Buena Vista County, IA
In 1864, the German Methodist Episcopal Conference came into being and formed two divisions. One was the Southern German M. E. Conference, St. Louis, MO. The other was the Northwest German M. E. Conference, Galena, IL., which included the State of Iowa.
In 1869, Rev. H. G. Figenbaum was sent from Charles City, IA. to Spencer, Clay County, IA. to serve a number of German families from IL., who had settled south of Spencer. He was replaced in 1870 by Rev. Eduard Wilhelm Henke, who covered the counties of Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Ida, O’Brian, Plymouth, Sac, Sioux, and Woodbury.
In 1870, Rev. Henke began religious meetings with a number of German families in Coon Township. From 1871 - 1875, three other ministers were involved in serving these families- Rev. Philip Hummel, Rev. E. E. Schuette and Rev. Gottfried Haefner. On December 18, 1875, Rev. E. E. Schuette and Rev. Gottlieb Haefner formed the German M. E. Church Society in Storm Lake, IA., and the Coon Township congregation became a member of it. The Coon Township group became known as the Salem M. E. Church.
From 1875 - 1904, the Pastors of the German M. E. Church in Storm Lake served the parish; except for 1886-1887 when Rev. Friedrich Röhrich lived in Coon Township. On August 30, 1886, August Porath was designated a Local Preacher of the Church; a position he held from 1886 until his death in 1926. Rev. Porath was a Exhortation Preacher. He only gave sermons, managed the Church and performed communion. In 1886, Rev. Porath donated 2 1/2 acres, valued at $25.00, of his farmland for a church and cemetery. In 1904, a German M. E. Church was formed in Varina, Dover Township, Pocahontas County, IA. and the Salem Church was served by its Pastors until 1932.
The following are the ministers that served the Coon Township congregation.
1870-1875. Rev. E. W. Henke, Rev. E. E. Schuette, Rev. Philip Hummel and Rev. Gottlieb Haefner.
1875-1878. Rev. Gottlieb Haefner
(1875-1886 and from 1887-1904. The Salem Church was served by the German Pastor in Storm Lake)
1878-1880. Rev. E. W. Henke
1881-1883. Rev. Charles Ferdinand Tramm
1883-1884. Rev. Carl August Heinrich
1884-1886. Rev. Andreas Michael Brenner
(1886-1904. Rev. August Porath, Local Preacher)
1886-1887. Rev. Friedrich Roehrich (Lived in Coontwp)
1887-1889. Rev. E. W. Henke
1889-1892. Rev. Gottlieb Haefner
1892-1894. Rev. Christoph Schulz
1894-1897. Rev. Adolph Heinrich Dulitz
1897-1904. Rev. Joseph Wilhelm Feller
(1904-1932. The Salem Church was served by the German M. E. Church Pastor in Varina, IA.)
1904-1905. Rev. Arthur Wilhelm Henke
1905-1907. Rev. Otto Edward Johnson
1907-1908. Rev. Edward William Lewandowski
1908-1912. Rev. Wilhelm Paul Kramer
1912-1917. Rev. Georg Karl Claussen
1917-1924. Rev. Wilhelm Johann Loeck
1924-1932. Rev. Emil E. Witter
The Salem German M. E. Church closes on January 21, 1932. Members transfer to the Methodist Church in Varina. The German NW Conference goes out of existence in 1933.
German Methodist Episcopal Church Society. 1872-1932. Vols. 1, 2, 3. (Records’ Books). Storm Lake, IA.
Henke, E. W., Rolfing, W. H., Schaub, Friedrich, Brenner, L. J., Hartke, J. F., Publication Committee. 1913. Die Nordwest Deutsche Konferenz der Bischöflichen Methodistenkieche. (The Northwest German Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church). Charles City, IA.
Schumann, Mavis, Historian. July 4, 2004. Personal Communication. United Methodist Church, Varina, IA.