History of Holy Cross, Warda, Texas – Daughter of Serbin, 1873-1905

By Arthur C. Repp, San Antonio, Texas. Article originally published by Concordia Historical Institute Quaterly, Vol. XXVI, No. 1, April, 1953
1In the year 1854 some 500 Wends2 under the leadership of the Rev. Mr. Johann Kilian landed in Galveston, Texas, with the hope of finding religious freedom in the New World. For years these Wends had suffered political oppression, which they had learned to endure. When, however, in 1817 the Prussian government attempted to unite the Lutheran and Reformed churches, adding religious oppression to their other burdens, deep resentment was felt by these Lutherans. With the exception of a handful of courageous souls, who migrated to the United States and Australia, the Wends did nothing to free themselves from this condition, chiefly because they lacked leadership. By 1854 a sufficiently large number rallied around Pastor Kilian of Weigersdorf, Prussia, to leave for Texas, where they hoped to enjoy church life free from government restraint.3 Arriving at Galveston; Texas, they made their way over the Houston Prairie toward Lee County, where the majority settled at a place later called Serbin.4

The history of St. Paul’s Congregation, as it was later called with its doctrinal, racial, and language disputes, has already been told. But the story of its first daughters, the congregations which were organized at Fedor and Warda, Texas, is equally important; for it shows how the parent and branch congregations influenced one another and how they in turn became one of the strong nuclei around which the present Texas District of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod was formed. This is the story of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Warda, Texas.

The beginnings of Holy Cross lie in the dissensions within the Serbin congregation. After Ernst Leuber, teacher at St. Paul’s, Serbin, and his party left to organize St. Peter’s Church, it did not take long for Karl Teinert, one of the other dissenters, to air his grievances against Pastor Kilian. He used his influence to persuade a number of farmers near the Rabbs Creek section that their interests would be best served if they should separate from the two Serbin congregations and organize their own parish.5

Teinert had been deeply hurt in the loss of his leadership at Serbin and evidently sought to regain it by having a congregation of his own. Since the people near Rabbs Creek had difficulty in sending their children to the Serbin school, Teinert’s efforts to break away were successful, and a third parish was organized. What was first a request for a separate school grew through the insistence of Teinert into a desire for a separate church. Finally on Sunday, March 17, 1873,6 they organized as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Ausburg Confession on Rabbs Creek, Fayette County, Texas,7 with eight families represented from both the St. Paul’s and the St. Peter’s congregations of Serbin.8 Two days later they applied for their release from parent congregations, but no action was taken.9 Without waiting for a definite answer from the Serbin congregations the group resolved to call a pastor. A week after the initial meeting they called the Rev. Andrew Schmidt of Louis Settlement, pastor of a congregation organized by Kilian.10 In drawing up the call Teinert’s faction first thought of calling themselves a Wendish-German congregation, but this had to be dropped for the obvious reason that it was impossible to get a Wend pastor. Some of the members had thought of calling J. A. Proft of Fedor, who was a Wend, but after they broke with Serbin, the congregation knew it would be impossible to get him. As a friend of Kilian, Proft would never have accepted the call. If the Rabbs Creek congregation was to get any pastor at all, they would have to be satisfied with a German, and for this reason Schmidt was elected. How Teinert’s tenacious loyalty to the Wendish could brook this, is difficult to understand, but personal animosity to Kilian no doubt had much to do with it. What happened to the call to Schmidt is hard to say. Kilian wrote President F. Buenger of the Western District, May 6, 1873, that Schmidt had accepted the call and was expected to be at Rabbs Creek by July 1, where they were already building a church.11 Between the time Schmidt had accepted the call and the time he was to be installed, word came from Buenger that the newly organized congregation could not be recognized because of its friction with the Serbin congregation. This was quite natural since the members could not get a peaceful dismissal from Serbin, and the officials of Synod dared not overlook the conduct of the faction.12 A number of letters passed between President Buenger and Karl Teinert in which the President tried to reason with him, but to no avail. Even if everything had been done in an orderly manner, the great dearth of ministers would not have warranted such a small locality’s getting a fourth minister when larger areas of the country had none at all.

When Teinert saw that his little group could receive no official recognition from the Missouri Synod and was refused a pastor, he said, “Then, I’ll get one myself” [“Dann hol’ ich mir einen”) and set out for Rutersville, where the Texas Synod had recently established a seminary for theological students. It seems that he had little difficulty in procuring one. When St. Peter’s of 1859 was organized, this synod made investigations before they entered the field held by Missouri.13 In this case, however, the Texas Synod seemed to be more eager to make inroads into this colony and without further investigation assigned Eduard Zapf to this parish.14 Zapf was a young man who had just come over from Switzerland and was a graduate from the mission institution at St. Chrischona.15

In Kilian’s letter to Buenger of May 6, 1873, it was mentioned that the new group was building a church. Though the official name of the congregation indicated that the church was to be in Fayette County, the site of the first building was actually in Lee County, on the present Dunk’s homestead.16 On August 24, 1873, the new pastor was installed, and perhaps the church was dedicated at the same time.17 The frame church with a small tower was naturally very simple, measuring about 20 X 30 feet.

Since these people were very much concerned about a school, it was understood that Zapf would also teach. Thus during the second week in November school was begun, however with only half-day sessions for the time being.18 It planned to have full sessions later, which were to continue for eight months of the year. In time equipment was purchased, and the school was in full swing.

But there were to be some serious difficulties for the new pastor. These people were naturally in sympathy with the Missouri Synod in spite of Teinert’s influence. They tried to persuade Zapf to leave the Texas Synod and join Missouri but failed.19 This led to dissatisfaction, and some of the people wanted to return to Serbin, especially the women.20 On the other hand there was some vindictiveness with a few. When Pastor John Pallmer of St. Peter’s Church died, it was interpreted as an act of God, punishing the Serbin people for having refused to permit the Rabbs Creek group to transfer.21

In the meanwhile there was steady growth in the congregation, although Kilian wrote in the latter part of 1873 that there were only thirteen families left in this parish. Zapf reported in April, 1874, that there were sixty communicants. He had confirmed six children during the first eight months.22 Perhaps Kilian could not realize that there might be some progress even though there were no accessions at the expense of his own flock. Several families living in the territory were won by Zapf, and this contributed to the growth of his congregation.

Zapf was not to minister long in this parish, for he died on June 23, 1874. He had planned to marry, and before the news of his death and burial could reach his bride, she had left for Fayette County. A delegation from the congregation met the bewildered young woman at the train at Giddings to tell her of the death of her fiancé.23 Zapf today lies buried in an unmarked grave with only a hackberry tree as tombstone and a rotting cedar railing as mute witness that someone lies buried at the spot.24

After Zapf’s death Teinert again turned to the Texas Synod for a minister in spite of the fact that the congregation as such wanted a man from the Missouri Synod. Domineering as he was, he got his way. But unfortunately for Teinert, there was no man available, for the Texas Synod was also experiencing a shortage of ministers.25 However, to take care of the emergency a Mr. F. Jesse, just recently licensed, was asked by Teinert to serve. When the congregation demanded that Jesse join the Missouri Synod, he refused, believing that his own Synod was Lutheran enough.26 When the people became aware of this attitude, they severed connections with the Texas Synod and prepared to straighten out their difficulties with the Missouri Synod so that they might be served by them. Teinert was so enraged that he left the congregation. Both Serbin congregations were appealed to by Holy Cross, and public apology was made. To show the sincerity of their act the situation was aired in Der Lutheraner, and an apology was made to the entire Synod.27 A. D. Greif of St. Peter’s Congregation was asked to be the vacancy pastor until they could be supplied by their own pastor, St. Paul’s evidently accepted the apology but refused to consider the congregation as a separate group for a number of years. Synod now acted quite quickly, fearing that they might lose the foothold, and a young graduate of the St. Louis seminary was assigned to the congregation. So on the fourth Sunday of Advent, 1874, the Rev. A. L. Timotheus Stiemke was ordained and installed by Pastor Greif.28 The fact that Synod recognized Holy Cross, as the congregation was now called, was another wound for Kilian, who felt that the entire situation could be solved only by doing away with this congregation, or at best, by using the church for a school to supply the territory.

Stiemke was twenty-seven years of age when he accepted the call and had been born in Washington County, Wis. He was the first pastor of the Serbin area who was born in this country, and it might be added that his arrival marked a new era for the entire group. He had been educated at the Martin Luther College at Buffalo, N. Y., and graduated from St. Louis. Before coming to Texas he had married Miss Anna Schoening of Fort Dodge, Iowa.29 Since he did not know Wendish and a number of people in his parish could not understand German, Stiemke began to learn Wendish as well as he could. He often had the elders come to him evenings to instruct him. In time he was able to give Holy Communion in that language, too.30 During his stay in Holy Cross he won the hearts of his people, and even to this day the older ones, who still remember him, speak of him with high praise. Strangely enough, these people still have vivid recollections of their schooling which they received from him. Dr. G. Birkmann described him as not only a popular preacher, but well versed in many other fields. He was friendly, frank, and all the while most humble. His executive ability served him well, and later he became the first President of the newly organized Southern District, keeping this office as long as he remained in the South.31 Kilian learned to like the man, too, and spoke of him with high regard even though he never liked the congregation. To accommodate these conflicting feelings, Kilian later suggested to Buenger that he transfer Stiemke to some other parish and simply maintain Holy Cross as a branch school.32 Obviously Kilian still had the Old World ideas of episcopal church government.

Though Synod had recognized Holy Cross, St. Paul’s had not, least of all Kilian. When members of St. Paul’s living in the Rabbs Creek territory wished to join Holy Cross, they could not get their transfers. Pastor M. Tirmenstein on his official visit to the congregations of Texas tried to settle this matter, but evidently he made no progress.

An early crisis for the young church came when the Rev. A. D. Greif was called away from St. Peter’s Congregation in Serbin. St. Peter’s was predominantly German while Holy Cross had a large group of Wends, who could not understand German. Tirmenstein and others felt that the interests of all could be best served if St. Peter’s called Stiemke, who was German. Proft, a Wend, who had just resigned from the Fedor church, could then be called to Holy Cross. St. Peter’s followed the suggestion and called Stiemke. When Holy Cross heard of this, they were quite angry and unanimously resolved to keep Stiemke in spite of the advice of Tirmenstein. While they loved Stiemke, this was not the only reason for their action. Proft was sickly, and. they felt that he could not handle both the school and the church. Stiemke hesitated to make a decision and informed the congregation that he would seek the advice of Dr. C. F. W. Walther, President of Synod. In the meanwhile he was permitted to be the vacancy pastor of St. Peters.

Three weeks later Walther’s letter was read to the congregation, urging them to release their pastor. The congregation, however, would not accede to this, and finally Stiemke submitted to his people and promised to return the call. St. Peter’s was not satisfied, for they had still another plan. They proposed that the two congregations unite to form one parish, with the pastor living in Serbin. This, of course, did not suit the Holy Cross people any better, and they asked that the matter be dropped entirely.

The popularity and success of Stiemke is also quite evident from the fact that the number of members in this vicinity who belonged to St. Paul’s and wanted to join Holy Cross became alarmingly great. Kilian wrote to his son that about one seventh of his congregation wanted to leave him.33 It was at this time that Kilian again protested to Buenger concerning the entire arrangement. He argued that St. Paul’s had voted this territory a school, but never a separate congregation. Now Synod had even confirmed the act of these “separatists” by placing them on an equal footing.34 Evidently Kilian did not get much satisfaction, for conditions remained as they were. The matter was finally settled when Visitor Rev. J. F. Koestering came from Missouri in 1878. As a result St. Paul’s fully recognized Holy Cross, and the question of transfers was more or less settled.35 The next year Holy Cross officially joined the Missouri Synod.
Stiemke had interests beyond his immediate parish. Though Winchester was close, he was interested in the efforts being made there to start a congregation for a number of Germans. Simon Suess, a theological candidate, had been sent into the neighborhood to explore the possibilities of starting a new congregation, but thus far nothing definite had taken place. Holy Cross was anxious to have things progress and promised to help Suess build a house whenever the people at Winchester thought the time ripe to begin work there. In time this project failed, and Suess left to take a charge at Freiburg, Tex., near Engle.

Stiemke had served Holy Cross some five years when he suddenly got two calls, one from New Orleans and one from Houston. The matter of the New Orleans call was easily settled, but the Houston call presented a real problem. There the people had difficulties with their pastor, Caspar Braun, who had severed his connections with Synod and had gotten hold of the church and the property, leaving the conservative Lutheran group without a pastor and a place of worship. In spite of the evident need of getting a pastor, Holy Cross was not convinced that Houston was the more important charge, because they saw the harm that might come to their own school and church. The call was therefore returned. When it was sent the second time, Stiemke persuaded the congregation to allow him to leave for Houston.36

Though Holy Cross had lost its pastor, they, were undaunted and immediately resolved to call a new man. L. Geyer of St. Peter’s was asked to serve during the vacancy. Yet a year passed before a minister was procured and the school suffered considerably, in fact, was closed entirely. After many months of waiting, the congregation called the Rev. Gottfried Buchschacher of Algiers, La., who was installed Sexagesima Sunday, 1881, by Geyer.37

Buchschacher was a most colorful character with an interesting history.38 He was born in Eriswyl, Bern Canton, Switzerland, and after a liberal education left Europe to come to America. While in this country, he became interested in the Methodist ministry and was ordained in 1875 or 1876. He served in the .Methodist church at Yorktown and Fredericksburg, Tex. While he was in Texas, his attention was called to the Missouri Synod. Consequently he had a long correspondence with Dr. Walther and assiduously read Der Lutheraner. He was won over to the Lutheran Church and took a colloquy for the ministry at New Orleans in 1879.39 His first charge in the Lutheran Church was at Algiers, La., and from there he came to Holy Cross.

The scant reports available show that Holy Cross had been growing steadily. At the end of the first year Stiemke reported twenty-seven pupils in the school, including five who were not members. The next year, 1875, he reported thirty-five pupils, and this figure soon grew to forty pupils. The first report the Rev. Buchschacher sent in at the end of 1881 showed that the school had soon regained its standing with sixty-three pupils. There were at this time 320 souls, fifty-four of whom were voting members.40

With the work thus begun by Stiemke and now successfully carried on by Buchschacher, the church building of 1873 was soon too smal1. In April, 1881, the question of a new church was discussed. Mr. T. Hebrig, a member, offered ten acres for a new church site, which offer was readily accepted. With such a good example, $715.00 was immediately subscribed. Elaborate plans were drawn up calling for a church 70x34x20 feet, with a tower of 70×75 feet. When the actual cost for such a building was figured out, it proved to be too expensive, and a smaller building was planned. The new plan called for a building 60x30x20 feet. It was wise that the site was changed, for the congregation was now two and a half miles farther from Serbin and served the general interest much better. Holy Cross is now located at this site, called Warda. The old church was torn down, and the lumber was salvaged for the new church.41 Proft, who had been helpful in designing St. Paul’s Church, also made a model for the pulpit in the new church and carved some of the intricate designs. The new church was dedicated to the service of the Triune God on Sunday after Easter, 1882, amidst great festivities.42

Besides teaching four days a week and being in the midst of a building program, Buchschacher’s interest for organizing work in new fields could not be stemmed. As early as the summer of 1881 he received permission to preach every two weeks in Giddings. In time he helped organize churches at Giddings, Winchester, Greens Creek, and Corn Hill, or Walburg Throughout his busy life Buchschacher was a most diligent missionary. In harmony with his mission zeal a unique service was held in Warda at the time of the pastoral conference of September, 1883. Two missionaries to Texas were ordained at the time: Theodore Kuhn for Dallas and vicinity and J. Schwoy for Colorado County.43

With the growth of the school it soon became apparent that some assistance must be procured for the young pastor. Two years had already been spent teaching, and the congregation resolved to get help. Through the advice of Stiemke, now President of the Southern District, Henry Werner was temporarily engaged for the school. Werner, born in Germany, had come to this country at the age of eighteen. After some private instructions and a number of terms at the normal school in Addison, Ill., he was prepared for the teaching profession. Due to illness he came South, and now, after his recovery, he was proposed to the Warda congregation.44 After teaching a few months he was so successful that Holy Cross wanted to call him permanently. They resolved to buy a house for him and had everything ready for him to become a permanent teacher. Werner felt that he could not accept the call because of his health, and the congregation decided to call someone else. Werner soon left for Giddings, where he taught for a short time.

Turning again to Stiemke for advice, the congregation called F. Regener of New Orleans as teacher. There were eighty-two children in the school, and it is no wonder that Buchschacher needed help. Since the congregation had grown to 485 souls, it was thought that it should be able to support two men. Regener proved to be a good man, and the children learned to like him very much. He often entertained them with his violin, using it in his singing lessons.

The size of the school made it necessary that some restrictions be made on children of non-members. Consequently the congregation passed a resolution that such children should not be accepted without the specific consent of the congregation. Already in the next meeting consent was given to two families, one of which promised to join by new year. Evidently the opportunities could not be overlooked in spite of the crowded conditions.

After all, however, there was a limit to the capacity of the school building, even though it seemed that there was no limit to the teaching load. In October, 1885, the matter of adding a second room was brought up. After some discussion it was resolved to introduce the second room, but with the understanding that State aid should be sought for the second teacher’s support. While it was understood this was to be a temporary measure, there was no telling how “temporary” it might be. Children in both rooms were to be instructed in religion, either in the morning or in the afternoon. Even the children of such as were in the room supported by State aid were expected to pay tuition to the church. Since the present building could not be divided into two rooms, it was resolved to build an addition to the schoolhouse.

The question of accepting State aid had vexed some of the other congregations also. The general opinion throughout Synod was that no State funds should be accepted for the support of parish schools, since this practice was regarded as a mixing of Church and State and as likely to lead to State control of the religious training in the schools. Kilian at one time was inclined to accept State aid until his son Gerhard gave him the synodical viewpoint.45 In Fedor a similar condition had arisen, and State aid was accepted for a short time.

In order to understand this confusion, one must take into consideration the conditions of the time and the background of the leaders. Both Kilian and Proft were from the Old World, where the State supported religious schools. It was quite natural that this idea was carried over into the present situation. Had Kilian been in closer contact with Synod, the vexing problem would not have confused him. Fortunately it never got far in the Serbin congregations. However, Buchschacher was not only of the Old World, but came from a Reformed background, where the State and Church relationship was viewed differently. It is not strange therefore that he did not share the opinion generally held in Synod. Why Regener, who certainly should have known better, since he had been instructed in a synodical school, did not clear up the situation is hard to say. Perhaps he regarded the support of the State merely as an extreme emergency measure, since the school was too large for him to handle.

There is another angle to the question, which was probably the strongest factor of all. In Texas the public school system was slow in getting a firm hold on the various communities, and for this reason ministers were frequently hired to teach in the schools if these were already partly supported by a congregation. This additional support was welcomed by struggling congregations and underpaid ministers. The acceptance of State funds was common practice, for instance, in the Texas Synod. In 1870, President R. Jaeggli of this synod urged the pastors to take advantage of the liberal school laws and so relieve their own poverty-stricken conditions. As a result parish schools were started in great numbers by the Texas Synod. To the pastor it was a safeguard against want, and for the congregation an assurance that it would not be expected to dig too deeply into its own pockets. Due to this practice the spirit of responsibility was almost crushed, for in some instances congregations hired their pastors by contract from year to year without a regard for the Lutheran doctrine of the divinity of the call. In 1887 this synod made an attempt to remedy the evil, but the experiment had just about killed the spirit for the parish schools.46

With a local condition such as this the confusion in the minds of the people can well be understood. All around them Lutheran schools were supported by the State. The people in Warda argued: “Why should we not also benefit from the school fund since we pay taxes? Why should we support two teachers in our community in addition to paying taxes?” It seemed to be a logical way of looking at the situation, and the congregation regarded State aid as the solution to their problem. Buchschacher felt that there was no principle involved. He was interested in doing mission work at Corn Hill (Walburg) and thought he could not afford to spend the time in the schoolroom.

There were, however, some in the congregation who viewed the practice of accepting State aid with alarm. A Mr. Tr. Zoch protested that it was dangerous. Others asked what would be done if someone refused to send his child to the second room, since it was public? In answer to these objections the congregation decided that no one could be forced to submit to the new practice.

The congregation applied for subsidy, and a Miss Knippa was hired to teach in the new room, receiving part of her salary from the public school funds. But this did not settle the question, for it constantly simmered in private discussions. Since the District Synod was to be held in this part of the State the coming year, someone proposed that H. C. Schwan, President of Synod, be asked to give a supplementary essay on the question of State aid for schools after he had delivered the main essay at the convention. Whether this request came from dissenters in Warda, or whether it was proposed by the other pastors, is not certain.47 At any rate, when Synod was held at Serbin in 1886, the question was thoroughly aired to the interest of a great number of the laity. The essay treated the matter under four headings:

  1. May a Christian congregation enter into such a relationship with the State schools that it thereby receives State school money either to support its entire school or even for a part?
  2. May a Christian congregation or a Christian parish school teacher admit that the use or the spiritual application of the divine Word may be forbidden for the greater part of the school day?
  3. Is a Christian congregation right when it sacrifices its authority to supervise the school for some temporal advantages?
  4. Can Christians rightly take offense at this mixing of Church and State?48

Each of these questions was reviewed at length in the presence not only of the delegates to the District Synod, but also of a large number of the members of Warda, who were given the permission to speak at any point and as often as they cared.
With the matter so thoroughly aired, it was settled for everyone, once and for all. When Buchschacher made his report to the congregation at the next meeting, he repeated in outline the chief reasons why State aid should not be accepted. He had also been told privately to study the matter until vacation time and make every possible effort to correct the situation as soon as possible. The congregation voted to decline any subsidy for its school and at the same time raised the tuition and asked all communicants to contribute an additional fifty cents a year for the school. At the end of the school term in June the congregation severed its connection with the public school fund of the State.

During this time trouble arose between the teacher and the congregation over some personal matters, in which, it seems, both parties erred. Eventually all concerned acknowledged their mistake, but Regener thought it best to accept a call to the North. Holy Cross called G. M. Schleier of Fedor, who accepted chiefly because he feared that a public school would be started in Warda if there were a prolonged vacancy. Schleier was installed in November or December of 1886.49

The heavy teaching load which had caused the discussion had not been reduced, for Schleier was expected to teach without assistance. A few years later an attempt was made to cut down enrollment by requiring beginners to be at least eight years of age. Still nothing was done to get a second teacher. The question dragged on, and whenever it was brought up in a congregational meeting, either nothing was done about it, or .the proposition was voted down. Finally in the November 15, 1891, meeting a few ardent supporters of the school offered to make additional contributions if an assistant teacher was engaged. This proposal was accepted although there is no record that an assistant was procured until August 14, 1892. This was A. Bernstein, who taught for six months at the salary of $27.50 a month plus board.

Because the congregation refused to adopt measures earlier for procuring a second teacher, a public school was established across the road from the parish school. This helped to lighten the pupil load at Holy .Cross, but by no means solved the situation. Besides Bernstein, a Mr. W. Schubert .and .a Miss E. Schubert taught at various times before 1904. Since these assistants were not trained as teachers, applicants for the position were examined by the school board before they were accepted.

Parents who sent their children to the public school were required to send them to the parochial school by the age of eleven if they wanted them to be confirmed. Later everyone was required to send his child to the parish school at least three years in order to have them confirmed. Such parents were requested to pay eight dollars a year tuition while the others paid’ only five dollars. In this way many of the children attended parish school at an earlier age than they would have ordinarily, yet the danger of a secularized education was never overcome. Strangely enough, the congregation which supposedly began because it wanted a school of its own and for this reason broke away from St. Paul’s at Serbin was the first to compromise in the school question. No doubt much of this was due not to the change of heart of the original members, but to the fact that many of the new families were not as interested in a parish school as they should have been.

Though the Southern District had met several times in Texas, Warda had not had the opportunity to entertain such a large gathering. However, it did have the chance in 1892, when Synod met there February 3 to 9. President Schwan was again present at the convention in his official capacity. The Rev. W. Heyne of New Orleans delivered the chief essay on the “Doctrine of Holy Baptism and its Meaning and Importance for the Faith and Life of a Christian.” Some eighty-three persons were in attendance, not counting the members of local congregations.50

The statistics for 1904 show that there were 610 souls, 305 communicants, and 100 voters, with eighty-two children in the school.51

Today, after eighty years of existence, Holy Cross numbers a little over 400 souls, with some 300 communicant members. Its school is still small, with an enrollment of approximately 40 children. Yet the congregation and its school, together with the other German-Wendish congregations, have had a strong influence upon the history of Texas Lutheranism.

  1. This article is a sequel to “Daughters of Serbin, 1870-1905. History of the Lutheran Churches at Fedor and Warda, Texas,” which appeared in the Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, XXI (July, 1948), pp.49-74. It is appearing at this time because of the present interest in Lutheranism in Texas prompted by the coming convention of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, the first one ever to be held in Texas. The opening paragraphs are taken from the article of July, 1948.
  2. The Wends, popularly so called, are also referred to as Slavo-Lusatians or Serbo-Lusatians. They are one of the many Slavic minorities still existing in Germany and trace their history back beyond the Christian era. For the most part, they lived in the present regions of Brandenburg and Silesia (Prussia), and in Saxony, north and south along the Spree River. Cf. George C. Engerrand, The So-Called Wends of Germany, p. 13.
  3. For a fuller account of this migration, their leader, the Rev. Johann Kilian, and the history of the mother congregation at Serbin, Tex., cf. Arthur C. Repp, “St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s Lutheran Churches, Serbin, Tex., 1855-1905” in Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, XV (July, 1942), pp. 35-46; XV (January, 1943), pp. 115-123; XVI (April, 1943), pp. 18-28; XVI (July, 1943), pp. 49-57; XVII (April, 1944), pp. 15-29.
  4. Serbin, Tex., no longer has a post office. It is six miles west of Giddings, the county seat. Giddings is on the Austin-Houston highway.
  5. Karl Teinert was the leading member of the Wendish migration and at first a staunch supporter of Kilian. Together they kept the colony intact during the early hardships. Teinert had been the congregation’s cantor, but with the calling of a teacher (Leubner) he was asked to surrender his supervision of the music for the services. This led to a series of disputes, and Kilian .found himself, embroiled in the two strong factions of the congregation. (For a full discussion of these dissensions as well as earlier efforts to organize a congregation at Rabbs Creek, cp. Repp, op. cit., XVI (April, 1943), pp. 23-28, and XVI (July, 1943), pp. 49-53.
  6. Der Lutheraner, XXX (Nov. 1, 1874).
  7. Call to Andrew Schmidt, MS. in writer’s collection.
  8. A. E. Moebus, Gidings Deutsches Volksblatt, May, 1923.
  9. They applied to St. Peter’s March 19 (Der Lutheraner, XXX, Nov. 1, 1874) and to St. Paul’s, March 22 (Minutes of that congregation).
  10. Call to Andrew Schmidt, MS. in writer’s collection.
  11. Draft of letter in Texas District.
  12. Draft of letter by Kilian to Buenger, Oct. 6, 1876. Texas District archives.
  13. Repp, op. cit. (January, 1943), p. 115f.
  14. Der Lutheraner, XXX (Nov. 1, 1874).
  15. Mgebroff, Geschichte der Ersten Deutschen Evangelisch-Lutherischen Synode in Texas, p. 352.
  16. Kilian refers to it as being in Fayette County, as does also the call to Rev. Schmidt. However according to the people in this vicinity the Dunk place is in Lee County. Whether the county line was changed, or whether there was a general vagueness as to the line, is not certain. Kilian even refers to the place as Serbin, indicating that he considered it merely a part of his parish. The present site is, of course, in Fayette County.
  17. Historical note left by Kilian – “Aug. 24, 1873, a number of Texas Synod men (3) celebrated their accession of the Cross Church in Serbin, Fayette Co.” Serbin archives.
  18. Minutes of Cross Church, Nov. 9, 1873 (the first official minutes). All local references are taken from the minutes of the congregation unless otherwise indicated.
  19. Der Lutheraner, XXX (Nov. 1, 1874).
  20. Historical note left by Kilian – 1873. Texas District archives.
  21. Der Lutheraner, XXX (Nov. 1, 1874).
  22. Minutes of the Texas Synod, Sessions of April 30, 1874.
  23. Interview with Mr. Kuntze of Warda, Tex.
  24. Mrs. Dunk pointed out the grave on her property.
  25. Mgebroff, op. cit., p. 120.
  26. Jesse did finally leave the Texas Synod and became a member of the Missouri Synod in 1890. Mgebroff, op. cit., p. 353.
  27. XXX (Nov. 1, 1874).
  28. Ibid., Jan. 15, 1875.
  29. G. Spilman, Zum Gedaechtniss des seligen Pastors A. L. Timotheus Stiemke.
  30. G. Birkmann, G. D. V., Oct., 1932; n. d. on the clipping.
  31. Ein Brief des alten Past. G. Birkrnann an einen Freund … Oct. 22, 1924. Texas District archives.
  32. Draft of letter by Kilian to Buenger, March 27, 1876. Texas District archives.
  33. Draft of letter by Kilian to his son Hermann, Feb. 28, 1876. Texas District archives.
  34. Draft of letter by Kilian, March 27, 1876. Texas District archives.
  35. Minutes of St. Paul’s, Serbin, Jan. 13, 1878.
  36. The Houston congregation is the present Trinity Lutheran Church, the largest congregation of the Missouri Synod in Texas.
  37. Der Lutheraner, XXVII (April 1, 1881).
  38. Buchschacher was born May 8, 1852. For his interesting biography see G. D. V., Nov. 11, 1927, La Grange Journal, Nov., 1927, or Houston Post, 1925.
  39. Synodical Report, Western District, 1879.
  40. Synodical Report, Western District, 1875-1882.
  41. Birkmann, G. D. V., July 12, 1934. Elsewhere Dr. Birkmann wrote that the old church was moved to the present site and used for a school (G. D. V., March 4, 1937); however, the minutes show that the school was entirely rebuilt as well as the church, though at a slightly later date.
  42. Der Lutheraner, XXVIII (May 1, 1882).
  43. Birkmann, G. D. V., Feb. 8, 1940. Schwoy did not remain in Texas long. He went north and later became professor at Concordia Institute, Bronxville, N. Y.
  44. Birkmann, Texas Distriktsbote, X (No. 4, Nov., 1925).
  45. Repp, op, cit., July, 1943, p.54.
  46. Mgebroff, op. cit., p. 216 f.
  47. The synodical report states that the questions were set forth by the two congregations of Serbin. Whether this is to be taken literally, or whether it is stated in this manner in order to leave out the personal element, is, of course, uncertain. Cp. Synodical Report, Southern District, 1886.
  48. Ibid.
  49. Called Oct. 31, and by Jan. 2 he was secretary. Minutes in interval lost.
  50. Synodical Report, Southern District, 1892.
  51. Statistical Yearbook, 1904.