The first sermon delivered in Columbus was in the dining room of the American Hotel, by Rev. John Adriane, a Methodist itinerant. Word had previously been received of the appointment on Saturday afternoon, and said pastor's old horse was seen coming along with the preacher on his back; a pair of saddlebags behind him contained his Bible and hymn book, with other necessary articles. He was immediately taken in charge by the brethren, J. P. Becker, Judge Speice and Judge Patterson, who were keeping "bachelor's hall" in the house where Mrs. Freston lived so long. From that time on until 1866 the Protestant citizens of the town were indebted to the Methodist Church for all the spiritual teaching they received. In the spring of 1866 Rev. Samuel Goodale began making regular visits here, being one of a small band who the ever lamented Bishop Clarkson gathered around him when he came to Nebraska after his consecration as its bishop, under whom were Reverends McNamara and Dake. For a long time services were held in the town hall. In 1868 the Reverend Goodale moved to Columbus with his family, with the intention of building a church, which was carried into effect the following year. The building required a great deal of effort and labor. About one thousand dollars was subscribed by citizens and an equal amount furnished by the Church Extension Society. On Sunday, the 19th day of December, 1869, it was dedicated by Bishop Clarkson, assisted by the Rev. Mr. O. C. Dake, of Fremont. Previous to this time Reverend Goodale had built up a flourishing Sunday school which was attended by children of all denominations, including some of Catholic families, and on Christmas Eve of that year the first Christmas tree and festival was held in Columbus in the church. H. J. Hudson was the superintendent and under his admirable management a large portion of the children were attracted to the school. A very large tree was procured, which was loaded with presents for young and old, and there are a few men and women who will recollect
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the presents they, as children, received from the tree. Exercises suitable to the occasion were held, addresses were made by the superintendent and some of the teachers, and the occasion has never been surpassed, if equalled, by any effort in that direction since. Mrs. Goodale was at that time the organist and musical director and with a choir composed in part of those whom she had trained, to which was added her own voice, of marvelous power and sweetness, discoursed beautiful music suitable to the occasion. Elsie Allen, seven-year-old daughter of the then Union Pacific agent here, a musical prodigy, sang "When I Seek My Father." The following spring Reverend Goodale was transferred to Lincoln for the purpose of organizing and building a church in the capital city and the first church of his denomination in Lincoln is also one of his monuments. For a number of years he was engaged in the same work in different places. He returned to Columbus in 1877 and long remained one of its citizens. He was rector of the Episcopal parish until 1877, when the infirmities of age compelled him to retire from active labor.
GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
On the evening of October 19, 1868, a few persons met in the Town of Columbus, among whom was Rev. Samuel Goodale, who for some time previously had been a traveling missionary. The result was the organization of a parish to be known as Grace Episcopal Church, and the election of a vestry. Services were held in the town hall until a church edifice could be erected. On the evening of January 4, 1869, the vestry decided to raise money for building a church, which work was commenced early in June following and was completed in December of that year. The architecture was Gothic in style, with stained glass windows. The body of the church was finished in imitation oak and the roof, which formed the ceiling, was in light blue. The success of the enterprise was mainly due to the efforts of the Rev. Mr. Goodale, who devoted himself unceasingly to the work. The cost of the building was about two thousand dollars, of which $1,000 was furnished by Bishop Clarkson. The church was furnished by Mrs. Ellen Watkinson, of Hartford, Conn., and the Bible and prayer book were presented by Miss Lewis, of New London, Conn.
While still in an unfinished state the funeral obsequies of the lamented Judge Whaley were held in the church, thus as it were, dedicating and consecrating the edifice, the erection of which he
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had so largely promoted. On the 19th of December, 1869, the church was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. R. H. Clarkson, bishop of Nebraska, according to the impressive form of the church, who pronounced it one of the most successful building enterprises in Nebraska. At that time the number of communicants was fifteen and a flourishing Sunday school was also connected with the parish.
Shortly thereafter Reverend Goodale was transferred to Lincoln where his talents were given to the building of a church in the capital city. He was succeeded by Rev. Henry C. Shaw, an accomplished and eloquent divine, by whom services were held every Sunday morning. In January, 1872, Reverend Shaw was succeeded by Rev. J. H. Rippey, who remained until April, 1874, when Reverend Shaw once more returned to the parish. January 1, 1877, Rev. Matthew Henry took charge, remaining until April, 1878, when Rev. Samuel Goodale returned and was in charge of the parish for a number of years. Notwithstanding all due diligence has been observed in bringing this sketch down to date the result has been a failure, owing to the carelessness with which the records of the church have been kept. It is known, however, that Arthur Westcott was pastor two years and after an interval of two years the present pastor, W. H. Xanders, came in 1910.
Speaking of the church, through the columns of the Journal, H. J. Hudson had the following to say:
"We take it for granted that there is no better evidence of the moral growth of new towns in the West than the erection of schoolhouses and places of worship.
"Last Sabbath, the Episcopal Church, just finished in Columbus, was consecrated to the form of worship in accordance with Episcopal discipline and usage. The reputation of the bishop of the diocese brought together a good company of the citizens to participate in the services o f the day, which were conducted by Bishop Clarkson, the Rev. Samuel Goodale, rector, and Rev. O. C. Dake, of Fremont.
"The beauty and solemnity of the dedication services were especially impressive, by the effective manner in which Mrs. Goodale manipulated the organ, assisted in the anthems, chants and gloria patria, by Burdette Allen and lady; several others were grouped around the organ, but the voices of the gentleman and lady named rose in full swell, sinking back into a soft cadence, flute like and mellow. The sermon of Bishop Clarkson was a composition of elegant diction, replete with breathing thoughts, the manifest fruits of an earnest life, truly refreshing, in contrast with the rhetorical
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effort of finely spun sentences, to please 'itching ears,' a practice far too prevalent in the sacred desks for the growth of pure religion.
"The services in the evening were conducted by the reverend gentleman. The Rev. O. C. Dake preached the sermon, a discourse of scathing rebuke of the worldly mindedness of the church, for the fashionable follies and fripperies of its members, as being more fitting for the ball room or theater. We feel in a mood to roughly criticise some of the gentleman's remarks, but are restrained by a remembrance of his text: 'Let your moderation be known by all men.'
"The exercises of the day were closed by the confirmation of six members. The address of the bishop to the confirmed was full of tenderness and sympathy, urging a zealous watchfulness against reproach of the truth, closing with a glowing tribute to the late Judge C. H. Whaley, who had signified his determination to make a full profession of the Christian life upon the dedication of the edifice set apart this day for the worship of Almighty God.
"The building has been named Grace Church, complimentary to Grace Church of Baltimore, Bishop Clarkson having obtained a donation of $1,000 from its members. The citizens of Columbus also donated $1,000 and the church was furnished by a lady of Hartford, Conn. It cost $2,200, leaving a debt of $200, which indebtedness has been promised to be paid soon.
"The contractor, J. O. Shannon, has done himself credit in its construction. The main building is 40x21 feet, the chancel 8x12 feet, the vestry room 9x10 feet, and a very neat tower awaits a bell. The architecture is strictly episcopal; constructed with open roof, the ceiling is painted blue and the cross rafters brown; eleven stained glass windows give a soft, subdued light; three chandeliers are suspended from the roof, containing four lights each. About one hundred and fifty persons can be comfortably seated.
"In June, 1866, Rev. Samuel Goodale first visited Columbus. Incessant in toil and weariness, he has borne a large share of the responsibility of the work, often amidst the dark clouds of disappointment and indifference has he stood alone, till by patient, humble effort to plant the cross, he has seen the fruit of his labors, and this day, aided by the labors of Mrs. Goodale, he not only has a worshipping congregation, but a Sabbath school of fifty scholars. Rev. Samuel Goodale, first rector of Grace Church, Columbus, Neb., though not a brilliant preacher, is a fervent, earnest pastor, and will be gratefully remembered when the structure reared through his
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incessant labors shall have given place to the surging waves of time and its founder has passed to rest."
HISTORY OF CATHOLICITY IN COLUMBUS, NEBRASKA
The First Parish Founded West of Omaha, Nebraska -- A Center of
Flourishing Religious Institutions -- Review of Its Growth
from a Religious Point of View
Among the very earliest settlers there were several Catholics. John Browner and John Haney arrived in November, 1856. Early in the following year Patrick Murray came, and a little later during the same year several Irish families settled. Missionary priests had to satisfy the religious wants of the pioneers.
In 1860 a Catholic congregation was organized. It was the first along Shell Creek, northwest of Columbus. The earliest members were: John Browner, John Haney, James Haney, Patrick Murray, Henry Carrig, Dave Carrig, James Carrig, John Dineen, Michael Dineen, Edward Hayes, Thomas Lynch, Mrs. Dunlap, James Conway and Mrs. Brady.
The first church edifice was a little log cabin, which was later on replaced by a frame structure. The lumber for this building was hauled from Omaha by Patrick Murray free of charge.
The patron of the church was St. John. Rev. Father Fourmont was the first priest in charge of this church and for some years the only clergyman in the county. After Father Fourmont's departure, services were held by different visiting priests.
On October 6, 1866, Rev. J. S. Ryan arrived in Columbus and became its resident pastor. From that time on the baptismal and matrimonial records have been kept. Father Ryan was ordained in 1861 by the Rt. Rev. James O'Gorman, Vicar Apostolic of Nebraska. After a short stay in Omaha he was sent to St. John's a settlement near where Jackson now stands. From there he was transferred to Columbus. His field of labor extended from the Elkhorn River to Julesburg, Colo., a distance of nearly three hundred and fifty miles along the line of the Union Pacific Railroad. He had charge of all this territory for about ten years after which time his parish extended from Wood River to Schuyler, and was gradually cut down until the year 1882. Since that time it appears from the records, Father Ryan had charge of St. John's only, until the winter of 1891. The last baptism is recorded to have been on September 12th and the last wed-
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ding on October 1st of that year. Being no longer able, owing to feeble health, to attend to the parish Father Ryan went to Omaha where he lived a little over two years at St. Joseph's Hospital. He died on the eve of Easter in 1893. R. I. P.
Upon Father Ryan's departure from Columbus, St. John's Church was closed, the members joining St. Bonaventure's parish. The property one-half a block on Ninth Street, was sold for $1,600. This money was turned over to St. Bonaventure's Church and used to pay part of the debt incurred by building an addition to the church in 1891.
Among the early Catholic settlers there were also some Germans and Poles. Their wants were attended to by an occasional visit of some German or Polish priests invited by Father Ryan. The number of German and Polish settlers gradually increased. The Rt. Rev. James O'Connor, therefore, felt it his duty to make better provision for their care. After mature deliberation he called the Franciscan Fathers to undertake this work in Platte County and vicinity.
In January, 1877, the Fathers arrived and St. Bonaventure's parish was organized.
An old schoolhouse was bought and moved to the new church property, which extends from Ernst to Idaho streets between 15th and 16th and was donated by Mr. Gottschalk. The building was placed in the block between Idaho and Henry streets. It was remodeled so as to serve as church and temporary residence of the Fathers until the new monastery which was to be erected near Fulton Street would be ready for occupation. The brick for the monastery were made on the premises, and were the first brick manufactured here. The clay had to be hauled several miles from northwest of town.
The First Franciscan Fathers sent to Columbus were Father Ambrose, O. F. M., superior and pastor of Columbus; Father Anslem, O. F. M., rector of St. Mary's Church, Stearns Prairie; Father Sebastian, O. F. M., pastor of St. Anthony's Church and of all the Polish people in Platte County; Father John, O. F. M., attended churches in Butler, Polk and Madison counties.
During October, 1878, two bells were bought. They were blessed by Rt. Rev. James O'Connor, November 17, 1878.
In 1883 it was found necessary to begin building a new church. The people being poor, it was decided to build only a part at first but so that it might be enlarged when the congregation should grow larger. The sanctuary and forty-two feet of the present church were built and finished during 1883 and 1884.
The parish continued to grow until in 1891 it was found necessary
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to add forty-two feet more to the building. Finally during 1908 and 1909 another twenty-eight feet and a tower were added, thus making the building complete. It is now a solid brick structure fifty feet wide, the nave is 112 feet long and the sanctuary about twenty-eight feet wide and thirty-five feet long. The building is heated by steam and lighted by electricity.
A peal of three sonorous bells in the belfry of the new tower call the faithful to the divine services. The largest bell was donated by Peter Greisen, the next largest is a gift from George and Anton Henggeler, while the third was donated by the ladies of St. Anne's Society . The three bells cost $1,000.
The total cost of the church is in the neighborhood of $35,000.
The rectors of St. Bonaventure's during this time were: Father Ambrose Janssen, O. F. M., January, 1877, to July, 1880; Father Wendelin Graute, O. F. M., July, 1880, to July, 1881; Father Dominic Florian, O. F. M., July 1,1881, to July, 1882; Father Seraphin Lampe, O. F. M., July, 1882, to January, 1887; Father Pacificus Kohnen, O. F. M., January, 1887, to August, 1894; Father Maurice Bankholt, O. F. M., August, 1894, to October, 1895; Father Marcellinus Kollmeyer, O. F. M., October, 1895, to January, 1902; Father Seraphin Lampe, O. F. M., January, 1902, to September, 1903; Father Theobald Kalamaja, O. F. M., September, 1903, to April, 1906; Father Rembert Stanowski, O. F. M., April, 1906, to July, 1907; Father Marcellinus Kollmeyer, O. F. M., July, 1907, to August, 1912; Father Cyriac Stempel, O. F. M., August 25, 1912, to November 2, 1915; Father Hilarius Kieserling from November 2, 1915, to present day.
October 4, 1913, the Polish members of St. Bonaventure's Church by request of Rt. Rev. R. Scannell separated and bought the so-called Speice property on 6th and Grover, and since then have their own church. Rev. Protase Kuberek, O. F. M., effected the separation and remained in charge until October, 1914, when he was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. Dennis Czech, O. F. M.
A school had been built by the Reverend Protase Kuberek in the early part of 1914. The congregation at present numbers about one hundred families.
Until 1903 the pastor of St. Bonaventure's had no regular assistant, although the other Fathers would help during the week whenever possible. In 1903 Father Robert, O. F. M., acted as assistant for some time. On September 9, 1904, Father Marian, O. F. M., was made
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assistant to the pastor and continued in this capacity until July, 1907. He was succeeded by the following:
Father Ladislaus, O. F. M., July, 1907, to August, 1909; Father Wolfgang, O. F. M., August, 1909, to January, 1911; Father Sigismund, O.F.M., January, 1911, to July, 1912; Father Stanislaus Swierczynski, O. F. M., July, 1913, to January, 1914; Father Lambert Brinkmoeller, O. F. M., January, 1914, to July, 1914; Father Victorin Hoffman, O. F. M., 1914, to present day.
Father Ryan also had several assistant priests during his pastorate. The following appear on the records: Rev. Peter S. Lynch, September, 1874, to February, 1875; Rev. J. M. J. Smyth, October, 1876, to May, 1877; Rev. John T. Smith, August, 1877; Rev. M. F. Cassidy, October, 1878, to February, 1879; Rev. John Flood, November, 1879, to February, 1880; Rev. Owen Geary, July and August, 1881.
St. John's Church had no school. When St. Bonaventure's Church was organized the Fathers also made preparations for establishing a Catholic school. The building was begun in 1877, and was completed in 1878, and was dedicated on the 17th of November of that year. It was a 2 1/2 story brick building, about sixty feet long and thirty feet wide. There were two large rooms on each floor. The west rooms on the first and second floor were fitted up as class rooms. The remaining rooms were arranged for the use of the Sisters, who had charge of the school. The Sisters who taught the school for the first three years were from a community whose novitiate is at Joliet, Ill. They belonged to the Third Order of St. Francis. Classes were opened in the new school November 4, 1878. The building cost about seven thousand dollars.
In 1882 the school was entrusted to the charge of the Franciscan Sisters who have their mother house at Lafayette, Ind., and has been under their care ever since. Soon after their arrival the building was enlarged to provide room for boarders, thus laying the foundation for St. Francis Academy, as it is called today. Additions were made from time to time as the attendance increased, so that the buildings now cover almost an entire block. About two-thirds of the building has been erected at the expense of the Sisters. There are accommodations for about one hundred boarders. The building has all modern accommodations, such as electric light, good water, sewerage connection and is heated by the Brumell Hot Vapor System. In 1878 two class rooms were sufficient, today there are seven large class rooms, all of them but one crowded to the limit. The teaching staff is composed of ten Sisters, two being music teachers. A full twelve-
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grade high-school course is taught. The school is accredited to the State University.
In 1878 Sisters of St. Francis came to Columbus and established a hospital, their second establishment in the United States. A brick-veneered frame building was erected on the half-block immedately east of the church property. This building was about sixty feet long and thirty feet wide and cost about six thousand dollars. In 1886 a wing 30x90 feet was added on the west side. This new structure is a solid brick building. About the year 1900 more room was needed. Plans were made for a new, up-to-date hospital which was begun in 1901 and was in readiness to receive patients in October, 1902. The old building erected in 1878 was dismantled and the material used to add another story to the west wing. The hospital can now take care of about one hundred patients. It is modern and up-to-date in all its equipment, and the work performed here compares favorably with the work of any hospital in the larger cities of the country, as an investigation of its records will easily demonstrate.
INDEPENDENT GERMAN EVANGELICAL PROTESTANT CONGREGATION
This society was organized in 1872 as the German Reformed Church, with twenty members, among whom are remembered Vincent Kummer, Jacob Ernst, Andrew Mathis, Michael Schram, John Stauffer and Jacob Louis. The church edifice was built in 1874 and dedicated on the first Sunday in October of that year, Rev. Ferdinand Dieckman, of Omaha, and Rev. A. S. Foster, conducting the services. It appears that Reverend Dieckman was the first and the organizing pastor of this congregation. He remained until 1874, when he was succeeded by Rev. Abraham Schreck His successors were as follows, namely: Rev. Frederick Huellhorst, C. S. Huellhorst, a brother; Reverend Fleisher, Reverends Schultz and De Geller, the latter from 1894 to 1899.
The church was reorganized in the summer of 1899, when it adopted the name as shown by the caption of this article. At the time, the present pastor, Rev. R. Neumarker, D. D., was called from Forsythe, Mo., and took charge. The church has a membership of 120 families, or about three hundred and fifty communicants. It has a Sunday school with an average attendance of ninety-five. The Ladies' Aid Society numbers eighty in membership, and a parochial school has an attendance of forty-five children. The church edifice was rebuilt in 1912 at a cost of $2,500. To the east, on the
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 139
adjoining lot, stands a neat and comfortable residence built especially for the pastor.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
The Baptist Society was organized in Columbus in the spring of 1880, and among the early members were Hilman Baker, Mrs. Hurd, Mrs. T. B. Gerrard, L. Wood, Bertha Wood and G. Hurd. Rev. Franklin Pierce came as pastor when the church was started and remained a number of years.
For the purpose of forming a Baptist society, a meeting was held April 4, 1880, at the Presbyterian Church. Rev. J. I. W. Reed was chosen chairman of the meeting; Miss Bertha Wood, secretary. On the 30th day of August, 1884, at another called gathering of the Baptist people, Rev. C. C. Rush, acting as chairman, and J. N. Heater, secretary; I. D. Gates, W. A. Way and Mrs. T. B. Gerrard were elected trustees; J. N. Heater, clerk.
On the 19th day of July, 1885, the Baptists dedicated their house of worship. This was a remodeled frame building, the first one erected for church purposes in Platte County. The lot and original house were purchased in 1884 for $400. The dedicatory sermon was delivered by Rev. J. W. Osborn, general missionary of the state. In the evening a union meeting, consisting of the Baptist, Methodist Episcopal, Congregational and Presbyterian societies, was held, and the capacity of the house was found unequal to the demand for seats. An impromptu choir was organized. C. W. Rush, of Omaha, presided at the organ and furnished some excellent music. Addresses were delivered by Revs. Henrich, J. W. Osborn, J. W. Miller and O. V. Rice. The church continued its services with varying interest on the part of its adherents until within recent years, when regular services ceased. Rev. R. W. Reinhart was pastor in 1908.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The first meeting held to organize a Methodist class in Columbus was on June 15, 1867, T. B. Lemon, presiding elder of the Omaha district, in the chair. The people of this religious faith, however, were at the time weak in numbers and it was not until ten years later that the permanent organization of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Columbus was consummated. Up to that time, or rather, nine months previous thereto, the society having been left without a pastor, became greatly discouraged and disbanded. The church was
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reorganized in the fall of 1877 and Rev. J. Q. A. Flaherty was called to the pastorate, who at once took up the duties of his calling and remained till 1880.
The first house of worship was a small frame building, situated east of the Congregational Church, and with the lot, was valued at $1,000. In the latter part of May, 1886, the present church building was commenced, under the administration of Rev. J. L. St. Clair. The structure was dedicated on Sunday, October 10th, of that year, by Rev. J. W. Phelps, of Omaha, presiding elder of that district. Rev. J. W. Shank, presiding elder of Grand Island district, delivered a discourse. This frame edifice, under its original design, had ground dimensions of 30 by 50 feet, with a vestibule 10 by 10 feet, which had a 24-foot ceiling. The tower reached to a height of 64 feet, and the whole cost of the property was estimated at $3,500. The building was remodeled in 1907, after its present design.
The original members of this church were Lizzie Davis, Mattie and Caroline Kennedy, Thomas Saunders and wife, William Crumwell, Francis Kerr, D. P. Bingham, J. B. Bailey, Minerva Bailey, C. W. Webster and Mrs. Mary Rickly. Pastors: J. W. Warren, 1867; S. P. Van Doozer, 1869-70; L. F. Whithead, 1871-2; C. C. McCune, 1873; Reverend King, 1874; Reverend Drahms and Rev. John Armstrong, 1875; B. S. Taylor, 1875-7; J. Q. A. Flaharty, 1877-80; M. V. Bristol, 1881; R. B. Wilson, 1882-3; J. Q. A. Flaharty, 1884; E. J. Robinson, 1885; J. L. St. Clair, 1885-7; H. L. Powers, 1887-9; William Worley, 1889-91; J. B. Leedom, 1891-3; F. W. Bross, 1894-5; John E. Moore, 1895-6; A. L. Mickel, 1896-9; G. W. Carey, 1899-1900; G. A. Luce, 1901-04; L. R. De Wolf, 1905-08; D. I. Roush, 1908-10; Charles W. Ray, 1910-i3; D. A. Leeper, 1913-14; Harry F. Huntington, 1914.
The present membership of the church is 232 and the Sunday school has an enrollment of 300.
As early as the month of November, 1869, Rev. Joseph M. Wilson began holding semi-monthly meetings at the home of G. W. Brown, which finally led to the organization of a Presbyterian society in Columbus, which was partially consummated November 30, 1870. Among the original members were Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Brown, Mrs. A. M. Arnold, Mrs. Josephine Compton, Joseph Gerrard, Miss Avis Gerrard and Miss Emma Gerrard. The first meetings were
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PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 141
held in the Congregational Church, and Reverend Wilson remained as pastor until June, 1873, when he was succeeded by Rev. A. S. Foster, who remained until 1874.
On the 17th day of May, 1874, at a meeting of the Presbyterian congregation, Marshall Smith being chairman, and E. A. Gerrard, secretary, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, The laws of the State of Nebraska provide that a majority of the members of any church, religious body, etc., may form themselves into a society and elect officers thereof, and that said society shall be a body corporate, having power to acquire and hold property, contract debt, sue and be sued, etc., and,
Whereas, No such society has ever been organized in this church and there is none such at present, and,
Whereas, There are now present in this meeting a majority of the members of the Presbyterian Church of Columbus, Neb., as required by law, therefore,
Resolved, That we do hereby form ourselves into a society to be called "The Presbyterian Society of Columbus, Neb."
The names appearing on the articles of incorporation, which were issued July 27, 1874, were: William Lewis, David A. Joseph, Robert Lewis, Clark Cooncey and Robert Jones.
It was during the pastorate of Rev. Robert Christiansen, in 1878, that the Presbyterians erected their first church edifice, which was dedicated in December of that year. This was a brick building, located in the north central part of the city, and with the lot the cost was about one thousand six hundred dollars. In the month of September, 1885, the building was improved at a cost of $1,400, by increasing the size and erecting a tower, in which a bell was placed. The dedicatory services took place soon after the completion of the building.
Rev. J. A. Hood succeeded Reverend Foster, in January, 1875, and remained until 1878. He was followed by Rev. Robert Christiansen, and in the month last mentioned, Reverend Cate accepted a call and preached to this congregation until the beginning of the year 1882, when Rev. Robert Little followed him and had a number of successors.
In pursuance of mutual agreement and previous notice, a number of the citizens of Columbus assembled in a meeting called for the
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purpose on the 2d day of September, 1865, and organized for the transaction of business, by the appointment of C. A. Speice, chairman, and I. N. Taylor, secretary. A preamble and constitution of a religious society was then unanimously adopted and subscribed to. It was agreed that the organization should be called the Congregational Society of Columbus. The original members were: C. A. Speice, Michael Weaver, George W. Stevens, J. A. Baker, V. Kummer, C. B. Stillman and I. N. Taylor. The officers elected were: Rev. Reuben Gaylord, president; Isaac N. Taylor, clerk; George W. Stevens, Joseph A. Baker, Michael Weaver, trustees. The trustees were requested to obtain a suitable lot for a church building. Soon after this meeting, additions were made to the membership, among which were W. C. Sutton, Loretta Sutton, S. E. Taylor, C. R. Wells, J. L. Bauer, Samuel C. Smith, Clara A. Smith, Theda M. Coolidge, Mary A. Elliott, Julius A. Reed.
Rev. James B. Chase was invited to become pastor of the new congregation, but declined. Rev. E. M. Lewis was then engaged and arrived in Columbus in October, 1865. He had first, however, prevailed upon the society to agree that it would move his goods from Omaha and furnish him a house, or, as the record reads, "a log cabin."
A church edifice was erected and, on February 3, 1867, dedicated. The successors in the pulpit of Rev. E. M. Lewis were the following named clergymen: J. E. Elliott, Charles E. Starbuck, Thomas Bayne, E. L. Sherman, John Gray and others, whose names are not obtainable at this time.
The Presbyterian and Congregational churches consolidated in 1914, and since that time Rev. George F. Williams has been the pastor of both religious bodies, holding services in each church alternately, where Sunday schools have also been maintained. At a meeting of the members of the Federated Church, held after the morning worship, Sunday, January 24, l915, it was voted to issue a call to Rev. Thomas Griffiths, of Edgar, Neb., to succeed Rev. George F. Williams, who had some time previously submitted his resignation. Reverend Griffiths is particularly well fitted to serve the people of the Federated Church as their pastor. For thirteen years he occupied the pulpit of the Congregational Church at Geneva; Neb., and for the past five years was pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Edgar. Thus he has had years of experience in the service of both the denominations that are combined in the Federated Church.
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GERMAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Jacob Zinnecker, a local preacher, who arrived in Columbus direct from Germany some twenty-five years ago, delivered the first sermon in the German language in this city. This service was conducted in the English Methodist Church and from that time on services were conducted occasionally. Mr. Zinnecker eventually was instrumental in inducing Rev. Edward Beck to come to Columbus with a view to forming a religious society among the German people of the community, this being accomplished in the fall of the year 1888. For a few years thereafter Reverend Beck conducted services in the English Methodist Church, some of the first members being Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Zinnecker, Mr. and Mrs. John Meyer, Mr. and Mrs. Houser and Mr. and Mrs. Aden.
On the 17th of January, 1907, the society was incorporated, and those who signed the articles of incorporation were: Jacob Zinnecker, John Schmocker, Mary Schmocker, Elizabeth Wuethrich, John Wuethrich, Rebecca Ernst, Rose Houser, Isaac Brock, August Nuetzmann, Fred Ernst, Ernest Nuetzmann and Hannah Nuetzmann.
In the spring of the year above mentioned, 1907, a church at Portal was purchased by this congregation and the building was removed to Columbus and located on a lot on Eighth Street, between Washington Avenue and L Street. The building, a frame structure, was rebuilt and remodeled and was formally dedicated on Sunday, July 28, 1907, services being conducted by the presiding elder of this charge, Rev. J. T. Leist.
Reverend Beck was followed by Rev. John Kracher, who had charge until 1894. His successors and the years they have served are as follows: Revs. Frederick Reichardt, 1894-99; Charles H. Sudbrook, 1899-1901; M. H. Kueck, 1901-03; Julius Wegener, 1903-04; B. Johansen, 1904-08; B. B. Zeuner, 1908-09; H. H. Hackmann, 1909-12, and the present pastor, Rev. Charles Harms, who has had charge since 1912.
UNITED BRETHREN IN CHRIST
Some twenty years ago, Henry Lohr, who had been holding religious meetings in Columbus, made some twenty-six converts to the tenets of the Brethren Church and organized a society under that name. The names of some of the early members now remembered
144PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
are George Cleveland, the Nelson family, William Lohr and wife, Minnie Lohr, Pearl Lohr, Jeff Lohr and family. Meetings were first held at the home of William Lohr and then the old church building of the Episcopal Society was purchased and moved to its present site on Seventh Street. There is now a membership of eighteen persons. The pastor is Rev. F. Lohr. Other pastors who have served the church were Reverends Campbell, Stebbins and Lincoln Lohr, son of the minister now in charge.
REORGANIZED CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS
This church was organized at Columbus in July, 1865. At the time the members were H. J. Hudson and wife, G. W. Galley and wife, Charles Brindley and wife, Peter Murie and wife, James Warner and wife, James Freston and wife. H. J. Hudson, pastor.
Mr. Hudson had come in an early day from England with a colony of followers and settled near St. Louis. Here he opposed the doctrine of the Mormons as expounded by Pratt and Young, and was one of the movers in the reorganizing of the church. In 1871 a little frame building, the first one erected by the board of education for school purposes, was purchased of the town authorities, who had been using it for a city hall, paying $350 for the property. This was afterwards remodeled and has ever since been the meeting place of this people. In 1879 Elder Hudson retired from the ministry and Elder Charles Brindley became pastor. Elder George Galley was for many years president of the Central Nebraska District.
ST. ANTHONY'S (POLISH) CATHOLIC CHURCH
About two years ago the Polish people, of which are several families in Columbus and vicinity, organized St. Anthony's parish and are now making strenuous efforts to increase the membership and secure funds for the building of a church edifice. A temporary chapel has been in use for the past several months and is located on East Sixth Street, also a parochial school, all of which is in charge of the pastor, Rev. Dennis Czech.
GERMAN EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN IMMANUEL CHURCH
This society was organized in October, 1883, by Rev. Herman Miessler, who has been the only pastor the church has ever had. Articles of incorporation were taken out April 1, 1887. The following named persons took part in the organization and incorpora-
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 145
tion of the society: Louis Esslinger, Henry Luers, William Becker, Louis Schwarz, Louis Schreiber, Fritz Witte, Frangott Schmidt, Ludwig Esslinger, Diedrich Bartles, Herman Kretschmer, Peter Wilkins, Dietrich Ennan, William Hagemann, John Steenemann, Emil Heier, Gustav Geoer, F. Baumgart, August Helb, F. G. Stankey, Leopold Plath, F. H. Rusche, Mrs. Paul Hoppen and Mrs. T. Bauer.
During the first year after the society was organized, services were held in the Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoons. In the following year, 1884, a house of worship was erected on Fourteenth Street, at a cost of about twenty-five hundred dollars. This building was enlarged and remodeled in 1906. On an adjoining lot to the north is a school building, while to the west of the church stands the parsonage, the value of the property being estimated at about twenty thousand dollars. The school was incorporated March 24, 1908, by the following named persons: B. G. Bartles, Henry Bargemann, William F. Arndt, Henry Garms, Henry D. Claussen, Fred Wille, E. F. Rodehorst, J. C. Moschenross, Fred Krumland and W. F. Rodehorst.
In connection with this church society there is a parochial school located five miles north of Columbus, for the accommodation of the children who live in that vicinity. In the two schools there are 100 pupils. The children who attend the Columbus school are instructed by one teacher, who has an assistant.
The Immanuel congregation now numbers 70 voting members (male), 325 communicants, or 450 souls. There is a ladies' society with a membership of seventy-five.
Columbus has an attractive and prettily kept burial place for those who have been called away to the city beyond the skies. This lies in the southeastern part of the town. It was laid out in the early days and as burials increased, the grounds were enlarged, and are now under the jurisdiction of the Columbus Cemetery Association which was organized December 8, 1864, by C. B. Stillman, J. Rickly, C. A. Speice, Jacob Ernst, Michael Weaver, and F. G. Becher. On the 14th of January, 1865, the association was incorporated by the following named persons: John Rickly, Jacob Ernst, Michael Weaver, Vincent Kummer, F. G. Becher, J. C. Wolfel, C. B. Stillman, H. J. Hudson, John Brauner, C. A. Speice, J. P. Becker, G. W. Stevens, I. N. Taylor.
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