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-
REV. OSCAR J. SWAN
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.
strom; St. Paul, O. W. Strombom; Saronville, Peter
Munson; Shickley, Emil Malmstrom; Stromburg and Swede
Plains, K. A. Stromberg; West Hill, O. J. Lundberg.
BY REV. R. A. WHITE
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
Accordingly, the Allegheny Synod, in
its annual convention in October, 1857, at Johnstown,
Pennsylvania, took the following action:
REV. PETER MUNSON
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.
Joe Railroad, thence to Omaha by steamer on the Missouri
river, arriving the last of October.
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
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.
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.
SOD CHURCH OF NEBRASKA SYNOD
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.
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
NEBRASKA SYNOD IN SESSION
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.
it finished in time for the forty-sixth annual convention
of the Nebraska Synod in October, 1919.
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
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