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Churches by Denomination

Cole County Lutheran Churches

Zion Lutheran Church – rural Jefferson City

July 19, 1843, the first organization of Lutherans into a congregation centered six miles southwest of Jefferson City and took the name Zion Lutheran Church. Thirty-seven charter members were Heiinrich Birkicht, Johann Peter Koch, Johann Friedrich Meister, Johann Heinrich Rockemann, Johann Christ Schochart, Heinrich Heisinger, Christoph Wolf, Johann Vogel, Karl Frisch, Johann Plant, Leonard Wolfrum, Christian Frantz, Johann G. Beets, Nikolaus Raithel, George Plank, Johann Loesch, Paul Gottlieb Loesch, Christ Arnhold, Johann Lampe, Adam Heisinger, Peter Flessa, Andreas Holzbeierlein, Heinrich Eggers, Friedrich Eggers, Heinrich Beck, Wilhelm Fischer, Gustav Loesch, Johann Antweiler, Johann Mersel, Peter Blochberger, Konrad Wunderlich, Heinrich Duehafen Johann C. Wolfrum, Wilmelm Mohr, Adam Duenkel, Johann N. Hana and Gotlieb Deimler. From this group Mr. Edward Loesch and Mr. Christian Frantz were chosen and served as Zion’s first leaders.

Two days after the organization was affected, the first meeting of the congregation was held to select a parcel of ground on which to build their church. Because of the lack of mill machinery, the structure was built of plain hewn logs, using clapboards for the roof, split by hand from short sections of logs. The building measured 28 by 36 feet with 36 feet representing the fullness of the lengths of the logs used for siding. In order to utilize the space inside the church, a balcony extended around the three sides of the church, which afforded additional seating space. The pews were made of planks which were sawn to the size at a nearby old-fashioned water mill. On July 22, 1845, the church was dedicated.

The congregation was served by circuit riders whose views on the scripture did not always in accord with the way they had learned them. They set aside a fund and extended a Call for a pastor that would be pastor for Zion Lutheran Church as well as ministering to other Lutherans found in this area. In 1848 John Paul Kolb, age twenty, answered their call. Besides serving Zion Lutheran he would be given the Honey Creek band of Lutherans to serve, together with two other such bands located in Jefferson City and Stringtown, which covered a territory of over 100 square miles. He served for four years and was replaced by Pastor Frederking who served the same group for three years but resided in Stringtown.

The group was without a pastor for about a year before Rev. Emil Julius Mortiz Wege came in 1856 from Lake Creek Missouri. He served Zion and the Stringtown communities for 10 years, followed by Rev. Friedrich Wilhelm Sandvoss during whose ministry a Christian day school was organized with 32 children attending. Also, a year after his arrival Zion’s first parsonage was constructed; it too was built of logs, built with the helping hand of the pastor and the older school children. Rev. Sandvoss remained four years and was followed in 1868 by Carl Thurow. He served as both Zion’s parochial school teacher and its pastor, and during the summer continued his public school teaching. During his ministry he also organized Immanuel Lutheran Church at Honey Creek and Trinity Lutheran Church at Jefferson City in 1869.


Pastor Carl Thurow

During the years of 1871 and 1872 various students did supply work at Zion, after which time Pastor A. Wetzel of Stringtown served as vacancy pastor. At this time an agreement was made between Trinity of Jefferson City and Zion that both were to pay their share of the pastor’s salary at such time a pastor could be obtained who would serve under this arrangement. The Rev. Dietrich Friedrich Herman Weshe was the first under this plan and began his duties in the year of 1875 on a salary of $250. He also served the congregation at Liberty (now known as Schubert). He served for twelve years during which time Zion saw that the congregation had outgrown the little log church, so work began on a more spacious structure. This brick building was finished in 1879 with furnishing made by local craftsmen. It served as a place of worship and also as a school room.

When Pastor Weshe left, John Henry Kaeppel accepted his duties as pastor and teacher. Although he graduated as a ministerial candidate, he first served the congregation in the capacity as an instructor in the elementary and high school grades of Trinity Lutheran School. After one year in the Zion community he accepted a position at St. Paul’s College at Concordia, Missouri in 1888. He was succeeded by Pastor Henry C. Rohlfing who served for only a few months before he died.

In 1889 the arrangement between Zion and Trinity, Jefferson City dissolved and each congregation felt they needed a pastor who would serve them independently of any other congregation. The members of Zion enlarged and renovated the parsonage since it had been vacant for a long time. After this work was completed, a call was placed for a candidate and Rev. W. Schwermann became the new pastor. The school was reopened again, and with Pastor Schwermann being an able music director and instructor, a large choir was organized with many receiving private music instructions. Toward the end of the century, Pastor Schwermann accepted a call to Covington, Illinois.

Rev. F. Boesche assumed the duties of the congregation, serving from 1897 to 1903 when he was forced to resign because of ill health and age. Next came Rev. C. Colditz who served from 1904 to 1909.

At the beginning of the new century building plans again became the talk of the members. Zion’s first church had stood for 34 years, the second for 30 years, but they now saw that because of structural weaknesses which made the church unsafe for use, this building had to be replaced. Mr. Emil Fischer was chosen as the chairman of the building committee; those chosen to serve on the building committee were: Mr. William Fischer, Mr. Andrew Nieghorn, Mr. Benjamin Loesch and Mr. Robert Loesch.

A saw mill was brought near to the building site and all the materials were milled on the church property. The old building was razed and much of the material such as brick and the entire balcony was salvaged and put into the new structure. The new building was of Gothic design, had a seventy-five foot spire measuring 25 by 32 feet in the nave, with seating for two hundred people. The new house of worship was dedicated in 1906.

Rev. W. Berndt became the pastor in 1908, serving two years. During his ministry the old parsonage was replaced by a more modern two-story structure of eight rooms. Zion was without a pastor for one years and Rev. O. Bahr arrived in 1912 who stayed only a short time. He was followed by Rev. P. Danker who served for 3 years. Next came Rev. J. Jank who served from Easter 1917 until his death in 1918 of influenza.

After the death of Pastor Jank the congregation remained vacant for about a year during which time the Rev. F. Reininga of St. John’s, Lohman, served as Zion’s interim pastor. Rev. B. F. Otte answered the call and served for 21 years, from 1919 to 1940. He was followed by Rev. H. M. Hansen who came in June 1940 and stayed for about five years. Rev. F. J. Oetjen came to Zion in 1948, remaining a short time, retiring soon after.

St. John’s, Lohman and Zion became a dual parish with Rev. E. A. Bieberdorf serving as the first pastor, succeeded by Rev. John Kempff in the year 1955 the by Rev. Paul E. Leischner.

Immanuel Lutheran Church - Honey Creek

In July 1843, a group of immigrants who came to Missouri from Germany, organized Zion Lutheran Church which became the mother church to Honey Creek and all other Missouri Synod Lutheran Churches in Cole County. In 1843, despite the problems of building homes and clearing land to earn a living, they built the first lay church. They did not have their first regular minister until 1848 when a twenty year old candidate, John Paul Kalb came to Zion. (Please see the sketch on Zion Lutheran Church for the succession of ministers who served these two congregations.)

Honey Creek had its beginning under very adverse conditions. It was during the years following the Civil War. The people of Honey Creek had endured many hardships during the great rebellion. Central Missouri was a hot spot during the Civil War when neighbor turned against neighbor. Governor Jackson defined the state convention and formed a rebel government. Confederate General Sterling Price marched through the Honey Creek area and the rebels raided stores and homes and destroyed property. It was probably the German people who, almost 100 per cent loyal to their new country, turned the tide in Missouri and the nation.

Under these adverse conditions did pastors Weage and Sandvoss labor, and the days of the reconstruction did Pastor Thurow organize Honey Creek and Stringtown Trinity-Jefferson City.

The charter members of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church of Honey Creek were: John Sommerer, John H. Mueller, Henry Beck, John T. Ittner, John S. Beck, Peter Vogel, John Hirschmann, Lorenz Ott, Matthias Ott, Conrad Beck, J.N. Schneider, Ernest Fischer, John Duenckel, George Mueller, Jacob Leupold, Michel Engelbrecht, John Hedler, and Eberhardt Vogel. The elders who signed the call to the first pastor were Henry Mueller, Henry Beck and John Sommerer. This call was extended to Pastor Conrad Vetter of St. Matthew’s congregation of Calhoun County Illinois.

Pastor Vetter was born March 28, 1835, in Ebsdorf, Kurhessen Germany, and there he received his education. From October 1862 to July 1865, he served as teacher and principal of a school for the neglected boys of Schladen. He emigrated to America in 1866 and entered the seminary in St. Louis. On December 27, 1867, Pastor Vetter graduated and began his ministry in Warrenton, Missouri. From Warrenton he was called to Calhoun County, Illinois. On July 23, 1868, he and Miss Katherine Moorwaua were married.

While in Illinois he accepted the call to Honey Creek, and he and his family arrived there on October 25, 1870. He was installed on October 30 and the 20th Sunday after Trinity by Pastor Thurow. There was much work to do now that the congregation had their little log church and their own minister. A parsonage and barn had to be built, and the ground which had been donated earlier by the Duenckels had to be fenced. There was the problem of collecting enough money to pay for all these added expenses. Many of the members were young people who had been in this country only a few years and were finding it hard to make ends meet. By 1872, Pastor Vetter and his family were able to move from the Henry Beck home where they had been living since their arrival to Honey Creek, to the new parsonage.

Although the congregation had many expenses at home, they were mission-minded and decided to have a Mission Festival. The date that was decided upon was the last Sunday in August, 1871. Money collected on the first mission Sunday was spent as follows: $10 to the Hermansburg Mission, $20 to the new sister congregation in Jefferson City and $21 to the Mission in Studru, Nassau, Germany.

As the congregation grew, the log church became too small and in 1882 plans were made to build a new church building. Pastor Proft of Stringtown drew the plans for the new church and John Scheperle of Millbrook was the contractor and builder. It was built of brick which was of local kiln (Henry farm). Pastor Proft was awarded $15 for his services and the cost of the building, exclusive of the inside work, was $3,000.

While the foundation was being built, Pastor Vetter received and accepted a call to Atchison, Kansas where he served for 23 years. Pastor Vetter had received 13 calls during his 12 years at Honey Creek, but had stayed faithfully and the congregation prospered. Pastor Vetter died on June 7, 1907 and was buried in Atchison, Kansas. He was survived by his widow and six children. Two children died while the Vetters were in Honey Creek and are buried in the church cemetery there.

The present building was dedicated in 1884. The original log church was reduced in size and moved further west on the church grounds where it served as a school until 1924 when it was replaced by the rock school building The log building served as storage until it was destroyed by fire in 1959.

In 1886 “Christian Lehre” was begun in Honey Creek. It was an instruction in Christian teachings held in church following the sermon, for young people who had been confirmed during the past three years.

During the early years of Immanuel, church discipline was very strictly administered. A voting member who missed a voting meeting had to furnish a good excuse. Also the church was very diligent in discouraging membership in lodges and secret societies.

In May of 1888, the congregation voted to join the Missouri Synod. The first delegate to the Synodical Convention mentioned in the records of the congregation was Henry Vogel in 1891. In 1891, Pastor Holls received $480 in cash and members of the congregation furnished the pastor with hay, corn, firewood, etc.

During the early years of Honey Creek, the pastor also taught the school. However for the 1890-1891 school year Miss Mathilde Deffner was engaged to teach school for $25 per month. Miss Deffner later married the Rev. Theodore Hahn. In 1892 Rev. Holls accepted a call to Yonkers, New York. Rev. Holls died on July 7, 1939.

In 1892 Rev. August F. Graebner came from the Minnesota Synod. A second story was built on the parsonage in 1893. For the 1895-1896 school year, the congregation engaged Henry Hamm to teach school for a seven months school year. Mr. Hamm was paid $25 per month. In 1896 the congregation voted to teach English in the school for the first time. Previously the school was conducted in German only.

In 1897 Pastor Graebner went to Augusburg, Arkansas and was replaced by Rev. Ernst Heck from Indian Creek (Cole Camp), Missouri, who served for two years, resigning the ministry in 1899 because of personal problems.

The congregation called Rev. John William Lehr from New Wells, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. Rev. Lehr was born January 18, 1862, at Schadeck, near Runkel, Herren, Nassau, Germany. He was an 1883 graduate of the Springfield Seminary and was ordained at Germantown, Kansas.

During the early years of Immanuel, the pastor made his calls on horseback or spring wagon. In 1900, the congregation bought a horse for Pastor Lehr. In 1901, a new reed organ was purchased, and in 1902 a well was drilled. In 1903 the porch was made larger on the parsonage for use as a summer kitchen.

Rev. Lehr was afflicted with throat trouble while he was at Honey Creek. While he could not perform his duties in 1902, Student Gundlach and Miss Mathilde Deffner were engaged to carry on his work. Mrs. Lehr died September 2, 1908 and was buried in the church cemetery. A daughter of Pastor Lehr married Mr. Henry Sommerer, one of the older members of Honey Creek and a son of one of the first elders, Johann Sommerer.

During the early years of Immanuel the communicants contributed a special offering when they partook of communion. This offering was often to a worthy young man studying for the work of the church. Richard Deffner in 1908 and Arthur Beck in 1909-1910, were two men who were helped on their way. The congregation also helped Student Flissa of California financially for his education in 1911. Also it was the practice of the congregation to have the young men who were studying for the ministry, preach at Honey Creek when they were home. In 1911, Student Holls, son of the former Pastor Holls, and Student Probst of Honey Creek preached at Immanuel. In 1913, Student Rudolph Beck of Honey Creek preached at Immanuel.

The minister received a salary of $625 cash in 1912, however the congregation helped in many other ways as previously stated. The four pictures that adorn the altar were given by the children of Mathias Sommerer Sr. in his memory at the time of his death in 1909. This was the 25th anniversary of the present brick church building.

In 1913, Rev. Lehr accepted a call to Macon, Missouri. He retired from the ministry in 1927 and passed away September 5, 1941. He is buried in St. Louis, Missouri.

Rev. Ernst Gottfried Bultman came from Pocahontas, Missouri. He was born August 20, 1883, at Uniontown, Missouri and was a 1907 graduate of the Springfield Seminary.

In 1917 the congregation voted to preach in the English language for the first time, but only once every six or eight weeks. The pastor’s salary was $800 per year in 1917 and $1,000 per year in 1919. In 1920 Immanuel observed its 50th anniversary. The church building was painted and repaired. The committee for this anniversary was composed of Otto Sommerer, Adam Ittner, and Ed Hirschman. Former pastors Vetter, Holls, and Lehr were asked to preach for this occasion which was on August 29, 1920. The pastor’s salary was raised to $1,200 in 1922.

The Ladies Aid of Immanuel Lutheran Church was organized on June 20, 1920, by Rev. E.G. Bultmann.


The first officers elected were Mrs. Amelia Popp, president; Mrs. Henry F. Schubert, vice-president; Mrs. Amelia Beck, treasurer; Mrs. E.G. Bultmann, secretary.

Offering envelopes were first used in 1925.

A used pipe organ was purchased in April of 1926. It had been used in the Roman Catholic Church at Wardsville. It was dedicated May 3, 1926.

The school board is mentioned for the first time in 1928. From this time on, Immanuel had teachers to teach in the Christian day school. In 1928, the last catecumuns were confirmed in the German language.

At the December, 1930 meeting the voters decided to have Sunday school during the following summer. At the July 1931 meeting it was decided to have Sunday school throughout the year. Immanuel has had Sunday school ever since.

In former days a special confessional service was held for the communicants before the regular communion service. This was discontinued because it interfered with Sunday school.

The thirties were the years of the great depression. The voters voted to pay the teacher $25 per month and free board for the 1934-35 school year. In 1936, Pastor Bultmann requested that his salary be reduced to $900 per year.

By 1936 half of the services were held in English and half in the German language.

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church - Schubert

The origins of St. John’s may be traced back to the influx of German immigrants into this area in the early 1840’s. The recorded beginnings of St. John’s start with the purchase of a 22-acre tract of land about ½ mile east of the present property by trustees of the Osage Point Church early in 1844. A portion of this property was used as a cemetery, still partly extant on the first road east of the church. It is believed that services were held in a log building across the road from this cemetery. This building was dismantled in the late 1860’s.

Pastors from neighboring congregations would from time to time visit Schuberts to hold services and instruct the young. Since there was never more than one Lutheran pastor resident in the Jefferson City area until 1865, it is assumed that the pastors who served Osage Point Church were Pastors Paul Kalb, Carl William Reinhard Frerderking, and Emil Julius Mortiz Wege. Pastor Kalb’s call was listed as being to “the evangelical Lutheran congregations on the Moreau Creek and on the Osage.” His successors all served the same groups.

In 1866 the present property was purchased from trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The former property was sold early in 1867. By 1868 Pastor Conrad Duerschner of St. Paul’s church, Stringtown (Iowa Synod), was serving here and a three-room parsonage was built. Now the church on the Osage was able to call a resident pastor.

The first pastor to take up residence at Schubert was the Rev. Rudolph A. Pfister of the Iowa Synod. Under Pastor Pfister’s guidance, better order was brought about in the congregation and the name was changed from “The Osage Point Church” to “St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.” During Pastor Pfister’s first year in the reorganized congregation, there were 10 baptisms performed, and the first marriage still on record was solemnized—Conrad Goetschel to Margaretha Mueller.

Although no list of communicant members from this time seems to exist, a “salary list” for 1869-1870 contains 20 names, pledging $87.50 plus eleven bushels of wheat and seven bushels of corn for the support of Pastor Pfister. During the next years after Pfister’s arrival, a small log church was constructed next to the parsonage on the new property.

Pastor Pfister remained with St. John’s only a short time. In 1870 he was succeeded by the Rev. Ludwig Christoph Schober, who graduated from the Synod’s Wartburg Seminary at Sebald, Iowa in that year. Pastor Schober left St. John’s in 1875 to take charge at Ottawa Lake, Michigan, where he remained for 32 years.

From 1875-1878 Pastor H. Wesche, who was also serving Trinity and Zion churches, served as the spiritual father of St John’s. Pastor Wesche was of the Missouri Synod and may have been instrumental in obtaining a Missouri Synod pastor for St. John’s.

The next shepherd of St. John’s would return the pastorate of this parish to the Missouri Synod. The Rev. Robert L. Falke, a recent seminary graduate of the Missouri Synod, was ordained and installed at St. John’s on the Seventh Sunday after Trinity 1878, by Pastor Wesche and Pastor Vetter of Honey Creek. In 1881 Pastor Falke accepted a call to Salem Church, Forest Green, Missouri.

Before completing his theological education at St. Sebald, the next pastor of St. John’s, the Rev. Conrad Mutschmann-Gebert, had studied at the Missions Seminary in Neuendettelsau, Bavaria, Germany. An 1877 graduate of Wartburg Seminary, Pastor Mutschmann had served only one other parish before coming to St. John’s. He was installed at St. John’s late in 1881 and tended the flock here until he died of heart disease June 2, 1885, at the age of 33. Pastor Mutschmann is buried in our cemetery along with two of his infant children that died the day after birth. Unfortunately, little is known of Pastor Mutschmann. It is known, however, that during his pastorate an organ was purchased from a New Jersey firm for St. John’s Church.

Pastor Mutschman’s successor, the Rev. Ernest Frederick Geyer, a graduate of the Neuendettelsau Seminary, was called by St. John’s while still in his native Germany. He accepted this call and was ordained and installed here in 1886. The minutes of the Voters’ Assembly begin with the next year, so more is known of Pastor Geyer than many of his predecessors. His was the longest pastorate in the history of the congregation, and during his tenure many significant undertakings were begun, notably the building of the present church and a new parsonage.

In the early months of 1889 it was decided that the continued growth of the congregation necessitated the erection of a new church building. The weather-boarded building that had served the parish since c. 1870 had become too small.

Mr. William Vogdt, a Jefferson City architect, was engaged to draw up the plans. The church was to be built of brick, in Gothic style, 50 feet long and 30 feet wide, with a 10 foot deep apse for the altar and a sacristy on the south side of the apse. A tower 75-80 feet high was to be built on the west end, as well as a loft for the choir. Mr. Ernst Braun of Jefferson City was hired to fashion the altar, pulpit and pews.

Work proceeded through 1889 so that by the early part of 1890 only minor work such as fencing, guttering and cleaning up remained. The building costs amounted to $4,900, exclusive of the interior furnishings, for which Mr. Braun was paid $368. Two stoves for heating the church, added in the fall of 1890, competed the building. Total debt for the church after its completion stood at $1,300, which was paid off over the next five years. The old church became the school.

With the building of a new church completed, St. John’s had reached a new milestone. At the January 1 meeting of St. John’s voters, a delegation from Centertown appeared to ask that Pastor Geyer hold services there once a month since their pastor had taken a call elsewhere. After a lively and lengthy discussion, their request was granted, and St. John’s became a dual parish with Immanuel Church, Centertown (no longer in existence). In 1893 Immanuel Church sent a regular call to Pastor Geyer, asking that he come to Centertown every three weeks instead of every four weeks and on the “second holydays” (e.g. Second Christmas Day, Easter Monday, Pentecost Monday). On the days that the pastor went to Immanuel, St. John’s was to have afternoon services. After another lengthy discussion, the idea was finally accepted by St. John’s. Because of this arrangement, Pastor Geyer was required to accept $10 less salary from St. John’s and the congregation would retain one third of the “first holyday” offerings, which otherwise would go to synodical purposes. The dual-parish arrangement with Immanuel, Centertown, continued until the agreement was terminated by St. John’s in 1897 because of dissatisfaction with the afternoon services.

The necessity of a new parsonage was put before the voters in January 1897. The pastor’s family had quite outgrown the small house built in 1868, since this parsonage contained only two small rooms and a still smaller kitchen. It was decided that when pledges amounting to about $1,200 had been secured, a new parsonage would be built. By April of 1897, $1,003 had been subscribed, and it was decided to erect a frame house for $1,000. Messrs. George Ruckdeschel, John Walther and August Henry were chosen to the building committee. In May 1897 Mr. Carl Dirkses presented the plan for a house, which he would build for $1,000 and was awarded the contract. Building was to begin in August 1897 and all pledges were to be paid by October 15 of the same year.

Although the 75th anniversary history of St. John’s states that a constitution for St. John’s was drawn up in 1869, the events of 1899-1900 and later seem to call this into question. The matter of a congregational constitution was raised in early 1899. A sample constitution was read after services on several occasions and explained. The matter was discussed in several meetings. A constitution suitable for a congregation like St. John’s was prepared by the pastor but encountered stiff opposition before it was read. When a vote was taken on the constitution in April 1900, the 40 members present declined acceptance 33 to 6. St. John’s apparently did not have a constitution for some years to come.

Pastor Geyer accepted a call to Millard, Nebraska in May 1900 where he stayed until accepting a call to Long Branch, Nebraska in 1902. He served faithfully in Long Branch until a few months before his death in 1934.

Late in the same year that Pastor Geyer left, the Rev. Carl August Luecke arrived. Early the next year the matter of a parish constitution was again discussed but finally tabled indefinitely. He was authorized to hold services in Osage City, at his own discretion, but only on afternoons. Pastor Luecke’s endeavors were broadened again in 1905 with the dual parish arrangement with Centertown was reinstated at the request of the district president, who asked that California and Centertown be served from here permanently. St. John’s agreed to this arrangement for the duration of Pastor Luecke’s pastorate. When Pastor Luecke received a call from Avaco, Nebraska in 1912, he explained that he could not remain with St. John’s unless a congregational constitution was adopted. It was considered more advisable to grant Pastor Luecke a peaceful release.

Shortly after the arrival of St. John’s new shepherd, Swiss-born Pastor Alfred Finkbeiner, in late 1912, the adoption of a parish constitution was again discussed. Now it was decided to adopt a model constitution provided by the Synod of Iowa and other states, with a few changes to suit local circumstances. The next year St. John’s was incorporated under the laws of the state of Missouri, and a new organ was purchased for the church. During Pastor Finkbeiner’s time, the work at Immanuel, Centertown was continued. On January 18, 1916, Pastor Finkbeiner was given a peaceful release to take a call to Wakeeny, Kansas.

Only a few months in early 1916 elapsed before Pastor Ernst Kaatz arrived to replace Pastor Finkbeiner here and at Centertown. In July of that year, the voters of St. John’s decided to borrow money to finance the reconstruction of the school. The log bilding constructed c. 1870 had been weather-boarded some years before, but the entire structure now needed replacement. The new school was to be built along the lines of the old, 18x28x10 feet. Messrs. Carl Walther, Frank Walther and Albert Hofmann were chosen as the building committee. At the same time, a new wire fence with iron posts was to be strung along the road in front of the church. This work was to be done by the members themselves during the late summer.

World War I brought changes at St. John’s. Pastor Kaatz was granted a leave of absence for an indefinite period so that he could study the English language. Two dozen English hymnals and an organist’s edition with musical notation were purchased for an English service, which was to be held on the last Sunday of each month. A patriotic program was held to celebrate Decoration Day 1918, the proceeds going for War Savings Stamps.

The leaving of Pastor Kaatz in 1919 brought to a close a distinct period in the history of St. John’s. Since 1868 the parish had been served mostly by pastors of the Iowa Synod, although the congregation had never affiliated with that Synod. The congregation called for a pastor repeatedly throughout 1920—to no avail. It was the end of an era.

The congregation to which the Rev. Otto Leonard Bernthal came on April 3, 1921, was a far cry from the Osage Point Church. Pastor Bernthal’s ministry would mark the beginning of a new epoch for the congregation on the Osage. He was the first pastor to serve St. John’s that was born in this country. More importantly, Pastor Bernthal was from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. His coming would alter the course for St. John’s since this parish was now to join a synod for the first time and that would be the Missouri Synod. At this time, a new organization made its debut at St. John’s—the Ladies Aid.

Organized on August 11, 1921, the first officers were: Mrs. Caroline Max, president’ Mrs. Mary Brenner, vice-president; Mrs. Albert Hoffman, secretary; and Mrs. Henry Mueller, treasurer. Minutes of the first meeting were recorded by the secretary in English and translated into German by the pastor, the Rev. Otto Bernthal.

Central Evangelical and Reformed Church - Jefferson City

In 1817 King Fredrich Wilhelm III of Prussia ordered the two major branches of Protestantism—Lutheran and Reformed—to unite into an “Evangelical Church”. When Protestant Germans immigrated to Missouri beginning I the 1830s, they brought this name with them. In 1840, six ministers of the gospel having charge of German congregations in the vicinity of St. Louis, met in a little log church in Gravois Settlement, St. Louis County, Missouri, and there formed an organization called The Evangelical Church Association of the West, which was renamed the German Evangelical Synod of the West in 1866. Similar organizations of Evangelicals grew up elsewhere and they eventually united as the German Evangelical Synod of North America in 1877.

On August 7, 1850, a group of immigrants organized into a congregation and proceeded to buy a hilltop site on the corner of Washington and Ashley Streets, but they continued to worship in homes. The congregation in Jefferson City was formally organized on January 1, 1858, as the Deutsch Evangelische Central Gemeinde, or German Evangelical Central Congregation. “Central” meant that the location was central in the state.



For more than two years the congregation was without a regular pastor, services being conducted at certain intervals by itinerant preachers. The meetings were held in private houses of members until 1859, when a plain brick church was built at a cost of about $1,500. In June, 1860, Rev. Joseph Rieger, one of the pioneer preachers and founders of the Evangelical Synod, became the first settled pastor of the congregation. Under his leadership the congregation grew rapidly. Soon after his arrival a parsonage was built at a cost of $1,300. This reportedly served as a hospital during the Civil War. A parochial school was constructed in the middle 1860s. Pastor Rieger helped in the founding of Lincoln Institute (which later became Lincoln University).

On the 20th of August, 1869 pastor Rieger died and was buried in the church cemetery at the south end of Washington Street. (This cemetery was relocated to Riverview Cemetery on the west side of town, in the 1960s). The Governor attended his funeral as did many state officers, all the preachers of the city and a large congregation.

In November, 1869, Rev. E. Huber, a young, able and energetic Devine who for more than one year had been the assistant of Rev. Rieger, was unanimously elected by the congregation as pastor, and as such he continued until January, 1874. During his administration a two-story school building was erected and the parochial school established.

Rev. Huber was succeeded by Rev. H. Klerner, who assumed charge of the congregation in May 1874, and directed its affairs until June 1876, when he resigned, removing to St. Louis.

In 1877 the women of the church organized a women’s group, the Frauenverein, later called the Ladies Aid, Women’s Guild, and now the Women’s Fellowship. Its purpose was to provide financial and spiritual support to families in need, whether they were members of the church or not. Other church organizations included the Jungfrauenverein (Young Women’s Association) and the Christliche Jung-Manner Verein (Christian Young Men’s Association).

For the next five years, from 1876 to 1881, Rev. Christian Ludwig Haas was pastor in charge, and after his resignation in October 1881, the congregation secured the services of Rev. C.A. Richter, a very eloquent preacher. In October 1888, Rev. J. U. Schneider became his successor and proved a faithful and prudent worker.

Central Evangelical Church became the religious, educational, cultural, and social center of the Muenchberg neighborhood of Jefferson City. The church regularly held kranzchen or afternoon social times for members and friends, hosted visiting speakers, held bazaars, suppers and ice cream socials. Its parochial school, using German as the language of instruction, served the congregation and the neighborhood. Among the church’s members were prominent businessmen and building contractors in Muenchberg.

Outgrowing its church, the congregation built a new church on the same site in 1891. The architect and builder, Frederick H. Binder, was a member of the congregation. The church, which cost $10,000-12,000 with furnishings, is in the Gothic style; vertical lines dominate, especially the tall, slender steeple that reaches 140 feet into the air. A new parsonage was built in 1898 on the same site as the former one; in 1991 it became a group home sponsored by the church.

After serving the congregation five years with marked success, Rev. Schneider in 1893, accepted a call as Principal of Washington High School, and Rev. Th. L. Mueller, the present pastor, was chosen as his successor. (see biographical sketch) The parochial school was closed in 1904, the same year that a public school was opened two blocks away. The decline in the numbers of German speakers and the congregation’s strong support of broad-based public education were factors in the school’s closing. However, in 1916, on the site of the former school, the congregation built a large Sunday School Building, with numerous classrooms, an auditorium with a stage, a bowling alley, a full-sized gymnasium, and a kitchen. This building provided for a continuation of the strong religious, educational, and social programs of the church. The church had an orchestra and a dramatic club, singing groups, a young people’s Christian association, bowling leagues, and one of the first Boy Scout troops in the city—all open to the neighborhood—as well as a large Sunday school for its members.

As the younger, English-speaking generations came to maturity, the use of the German language receded. At first, English services were offered on Sunday evenings, but by 1920 English had become the language of the main Sunday morning services, and German was relegated to the evenings or even once a month. All German services wre discontinued, except for special occasions, by 1940.

In 1934 the Evangelical Synod of North America merged with the Reformed Church to create the Evangelical and Reformed Church, and Central’s name became Central Evangelical and Reformed Church. Then in 1961, the Evangelical and Reformed Church merged with the Congregational Christian Church to create the United Church of Christ, which is the present denomination of which Central Church is a member.

After World War II, many members of the congregation moved away from the south side, and the church’s function as a neighborhood center declined. (This was true of all of the long-established churches in Jefferson City.) The Sunday School Building was demolished in 1979 and was replaced by a large addition to the church building itself, when the church was extensively remodeled in 1957 for the congregation’s centennial in 1958. The addition and church remodeling included classrooms, a parlor, offices, a kitchen, and a large gymnasium. Off-street parking was also added, since most members now drove cars to church.

The sanctuary was significantly remodeled. The street entrance was shifted away from beneath the steeple, new pews were installed, and the chancel was completely refurbished. In 1994 a destructive fire in the sanctuary required repairs and some changes to the sanctuary.

Another addition was made to the building in 2003, creating the Elenor Vieth Youth Room and the Carl E. Burkel Music Room, and providing an elevator and handicapped parking and access.

St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church - Lohman

The founding of St. Paul’s Church in the fall of 1852 was the culmination of a dream for those families living around Lohman at that time. Prior to 1852 there had been no real church in Lohman. Occasionally a preacher from a sectarian church would travel through, but these visits and the teachings of those who made them were not satisfactory to the residents.

The first steps toward organization were made when a group of men got together and decided to look for a Lutheran pastor. They found one, a Pastor J. P. De Calb/Kalb, about who little was known. Pastor De Calb/Kalb apparently was a traveling missionary from the Missouri Synod who previously had served in Osage and Zion Church and in Jefferson City. He had been born on July 4, 1828, and was a graduate of the St. Louis Practical Seminary. Hisk ordination had taken place in Jefferson City in 1848. It was under his guidance that the actual steps toward organization were made at the Plochberger home in the fall of 1852.

Present at that historic meeting were, among others, the Messrs. Plochberger, Kautsch, Koehler, Schatz, Ritter, Joh. Kautsch and Schmidt. They were instrumental in setting down the church’s bylaws, based on the Word of God, both Old and New Testaments and on the confessional writings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Pastor De Calb/Kalb was quickly followed in serving the infant congregation of St. Paul’s by the Rev. Carl W.R. Frederking, who was installed on April 28, 1852, and who served until 1855 when he accepted a call to a church in Illinois.

The third pastor to minister to St. Paul’s was the Rev. Emil J.M. Wege. He was installed during the year 1856, having come to St. Paul’s from Holy Cross Church at Cole Camp. Rev. Wege lived in Jefferson City, and from that location he served a number of Lutheran congregations around Jefferson City from 1856 to 1865, including St. Paul’s until 1864.

It was during these closing days of the tragic Civil War that doctrinal disputes caused the separation of St. Paul’s Church from membership in the Missouri Synod, and saw it joining the Synod of Iowa. This led part of the original membership to break away from St. Paul’s and found a new congregation. This was the beginning of the nearby St. John’s Church, organized at Stringtown in 1867.

St. Paul’s Church survived the difficulty, however, and called another pastor, Joseph Meyer, in 1865. Two years later Rev. Meyer returned to his home state of Iowa, and was replaced by Conrad Duerschner. He took office here near Christmas of 1867. He stayed five years and was followed by P. Nolte. Rev. Nolte retired from the ministry two years later and moved to California.

Rev. George Fikenscher was installed in August of 1875, and St. Paul’s at last had found itself a shepherd. Under 30 years of Rev. Fikenscher’s guidance the congregation grew and prospered. A school house and a parsonage were built and an organ was acquired for the church. He retired in 1904.

The congregation then called Rev. William Heinecke who previously had served as Missionary in Canada. He led the congregation until 1913 to accept a call in Dubuque, Iowa.

His successor was Bruno Huhn, whose stay with the congregation was to last until 1921 and end in controversy. Pastor Albin Biedermann was called on October 21, 1921 and stayed through 1927 when the congregation observed its 75th anniversary. He died March 30, 1930, while pastor here, a veteran of 49 years in pastorates in three Midwestern states. His service to the church saw it through another long period of growth and prosperity. It was during Pastor Biedermann’s tenure at St. Paul’s that English was introduced for use in the service.

Pastor O. Kloeckner came out of retirement temporarily to serve the church in the interim. In the summer of 1939 Pastor John C. Shiller accepted the call here. He saw the congregation through the difficulties of the depression, sharing in the financial shortage by accepting less than the salary promised him. The 40’s saw better times, though, but Pastor Schiller’s service was then made more difficult by the bilingual status of the congregation. Beginning in 1940 the official minutes of the church were written in English, even though many of the membership still spoke only German.

In November of 1947 Rev. Schiller accepted a call to Nebraska. Rev. J. Haberaecker, then pastor at Trinity Church in Russellville, served a period of nine months until another pastor could be found. In the summer of 1948 Rev. R.W. Schlacthter received and accepted the call. He was installed Aug. 19.

Rev. Schlacter left St. Paul’s in the summer of 1955. Rev. Haberaecker from Russellville filled in for him until a call went to the Rev. H.E. Hahn at Anamosa, Iowa. Rev. Hahn, a veteran of 19 years in the ministry, accepted the call and was installed here Nov. 20, 1955.

The history of the church with regard to material possessions is not one of continuous, steady growth; but rather one of fits and starts. Apparently no one knows when the first church was built, but it is known that it was of log construction and located not at the summit of the hill but on the western slope. The building served as the house of God until 1872, and then for eight more years as the schoolhouse. Some of the logs of the original church became part of the Adam Pistel home.

The second church was built in 1871-72. It was of stone construction, most of the material being quarried and hauled by the members. The cost of the building was only $4,716, but it was some time before the 63 family congregation paid off the debt.

In 1880 a school house was built and in 1890 another parsonage. The latter cost $1,806, and again it was some time before the congregation was out of debt. There followed a period of prosperity, and in time the pipe organ and the four bells were added. The fund drive in each case was oversubscribed.

Time had taken its toll of the building by 1923 and more seating room was needed. After some debate about renovation, the governing fathers decided that a new church would be built. The congregation plunged into this undertaking wholeheartedly. Cost of the structure with all furnishings came to something like $23,000. This debt was paid off by pledges with families and organizations each reaching into their resources to make up the amount.

Three years after the dedication of the church the congregation celebrated its diamond jubilee or 75th anniversary. In honor of this occasion the Ladies Aid had the church painted with a special church decorator doing spiritually symbolic images for the walls.

Several material changes have taken place in and without the church since its construction. The sanctuary had been decorated several times. The carillonic bells which call the faithful to services were dedicated in 1946, in memory of the young men of the congregation that died in combat. They were Clarence N. Doehla, Chester E. Strobel, Alfred O. Jungmeyer, Everett H. Knernschield, and Willbert G. Linsenbardt. A new parsonage was constructed and dedicated, June 26, 1949. And the basement of the church saw numerous improvements during the 1940’s through the 1960’s.

St. John's Lutheran Church - Lohman (Stringtown)

St. John’s Lutheran Church, Lohman, Missouri (Stringtown), had its beginning (as an organized congregation of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod) in the year 1867. For the founders of St. John’s however, this was the second organizing procedure in which they had taken part during a fifteen-year period.

It was in the year 1852 when the founders of St. John’s had also taken part in organizing St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lohman, as a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. This was done under the leadership of The Rev. J. P. Kalb, then pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Jefferson City (6 miles South), who was also holding services in Jefferson City and at Honey Creek.

Pastor Kalb was born on July 4, 1828; graduated from the Practical Seminary at St. Louis, Missouri (at the age of 20 years) in 1848. He was ordained in Jefferson City the same year. On October 19, 1851, he received a call from a Lutheran Church at Lancaster, Ohio, but did not leave Jefferson City until some time between April 28 and May 20, 1852. He was then called to Fort Wayne, Indiana, as an instructor at the college there. Pastor Kalb died by drowning on June 8, 1858, at the age of 30 years, and lies buried in a Lutheran Cemetery in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In the year 1852, Rev. Carl William Reinhardt Frederking was called to St. Paul’s Lohman, and was installed on April 28, 1852, on the same Sunday Pastor Kalb was given his peaceful release from the congregation.

Pastor Frederking was born November 27, 1827, at Boerninghausen, Westphalia, Germany. He was graduated from our Practical Lutheran School at Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1852. Pastor Frederking remained at St. Paul’s until 1855, when he accepted a call into Illinois. Later he came back to Missouri and served Zion Lutheran Church at Palmyra (1866-1868). From there he went to Arkansas and served Immanuel Lutheran Church at Alexander (1866-1890). There is, however, no record what congregation(s) he served before going to Alexander. He died on November 22, 1902.

The third pastor to serve St. Paul’s was “Magister” Emil Julius Moritz Wege. He was installed during the year 1856. He was listed as a passenger on the ship “Olbers” which brought a number of Saxon immigrants to America. The ship’s records show he was 38 years old at that time. Pastor Wege served a number of congregations in Missouri: Holy Cross, Cole Camp (1842-1855); Christ Church, Stover (1844-1850); St. Mary’s congregation, Stover (1853-1855). Although he served St. Paul’s, he had his residence at Jefferson City, Missouri. From this location he also served a number of Lutheran congregations around Jefferson City from 1856 to 1865, including St. Paul’s, until 1864.

It was in that year dissension arose in the congregation at Lohman over certain points of doctrine which the members of St. Paul’s could not and would not subscribe to. The disturbance which this false doctrine caused became so serious that the President of the Western District was contacted, but there was no word from him, and the congregation grew impatient. We can be assured that much of the trouble experienced here arose from the same problems which were felt District-wide at this particular time.

St. Paul’s, Lohman, voted to leave The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and join the Iowa Synod, now known as The American Lutheran Church.

The next pastor to serve the Stringtown group (St. John’s) was Rev. Friedrich William Sandvoss, who was installed at Zion on the third Sunday in Trinity, 1865. Pastor Sandvoss was born February 28, 1852, at Erfurt, Thueringen, Steeden, Germany. Pastor Sandvoss graduated in 1865 from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and was installed at Zion at the age of 21.

The Zion Lutheran Church records show that a constitution was drawn up, and it became the pattern for the other Lutheran groups around Jefferson City, including St. John’s Lutheran Church. Zion’s records also show that all church reports of these groups, such as baptisms, confirmations and marriages, were kept at Zion.

  1. First Baptism Recorded: Elizabeth Barbara Heinrich, daughter of Johann Heinrich and Anna Dorothea nee Herpich; born January 15, 1867; baptized July 25, 1867.

  2. First Confirmation Recorded: Erhard Hahn, born December 19, 1851, and Katherina Elisebeth Kirchner, born July 15, 1851. Confirmed in 1866. Erhard Hahn died in service at the age of 24 years.

  3. First Burial Recorded: Edmund Heinrich Kirchner, son of John Kirchner And Emilie nee Hoffman, died June 28, 1870, and buried June 29 at the age of 8 years.

Pastor Sandvoss served Zion and the three other Lutheran groups for three years. During that time (in 1867) he organized St. John’s Lutheran Congregation. In 1868 he received a call from Ebenezer Lutheran Church at Leslie, Missouri, where he served from 1868 to 1877. Subsequently, he served the following congregations: Trinity, St. Charles, MO (Orchard Farm) (1877-1879); Christ Church, Augusta, MO (1879-1886; Trinity Lutheran Church, Appleton City, MO (1886-18887). He died November 8, 1887, while pastor at Appleton City.

The first name Pastor Sandvoss wrote into the records was that of Adam Abraham Hahn, born September 20, 1864, and baptized January 23, 1865, the son of Leonard Hahn…The second names were those of Bartholomaus Krueger, A widower, and Johnanne Margaretha Rank, a widow who were married on June 4, 1865.

The next pastor to come to Zion and to the newly organized congregation of St. John’s was the Rev. Carl H.L. Thurow. Pastor Thurow continued to serve the same congregation and Lutheran groups as did Pastor Sandvoss, although during his ministry in this area Trinity, Jefferson City, and Immanuel, Honey Creek, were also organized. He kept the same church record system as established by his predecessor.

Pastor Thurow was born in Germany April 28, 1843. As a young man he immigrated to America with his parents who settled in Hutisford, Wisconsin. His parents were Mr. John David Thurow and Mrs. Henriette Dorothea Elert Thurow. His studies for the ministry (which began in Germany) were completed at the Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating June 13, 1868, at the age of 25 years. The very next day he accepted a call to Zion Lutheran Church and St. John’s Lutheran Church, and he was installed August 9, 1868. It appears he served St. John’s for a longer period. On February 15, 1874, he joined the Wisconsin Synod, having received a call from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Root Creek, Wisconsin—which is now Milwaukee. On May 26, 1874, he accepted his second charge there for 6 years until it became self supporting and called its own pastor. During this time, he also conducted the Christian Day school at Root Creek.

Pastor Thurow visited a son, Pastor Gotthold Thurow at Bay City Michigan, prior to a conference in Saginaw, Michigan, in August 1915. He preached his last sermon in his son’s church on August 15. At the conference on August 20, 1915, he became ill with a severe gall, kidney and liver attack, and was taken unconscious, to a Saginaw hospital where he grew weaker, and he died on September 5, 1915, at the age of 74 years, 4 months and 7 days.

During the time Pastor Thurow served Zion and St. John’s, he also served Trinity, Jefferson City (1868-1872), at which time Pastor J. Walker came to Trinity, and Immanuel (1868-1869) and at which time Pastor Vetter also came to Immanuel. The records of Pastor Thurow are the only records of the newly organized congregation of St. John’s which have been preserved, beginning with the year 1872.

After Pastor Thurow, Pastor A.H. Wetzel was called to serve both Zion and St. John’s congregations. Not much is known of Pastor Wetzel since no record was kept of his activities other than his official services such as baptisms, confirmations, etc. are concerned. From St. John’s and Zion, Pastor Wetzel accepted a call to Salem Lutheran Church, Forest Green, MO, serving this congregation one year (1876-1877).

Now with Immanuel, Honey Creek and Trinity (Jefferson City) on their own, Zion and St. John’s began calling their own pastors. The first resident pastor called to Zion was the Rev. H. Weshe and to St. John’s the first resident pastor was the Rev. W. Steinrauf, who remained but one year. During that year, he confirmed a class of eight, baptized eight and communed 153, married one couple, and buried two persons. There is no record of Pastor Steinrauf’s assignment after his pastorate at St. John’s.

Pastor Vetter of Honey Creek served as interim pastor for St. John’s during the next three years. In 1880, Pastor John A. Proft accepted the call sent him by St. John’s. During his second year at St. John’s, Pastor Proft suffered a great loss April 17, 1882, in the death of his wife, Dorothea Margaretha Henrietta from childbirth. She was given a Christian burial in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery on April 18, 1882.

On December 27, 1882, Pastor Proft was married to Miss Maria Magdalena Lehman of Giddings, Texas, which is in the same county in which Pastor Proft’s former pastorate was located. Pastor Proft served at St. John’s from 1880-1889, at which time he accepted a call to St. John’s Lutheran Church, Corning, MO, where he labored for seven years (1889-1896).

During the two-year vacancy which followed at St. John’s, Pastor Holls of Immanuel, Honey Creek served the congregation for a time, as did Pastor Schwermann of Zion.

The next pastor to come to St. John’s was the Rev. A. H. Gassner. Pastor Gassner served the congregation for three years (1890 to 1893). Other congregations which Pastor Gassner served were St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Jackson, MO (1893-1897); Trinity Lutheran Church, Friedheim, MO (1897-1911).

After the departure of Pastor Gassner, St. John’s was served by Pastor E. Schwan. Pastor Schwan is particularly remembered because of his interest in the Christian Day school, and the stress which he placed upon Christian education. Pastor Schwan came to St. John’s in 1894 and remained its pastor until 1901 when Pastor Henry J. Frey arrived upon the scene as pastor of St. John’s.

The Rev. Henry J. Frey, the son of John and Caroline Frey, was born on April 10, 1876, near Seymour, Indiana. Baptized in St. John’s Lutheran Church near Seymour, he later confirmed his baptismal vow in that church. After prepatory work at Concordia College, Fort Wayne, Indiana, he entered Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and upon his graduation from the Seminary at St. Louis was ordained on July 31, 1898, as pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Milan, TN. During his three years in Milan, he also served a mission congregation near Whiteville, TN. In 1901 he was called to St. John’s Lutheran Church, Lohman, MO. He labored here until 1903 when he assumed the pastorate of Emmanuel Lutheran Church at Seymour, Indiana.

In 1907 he moved to Palmyra, MO to become the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in that city. The last twenty-five years of his parish ministry were spent at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Havana, IL, until his retirement and removal to Buffalo, New York in 1946. He was made a protestant Chaplain of the Rosewell Park Memorial Institute of Buffalo.

On April 5, 1899, Pastor Frey was united in marriage to Miss Lydia Brandt of St. Charles, Missouri. The five children of this union were: Oswald, Wichita, KS; Tudao, Ft. Wayne, IN; Mrs. Ola Frinke, Depew; Thelka, Washington, DC; and the Rev. Bertwin Frey, Buffalo, NY. Pastor Frey, at Cleveland, Ohio died August 12, 1966, at the age of 90 years, 4 months and 2 days.

Pastor J. H. Mueller came to Lohman and remained at St. John’s for seven years (1903-1910). It was during Pastor Mueller’s time that the present (and third) church was built. Pastor Mueller came to St. John’s after the groundwork of the new church had been laid by the building committee and its architect, Mr. John Scheperle. It was decided in a meeting held in November 1904, that the church be built of brick and that it rest upon a stone foundation made from stones obtained in the surrounding area and cut to proper size on the church property. The church step was chiseled out of a stone found on the church property. The church step was chiseled out of a stone found on the church property itself, and now serves as a cornerstone, set apart from the church, upon which has been affixed a signboard bearing the name of the church and the year in which the congregation was organized.

All the lumber used in the building of the church was donated in the form of logs, which were milled and prepared, free of charge, by the architect and builder, Mr. John Scheperle, Sr. At the annual meeting in January 1905, the Building Fund Committee reported that $254.25 had been collected. This would be about one-tenth of what was needed. This did not discourage the builders, and so it was that on May 14, 1905, the cornerstone was already laid and the building was dedicated December 10, 1905. The church was built at a cost of $2,655.70, not counting, of course, the many hours which had been donated by the members of the congregation.

The members of the building Committee were: Mr. Friedrich Heidbreder, Mr. Martin Meier, and Mr. William Scheperle, with Mr. John J. Scheperle as both architect and builder. Mr. Scheperle’s design contained the composite features he liked in neighboring church buildings. The general floor plan of St. John’s was modeled after St. Paul’s at California, Missouri; the entrance was copied from Trinity, Jefferson City, and the balcony on the three sided was fashioned after Immanuel, Honey Creek.

Pastor John Mueller was born near Lincoln, MO on October 23, 1872, the son of August and Elizabeth Mueller. He studied at Concordia, MO; at Milwaukee WI, and at the Concordia Seminary in Springfield, IL, graduating in 1896. His first congregation was at McFarland, KS.

He married Miss Johanna Boehmer, and this union was blessed with three children. In 1903, the family moved to Lohman, MO, and it was here that his wife died in November. Two years later he married Miss Anna Vetter of Atchison, KS. One son was born at Lohman, MO. In 1910, he accepted a call to Lone Elm, MO where the son Herbert was born and also the youngest in the family, a daughter Edna.

In 1918, Pastor Mueller accepted the call to Summit, IL and in 1925 to Belmont, IL. In 1927 he became Superintendent of the Kinderheim at Addisoin, IL, which position he held until his retirement.

Pastor Mueller’s second wife passed away March 26, 1953, and two months later Pastor Mueller was killed in an automobile accident.

St. John’s next pastor came from Farley, MO where he served four years (1906-1910). He was Pastor H. Heise, and remained with St. John’s for two years (1910-1912). Church records show that his first baptism was that of his son, John Heinrich, on February 2, 1910. This baptismal record indicates he must have arrived at St. John’s early in 1910. Mr. Harold Opel was the last one baptized by Pastor Heise and that was on March 22, 1912.

Pastor Heise was born in Baltimore, Md., November 25, 1878, and was ordained into the ministry in the year 1900. He served 50 years in the active ministry, departing this life July 6, 1958 at the age of 80 years. He was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL, at the time of his death.

Not much is known of Pastor Heise after leaving St. John’s, only that he went from here to Waukegan, IL, where he was the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church until the year 1949.

Pastor F. H. Reiniga came to St. John’s from Kensington, KS in 1912. He was installed on October 12 of that year. He was its pastor during World War I, which period brought about a number of changes, such as the partial change-over from the German to the English language. So far as church services and Confirmation instructions were concerned, the change came about in 1920, although St. John’s continued with the German, but not entirely so.

Here we can speak of Pastor J.W. Lehr, former pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Honey Creek. He delivered the dedication sermon for the new parsonage (also designed and built by John J. Scheperle) which was built in 1913, one year after Pastor Reininga came to St. John’s. Pastor Lehr served vacancies a number of times as vacancies occurred.

It is noteworthy that Pastor Reininga, during his 14 years of labor at St. John’s, left a legacy of monuments to his name, which remain to this day. On July 4, 1926, he informed his congregation of a call from Meta, Missouri, and he asked to be relieved of his charge at St. John’s so that he could accept the call to Meta. He was given a peaceful release and, on July 25, delivered his farewell sermon. After these 100 years, it can be said that Pastor Reininga was the pastor to serve the second longest period of time as pastor at St. John’s.

St. John’s next pastor, however, was to serve the longest period of time as pastor at St. John’s during its first 100 years. He was Pastor Ernest Runge, who was called from Zion Lutheran church, Blackburn, Missouri, and was installed April 10, 1927, by Pastor E.G. Bultmann, vacancy pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Honey Creek. Pastor Runge served his former congregation for 20 years and St. John’s for 17 years.

Pastor Runge was born October 14, 1875, near Concordia, MO. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church there. After attending Christian Day School at St. Paul’s, he was encouraged by his pastor, Rev. J. F. Blitz, to prepare himself for the ministry. He attended the following colleges: St. Paul’s, Concordia, MO; Concordia, Milwaukee, WI; and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO from which he graduated in 1899.

In the fall of 1899, he accepted the call to become the first resident pastor of St. Matthew’s Congregation at Ernestville, MO. On May 20, 1900, he was joined in marriage to Miss Doris Kammeyer.

In March 1907 he accepted the call extended to him by Zion Congregation, Blackburn, MO. Here the pastor’s duties included teaching in its Christian Day School and preaching at the Marshall mission. On April 7, 1927, Mr. Martin Kautsch and Mr. Ed Linhardt drove to Sedalia, MO in their touring cars to meet Rev. and Mrs. Runge and their family of eight children and to bring them to Stringtown. On April10, 1927, Pastor Runge was installed as Pastor-Teacher of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Lohman, MO (Stringtown).

The Parish Hall was built during Pastor Runge’s pastorate and was dedicated on May 5, 1938.

From his semi-retirement in 1944 until 1951, he served as assistant pator at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Palatine, IL. His service to the Church was ended when he suffered a disabling stroke in the fall of 1961. After this, he lived in retirement at Blackburn, MO. He died on February 14, 1955 and is buried in Zion Lutheran Cemetery at Blackburn, MO.

St. John’s next Pastor was the Rev. Clifford L. Bliss who came to Lohman from Springfield, IL. Rev. Bliss had been called by The Central Illinois District Mission Board to help establish a Mission in Springfield’s southeast section, where he preached and also taught school. Pastor Bliss was the last of the pastors of St. John’s to teach in the St. John’s Lutheran School.

Pastor Bliss was born in Osage, Iowa, June 28, 1898, the youngest of a family of nine. When he was four years old, the family moved to a farm in Worth County, Iowa, and at the age of nearly 12 he made his home on a farm near Milnor, North Dakota, where the family lived for about 8 years. Near the end of this period, the two younger members of the family, including Pastor Bliss, were brought into contact with the teachings of the Lutheran Church. Pastor Bliss entered Concordia Seminary at Springfield, IL at the age of 24 and graduated with his class in 1928.

On June 26, 1928, he was married to Miss Edith Schultz of Stirum, North Dakota, which union was blessed with three sons and three daughters.

In 1948, the Rev. Ernest Albert Biberdorf came to St. John’s Lutheran Church and served the congregation for six years. Pastor Biberdorf was born at Stoughton, Saskatchewan, Canada, April 12, 1906. HE attended elementary school in Canada and completed high school and junior college at Concordia College, St. Paul, MN. Pastor Biberdorf entered Concondia Seminary at St. Louis, MO in 1928 and graduated with his class on June 4, 1931.

On August 20, 1932, he was united in marriage to Miss Helen Koehler of Wellston, MO. The couple was blessed with five children; one son, Roy, entered the ministry.

After coming to St. John’s and serving this congregation for 6 years, he accepted a call to Zion Lutheran Church, Macon, MO where he served for two years. From there he went to Ascension Lutheran Church, Madison, TN. Pastor Biberdorf died on December 3, 1961, in Nashville, TN and was buried in Memorial Gardens near Grace Lutheran Church, Wellston, MO. His death was attributed to cancer.

Evangelical Lutheran Church - Jefferson City

The Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church was organized August 21, 1870, by seven charter members. As early as 1847 Lutherans, especially from Bavaria, Germany, had settled in the city and vicinity, and were served by ministers of the Missouri Synod. The first of these was Rev. Kolb, who, finding a new field of labor in Indiana, was succeeded by Rev. Wege. The next in charge was Rev. C. Thurow, who moved on to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In the meantime there was a division in the church, resulting in two congregations. The first stationary minister after its organization was Rev. J. J. Walker (1874-1875), who moved on to serve a congregation in Cleveland, Ohio. He was succeeded by Rev. H. Wesche who continued for twelve years (1875-1887) before moving to St. Louis County. His successor was Rev. H. Koeppel, who served one year before accepting the directorship of Concordia College. He was succeeded by Rev. H. Rohlfing, who died a few months later and was succeeded by Rev. C. Purzner.

Under Rev. Purzner’s leadership a new building was erected on the corner of Monroe and McCarty streets. This church was dedicated in November 1896, the dedicatory sermon being preached by Rev. H. Wesche of St. Louis County, who served the congregation from 1875-1887. Six pastors served Trinity in the second church building: Reverends Charles Purzner 1888-1897, Paul Kretzschmar 1897-1904, Fred Meyer 1897-1904, William Richter 1908-1936, Alfred Schmalz 1931-1956 and Walter Niedner 1957-1983.

By 1900 the congregation grew from six to 598 members, of which about 325 were communicants and 65 were voting members (adult males who had signed the constitution). Their church building was 40 by 70 feet, with annexes in the rear, one being the altar niche and the other a sacristy. The interior was finished in highly polished oak. The main steeple has 95 feet high from the foundation, exclusive of the ornament.

In addition to the church building, the congregation owned the northeast corner of McCarty and Monroe streets which was used for school purposes. This enabled them to carry out their desire to have the children taught their mother tongue (German) as well as their native language (English). In 1900 the school was under the charge of H. H. Beiderwieden; the average attendance was seventy-five pupils. They also owned a parsonage on East McCarty Street.

Officers of the church in 1900 were: F. Myer, President; H. H. Beiderwieden, Secretary and Organist; F. H. Nierman, Treasurer; John M. Sommerer, Collector; J. L. Beck, Hugo Busch and Martin Beck, Deacons; Charles Loesch, Charles Purzner and Henry Vogel, Trustees. Rev. Meyer served as superintendent of the Sunday school.

On April 23, 1961, the church moved to a new building on Swifts Highway. The facility made additions to accommodate expansion in 1992, 1993 and 2003.

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church - Russellville

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church had its beginning on September 1, 1895, when the first service was conducted at Russellville, MO by the Reverend J. Paul Francke, then pastor at California, MO. Formal organization took place soon thereafter, but it is not definitely known whether this occurred in September or October. John Buchta and Mike Schubert were elected as the first deacons. A list of contributors, dated 1896 gives the following names: Frank Brandt, John Buchta, Anna Fluegel, Christ Gemeinhardt, Ed Henninger, George Hitz, Carl Hofmockel, Dietrich Hofmockel, Michael Hofmockel, Carl Hoose, F. Hoppenstock, Andreas Mueller, John Niederwimmer, J. N. Opel, C. Sauer, Gus Sauerhage, Peter Schoch, Mike Schugbert, Louise Seinisch, F. Steffens, Gus Steffens, Henry Steffens, and Johann Weber. Thus these are the people whom are recognized as the founder of this congregation.

It is always of interest to observe the first happenings within a congregation. Thus, it is noted that the first death was Mrs. Elilzabeth Hoppenstock, nee Schoch, whose funeral was conducted on October 28, 1895. On November 3, 1895, the first child was baptized, Andreas Michael Opel, son of J. N. Opel and wife Barbara, nee Pistel. It was on February 2, 1898, that the first marriage was solemnized, Dietrich Hofmockel and Barbara Fleischer. It was also in 1898, on May 22, that the first class of confirmands was received into the church; this class included Katherine Flugel, Johann H. Gemeinhardt, Andreas Henninger, Joseph Henninger, J. Herman Hoppenstock, J. Oscar Niederwimmer, and J. George Saar.

In 1896 two important land transactions were made. Two and one-half acres of land were purchased one-half mile south of Russellville for a cemetery, and one acre was purchased within the town as the location for the church and the parsonage. On September 13, 1896, the church was dedicated with the Reverend George Fikenscher of Lohman speaking in the German language at the morning services. The afternoon services were conducted in English by Pastor Francke. The frame building measured 24 by 36 feet and was erected at a cost of $640. A collection taken on the day of dedication totaled $80.

In 1897 Pastor Francke, who had guided the congregation during the first two years, was succeeded by Pastor F. Schardt, also residing in California. At a meeting on July 9, 1899, the congregation voted to extend a call to Pastor Schardt to move to Russellville and to serve California and Centertown from here. This arrangement was accepted by the pastor, and work was begun on the construction of a parsonage, a five-room frame building erected at a cost of $485. Late in the fall of 1899 the parsonage was dedicated and the Schardt family established residence there.

Also at the meeting on July 9, a constitution was adopted for the congregation, marking the date on which the foundation for a permanent congregation was laid—a pastor in residence and a constitution providing for stable and guided development in the future.

In the spring of 1905, Pastor Schardt accepted a call to Byron, Nebraska and was succeeded by Reverend Christian Schober of Malmo, Nebraska, who served until 1910. On January 20, 107, the congregation authorized the purchase of approximately four acres of ground in the southeast part of Russellville as the future site of the church property; the cost was $1,050.

The Rev. Conrad Schaff of Gaylord Kansas arrived in Russellville soon after Easter, 1910. On March 26, 1911, an offer to sell the church property for $2,500 was accepted. On October 1, 1911, a new parsonage was dedicated, a bungalow-style, eight-room brick structure, costing $1900. Plans were also in progress for the new church building. Ben Linhardt of Jefferson City was employed as the architect; and on October 22, 1911, the cornerstone was laid with the Rev. Heincke of Lohman speaking in the German language and the Rev. Bunge of Cole Camp speaking in the English language.

It was decided to build a brick building 36 by 70 feet, with two spires and two front entrances and to use a Roman architectural style. On August 4, 1912, this new church was dedicated after a brief farewell service in the old church. The total cost of the church and other small buildings was $9,625.

Another forward step was the incorporation of the congregation on May 21, 1914, and its affiliation with the former Iowa Synod on July 15, 1917. On August 22, 1920, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the congregation was observed with special services.

After serving the congregation for thirteen years, Pastor Schaff was granted a release to accept a call to Logan, Kansas. Soon thereafter, on July 4, 1923, Rev. O. Rossbach from Stuttgart, Kansas assumed the ministry of the congregation. Two important personal events during the time of his pastorate were his marriage to Miss Hattie Schlutz on October 29, 1924, and the ordination of his son Walter in 1938. It was also during his years of service that the parish hall was built. The land on which this building was erected was donated by Mrs. M. Schubert and children. Work was begun on November 9, 1939; the building, 36 by 74 feet, was constructed of brick and included an auditorium and a full basement. A great deal of the labor was donated by the members; thus the cost of materials and some labor amounted to $4,209. On May 11, 1940, the structure was dedicated.

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