Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


Rev. A. D. Greif

Rev. A. D. Greif, pastor of the German Lutheran church of Soldier township, is one of the prominent ministers of the denomination in the west and is recognized as one of its most efficient workers.

He was born in Meiningen, Germany, June 16, 1849, a son of Carl F. and Susanna (Sengling) Greif, the former of whom was born December 3, 1822, and the latter in 1823. The father was a teacher in the schools of Germany and also a teacher of music. He was the director of three singing societies at one time.

There were seven children in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Carl F. Greif, namely: Ludovic, now a college professor in Germany; Marie, now Mrs. Hoeltzel, whose home is also in Germany; A. D., the subject of this review; August, Emma and Henry, all of whom are living in Germany; and Carl. The mother of these children died at the age of thirty-five years, and four years later the father again married and there were eight children by the second union. He died November 8, 1890.

A. D. Greif received his preliminary education in the public schools and then attended college for six years, showing a capacity for study that gave bright promise for his future. At the age of nineteen he bade farewell to relatives and friends and started for America, having fully determined to work out his destiny under the favoring conditions of the republic.

After teaching school for three months in New York he came west to St. Louis and took a course in theology at Concordia Seminary. In June, 1870, being then twenty-one years of age, he was ordained as, a minister of the Lutheran church. His first charge was at William Penn, Texas. After three years at that point he was assigned to a congregation at Serbin, Texas, where he continued for two years, subsequently going to Little Rock for one and one-half years, to Chandlerville, Illinois, for six years, and thence to Davenport, Iowa.

Since April 17, 1910, he has been pastor of Immanuel Lutheran church in Soldier township, discharging his duties with an efficiency that meets the hearty approval of members of the church and the entire community.

On the 17th of April, 1874, at New Orleans, Louisiana, Mr. Greif was united in marriage to Miss Louisa Odendahl, a native of Germany. She came to America with her parents when a child, the family taking up its residence at Fort Wayne, Indiana, where the mother shortly afterward died. The father went to live with his son at New Orleans and continued there until his death, which occurred when he was eighty-six years of age.

Twelve children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Odendahl, six of whom are still living: Frederick; Louisa, now Mrs. A. D. Greif; Detleff; Friederike Huettmann; Henriette; and Mary Gassner. Among those deceased are Friederike, Michaella and Adelbert.

Mr. and Mrs. Greif have no children of their own but have adopted a son, Herman T. Greif, who was born in Texas, June 20, 1874, and is now the minister of the German Lutheran church at Davenport, and a daughter, Freda, now the wife of Otto Westphal, of Davenport, Iowa.

Mr. Greif by a life of self-sacrifice and devotion to a noble cause has not only gained a wide reputation in the Lutheran denomination but has attained a noble character which is of more value than great earthly riches. He is a thorough scholar, a clear and convincing speaker, and is intimately acquainted with the great Book on which his teachings are based and whose message it is his mission to deliver. As a conscientious and hardworking pastor he has met with great success and it is hardly necessary to say that he has a host of ardent supporters and admirers in the church of which he is a worthy representative. His standing is indicated by the important offices he has filled, having been for fifteen years visiting elder, for five years first vice president and for two years president of the Iowa district of the German Evangelical Lutheran synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other states.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.