; Saronville, Peter Munson; Shickley, Emil Malmstrom; Stromburg and Swede Plains, K. A. Stromberg; West Hill, O. J. Lundberg.
   In all the Swedish Methodist churches in the state the English language is used in the Sunday schools and also in the services held for the young people, and in most of the churches at least half of the preaching services are conducted in the language of our country. We are using Swedish only for the sake of "helping the older people who cannot fully understand English and also for the sake of being able to meet the immigrant from Sweden with the Gospel in the language he can understand. The Swedish Methodist people in Nebraska are fast being Americanized and are everywhere proving themselves to be loyal and patriotic citizens of the United States.



   The credit for the beginning of the work of the Lutheran church in Nebraska belongs to the Allegheny Synod -- one of the six synods in Pennsylvania, in connection with the General Synod. The Pittsburgh Synod of the same state became quite a home mission body, aiding, between 1845 and 1867, no less than one hundred and twenty-three congregations. About the year 1857, the desirability of establishing mission work in the new territory of Nebraska had been called to the attention of the Pittsburgh Synod. But this body, having on hand all the missionary work it could successfully care for, requested the neighboring Allegheny Synod to take up the Nebraska work.


   Accordingly, the Allegheny Synod, in its annual convention in October, 1857, at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, took the following action:

    Resolved, That the Allegheny Synod establish a mission in Omaha City, Nebraska territory.

   Resolved, That a committee of one be appointed to carry this into effect as soon as possible.

   Resolved, That the missionary be appointed by all the officers of this society, and the appropriation not to exceed $500.

   According to this action, on October 15, 1858, Rev. H. W. Kuhns was extended a call by the Allegheny Synod, as its missionary in Omaha. On November 2, 1858, Dr. Kuhns left his home in Pennsylvania, and started to his work in the great West. He



traveled by rail as far as railroads extended at that early day, and came up the Missouri river in a steamboat, arriving at Omaha, November 19th. He was the first Lutheran minister to locate in Nebraska, and likely the first to set foot on its soil. Omaha at that time was a village of about two hundred people. At once he began to look for Lutherans for a nucleus for a congregation. On Sunday, November 28, in the afternoon, he preached in the Methodist church to a fair congregation he had gathered. This was his first sermon in his first charge.



   The next Sunday, December 5th, Dr. Kuhns again preached in the Methodist church, and organized a congregation with the name of "Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church," with nine members. The church council consisted of Daniel Redman, Uriah Bruner, Augustus Kountze, and Dr. Augustus Roeder. At the same meeting two persons were confirmed, and on the next Sunday two more were received. In 1860 two lots on Douglas street were purchased, on which a parsonage was built in 1861, and a church was dedicated on February 16, 1862. The congregation grew so rapidly that it assumed self-support in 1864.
   As Dr. Kuhns's commission was to Omaha and adjacent parts, his labors extended out over the territory of Nebraska, and into parts of Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado territories. He preached in schoolhouses, town halls, private homes, wherever opportunity offered, traveling over the vast prairies, when he had to go by compass in the absence of roads, and fording streams where there were no bridges. When he left Omaha in 1871, there were few communities in the state that he had not visited.
   The following incident, told by himself, will illustrate the kind of work he often did: A letter from Pennsylvania informed him that the Stough boys were in Nebraska, and that he was to find them. Their address was Ponca. Not knowing where Ponca was he learned from the postmaster that it was in the northeast part of the territory among the Indians. One morning he started out on his pony to find Ponca. The first evening, he arrived at Tekamah, the second, at Dakota City, and the third day he started out over the pathless prairies to find Ponca. After wandering around until night came on, he lariated his pony on the grass, made a pillow of his saddle, and slept until morning. Looking around, he saw a stake on which was written "Broadway," on another "Trinity Square"... and on others names of streets, etc. He had actually staid over night in the town, which had arrived a little in advance of the houses. Down near the creek in the edge of the woods, were several log cabins, where he found the Stough boys. In one of these cabins the first Lutheran church of Ponca was organized.
   With many experiences of which the above is a sample, Dr. Kuhns prosecuted his work. At one time he had as many as twenty-five congregations and preaching stations under his care. The following are some of the places where he organized congregations, or did the pioneer work where churches were organized: Tekamah, West Point, Fontenelle, Dakota City, Ponca, Lincoln, Nebraska City, Grand Island, North Platte, and Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming. The second church he built was at Dakota City, which is still standing. When he closed his work at Omaha, he had a membership of 250, which has become the Kountze Memorial Church with more than 2,400 confirmed members.
   Up to 1864 Dr. Kuhns had no one to assist in his ever increasing Nebraska work. That year a second pastor in the person of Rev. J. F. Kuhlman was sent out by the Allegheny Synod. He made a preliminary trip in June, preached in Immanuel Church, Omaha, went by stage to Fremont, and footed it to Fontenelle, nine miles distant, carrying his gripsack and wading through the Elkhorn river. Here he was entertained and helped in his work by the Hon. Henry Sprick, who became noted in both church and state. He visited two German settlements near Fontenelle, and went on horseback to West Point, where he found the town deserted with the exception of one shack and the remains of a sawmill. Returning to Omaha, he was taken by Dr. Kuhns to Dakota City in a buggy. This trip proved interesting and novel to Mr. Kuhlman, as the road led through the Indian reservation.
   After returning to Pennsylvania, Rev. J. F. Kuhlman concluded to accept the Allegheny Synod's appointment to Nebraska. He left his eastern home September 24, 1864, traveled from Pittsburgh on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Hannibal, Missouri, thence to St. Joseph on the Hannibal and St.



Joe Railroad, thence to Omaha by steamer on the Missouri river, arriving the last of October.
   At once he took charge at Fontenelle, perfecting the organization there and building a church. With great energy he extended his work to other parts. He organized congregations at Logan Creek, Tekamah, Salem in Dakota county, West Point, and two congregations in York county, which developed into the flourishing charge of Benedict. He perfected an organization in North Platte and did pioneer work in Columbus and other points where churches were afterward developed. Being a native German, but educated in America, he was equally at home in both languages. Hence the congregations he formed were partly English and partly German.
   In December 1864, Dr. S. Aughey, commissioned by the Allegheny Synod, came to Nebraska and located at Dakota City. He served this charge until 1871. During this time he brought the work to self-support, developed a good congregation, and built the church at Ponca, twenty miles away. He resigned this charge to accept a place in the State University, as teacher of natural sciences. While Dr. Aughey was filling his place in the university at Lincoln, he went out on Sundays to the Pierce schoolhouse, and preached. This work resulted in the formation of the Lutheran church at Waverly, twelve miles northeast of the city.
   While Dr. Aughey did very much for his church in the West, and remained a member of it until his death, his natural field was in the university and college. He distinguished himself in the department of science. He was a born naturalist. When the state was mostly a vast prairie, he wrote a communication to the New York Tribune, in which be said that Nebraska would eventually become a part of the great corn-belt of the United States. He based this prediction on the fact that he had analyzed the soil and found it rich in corn-producing elements. All it needed was moisture, and it seemed to have plenty of that. An agricultural paper of the East ridiculed the idea that a corn-belt could ever exist away out in that "American desert." Dr. Aughey saw his prophecy abundantly fulfilled. At an early day he made geological surveys for the government in this and surrounding states.
   As the work in this new country was continually expanding, new men were necessary. In 1867 the Allegheny Synod sent out the Rev. Eli Huber to Nebraska City. He established a congregation and built a church in the city. In addition he developed two other points in the country. He supplemented his meager salary by teaching school, and was elected and served for a time as city superintendent of the schools of Nebraska City. After ten years of strenuous service, he accepted a call to the Messiah Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, leaving a strong, self-supporting charge. He served this congregation sixteen years. He afterward served as director of the General Synod Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
   In 1867 the Allegheny Synod sent out Rev. J. G. Groenmiller. He was commissioned to work at a point in Atchison county, Missouri. This county, being in the northwest corner of Missouri, was contiguous to Nebraska, and the field had been canvassed by Dr. H. W. Kuhns and Rev. J. F. Kuhlman. Dr. Groenmiller, finding this point unpromising, transferred his activities to Rockport, the county seat, and organized a congregation in 1868, and built a church in 1869. He extended his work on to the Nebraska side of the Missouri river, and organized several congregations in Richardson county. For a while he made his headquarters at Falls City. Afterward he located at Hanover, Kansas, near the state line. Here, from a center, he extended his operations in various directions, and established churches at Greenleaf, Kansas, Lanham, and State Line. Though doing much work in English, most of it was in German, and resulted in establishing strong German congregations. He was nevertheless very much interested in English work, and remained a member of the English Synod of Nebraska after the German Synod was formed.
   These five men, Rev. H. W. Kuhns, D.D., Rev. J. F. Kuhlman, Rev. Dr. Aughey, Rev.



Eli Huber, D.D., and Rev. J. G. Groenmiller, D.D., have very properly been regarded as the pioneers of the Nebraska Synod. They deserve to be remembered by those who are following in the trail they made. They did their work nobly in the face of difficulties the present generation know very little about.
   About the year 1870 a great change took place in home mission work. Up to this time each synod had done its own work of this kind independently, and there had been no uniform plan or concerted action among the synods of the General Synod. The General Synod, in 1869, at Washington, D. C., created a Home Mission Board, to unify the home mission work, and have general oversight of it. Each district synod transferred its missions and home mission money to this board. This brought all the missions of Nebraska under the supervision of the General Board, and the Allegheny Synod that had done so much work for Nebraska, from this time on did its work through the same agency.


   About this time, the need of an organization on the Nebraska field was recognized. April 27, 1871, in response to a call for a convention to consider the matter of organizing a synod in Nebraska, the following General Synod Lutheran ministers met in Omaha: Rev. J. F. Kuhlman and Rev. Dr. S. Aughey, Dakota City; Rev. G. A. R. Buetow, Fontenelle; Rev. G. H. N. Peters and Rev. Ira C. Billman, Omaha.
   Rev. J. F. Kuhlman was elected president and Ira C. Billman, secretary. After due deliberation the following action was unanimously taken:

    Resolved, That the ministers of the Evangelical Lutheran church of the General Synod, at once secure dismissal from the synod to which they respectively belong, for the purpose of organizing a synod in the bounds of their own territory.

   A meeting was appointed for September and a committee was appointed to draft a constitution.
   Accordingly, the same ministers, with the addition of Rev. J. G. Groenmiller and three lay delgates (sic), met in Omaha, September 1, 1871, and proceeded to organize the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Nebraska. Rev. J. F. Kuhlman was chosen president, Ira C. Billman, secretary, and John B. Detwiler, treasurer. Rev. Ira C. Billman presented the constitution of the Wittenberg Synod (Ohio), which, with a few changes was adopted. Rev. Eli Huber presented his letter of dismission, and was received as the first accession to the membership. Rev. A. G. R. Buetow was ordained at this convention. Of the original six that organized this synod, only one is living, Rev. J. F. Kuhlman, the first president. He resides at Pawnee City.
   The next convention was to have met at Dakota City in September, 1872. but as there was not a quorum, only two clerical members being present, the synod did not convene. There were four visiting ministers present: Rev. J. W. Goodlin, secretary of the Board of Home Missions; Rev. A. A. Trimper, agent of Carthage College, Carthage Illinois; Revs. Sparr and Reese from Iowa.
   The second convention met in Fontenelle, Washington county, June 11, 1874, and it has met annually ever since.
   The history. of the Nebraska Synod may be divided into two periods -- the first extending to the year of 1891, during which time the German and English elements worked together; the second, extending to the present, during which time the English and German elements worked in separate synods.


   The new synod began to grow at once. Every convention would report an increase of ministers, churches, and members. By 1880 the clerical members had grown to twenty-four, churches to thirty, besides twenty preaching stations, and a communicant membership of more than 1,300. In another year, 1881, the number of ministers was twenty-seven, congregations thirty-five, and communicant members 1784. By the year 1890, the clerical roll had grown to seventy-eight, churches to eighty-seven, preaching stations to thirty-eight, and



a communicant membership of more than 4,000.
   The synod was about half German and half English. Some of the German ministers understood very little English, and most of the English ministers did not understand German. Some were equally efficient in both. Until 1891 both elements worked together in both languages. Each language had equal rights on the floor of the synod. There was an English secretary and a German secretary, so the procedings (sic) were recorded in both languages. The minutes were published partly in English copies for English congregations, and partly in German copies for German congregations. All reports had to be presented in both languages, and discussions and speeches could be in either language at the will of the speaker. Sermons were preached in the evening services, generally in both languages.
   The president needed at least three distinct qualifications -- he must have a good command of English, a good command of German, and he must be a good parliamentarian. As the term of office was limited it was not always easy to find a man for the place with all necessary qualities.
   While the synod was small this plan worked satisfactorily, But when it grew to be a



large body, it became cumbersome, and change was desirable. In 1888 the German conference passed an action requesting the synod to grant German ministers the privilege of withdrawing from the synod and organizing a synod of their own to be in connection with the General Synod -- a peaceable separation. The English ministers were not favorable to a language division, but recognizing the fact that the synod was growing to be such a large body, that the question of entertainment was becoming difficult, they favored a division on territorial lines. Their plan was to divide into the eastern and western Nebraska Synods -- the dividing line to be the first guide meridian west. After a long discussion, at the convention at Rising City, in 1888, the Germans withdrew their request, and then the English element did not press their plan, so the matter was dropped for a time.
   However, the Germans insisted later on organizing a German synod, and the synod, in its annual convention at Denver, Colorado, in 1890, requested the German ministers to present the matter at the next session of the synod, and in case a majority thought it advisable to organize a German Synod, the Nebraska Synod would not oppose it. In accordance with this action, the German ministers, who desired to go into a German Synod, were



granted letters of dismission. In 1891 the German Synod was organized, and since then the Nebraska Synod has been purely an English body.


   The territorial extent of the Nebraska Synod at first was beyond the bounds of the state, having congregations in Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. The congregations in Missouri, Kansas, and South Dakota were all German and went into the German Synod. In the same year, 1891, the Rocky Mountain Synod was organized, and the congregations in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico went into it. Since then the Nebraska Synod has been confined within the limits of the state.
   The organization of these synods reduced the membership of the Nebraska Synod down to near the two thousand mark. Nevertheless she has made a large growth. Many of her first churches have become large and flourishing. Old, primitive buildings have passed away, and new modern churches have taken their places. Among these we may mention West Point, Ponca, Lincoln, Hardy, Davenport, and Benedict. Some churches have been remodeled and enlarged and made more modern. Among these are Beatrice, Grand Island, and Nebraska City.



   The most phenominal (sic) growth of any of the churches of the synod has been the Kountze Memorial of Omaha. This church was originally the Immanuel Church on Douglas street, built by Dr. Kuhns. It changed its location to Sixteenth and Harney streets in 1883, and as Augustus Kountze made a large donation toward the new church, the name was changed to Kountze Memorial. As business blocks had built up all around it, another change of location became necessary. During the pastorate of the Rev. J. E. Hummon, a new location was secured on Twenty-sixth and Farnam streets, and the present large, commodious, and churchly building was erected and dedicated in 1904. Since then it has grown in membership until now it has, according to last report, 1,400 regular communicant members, and a total confirmed membership of 2,494. It has enrolled in Sunday school 760 scholars, and gave for benevolent purposes last year $8,939. This church has had a large growth under the pastorate of Dr. 0. D. Baltzly and his assistants, Revs. C. Franklin Koch and A. B. Shrader. Besides this large congregation there are six other churches in Omaha.
   At this writing, the congregation at North Platte is erecting a new church building that is to cost $60,000. They contemplate having



it finished in time for the forty-sixth annual convention of the Nebraska Synod in October, 1919.
   The Nebraska Synod is much larger than when the German and Rocky Mountain congregations were separated from it. Today it has a membership of fifty-four ministers, fifty-six congregations, 8,969 confirmed members, and fifty-three Sunday schools with an enrollment of 6,306 scholars. Last year her total benevolences amounted to $26,060.
   The Nebraska Synod, with the two others that grew out of it, has 166 ministers, 158 congregations and 21,957 confirmed members. They have church property valued at $1,410,940. At the last report they gave for benevolences $52,662.


   These have been various. Sometimes pastors have visited places outside of their own pastorates, and preached with the result of the formation of new congregations. The Synod at times has employed synodical missionaries. In the earlier history of the Synod, Rev. J. F. Kuhlman and Rev. J. C. Brodfuhrer were thus engaged, and did much good work. Rev. Conrad Huber served as traveling secretary, under the direction of a traveling secretary committee, appointed by the Synod, from 1887 to 1893. He did very much in developing new congregations, helping pastors, and strengthening weak places. At the present time Rev. W. T. Kahse is filling the place of synodical missionary under the direction of the home mission and church extension committee. Several new congregations owe their existence to his work.
   Almost identical with the history of the Synod has been the work of the Board of Home Missions, with headquarters at Baltimore, and the Board of Church Extension with headquarters at York, Pennsylvania. Most of the churches in Nebraska have been helped by these boards. Some owe their existence to them. When it is desirable to plant a church in any place, the Board of Home Missions helps to support the missionary, and the Board of Church Extension helps in building the church.
   The Board of Home Missions for many years had a western secretary to have general oversight of the missions on the western field. Dr. S. B. Barnitz, with headquarters at Des Moines, Iowa, filled this place from 1881 to 1902, the time of his death. Nebraska was benefited very much by the work of this unusually talented man. The church was greatly extended by his energy. On the Pacific coast, the General Synod did not have a church until 1886. Now we have the strong growing California Synod. Hardly a church in the West that did not feel the influence of Dr. Barnitz, and especially the missions.
   Dr. L. P. Ludden, with headquarters at Lincoln, became his successor and served until his death, January 7, 1915. Dr. Ludden was a man of unusual executive ability. He threw all his energy into the home mission work. Wherever he went his presence was an inspiration and help. His advice and suggestions were always practical. Nebraska received its full measure of benefit from his work. Many of the western missions were given an additional impulse by his strong words.
   The Board of Church Extension likewise had its representatives on the western field. The first of these was Dr. J. N. Lenker, who had been successful in building up a home mission church in Grand Island. He served the board from 1886 to 1894. He was succeeded by Dr. H. L. Yarger, who served in this capacity until the two boards, home missions and church extension, were consolidated into one, with a home mission department and a church extension department, in 1915. He has since been at the head of the home mission department. Both these men did good service in helping new and weak congregations to get church buildings of their own. Nebraska was helped by their work.


   This is a school of higher education, belonging to the Lutheran church, located at Atchison, Kansas. It was established by the board of education of the General Synod in

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