The History of Platte County Nebraska
O.F.M., was the pastor. Other speakers were Reverend Protase Kuberek, O.F.M., Reverend Anthanase Steck, O.F.M., and Mayor Harry Lohr.
GROWTH OF CHURCH
In 1913, when the church was founded, there were five men who worked with the pastor. After the founding, the membership increased to eighteen families. In 1917, the membership had increased to eighty families. In 1923, ninety families attended the church. In 1938, at the time of their Silver Jubilee, there were one hundred and twelve families registered as members. And in 1947-1948, there were over one hundred and forty families who held membership in the church.
PASTORS OF ST. ANTHONY'S, 1913-1950
1913 to 1914, Reverend Protase Kuberek, O.F.M.
1914 to 1924; 1929 to 1930, Reverend Dennis Czech, O.F.M. Reverend Flavius Kraus, O.F.M. as assistant to Father Dennis.
1923 to 1924, Reverend Knute Lobinski, O. F. M.
1924 to 1929, Reverend Sigismund Masaiski, O.F.M.
1930 to 1938, Reverend Casimir Wisniewski, O. F. M. 1938 to 1946, Reverend Stanislaus Jaworski, O. F. M. 1946 to 1948, Reverend H. Lapanski, O.F.M.
1948 to 1950, Reverend Francis Niegenberg, O.F.M., and 1949 to 1950, Reverend Chester Cymanski, O.F.M., assistant pastor.
The Grace Episcopal Church in Columbus, located at the northeast corner of Twenty-third Avenue and Twentieth Street, was under the jurisdiction of Right Reverend Howard R. Brinker, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Omaha. The Reverend Mark D. McCallum became the rector of the church in 1948.
The story of the origin of the Grace Episcopal Church in Columbus was one of the early chapters in the history of organized church work in Platte County. It began in June, 1866, when the Reverend Samuel Goodale, a priest of the Episcopal Church, visited Columbus and arranged to hold services at the town hall on the second Sunday of each month. The Reverend Goodale was acting under the direction of the pioneer missionary bishop, Right Reverend Robert Harper Clarkson, who had taken office the previous year, his vast diocese comprising the whole area of Nebraska and Dakota.
The July 12, 1866 issue of the Golden Age, the first newspaper in Platte County, contained the notice that Bishop Clarkson would hold services in the town hail on July 29 that year.
One of the first leading citizens of the town to respond to Reverend Goodale's ministry was Judge Charles Howard Whaley, whose baptism in 1867 in the old American Hotel was the first baptism in Platte County by an Episcopal priest in accordance with the rites of the Episcopal Church.
The Reverend Goodale continued to serve the church here as a mission until January, 1868, when he moved his family to Columbus from Omaha, and became the first resident pastor of the Episcopal Church.
Before coming to Columbus, Mrs. Goodale was instructor in music at Brownell Hall, the Episcopal school for girls in Omaha, Nebraska. This school, which was established in 1863, continued to maintain its high rating among the other private schools in Nebraska in 1948.
From the time Reverend Goodale became the Episcopal resident pastor, he made rapid progress in establishing a parish and building a church in Columbus. On September 9, 1868, he attended the Primary Convention of the Episcopal Church in Nebraska, where Judge Charles H. Whaley and Richard Brown responded to the roll call as duly elected delegates from the Episcopal congregation in Columbus. At this convention, Bishop Clarkson made a moving appeal for the evangelization of the pioneer country.
Rapid progress along this line was made in Columbus where the earliest members of the church were: Judge Whaley, Doctor C. B. Stillman, Will B. Dale, O. T. B. Williams, and Richard Brown. The organization of the Episcopal parish in Columbus was completed in 1868. The church was named for the Grace Episcopal Church of Baltimore, Maryland, whose members had given one thousand dollars to Bishop Clarkson for the construction of a church building in Columbus.
At a meeting held on January 4, 1869, the vestry voted to raise money so that construction could begin, and an amount equal to that given through Bishop Clarkson was raised in Columbus. Construction of the new church began early in June, 1869; in September, the newly organized parish received a heavy blow in the death of the pioneer parishioner, Judge Charles Howard Whaley. The funeral service held for him in the unfinished building was the first service in the new church.
On December 19, 1869, the church was dedicated. At this service, Reverend Father O. C. Dake of Fremont gave the dedicatory sermon, and Reverend Father Goodale presented a class of six for the first Episcopal confirmation service in Platte County. At this time, the parish numbered around fifteen communicants.
The small frame church building, Gothic in style, stood at 2122 Ninth Street, later the site of the M. K. Turner residence; a bell in the tower called the congregation to worship with old and well-loved hymns. The bell had come from Trinity Cathedral in Omaha, where it had been cracked in the fire that destroyed the cathedral; but it served out many more years of usefulness in Columbus.
Reverend and Mrs. Samuel Goodale, with Mr. Henry J. Hudson as superintendent, had built up a large Sunday School, including children of various religious backgrounds.
The first Christmas Tree festival in Columbus was held in the Grace Episcopal Church on Christmas Eve, 1869. The music for this occasion was provided by Mrs. Goodale.
In 1870, Reverend Father Goodale was transferred to Lincoln to do a similar work of building there, and Reverend H. C. Shaw became rector of Grace Church. He solemnized the first marriage in the church in the ceremony uniting William B. Dodridge and Frances L.
Barnum on August 14, 1870. He served for three different periods before 1878, and six other clergymen served the parish before the church was moved to "the north side."
In 1878, Reverend Samuel Goodale returned to Columbus as rector; in that year the Women's Guild was first organized with Mrs. George Hulst as president. Among the charter members were Nancy Hulst's sisters, Mrs. D. T. Martyn and Mrs. O. T. Roen. This organization, said to be the oldest of its kind in the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska, has had a continuous existence since that time, and has been responsible for a large part of the work and support of the parish.
Gustavus Schroeder, the father of Mary Louise Gietzen, was director of the choir during this period, carrying on the tradition of service music established in the earliest days of the parish. The church officers in 1882 were: James R. Smith, senior warden; Doctor C. B. Stillman, junior warden; and Gus G. Becher, V. T. Price, George Hulst, and Byron Millet, vestrymen. The church report for that year shows there were thirty communicants, fifty members in the Sunday school, and a mission of twelve communicants nearby.
Reverend Father Goodale retired in 1885, and made Columbus his home until his death on December 8, 1898. The list of pallbearers at his funeral indicates the connection of Grace Church with the life of many of the leading families of Columbus.
The pallbearers were: J. D. Stires, Henry Hockenberger, George Lehman, Charles Stiliman, E. H. Chambers, and O. T. Roen. The honorary bearers were L. Gerrard, C. A. Speice, J. E. North, H. J. Hudson, J. R. Smith, and A. M. Post. The above named were not all communicants, but like other men in the community, such as Doctor Carroll D. Evans Sr., were actively interested in the church and supported it. A window in the present Grace Church commemorates Reverend Father Goodale and his work.
The Grace Episcopal Church and Rectory
During the rectorship of Reverend R. L. Knox, i888-1889, the church building was moved from 2122 Ninth Street to the northeast corner of Twenty-fifth Avenue and Fourteenth Street, where two lots and a house had been purchased. However, after the Reverend Knox resigned a parish meeting was held on July 21, 1889, to request the bishop, Right Reverend George Worthington, to reorganize the parish as a mission. This was done and Mr. John Dayton Stires was appointed senior warden. Mr. Stires continued active in this office until shortly before his death in 1930.
Early in the fall of 1891, the Reverend W. H. Sparling, a general missionary, visited Columbus and urged the congregation to construct a new church building. With help promised from Bishop Worthington, the members agreed to undertake this, and the next year it was carried out under the leadership of the Reverend F. Duncan Jaudon. The old church was sold to another denomination, and moved back to "the south side" of town, and the cornerstone of the new building was laid September 19, 1892, by Bishop Worthington. Masonic services were conducted on the occasion by the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, and later the Masons gave the large West Window of the church.
After the main structure of the building was put up, there were a number of gifts of furnishings, some of them as memorials. The first services held in this church were on January 8, 1893, and on March 29, holy baptism was administered for the first time in the new edifice. On that occasion Annie Elsie Pohl, now Mrs. Walter Boettcher, and her sister, Meta Eleanor Pohl, now Mrs. Frank Wurdeman, were baptized. On April 15, Bishop Worthington consecrated the building and confirmed a class, and restored Grace Church to the status of a parish. A few years later, a pipe organ was installed, and the old reed organ devoted to the use of the Sunday school.
MISSION AT MONROE
During the rectorship of the Reverend C. A. Weed, 1897-1902, a mission church was established at Monroe and a church building constructed there. In the time of the Reverend Arthur Westcott, 1906-1909, the choir had a notable development, and for the next twenty-five years the Grace Church choir was well known for its high quality. Among the organists in the early part of the century were: Mrs. C. E. Adams, Mr. Al Smith, and Mrs. Leo M. Gietzen. Mrs. C. D. Evans Sr. was a leading member of the choir and sometimes assisted as its director. The only priest to die while rector of Grace Church was the Reverend W. H. Xanders, who served from 1909 to 1917. He was noted as a scholar and a preacher, and a window in the church is in memory of him.
Reverend William L. Blaker came in 1918 and served as pastor until 1925. The annual parish meeting of Grace Church was held Sunday, January 13, 1922, to hear reports from the Sunday School, the Junior Auxiliary, the Guild, the Girls Friendly, the church treasurer and the rector, all dealing with the accomplishments of the past year.
The vestry election resulted in the naming of all those who served in 1921, as follows: J. D. Stires, senior warden; John Parker, junior warden; W. I. Speice, treasurer; Gus Prieb, Gus Becher, Doctor J. N. Evans and Doctor D. T. Martyn.
Delegates to the 1922
diocesan council, which met in Omaha for a two-day session, were chosen as
follows: J. D. Stires, W. I. Speice, and Gus Becher. Reverend William L. Blaker,
as rector, attended, along with the representative of the Guild, Mrs. Henry
The History of Platte County Nebraska
ger, who was previously elected delegate by that organization.
The Guild of Grace Church held its annual election of officers in 1922 at the home of Mrs. Henry Hockenberger, with the following elected: Mrs. A. G. Lueschen, president; Mrs. W. F. Davey, vice president; Mrs. W. I. Speice, secretary, and Mrs. Mary Weaver Cramer, treasurer.
At a social and business session of the Girls Friendly society held in January, 1922, at the home of Miss Mary Prieb, Miss Helen Barnica was named secretary and Miss Eva Loshbaugh was made treasurer of the organization.
ST. AGNES GUILD
The St. Agnes Guild, first organized about 1890, was revived by Reverend William L. Blaker. Its work was strengthened as an altar guild, and Mrs. E. J. North served as president for many years. In 1940-41, this guild sponsored a "History of Grace Church" which was compiled by Mrs. C. A. Allenburger. The Reverend J. de B. Saunderson succeeded the Reverend Mr. Blaker and, in 1927, the Reverend William H. Tallmadge began his fifteenth year of service as rector, the longest ministerial record in the history of the parish.
At a meeting of representatives of the Grace Church held on February 3, 1930, the following were present: Mrs. C. A. Allenburger, Mr. and Mrs. Gus G. Becher, Mrs. Basil Cole, Mrs. J. North Evans, Mrs. C. D. Evans Jr., Mrs. C. D. Evans Sr., Mrs. H. F. J. Hockenberger, O. L. Kenfield, Mr. and Mrs. Julius Nichols, Mr. and Mrs. W. I. Speice, Reverend and Mrs. William H. Tallmadge, E. F. Talbert, Pearl Ruth Wagner, and August Wagner. At this meeting, the officers elected were: W. I. Speice, senior warden; J. North Evans, junior warden; and seven vestrymen, E. F. Talbert, Gus G. Becher, C. D. Evans, Phil R. Hockenberger, August Wagner, E. P. Dempewolf, and C. E. Pearse.
On July 17, 1933, a meeting of the unincorporated Grace Church was held for the purpose of incorporating the church in accordance of the laws of Nebraska. Those present were: August Wagner, Phil R. Hockenberger, Reverend William H. Tallmadge, Lottie S. Nichols, W. I. Speice, Louise M. Speice, Emma Allenburger, Elizabeth L. C. Tallmadge, Dorothy P. Becher, Rose N. Evans, and Gus G. Becher.
They agreed to be governed by the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church of the United States and the constitution and canons of the diocese in which they are associated in the State of Nebraska. At this meeting, W. I. Speice was elected senior warden, and Gus G. Becher was elected junior warden. The seven vestrymen elected were: C. D. Evans, Emma Allenburger, E. W. North, Alice Robinson, Phil R. Hockenberger, August Wagner, and C. E. Pearse. Alice Speice Robinson was appointed secretary, and Phil R. Hockenberger, treasurer. The articles of incorporation were filed for record July 25, 1933, at the Platte County Court House.
CHURCH MOVED IN 1940
Father Tallmadge was the tenth rector of the second Grace Church which had stood for nearly fifty years as a landmark in downtown Columbus when the decision was made, in 1940, to sell the site to the Loup River Public Power District. The church and rectory were relocated on the northeast corner of Twenty-third Avenue and Twentieth Street. The church was veneered with red brick, and a parish hall with a matching exterior was constructed.
The Grace Episcopal Church of Columbus
This move was undertaken with Judge W. I. Speice as senior warden, but Judge Speice, who had served on the vestry since 1907, died three months before the dedication. The cornerstone and rededication ceremony was conducted by the rector and Bishop Howard R. Brinker on May ii, 1941.
Father Tallmadge retired in April, 1942, and was soon succeeded by the Reverend Donald B. Robinson, who resigned shortly after Christmas, 1943. The Reverend Willis M. Rosenthal took charge in September, 1944, and served until his resignation, which became effective October 1, 1947.
On May 28, 1948, the vestry of Grace Church announced that Reverend Mark D. McCallum, canon of Trinity Cathedral of Omaha, had accepted a call to become rector of Grace Episcopal Church at Columbus and the Holy Trinity Church at Schuyler, effective June 30, 1948.
Besides many of the above named, other officers and church workers throughout the years included: Mrs. Charles Bremer, Mrs. Jane A. North, Mrs. J. E. North, Mrs. E. H. Chambers, Mrs. Carl Kramer, Mrs. D. T. Martyn, Mrs. Edgar Howard, Mrs. Harry Rex, Mrs. Thomas Adams, Miss Marcia Adams, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Galley, Mrs. A. M. Gray, Mrs. Myron Gray, Mrs. Ralph Coolidge, Mrs. John Stovicek, Mrs. Frank Justus, Mrs. S. S. Hadley, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Burdick, Mrs. M. C. James, Mrs. C. H. Campbell, and Howard Rowlee.
The rectors of the
Grace Church from 1866 to 1948 are: Reverend Samuel Goodale, 1866-1870; Reverend
H. C. Shaw, 1870-1872; Reverend Rippey, D.D., 1872-1874; Reverend H. C. Shaw,
1874-1875; Reverend M. Henry, 1875-1877; Reverend H. C. Shaw, 1877-1878; Reverend
Samuel Goodale, 1878-1885; Reverend E. T. Hammel, 1885-1886; Reverend Robert
L. Stevens, 1886-1887; Reverend J. O. Ferris, 1887-1888; Reverend R. L. Knox,
1888-1889; Reverend W. H. Sparling, 1889-1892; Reverend F. Duncan Jaudon, 1892-1894
Reverend C. S: Brown, 1894-18 97; Reverend C. A.
Weed, 1897-1902; Reverend W. A. Cash, 1902-1906; Reverend Arthur Westcott, 1906-1909; Reverend W. H. Xanders, 1909-1917; Reverend L. Eugene Wettling, 1917-1918; Reverend William L. Blaker, 1918-1925; Reverend Fr. de B. Saunderson, 1925-1927; Reverend W. H. Tallmadge, 1927-1941; Reverend Donald B. Robinson, 1942-1943; Reverend Willis M. Rosenthal, 1944-1947; and Reverend Mark D. McCallum, 1948,
The Christ Lutheran Church is located twelve miles northeast of Columbus on Loseke Creek in Bismark Township.
This church is a member of the Northern Nebraska District of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Missouri Synod of Missouri.
75TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATED IN 1946
The history of the organization of the church dates back to 1871, and it holds the distinction of being the first Lutheran Church in Platte County.
To commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of this founding, and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the building of its present house of worship, the Christ Lutheran Church congregation held a double celebration on Sunday, September 22, 1946.
The three church services held on that day were conducted by two native sons of the congregation, and one son of a former pastor, who had entered the ministry. They were: Pastor Holger Cattau, Pastor Elmer Grotelueschen, and Pastor Richard Kuehnert.
ORGANIZATION OF FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH IN 1871
In 1870, the Reverend Kuegele came from Omaha to Columbus for the purpose of organizing a German Lutheran congregation in Platte County. Many of the early settlers who lived in the Shell Creek and Loseke Creek farming communities were of the Lutheran faith, and anxious for spiritual guidance and training for their children.
It is not known if the first Lutheran service held by Reverend Kuegele was conducted in one of the log cabin homes of the settlers, or in the District 2 school house.
However, on February 19, 1871, sixty persons from the Lost Creek and Shell Creek Valleys signed their names to an article of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession of the Lutheran Faith; and on August 20, 1871, Candidate C. W. Baumhoefener was ordained and installed as the first resident pastor. The constitution was adopted in 1872; and, in 1906, Christ Lutheran Church was formally incorporated under the laws of Nebraska. The Evangelical Lutheran Christus Congregation of Bismark Township is a member of the Missouri Synod of Lutheran churches.
FIRST FAMILIES INCLUDED IN MEMBERSHIP
Among the first families who settled in this part of Platte County, are fifty-five family names included in the first church membership: Ahrens, Asche, Bakenhus, Barjenbruch, Behrens, Borcher, Buss, Dicke, Dirks, Doersch, Englebart, Geiter, Goedeken, Grotelueschen, Haake, Henke, Held, Heibel, Hellbusch, Hembd, Herchenhahn, Hollmann, Hoth, Johannes, Karlin, Korte, Kreye, Krumland, Kuennemann, Kumpf, Lindemann, Lueke, Lusche, Lueschen, Lutjelusche, Marty, Michaelsen, Mueller, Nauenburg, Otte, Pluegge, Renschler, Reinke, Rickert, Robert, Rosche, Saalfeld, Schaad, Siefken, Schreiber, Stickel, Wetterer, Wilke, Wilken, and Wurdemann.
FORMAL INCORPORATION IN 1906
In the articles of incorporation filed for record on October 29, 1906, is the record of a meeting held on April 11, 1906, in the church at which the following persons were elected to office: Adolph Marty, Heinrich Buss, and John Ahrens, trustees; and Fritz Otte, clerk.
Present at this meeting were: John Ahrens, Heinrich Asche, Heinrich Bakenhus, Herman Bakenhus, Johannes Behrens, John Brock, Heinrich Buss, Pastor B. Denninger, Hermann Deyke, Adolph Groteluschen, Heinrich Groteluschen Jr., Julius Heibel, Karl Korte, Rudolf Korte, Arend Kreye, Karl Kumpf, Heinrich Littlemann, August Loseke, Herman Loseke, Louis Loseke Sr., Heinrich Luschen, Adolph Marty, Gottfried Marty, Heinrich Mueller, Fritz Otte, Gerhard Rosche, Luis Saalfeld, Heinrich Wilke, Hermann Wilke, John Wurdeman, and Wilhelm Wurdeman.
PROGRESS THROUGH THE YEARS
In 1871, when Reverend Baumhoefener became pastor of this group he made his home with Henry Rickert until the parsonage, part of which served as a school, was completed later that year. The first services were conducted in the homes of the settlers, and in District 2 and District 15 school houses.
On December 27, 1874, Reverend B. A. Frese was installed as the second resident pastor, and during his assignment the first church was built in 1877. Later an extension and a steeple were added. During his service, he was given permission to minister to some of the church missions which included Columbus, Grand Prairie, Dry Creek and Leigh. Thus the Immanuel Lutheran at Columbus; St. John's Lutheran, Columbus; Zion Lutheran, Platte Center; Zion Congregation, Leigh; and Immanuel Lutheran, Schuyler, stemmed from the Christ Lutheran Church.
In August, 1881, Reverend H. Fischer became the third pastor at Christ Lutheran Church. During this year the second parsonage was built and, in 1893, the church was enlarged.
In July, 1894, Reverend E. A. Frese was called as pastor; and during his pastorate, another school building was erected. He was succeeded by Pastor B. Denninger in April, 19o6.
On August 18, 1918, Reverend J. P. Kuehnert was installed as pastor. After the end of World War I, the congregation made plans for the building of the present church. The cornerstone was laid July 4, 1920; and on September 18, 1921, the present church building was dedicated.
The History of Platte County Nebraska
The church is ninety by fifty-four feet in transept, has two towers, and a steeple ninety feet in height. It was erected at a cost of eighty thousand dollars and was finished as a memorial to the congregation on its fiftieth anniversary, September, 1921.
In 1925, a residence for the teacher of the parochial school was built.
Because of ill health, Pastor J. P. Kuehnert was given a leave of absence, during which time his son, Reverend Richard E. Kuehnert, served the congregation for a year. Reverend H. L. Bornemann was called as his successor in 1928. He served until his death, November 19, 1939, when his son, Reverend Martin Bornemann, the pastor up to 1949, became his successor.
Three native sons, and six sons of former pastors of the Christ Lutheran congregation entered the ministry. They include: Reverend Elmer T. Grotelueschen, Reverend Holger Cattau, Reverend Raymond J. Cattau, Reverend Franz Frese, Reverend Richard Kuehnert, Reverend Rudolf Kuehnert, Reverend Theodore Bornemann, Reverend William Bornemann, and Reverend Martin Bornemann.
STATISTICS ON CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS
The Walther League, organized October 3, 1920, had one hundred five members in 1949; the Ladies Aid, organized September 18, 1932, had forty-eight members, the Lutheran Women's Missionary League, formed in 1945, had forty-five members; the Lutheran Laymen's League, organized 1945, had thirty-two members, and the choir, which was established many years ago had a membership of fifty in 1949.
THE PARISH SCHOOL
The Christ Lutheran congregation has maintained a parish school comparable to the best schools in the county from the time of its founding in 1871 until the present.
In the early years, this school was taught by the pastors. In 1907, Walter Reese, a graduate of Concordia Teachers College, was called as the first full-time, state certified teacher.
In 1919, Rudolf Kuehnert had charge of the school for one year. In 1920, E. A. Buchholz, also a graduate of Concordia Teachers College, became principal of the school, and still continued in that capacity in 1949. He also acted as organist and choir director.
In 1928, Esther Hartmann was called to teach grades one to four. Under the one-room school, the enrollment grew from thirty-five to sixty. With the enlargement of the teaching staff, the enrollment grew to one hundred four at its peak. The 1949 enrollment included most of the children of school age in the congregation, an average of seventy.
The Board of Education for the year 1946-1947 consisted of the pastor, Reverend Bornemann; Principal Buchholz, Adolf Behrens, Otto Korte, and Julius Hollman.
The assistant teacher during 1946-1947 was Lavern Franzen. Others who taught in the school since 1928 were: Esther Hartmann, 1928-1930; Marie Bornemann, 1930-1932; Dorothy Bornemann, 1932-1935; William Bornemann, 1936-1942; Ruth Braun, 1942-1944; Kathryn Stiegemeyer, 1944-1945; and Mavis Lindemejer, 1945-1946.
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church is located on the Mason Road in Grand Prairie Township, fourteen miles north and one mile west of Columbus. This church belongs to the Northern Nebraska District of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Missouri Synod of Missouri.
HISTORY OF ST. JOHN'S SETTLEMENT
The first German settlers in the St. John's community in the Stern's Prairie Precinct, now Grand Prairie Township, emigrated from Germany in 1871. When they formed this isolated settlement, it was their plan to worship at the Christ Lutheran Church on Loseke Creek in Bismark Township. Many of the settlers from St. John's community walked the distance of eight miles to that church on Sundays. Others drove ox-teams hitched to wagons or carts.
In 1874, the St. John's settlement was enlarged by the addition of more German emigrants. About this time, the Reverend C. Baumhoefener, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, accepted a call to a Lutheran church in Iowa. He was followed in the pastorate by Reverend E. A. Frese who started German missions, that he served on occasion, near Humphrey and west of Platte Center where the Zion Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod of Missouri, is now located. He also came to Stern's Prairie in 1874 where he supplied the pulpit regularly in the Spoerry school house for the Lutherans of the St. John's community.
Five. years later, on January 5, 1879, the first meeting for organization of a congregation was held in the Spoerry school house. At this meeting, a constitution was drafted, and the following officers elected: W. Patschke, Treasurer; and William Hoefelmann, Secretary. Reverend E. A. Frese presided as chairman of the meeting.
In August, 1881, according to the records of Christ Lutheran Church, Reverend H. Fischer became its pastor. He also became the supply pastor for St. John's congregation.
As the St. John's congregation grew in number, it was decided to build a church. Accordingly, in 1882, Johann Hellbusch donated a five-acre tract of land for the new structure, the dimensions of which were twenty by thirty-four by twelve feet.
St. John's Church was dedicated on November 2, 1884. In 1888, Reverend E. Holm became its first resident pastor. In 1897 plans were started for an addition to the church, and the following year it was built and dedicated on the first Sunday of Advent. Reverend E. A. Frese, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church from
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