Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb

Church Histories

Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Hanover Township

1877-1977

On Our One Hundredth Anniversary

The location of this church is 3 miles east of Ricketts, Iowa. If you are ever in the area, it is a country church and all visitors are WELCOME.

History of Saint Paul Lutheran Church

1874 - 1889

An Old Document

The following is a free translation of an old German document discovered among the records of our congregation: "In 1874, the first Lutherans settled in Hanover Township, Crawford County, Iowa. They came from Jackson County, Iowa. Their names are as follows:

  • F. Bockelmann
  • Mrs. Louis Mesenbrink
  • George Neddermeyer
  • Christ Neddermeyer
  • Louis Mesenbrink
  • George Schelm
  • Carl Schelm

"These Christians immediately made arrangements with Pastor P. G. Haar of Dennison, Iowa, to provide for their spiritual needs. Though at first their number was small they realized that where two or three are gathered together in His name, the Lord is in the midst of them. Hence they assembled regularly to hear God's word and to receive his body and blood in Holy Sacrament.

"Shortly after these pioneers became established other Lutheran joined them. Most of them came from the congregation of Pastor Wunder in Chicago, Ill. The first of these were:

  • August Schultz
  • Herman Schultz
  • Fr. Fiene

In the course of years many other Lutherans followed them, mostly from Chicago. At the start these Lutherans met for worship in private homes; later in public school houses.

A Parting of Ways

"In the year 1875, the early Lutheran settlers organized as an Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. Soon they no longer had sufficient room in the schoolhouses for their worship. The necessity of getting their own place for church services was increasingly more felt among all of them.

In their search for a suitable place, however, a disagreement developed among them. One group of members proposed the present site of our church in Section 5, Hanover Townsip, as the most desirable location.

When this property was then purchased those who did not favor this location withdrew to establish their own congregation. The group which withdrew located on what is now Charter Oak and established our sister congregation there.

St. Paul's is Organized

"The group which is located in Hanover Township reorganized in 1877 under the name of St. Paul's EVANGELICAL Lutheran Church. They adopted a complete constitution and elected August Schultz and William Blunk as their first elders.

On the same year a cemetary was laid out on the newly purchased property. The first body comitted to God's keeping in this burial ground was the wife of Friedrich Neubaum.

The First Church

"In the year 1879, the newly organized congregation undertook the building of a church edifice. The building was to be 25 feet in width and 50 feet long. It was to have a tower 55 feet high. A 14 foot section in the rear of the building was to be partitioned off to be used as the pastor's dwelling. All of the work was done by the following members:

  • August Schultz
  • John Bielow
  • Herman Schult
  • Conrad Brosamle
  • Friedrich Rothe

Great was the joy of the congregation when the project was completed and the new church dedicated to the service of the Triune God. Pastor Sessler of Carroll County, Iowa, delivered the dedicatory sermon in the morning. Pastor P. G. Haar presented the afternoon message.

The elders of the congregation were August Schultz and Friedrich Rothe.

A New Pastor

"1880 was marked by another important event. The congregation extended a call to our Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., for an unspecified ministerial candidate. This call was accepted by V. P. Gossweiler.

With the authorization of Rev. P. Craemer, then the president of the Iowa District, Pastor Haar installed candidate Gossweiler as pastor of our congregation.

Earlier, in the year 1879, the congregation had joined the Iowa District of Missouri Synod.

"Pastor Gossweiler served as shepherd of the congregation until 1882. At that time he received a call from the Ev. Lutheran congregation at West Dayton, Webster County, Iowa. He recognized this as a divine call and felt constrained to accept it. Thereupon the congregation granted him an honorable release.

Another Pastor

"Now our congregation was again faced with the problem of securing a pastor. In March, 1882, a call was extended to Pastor P. Fackler of Lyons, Iowa. He, however, declined it. Then the congregation called Pastor C. P. A. Bretscher from Buena Vista, Clinton County, Iowa.

Being convinced that the call was from God, he accepted. He was released by his congregation and installed as pastor of our church by Rev. P. G. Haar on May 7.

"Immediately, on the first Sunday following Pastor Bretscher's installation, the congregation resolved to build a pastor's house. It's dimensions were to be 22x32x14. To this a kitchen, 14x16 was to be added. The building committee consisted of the following:

  • Conrad Brosamle
  • August Schultz
  • G. Jeschke
  • C. Mahnke
  • Friedrich Rothe

The building was ready for occupancy in December of the same year, 1882.

Sunshine and Shadows

"At this time our congregation flourished. There was a continuous increase in membership. The school was heavily attended, especially in the winter months. In the winter of 1884-1885 the congregation secured the services of a teacher to instruct the children. This teacher was Mr. M. Bittner, a student from the teachers' seminary at Addison, Illinois.

"June 12, 1885. was a dark day for the members of St. Paul's congregation. A devastating tornado struck the community. It completely destroyed the school house which had been built in 1880. It also damaged the pastor's residence.

In the same year, as also two years later, a hailstorm ruined nearly all the crops. Most of the members suffered severely.

"Through all of these visitations from God the congregation was prevented from providing for the school as it should have. Nevertheless, in the course of time all of the members felt that something had to be sone to secure a suitable place in which the children should be instructed. Moreover, it was apparent that the church building had become too small. Especially on the festival days the members could not all be seated.

A New Church

On February 18, 1889, the building of a new church was therefore decided upon. Collectors elected by the congregation gathered pledges in the amount of $4150.00. Plans for the new building were drawn up by the architect, Mr. May, in Stl Louis.

Conrad Brosamle erected the foundation. The contract for buildingthe church was let to Mr. August Schultz for $3750.00. The following members were on the building committee:

  • Fr. Fiene
  • Conrad Brosmale
  • Friedrich Rothe
  • Carl Mahnke
  • John Bielow

On May12, 1889, the cornerstone of the new building was laid in a special service. Pastor P. M. Hermann of Ida County delivered the sermon for the occasion.

On the same day, the congregation decided to call a candidate from the teachers'seminary at Addison to serve as teacher of the congregation. The call was accepted by Mr. A. Renn. On Septemmber 1, he was installed into his new office. On the following day, the school term began and he took over his duties."

For all Thy saints, O Lord,
Who strove in Thee to live,
Who followed Thee, obeyed, adored,
Our grateful hymn receive.

For all Thy saints, O Lord,
Who strove in Thee to die,
Who counted Thee their great Reward,
Accept our thankful cry.

1889-1934

PASTOR RUNGE

For 45 years following Pastor Bretscher's departure, Pastor C. Runge served our congregation. He is still remembered by most of the members as an unusually able and faithful shepherd of souls. The following is Pastor Runge's account of his Ministry as told to his daughter, Mrs. Paula Froelich.

"In October, 1889, a call was extended to Reverend C. Runge, then pastor of St. Paul's congregation in Sioux City, Iowa. The call was accepted and Pastor Runge arrived with his family on a blustery day in November. Gustave Rothe and his father met him at the station in Charter Oak. They brought him to his new home in a horse-drawn lumber wagon. Pastor Runge was installed shortly thereafter, on December 4th, by Rev. L. Mueller.

"Early in 1890 the new church which was begun in 1889 was completed. On February 2 the congregation had the great joy of dedicating this edifice to the glory of God. The festival speakers were Reverend Studt of Luzerne, then President of the Iowa District, and Pastor Trinklein of Sioux City.

"In December, 1890, the congregation's second teacher, Mr.A. Renn, received a call to Logansport, Indiana. Upon his request he was granted a release. He was succeeded by Teacher R. A. Geisemann of Sioux City. Teacher Geisemann was installed on January 11, 1891. In 1892 a house was erected for the teacher. Messrs. Ernest Nemitz and John Bielow were the builders. A barn, too, was built.

"St. Paul's congregation was twice host to the District Conference of the Iowa District. At the first conference in 1896 President Schwann of Cleveland was present. Vice-President Gross of Indiana attended the second in 1898.

"Sometime during these years, Mrs. Herman Huebner began a movement toward the purchase of a bell for the church. She personally made a donation of fifty dollars and enough money was gathered in addition to that amount to acquire one.

"1903 marked the passing of twenty-five years since the organization of St. Paul's congregation. This occasion was fittingly observed in an anniversary celebration during the month of October. The guest speaker was Reverend Haar. On the same day a new pipe organ was dedicated. The speaker for this event was Reverend M. Von der Au.

"Teacher Geisemann received a call from the congregation at Napoleon, Indiana, which he accepted. C. Wendt of Sac County was then called and was duly installed in November, 1903.

"In 1906 or 1907 a new barn was erected to house the pastor's livestock. Albert Schultz was the builder.

"In 1914, Reverend Runge completed 25 years in the ministry. This event was celebrated by the congregation in a special service at which Rev. Theo Wolfram delivered the sermon. Pastor Runge was surprised with a gift of $370.00, which went toward the purchase of his first automobile, on Overland.

"Due to ill health Teacher Wendt was forced to resign in 1915. He was succeeded by F. Eggerding, who was called from Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

"During the first World War a short sermon in English was delivered every Sunday in addition to the German. More English was also taught in the school and Reverend Runge began using English in his catechetical instruction. While the introduction of English was demanded by the anti-German sentiment of non-Lutherans, it proved to be a blessing. Many members could be gained as a result of it.

"In the year 1917 a large, modern parsonage was built at the cost of about $4000.00. August Schultz, who had built the church, was also the builder of the house. During the building process the pastor and his family occupied a house belonging to Mrs. E. Bohlmann one-half mile from the church.

"During the first years of his ministry Pastor Runge conducted services regularly at Ricketts, Schleswig, Soldier Township, and Paradise Township. These services were held in railroad stations at Richetts and Schleswig; in public schools at Soldier and Paradise. In 1917, when automobiles were more plentiful and people were able to drive greater distances, Pastor Runge discontinued these services.

"The congregation observed many of the Pastor's anniversaries. At the completion of his thirty-fifth year in the ministry, in 1924, he was presented with a new Buick car. In 1929, his fortieth year with the congregation was observered. Again, in 1933, his fiftieth anniversary as a pastor and his and his wife's fiftieth anniversary was celebrated. Also, the good people of St. Paul's remembered many of the pastor's birthdays, bringing well filled baskets of good things to eat.

"In 1925, the confirmation instruction room was enlarged to be used as a meeting place for the Young People' Society. In the year 1926 Teacher Eggerding followed a call to Luzerne, Iowa, ...and was succeeded by C. W. Feddersen of Bazile Mills, Nebraska.

"June 3, 1928, was an eventful date. It marked the fiftieth anniversary of St. Paul's Church. The congregation resolved that special services should be held in which they could show their gratitude to God for His blessings. Seven sister congregations were invited. A large tent was erected to shelter the long tables on which both dinner and supper were served. Four speakers delivered the sermons.

Reverend E. Fiene of Lone Rock delivered the message in the morning. In the afternoon Reverend A. Amsteir of Charter Oak and Reverend Iverson of Ida Grove spoke to the huge audience in the church. Pastors A. Rueber of Mapleton and Schwenk of Grant Township preached to about 500 listeners outside.

A total of 3,000 attended the different services and 2,000 people were fed in the tent. This was the largest celebration the congregation had ever undertaken. Everything was so well organized and planned that there was no confusion. Each meal was served to the large crowd in about two hours.

"Gradually Pastor Runge's health began to fail. In 1929 the congregation granted him a three months' leave of absence which was spent in Wisconsin. At the end of the three months, Pastor Runge, much improved in health, was ready to resume his duties. He was privileged to serve St. Paul's five more years. In 1934, after much deliberation, Pastor Runge decided to retire from the active ministry. On July 8 he delivered his farewell sermon in which he expressed his gratitude to God for giving him the opportunity to preach His word to St. Paul's congregation for forty-five years."

Reverend and Mrs. Carl Runge were blessed with seven children; John Bernard, Lydia, Martin, Esther, Alfred and Paula.

John M. (Hans) Runge, 1886-1974, was the eldest son born to Rev. and Mrs. Carl Runge in Sioux City but lived at the Hanover parsonage until 1906 when he graduated from Addison, Illinois. He was actively engaged in the teaching ministry for 64 years, 53 in the classroom. In addition, he was also a master organist and contributed many articles and poems to the 'Lutheran Witness' and other church periodicals. He was a member of Synod's committees which revised Luther's Small Catechism and the compilation of hymns for the present Lutheran hymnbook.

1934-1938

Pastor Zagel

The reverend H. M. Zagel gives the following account of his ministry at St. Paul's;

'Upon Pastor Runge's resignation the congregation found itself in circumstances with which it was not at all familiar. For the first time in more than forty years it was without a pastor. The Reverend F. C. Israel of Manilla, at that time Circuit Visitor, was asked to serve as vacancy pastor. Under his leadership the calling of a pastor was soon begun.

The ravages of continued drought and crop failure which had made themselves felt most severely for a number of years put the congregation at a severe disadvantage. The salary offered by the congregation was so meager that the recipients of the congregation's calls found themselves forced to decline.

Finally, the congregation dispatched it's call to the Reverend H. M. Zagel, at that time resident in drought-stricken Morrison County, Minnesota. Pastor Zagel accepted the call and was formally installed at pastor of St. Paul's on the first Sunday in November, 1934.

" During Reverend Zagel's pastorate the congregation was handicapped constantly in its progress by drought and crop failure. The activity of the congregation was restricted to merely holding its own. It was during those years that the order of common service was adopted for the regular Sunday services and the language of the land was introduced in fifty per cent of the services. No physical improvements could be made on the congregation's property.

" During the summer of the year 1938, Pastor Zagel received a call from St. Paul's congregation at Boone, Iowa. Upon presentation of the reasons advanced by the calling congregation why Pastor Zagel should follow the call, he was granted his release by unanimous vote. Pastor Zagel preached his farewell sermon on the third Sunday in August in the year 1938."

1938-1946

Pastor Wagner

The following is Pastor Wagner's own account of his ministry at our congregation:

"To write a history of any kind is no easy matter. Especially is this true when one attempts to record his own experiences as pastor of a congregation. Since the history of St. Paul's congregation is being published, however, and I have been requested to write the chapter covering the years 1938 to 1946, I shall do the best I can.

At most this will not be a complete history of my ministry, but merely a compilation of a few outstanding memories.

" By the grace of God I was privileged to be the pastor of St. Paul's from October 1938 until September, 1946. These were the dark years of World War II. It was on the second Sunday in October that I was installed by my good friend and neighbor, W. P. Schroeder. The sermon for the occasion was delivered by the Rev. Otto Hoemann. On the following Sunday I preached my introductory sermon.

" My ministry at the Hanover church was not essentially different from that of my predecessors. Faithful and consecrated pastors served the congregation before me and hence it was easy for me to follow them as a good foundation was laid before I came to Hanover.

"A pastor, whoever he may be, must expect two kinds of days in his ministry: days of success and days of disappointment, days of joy and days of sorrow. My ministry at Hanover was no exception to this general rule. But both days, the good and the evil, are always days of blessing for the pastor as well as the congregation.

"Of one thing we can be absolutely sure, wherever the word of God is preached in its truth and purity, wherever the sacraments are administered according to Christ's institution, there and there alone is the true visiable church to be found. There and there alone the holy Spirit will call, gather, enlighten, and sanctify the church and keep it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.

For eight years I preached the word of God to the members of St. Paul's and administered the sacraments according to Christ's institution. Therefore, I was sure that God's wonderful promise given to His Prophet Isaiah was being fulfilled:

"As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, but I shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

"When I became its pastor, St. Paul's congregation was still wrestling with the language problem. My call stated that on the first, third, and fifth sundays of each month, and on all festival days services were to be conducted in the German Language. This was soon changed so that there were as many English services as German. Eventually all festival services were conducted in English, and for a while there were English services every Sunday in addition to the German.

Instead of German, English was also used in the congregation meetings and a new English constitution was adopted. English also became increasingly more dominant in the Ladies'Aid meetings with the result that a new constitution in that language was drafted and approved.

"While I was pastor at Hanover the following served as teachers: C. Feddersen, Henry C. Finster, Ervin Lux, and A. T. Landsmann.

"Teacher Feddersen served the congregation for 15 years. He resigned his office in the April meeting of 1941. Thereupon he moved with his family to Foley Alabama. A farewell party was given to him by the congregation. At this occasion he received a special purse from friends in recognition of his faithful services.

"Teacher Finster served the congregation for one year, from 1941 to 1942. He is at present serving a congregation in East St. Louis, Ill.

"Teacher Ervin Lux succeeded Teacher Finster. He was a graduate of Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. While serving St. Paul's congregation he found a precious pearl in the person of Caroline Bohlmann, who became his wife. He is now stationed at Columbus, Indiana.

"Teacher A. T. Landsmann came from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and served at St. Paul's for two years, from 1944 to 1946. He was without doubt one of the most outstanding organists in the state of Iowa. He is now stationed at Holyrood, Kansas.

"In September, 1946, I received a call to Bethel Congregation, Lawton, Iowa. After careful consideration, I decided to accept the call and requested that I be released from my duties as pastor of St. Paul's congregation. This request was granted. On the last Sunday in September, 1946, I preached my farewell sermon. The next day the congregation and its organizations gave me and my family a grand farewell party. At this occasion a special purse was presented to me as a token of love and appreciation.

"This brings to a close the outstanding memories of my ministry at St. Paul's, the church on top of the hill. The Lord was good to me and my family while we lived and served at Hanover. All glory to His Name.

Pastor Gumz

On October 14, 1946, St. Paul's congregation extended a call to Pastor F. A. Gumz of St. Louis, Mo. Pastor Gumz had served as chaplain in the Army of the United States, and had been relieved from active duty on April 22, 1946. After carefully considering the call extended to him he was guided by the Lord to accept it.

Shortly after reaching his decision, on November 4, Pastor Gumz arrived at his new station. Almost immediatly he set himself the task of reopening the school which had been closed several months before his arrival. With the help of the congregation he succeeded in his efforts.

A teacher, Mr. Vernon Bahr, was secured from St.John's Lutheran College in Winfield, Kansas. Mr.Bahr began teaching on January 6, 1947. The enrollment of the school was 25.

Another task which confronted the new pastor was the preparation for observing our congregation's 70th anniversary. An anniversary committee was appointed consisting of the following:

  • Leonard Schultz
  • Arthur Schultz
  • Mrs. Arnold Hageman
  • Eugene Wisneski
  • Mrs. Raymond Loeck
  • Chris Gierstorf
  • Mrs. Hermann Miller
  • Martin Bielow

This committee went into action in February, 1947. It recommended improvements on the church building which, it was estimated, would cost $2500. The voters of the congregation thereupon passed the following resolution:

  • To reshingle the roof of the church
  • To install a new oil heating system
  • To repaint the ceiling and refinish the walls
  • To remove the old ceiling lights and replace them with new ones
  • To repair windows, doors and make other necessary improvements
  • To recarpet the center aisle and the chancel floor.

Shortly after having passed these resolutions the members of the congregation contributed the funds needed for this work.

On April 17, the ladies of our congregation sponsored the Spring Rally, an organization of all the ladies in the Denison Pastoral Circuit. In preparation for this event the parish hall was repainted and repapered. Approximately 350 people were present.

During the first months of 1947 a number of noteworthy gifts were received. The Ladies Aid Society presented the congregation with a set of walnut collection plates. The Young People's Society undertook the publication of a weekly church bulletin and appropriated $80.00 for the purchase of a mimeograph machine. A group of individuals purchased 20 evergreen trees to be planted on the church property.

In April 1947, Teacher Bahr was suddenly called to his home in Galveston, Texas. His father had been killed in an explosion. Thereupon Pastor Gumz was compelled to instruct the children of the Day School for a period of two weeks. Eventually a new teacher, Miss Lois Pitham, was secured to complete the school term.

One of the most arduous tasks assigned to Pastor Gumz during his brief pastorate was the compiling and editing of the anniversary booklet. For one as unfamiliar with the history of the organization as he this would have been for the assistance rendered by Mrs. Gumz, Mrs. Anna Hansen, Miss Ruth Bielow, Mrs. Paula Froelich, and by Pastor Runge, Zagel, and Wagner.

A short time after St. Paul's Congregation celebrated its 70th anniversary, Pastor F. Gumz received a "call" from St. John's Luther Congregation in Omaha, Nebraska, which he accepted. He received a peaceful dismissal from St. Paul's Congregation.

Pastor R. H. Nagler

The Rev. Hugo Nieting of Ute, Iowa servered as vacancy pastor. Mr. Eugene Roeder, Theological student and teacher at our parochial school conducted the services during the vacany.

In a meeting of the congregation held on April 7th, a "call" was extended to the Rev. R. H. Nagler of Taylorville, Illinois, who after prayerful consideration, accepted and was installed in a service held on Sunday evening, June 13, 1948.

There has been a great shortage of teachers during these years, but our school has been taken care of. Those serving our school as teachers were:

  • Mrs. Jack Duncan 1947
  • Mr. Eugene Roeder1947-1948
  • Mr. Vernon Schmidt1948-1949
  • Mrs. Loren Seils1949-1951
  • Mrs. Alvin Hargens1951-1952
  • Mrs. Earl Knop1952
  • Mr. Edward Bohlmann1952-1953
  • Mrs. Kenneth Baak1953-1955

School officially closed in January 1956 for lack of teachers. In our "Conquest for Christ" program a sum of near $3,000 was gathered for the Kingdom's needs.

Rev. R. H. Nagler served our congregation until September of 1953 when he was installed as a pastor in Papillion, Nebraska. Pastor Richard Cloester served as our vacancy pastor.

Pastor A. A. Zuberbier

Pastor Adolph Zuberbier accepted the call to serve us and was installed on April 4, 1954 and served until November of 1956.

Pastor M. H. Leedahl

Pastor Martin H. Leedahl was our vacancy pastor from 1956-1958. He accepted a permanent call to our church and was installed in February of 1958, serving Trinity. Grant Township and at Paul's as a dual parish. He accepted a call to Minnesota in 1961. Pastor E. T. Lange of Ute, Iowa, served as vacancy pastor until the summer of 1962.

Pastor C. Pannier

Pastor Clarence Pannier was installed on July 15, 1962 and served until the summer of 1965, when he accepted a call to Gloria Dei, Urbandale, Iowa.

Pastor E. T. Lange

Pastor E. T. Lange served us from 1965 until September of 1966.

Rev. John C. McKiness

Rev. John C. McKiness was installed on September 4, 1966 and accepted a call to a congregation in Hinckley, Illinois in 1969.

Rev. Albert J. Prouty

Rev. Albert J. Prouty served as vacancy pastor from November, 1969 until September, 1972.

In a meeting on March 21, 1972, it was decided to form a dual parish with Ricketts (St. Luke's).

On September 10, 1972, Rev. Mark Broeker was installed as our pastor and accepted a call to Staplehurst, Nebraska in December of 1975.

Rev. Albert J. Prouty then served as a vacanty pastor from December 1975-February, 1976.

Then Rev. Arthur Otto of Storm Lake, Iowa served as our vacancy pastor until June, 1976.

Rev. Theo. Letzring of Schleswig, Iowa took care of all official acts.

Historical Highlights

Six boys from our congregation were called to the colors during the first World War. These were: William Bielow, Walter Bielow, William Fischer, Bernard Rabe, Bernard Runge and Martin Runge.

Additional boys who served in the armed services of their country were: Walter Kortmann, Sr., Herman Quandt, Carl Miller, Fred Rabe, August Ebert, A. Glenn Henning, Clarence Schillerberg, Lorenz Schultz, Russell Westphalen, Charles Greene, Dennis Gierstorf, Randy Bohlmann, Darlo Jeschke, Roger Jensen, Vernon Bielow, Victor Bohlmann, Wilbert Gierstorf, Edgar Bohlmann, Paul Hagemann, Louis Hargens, Marvin Jeschke, Harvey Miller, Larry Westphalen, Edwin Nemeitz, Dennis Jepsen, Richard Spiegel, and Dennis Bohlmann.

For many years at each "Erntedankfest", Fredrick Rothe, one of the charter members, with the help of some women and the school children beautifully decorated the church with colored leaves, fruit, etc.

Tragedy befell the congregation in 1890, when many children died as the result of a dipheria epidemic.

In the early days, a group of men in the congregation organized a band. They gave many fine concerts and on special occasions played during church services. Among the band directors were Herman Schultz, T. Koerner, and C. Wendt

School picnics were annual, never to be forgotten events, since the early 1900's. At the beginning they were held in groves on the Carl Shelmand Fred Mesenbrink farms; later for many years at the Chris Bielow farm. A church service was held in the forenoon. Each family brought and enormous basket of lunch, since picnics were all-day affairs. At these picnics, the children engaged in elaborate marches in which the girls carried gaily decorated sticks and the boys flags. These performances were under the direction of John Bielow and were executed in the church pasture.

The bow of Reverend Runge's violin, which often was used to provide accompaniment for the children's songs in school, was sometimes employed as a chastisement stick.

During Pastor Runge's time, 46 school children made their home at the parsonage from Mondays to Fridays. Often three or four were there at the same time.

At one of the early school picnics, the band stand collapsed. Although a number of people were on it at the time,no one was injured.

For a few years, Reverend Runge, accompanied with his violin, and directed a male choir of about ten members.

In about 1912 or 1913 a colored pastor from the South delivered a mission festival sermon in our church in the German Language.

Was there ever a sound more beautiful than sleighbells on Christmas Eve?


Thank you goes to Carmen Pappan for submitting this material.

And thank you to Pauli Mullin or typing this material.