St. Martin United Church Of Christ
High Ridge, Missouri - 1868-1968
Written By Mrs. Charles E. Schulze
It was a great privilege to prepare this book in commemoration of the Centennial of St. Martin Church. The task has been an interesting, challenging, and yet joy-filled experience. Through it, I have endeavored to compile as concise and accurate a history of the church as I could.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all of the persons who assisted me by translating the old German records and through the gathering of information and pictures. I would also like to thank those who did the typing, editing, and layout work for this history.
It is my fervent hope that this book may prove to be more than just interesting reading. I pray that each reader will be challenged and inspired to trust and to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The history of this church stands as a powerful witness to the faithfulness of God and the unchanging love of Jesus Christ.
DEDICATION . . .
To Those of Yesterday
who founded St.. Martin Church upon a solid rock, wed it with vision and foresight, and maintained the spirit of Christ in all they did,
To Those of Today
who seek not only to maintain and perpetuate this spirit of St. Martin, but to further and extend it to all the world,
To Those of Tomorrow
our youth and children, whose sacred duty it will be to strengthen the Church's foundation, to enlarge its vision still further, and to carry the spirit of Christ to new fields of endeavor,
To These Three
we sincerely dedicate these pages commemorating our 100th anniversary:
to the first in loving memory and gratitude, to the second in thankful recognition, and to the third in hopeful anticipation of what shall be done to the glory of God by members and friends of St. Martin's Church.
THE LAND WE WERE CALLED TO SERVE
In the year 1868, soon after the Civil War, when virgin forests covered the hills and valleys of Jefferson County, a German protestant congregation was founded in the High Ridge area of Meramec Township.
What was High Ridge like in the decade of the 1860's and immediately thereafter? A general store was owned and operated by the Brackman family. A saloon and boarding house was run by a man named T. C. Cage. A builder and architect named Peter Oster became a resident in 1878. In the Jefferson County Atlas of 1871, it is stated, "High Ridge was a post office with a store". This is the only description given. Still later, in about 1880, John Heller, a blacksmith and undertaker, took up residence in the fledgling community. A Catholic Church was the only church in the area, located at Rock Creek, three miles east of High Ridge, and was made up largely of Bohemian families. It seems that High Ridge was not one of the first communities in this area to be settled. It grew slowly at first, presumably because of less natural water resources and poor farming ground. Most of the founding members of St. Martin lived in more fertile valleys, such as Rock Creek, Sugar Creek, Antire, and Big River. One of the things that apparently promoted the establishment of the community was the junction of many roads at this location, such as Rock Creek, Antire, Hillsboro-Valley Park, and Little Antire, as well as the graveled road (now Highway 0) leading from Big River Valley to the Fenton Bridge. It seems that St. Martin Church played a large part in the subsequent growth of High Ridge.
More information can be found on the early settlement of House Springs. In the year 1795 James Head settled about a mile above the mouth of the creek which now bears his name. His locating here was doubtlessly determined by the beautiful springs of water that were to be found in the vicinity. James Head moved out and was followed by Adam House, whose name is perpetuated in the village of House Springs. After living here two years, House was massacred by Indians. The old town of House Springs was laid out in a subdivision before the year 1870 and called "Demaree". The post office always used the name "House's Springs" however, and the community has long been called by that name. Apparently House Springs did not have any churches in the year 1868. In 1869 a Catholic Church was established at Byrnesville.
Murphy was named for the Murphy family which settled there. A post office was established in 1893 but discontinued in 1901.
THE BIRTH OF A CHURCH
Before this time, accurate records were not kept. From that point on, Sunday morning offerings, the expenses of the church, and the first deeds to cemetery lots were recorded.
The church and cemetery were dedicated on Sunday, May 2, 1869, and given the name St. Martin's. Pastor August Roeder of St. Louis, who officiated, took as his text for the sermon of the clay Psalm 84. He also ordained and installed Pastor Fehlhaber as "preacher" the same day. Pastor Roeder was a well known German pastor who at that time apparently was not affiliated with any denomination.
Most churches we read about were led by a minister during the period of organizing, but St. Martin is different in this respect. Records do not tell us much of this, but apparently Martin Hauser was the organizer of the group of 19 men who chartered St. Martin. He was not an ordained minister, but a devout layman who remained a faithful member until 1892, when he moved with his family to Litchfield, Illinois, where he helped with the organizing of still another church, now called. Trinity Lutheran Church.
While many say our church was named to honor Martin Hauser, we have no recorded statement as such. It is believed by some that, since so many of the founding members were of Lutheran background, it was also named for Martin Luther. Checking back in old Synod reports about 1895, we find that our church was simply listed as "Martin's Church"
THE FRAMEWORK OF OUR HISTORY
In the fall of 1869, the members undertook the task of building a new parsonage. They all agreed to make a loan to pay for the construction, along with digging a cistern.
By early spring of 1870, the congregation was in need of a pastor and called the Rev. George Geisser to be their minister. He was installed by Pastor Roeder of St. Louis on April 14, 1870. Pastor Geisser served the church for a short time and taught only one confirmation class.
In 1872 the congregation was in financial difficulty and the members voted to sell 20 acres of land to pay off their debts. The 20 acres sold were north of the church. At that time some repairs needed to be made, which included enlarging and adding windows to the parsonage.
While there is not much in the records about the next person who came to serve St. Martin, we find listed a "Mr. Rettig Zollman", who apparently ministered as "teacher".
School was started on the 21st of April, as soon as he arrived, but there was no confirmation class. Mr. Zollman evidently spent only three or four months at St. Martin.
There was an epidemic of smallpox in the community at that time, which took the lives of a number of members of St. Martin.
In April, 1874, the Rev. August Kitterer was called as pastor to the congregation. The Rev. Kitterer was the first pastor who was a member of the German Evangelical Synod of the West. This is the first evidence of St. Martin's affiliation with this Synod, even though it was always recorded up to this time that they were to secure pastors from the Evangelical Synod (although once it reads from the "Evangelical Lutheran Synod"). Little is known of the denominational affiliation of pastors previous to this. Remember now, St. Martin was organized as a "Protestant Evangelical Independent Congregation". Some of its members were of Evangelical background, having attended church at St. John's Evangelical Church in Mehlville, Mo. ; some were of the Lutheran background, having attended church at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church at Otto, Mo. ; and still others were apparently of various other Protestant backgrounds. (The German Evangelical Synod was the result of a merger in 1817 in Germany of the Lutheran and the Reformed Churches. The Lutherans who came to this country represented those who did not join in this merger.) In the beginning they sought to worship as an independent church, but by this time they apparently recognized that it was necessary to be associated with some denomination or synod.
Confirmation Day, March 28, 1875, is the first record of those communing. There were 52 persons who partook of Holy Communion on that clay.
Pastor Christian Molthan was called in September, 1876, and stayed about one and one-half years. He apparently was not affiliated with either the Evangelical Synod or the Lutheran Synod. The next year Arnold Fismer from the Evangelical Synod came as preacher and teacher for the German School and Confirmation School, staying almost three years. Pastor Fismer confirmed two confirmation classes, one of which included his daughter, Salome.
In July, 1879, a Reverend R. E. B. Beyer was called to serve the church for two years. We are not certain whether Rev. Beyer was a member of the Evangelical Synod, for the Synod has no record of him. The Beyers had a son, Karl Wilhelm Adolph, baptized while they were at St. Martin.
Although we have no records of the first meetings, many say that August is the anniversary month of our church. The first transaction in our records was the purchase of the present church property. On the 11th clay of September, 1868, an agreement was made between Sarah Boly and Martin Hauser, Wilhelm Nollmann, and Henrick Hoffimeister, who are listed as the trustees of the German Evangelical Protestant Church, to purchase 40 acres of land for $300. For a small group of meager means, this was a sheer act of faith. The deed was made and entered into the 13th day of December, 1868.
Apparently, by the early part of the fall, the log church had been built. Each member was supposed to have brought two logs to erect the church, a boiling 24 x 30 feet.
The first constitution, adopted December 1, 1868, began as follows:
"The Constitution of the Protestant Evangelical Independent Congregation of Jefferson County.
"We, the undersigned of the Independent Congregation, give the following laws and regulations, and everyone who signs is committed to hold to the same. The purpose of our organization is to serve the honor of God by Pure Christian teaching, and further to instruct the young in school and confirmation.'' .....
It was signed by the following men:
- Martin Hauser
- Hermann Nollman
- Wilhelm Wolgast
- Charl Boehling
- John Issfeldt
- Henrick Kreienheder
- Christian Werner
- H. Wm. Delbruegge, Sr.
- Jacob Schneeberger
- Friedrich Heller
- Wilhelm Delbruegge, Jr.
- Heinrick Broemmelsick
- Wilhelm Nollman
- Charles Scharff
- Friedrich Harre
- Charles Heller
- Henrick Hoffineister
- L. Heinrick Heitz
- Heinrick Stuerman
All signed in their own hand except Charles Scharff, who had died just before the constitution was written. There were others who signed the first constitution who apparently had become interested in the church between the organization and the writing of the constitution. They signed as follows:
- August Vornberg
- Wilhelm Spreckelmeyer
- Andreas Alt
- Gottlob Baumbach
- Wilhelm Barby
According to the cemetery deeds listed right after the constitution, there were many other persons interested in St. Martin besides the charter members. The first minister to be called to St. Martin was Julius Fehlhaber, who started as "preacher and teacher" on February 22, 1869.
Pastor Johann Joseph Daiss, a member of the Evangelical Synod, came to serve St. Martin in October, 1882. Pastor Daiss confirmed three confirmation classes. Two of his children, Joseph and Hulda, were baptized in our church. He concluded his ministry to St. Martin on June 7, 1885.
The Rev. Friedrich Woelfle came to St. Martin in October. 1885, and served for about two years.
The tenth minister called to proclaim God's Word and teach the young was Pastor Herman Walz, who came in December, 1887. It was during his pastorate that the congregation sought to make the Lord's house more beautiful by covering the log exterior with weatherboard siding and by adding a vestibule and bell tower. G. F. Baumbach and Ernest Bonacker were elected to a committee to secure the necessary funds to complete the project. The construction was started at the end of September, 1888. Peter Oster was the contractor. The cost of the reconstruction came to a total of $575. The new building was dedicated to the "Glory of the Triune God" on November 18, 1888. At the dedication Pastor Torbitzky of Dittmer and Pastor Walz preached in German, while Pastor Rieger of St. Paul's Church, Oakville, preached in English.
Later the same year the congregation purchased pews for the church and also a 475-pound bell, at a total cost of $225. The bell was dedicated on December 9, with Pastor Kruse of St. Lucas Church, Sappington, delivering the dedicatory sermon.
From May 1890 to March 1895, St. Martin was served by Pastor Ernst Hugo. It was during the early part of his pastorate in 1891 that a church was also begun at Cedar Hill. It was served by our pastor, with a worship service at least one Sunday a month, and was supported by the Evangelical Synod. Church services were held at the location of the present Cedar Hill Baptist Church. At that time, this location was called "Local". There was also a Union Church with which the Evangelical congregation shared the building. The cemetery, however, belonged to the Evangelical congregation. Many Evangelical people are buried there. In later years, the Evangelical congregation moved to the town of Cedar Hill. A description of Cedar Hill from the Atlas of Jefferson County, 1876, states, "Cedar Hill is on Big River 14 miles north-west of Hillsboro, is otherwise known as Jefferson Mill or Maddox Mill. Cedar Hill is the name of the post office. There are two stores. The mill at this point is said to have been the first one built on Big River. A substantial bridge known as Maddox Mill Bridge, a covered bridge, crosses the river at this point."
The following year, in August, 1892, St. Martin's first parsonage was purchased for $110 by W. Delbruegge and was moved across the road where it stood for many years. The building of a new, beautiful, two-story parsonage was started on September 10, 1892. The cost of the building was $845. It was dedicated on November 20, 1892. Pastor H. Bode and Pastor H. Drees were the special guests at the dedication of the parsonage dedicated to the "Praise of God". While Pastor Hugo was minister, St. Martin celebrated its 25th anniversary of pioneering ministry to the previously mentioned communities, with a community picnic consisting of dinner followed by music provided by the High Ridge Brass Band. St. Martin continued this picnic traclition annually for many years. Many friends gathered at St. Martin for the fellowship.
Following Pastor Hugo, the Reverend Otto Albrecht came to serve the congregation until April 1900. Also in 1900, the congregation decided to add a room to the parsonage, a new kitchen.
St. Martin's congregation had a great concern for their cemetery. It was an important part of the church. There was always much maintenance on the cemetery, keeping it in order, numbering the graves, and keeping fences repaired around it. Each family was to see that its family lots were cleaned off in the spring, that the grass was cut during the summer, and also that the flowers that the family planted on each grave were taken care of. In the fall, the graves were to be cleaned off.
Each member was asked to bring one-half to one cord of wood each year for heating the church and parsonage. It apparently reached the point where every member wasn't bringing his wood; so about this time, they hired someone from the congregation to cut the wood - approximately 15 cords per year at $2 per cord.
On March 24, 1901 Pastor S. Peter Goebel came to serve St. Martin. He was installed by Professor Becker of the Eden Seminary on March 31, 1901. Pastor Goebel was not married, and his blind brother Karl lived with him, Karl was very talented in music, playing the organ and violin. This was also the first year St. Martin sent a delegate to the Missouri District German Evangelical Synod Meeting. Daniel Bonacker was the delegate.
In 1902 St. Martin congregation painted the outside of the church and wallpapered and painted the inside. A new carpet and new cloths for the altar were purchased.
That same year our church became an official member of the German Evangelical Synod, sending August Nollman, Sr. as official delegate to the Synod meeting held at St. Paul's Evangelical Church, St. Louis. On November 16 St. Martin Church celebrated its becoming a member of the German Evangelical Synod with a special church service. Pastor Allrich of St. Charles, President of the Missouri District of the Synod, was present.
The first Mission Fest recorded was celebrated in September 1903. The special guest preachers present were Pastor Torbitzky from Dittmer and Pastor Kruse from Sappington. The choirs from both churches also participated in the service. The members of the congregation would bring home-canned goods or other harvest they had reaped during the year and place it on the altar during the service of worship. The special offering went to a mission fund, while the harvested goods were sent to one of the denominational institutions in St. Louis. This was celebrated annually for many years.
There were always many improvements to be made around the parish grounds. There were fences - a paling fence, a plank fence, and/or a wire fence - around the cemetery, the parsonage, the church, the garden, and the orchard. There were many other buildings besides the church and parsonage which had to be kept up, including a stable, a chicken house, a wood shed, and a smokehouse for the curing of meat.
By 1910 there was a need for the church cemetery called "God's Field" or "God's Acre" to be enlarged. There were many proposals. It was finally decided to use the orchard below the parsonage for the new addition. On May 19 the new cemetery was dedicated.
On June 10, 1910, early in the evening during a thunder storm, lightning struck the framed-over log church, burning it to the ground. Pastor Goebel was attending a conference at the time of the fire. Mr. Henry Delbruegge, who lived across the road, ran and rang the church bell until it fell from the tower, to try to summon help, but by the time enough persons came to help, the building was too far gone. They were very concerned that the parsonage might also catch fire, but were able to protect it. There was a loss of many valuable articles such as hymnals and furnishings, as well as all the Braille books and materials of Karl Goebel which had been stored in the balcony of the church. Fortunately, Pastor Goebel had removed the church records to the parsonage before he left for the conference and they were saved. Many persons today have a piece of the melted church bell which they salvaged from the ashes.
During the time the congregation was without a church building, they worshipped in the parsonage and also in Brackman's Hall in High Ridge. Immediately the congregation began planning a new building. The Building Committee presented two plans and the congregation decided on the one with a basement and furnace, the building being 54' x 33', at an estimated cost of $3,000. When all the bids were too high, the architect tried to cut some costs by using cheaper yellow pine instead of cypress for the siding. The second time all the bids still were too high, the lowest being $3,632 and the congregation decided to do their own digging, concrete work, and painting to cut cost. They finally eliminated the basement and furnace. The cost then would be $3,089. The plan was rejected by the congregation. A new Building Committee asked Peter Oster, architect and builder, to submit a plan. The cost was not to exceed $2, 000. The plan Mr. Oster submitted was for a 40' x 26' building, including a 12' x 18' classroom, a tower, and an entrance on one side, at an estimated cost of $2, 500. This plan was accepted by the congregation. After this difficult time in selecting a plan suitable to their needs and budget, the first spade of ground was turned for the new church on November 1, 1910. On March 12, 1911, a cornerstone-laying ceremony was held. Pastor Agricola of St. Luke's Church, Glaize Creek, was guest speaker. The new church was dedicated on August 13, 1911, at 10 o'clock with the unlocking of the doors and a service in German. Pastor E. Agricola, Pastor Jacob Irion, St. Louis and the choir from St. Lucas Church, Sappington, took part in the morning service. The afternoon service was held at 2:30 with Pastor H. Walz from Illinois. Pastor E. Roglin, St. Martin Church, Dittmer, and the St. Lucas choir participating. Pastor S. Kruse from Sappington delivered the address in English. The teacher, Louis C. Saeger of Frieden's Church, St. Charles, presided at the organ.
The furnishings they selected included chairs instead of benches, (Some of these chairs are still in our balcony.) an 830 pound bell, and an organ. The cost of the building was $2, 651. and $801.98 was the cost of the furnishings. Many of the furnishings were donated.
At the congregational meeting in January 1912, two of the laymen suggested that the congregation try one English service a month. Up to this time, all worship was in German.
The years of World War I followed. Many young men of St. Martin were called to serve their country.
Pastor Goebel labored with energy and zeal, taking a special interest in the work of the young people. It was during his pastorate that the Young People's Society or League was organized on May 20, 1917, with a membership of 32. During the first year, it grew to a membership of 45.
The first time the church minutes were written in English was in 1921. Prior to this time, all records were kept in German.
On July 14, 1922, Pastor S. Peter Goebel was called to his Eternal Rest, concluding a most vigorous ministry for his Lord and Savior. Upon his untimely death, the congregation mourned the loss of their pastor, a most faithful servant of God. From this time forward, the Cedar Hill Church was served by the pastors of St. Martin Church, Dittnier. After the death of Pastor Goebel, Rev. Schneider of St. Louis temporarily filled the pulpit on Sunday morning and guided the congregation spiritually.
The Rev. George Low was called to serve St. Martin congregation from August 1922 to April 1926.
PIC COMING SOON The Rev. George Low
PIC COMING SOON The frame church building - 1911.
English services were then increased to two times a month. Later on, there was one English service every Sunday, plus two German services a month. During Rev. Low's pastorate the ''Ladies Aid Society" was organized on October 23, 1922. Also during his pastorate, in 1926 the congregation tried a new method of collection by the system of envelopes, the first order being for 100 sets.
A Sunday School Class called the Careful Gleaners was organized about this time and was taught by Miss Clara Boehling (Mrs. Clara Boemler). This class continued for many years. These were the first young people of the church to continue in Sunday School after confirmation.
While St. Martin was without a pastor, Mr. Armin Bahnsen served as student pastor during the summers of 1926 and 1927. Mr. Bahnsen stayed in the homes of many of the members of the parish. His father, also a minister, exchanged pulpits with his son so that St. Martin could have at least one German service a month. According to notes left behind by Mr. Bahnsen, it seems he tried to keep the congregation together and spiritually guided them through these two summers, until the calling of Rev. Traugott Amacker on October 24, 1927.
When Rev. Amacker arrived, the little white frame church was about 16 years old. It was in need of general repair. It also was becoming too small for the growing congregation and community. In April, 1928, this problem was brought to a climax when one of St. Martin's more affluent families, Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Boemler, offered the congregation a donation of $4,000 for a new brick church, if the rest of the members would raise the sum of $15,000. A meeting was called and the congregation accepted this very generous offer. A finance committee was elected with Mr. August Nollman as chairman. They sought to receive pledges.
This was not encouraging in the early stages, but the spring season of 1929 brought new life into the proposition, and by April., 1929, the congregation was informed that the requirements had been met. The frame church was sold with the buyer dismantling the building. The stable, feed shed, and chicken house also had to be moved for the construction of the new church.
While the building was being erected, the construction of new Highway 30 was fully under way. People had a difficult time in traveling during this construction period. Many people can reminisce about leaving their cars by the side of the road and walking the rest of the way to church one Sunday morning because the concrete was not fully cured. Many special events of the church were cancelled while the construction was going on.
On a beautiful day in September 1929, the cornerstone was laid with the following ministers taking part - Rev. H. T. Bahnsen, Trinity Church, delivered the sermon; Rev. F. J. Langhorst addressed the assembly; Rev. Richard Gadow, St. Luke's Church, Glaize Creek; and Rev. A. Rinne, St. Martin Church, Ditter, had part in the liturgy. The chairman of the building committee also took part. The architects and contractors were introduced. Then the actual cornerstone laying took place with the ministers, the building committee, and the board of elders participating. The cornerstone contains the following items: 1) The membership list, 2) A list of those who pledged and promised contributions toward the new church, 3) A copy of the church constitution, 4) A copy of the constitution of the Evangelical Synod of North America, 5) A copy of the Friedensbote (Messenger of Peace), the Evangelical Herald, and the Light-Bearer, 6) A catechism, 7) A program of the dedication of the old church in 1911, and 8) A copy of the contract with the architect.
PIC COMING SOON The Rev. Traugott Amacker
PIC COMING SOON Present church building constructed in 1930
During construction, the congregation met in Brackman's Hall for worship. But as soon as the basement of the church was finished, it was used. A beautiful brick structure, 66' x 38', was erected, with a seating capacity of 200 in the main auditorium. The total cost of the building was $19,907.83. The furnishings cost $3,721.47, but many of these things such as pews, light fixtures, and windows were donated.
On April 27, 1930, St. Martin congregation was proud to dedicate their new church with a service, in the morning in German, an organ recital, an afternoon service, and an evening service, plus a dinner and supper. As quoted from Rev. Amacker's notes, "Though it was raining in the morning, the church was filled to capacity. Rev. Paul Press, President of the Missouri District, preached on the text Matthew 7:24-27 and emphasized in his eloquent way that true wisdom cannot do otherwise than build on a pure foundation. He was followed by Rev. John E. Schneider, St. Andrew's Church, St. Louis, who spoke in German, stressing the loveliness and beauty of the house of God, Psalm 84:1-2. As weather conditions improved, guests came from far and near; among them were the Rev. John Baltzer, D.D., President Emeritus of the Synod, who also spoke greetings and words of encouragement, and F. A. Keck, General Treasurer of the Synod.
"Inspiring messages were delivered in the afternoon service by the Rev. H. T. Bahnsen, Trinity Church, St. Louis; Rev. H. Walz, St. Paul's Church, Oakville, pastor of St. Martin's 40 years before, Rev. John N. Schuch, St. Luke's Church, St. Louis; and Rev. S. Kruse of Kirkwood.
"The evening service was dedicated to the Ladies Aid by Rev. J. F. Langhorst, St. Lucas Church, Sappington. The Sunday School and Religious Education was represented by Rev. Richard M. A. Gadow, St. Luke's Church, Glaize Creek; and the Young People's League by Rev. A. F. Rinne, St. Martin Church, Dittmer. Prof. F. Pfeiffer presided at the new two manual electric pipe organ and by his masterly skill demonstrated in a special organ recital the magnificent qualities of the new organ, which was bought from the Wicks Pipe Organ Company, Highland, Illinois. The choir of the neighboring congregation, St. Luke's Glaize Creek, the Young People's League, and the Ladies Aid helped to beautify the services by their hymns."
St. Martin came right out of their building program into the "Depression Years". In addition, there were several years of unfavorable seasons for the congregation's farmers. All this made these years among the most difficult St. Martin knew. It was in the fall of 1932 that Rev. Amacker offered to the congregation to reduce his salary from $1,200 to $1,000 per year, with the understanding that his salary be increased to $1,200 when the price of wheat went to $1.00 per bushel. The organist's salary was also reduced. However, by the Grace of God, they endured the crisis.
For years, the Cemetery Committee assessed the lot owners to pay for getting the grass cut. At this time, monies were solicited to establish a perpetual care fund and by 1936 the cemetery was organized as a non-profit corporation.
Rev. Amacker left St. Martin in the spring of 1933. By June, 1933 the Rev. Addie S. Petzoldt had been called.
It was during Rev. Petzoldt's ministry that the men of the church organized themselves as the Churchmen's Brotherhood of St. Martin Evangelical Church. One of the first projects was the purchasing of a mimeograph machine upon which was printed the first church paper, "The Friendly Visitor, " later known as "The Messenger, " "Tidings, " and now "The Epistle". This machine is still being used by George Werner to print the Churchmen's Fellowship's paper The Men's Patter.
PIC COMING SOON The Rev. Addie S. Petzoldt
PIC COMING SOON The Rev. Herbert F. Rinderkencht
In May 1934 St. Martin Youth League made the Missouri Pictorial Section of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, with a picture of the cast of the play "The Old Oaken Bucket". The Youth League showed a great deal of interest in dramatics, giving many plays.
Throughout this period, the Evangelical Synod and the Reformed Church were preparing for the merger which took place in 1934, forming the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
The depression was subsiding, when the congregation called the Rev. Herbert Rinderknecht in March 1938. The Seventieth Anniversary of the founding of the church came that same year and was observed with appropriate festive services in the morning and afternoon, with guest speakers Professor C. E. Schneider, Professor of Church History, Eden Seminary, and the Rev. H. J. Damm, Superintendent of Caroline Mission. A dinner was served by the Ladies Aid Society at noon and a period of fellowship followed.
Rev. Rinderknecht worked hard and patiently and the congregation grew in size and devotion. In 1941 a Teacher's Training Class was formed, the main body being the Adult Class of the Church School, and others who were interested. During his pastorate, the "Daily Vacation Bible School" was also started in August 1942. The departure of Rev. Rinderknecht in October 1942 was felt keenly by the congregation.
Rev. Herbert Wernecke served as supply pastor from November 1, 1942 to March 24, 1943. Pastor Wernecke helped to plan the remodeling of the parsonage.
The congregation called the Rev. Herbert P. Baur in March, 1943. With the coming of Rev. Baur, the congregation was busy remodeling the parsonage. At that time, the country was in the grips of World War II. It was very difficult to get many new materials for building; so much of the old lumber was used. The cost for all new materials and labor was $5,000. During 1943 St. Martin celebrated the Diamond Jubilee Anniversary, along with the dedication of the new parsonage.
In the beginning, the church had three men as "Kirchenvorsteher" meaning "men who stand before the church, " or who were the head of the church. By the 1930's the number of men serving on the church board as elder or trustee had increased to six. In 1945 the members saw the need for electing three more men to the church board, increasing the total number to nine, "so as to have six members on the church council who were familiar with the work".
In 1947 Rev. Baur introduced the serving of pew communion to the congregation with everyone communing together as one body. Before that time, Communion was served only at the altar. Altar Communion is still celebrated at St. Martin but only on special occasions.
At about that time, the Sunday School began to have an annual family picnic in conjunction with the Brotherhood. This picnic was held at Delbruegge's Grove at the conclusion of the Daily Vacation Bible School. The picnic began with a Church Service at the Grove, which was immediately followed by a basket dinner, with games and entertainment for all in the afternoon. This picnic has continued to this day as the "All Parish Picnic" with some minor changes to fit the needs of the parish, but there is still lots of food and fun for everyone.
PIC COMING SOON The Rev. Herbert P. Baur and family.
Rev. Baur spiritually guided the congregation through years of World War II. After the war, the community grew and the church grew, making necessary additional room for Sunday School facilities. Beginning in 1945, the congregation studied many plans and proposals. However, when Rev. Baur concluded his ministry at St. Martin in September of 1951, the committee and Council agreed to postpone the decision concerning the building program until a new minister could be called.
In the meantime The Rev. F. W. Fischer came as supply pastor. Rev. Fischer is fondly remembered by many, and at the conclusion of his serving St. Martin said, "My services at St. Martin were a blessing for me and a pleasure."
PIC COMING SOON The Rev. Ralph E. Huber and family.
In February 1952 The Rev. Ralph Huber was called to serve St. Martin. In 1953 St. Martin celebrated its 85th anniversary with many special services and programs, and with three of the former pastors, Rev. Rinderknecht, Rev. Baur, and Rev. Fischer taking part. The year 1954 saw the actual construction of the long-awaited basement educational addition. It was dedicated in January 1955. The cost of this building program was about $10,050.
Somewhat later it was felt that it would be desirable to build a Mausoleum in conjunction with the cemetery. A 42-crypt Mausoleum was completed in 1957 with places for 84 interments.
As the church grew, it became necessary for the church council to meet monthly instead of quarterly. At the same time quarterly congregational meetings were changed to two meetings a year.
We are proud to have been a part of the merger of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches in 1957, forming the United Church of Christ.
St. Martin Church recognized its 90th anniversary in 1958 by printing a Birthday Calendar for the parishioners.
By 1961, St. Martin Church School had really outgrown the church facilities, every possible space being used for classrooms, and with several classes even meeting in the parsonage. A Building Committee was appointed to devise a plan to complete the basement addition constructed in 1954. They presented a proposal with preliminary approval, but it was later rejected because the congregation felt that this addition would not provide adequate space for future growth.
In June 1962 the Rev. Ralph Huber, concluded his ministry at St. Martin. Because of his work in the Boy Scout program, hisdeparture was also keenly felt by Scouts and their families throughout the community.
PIC COMING SOON The Rev. Fred W. Wehrenberg and family.
On August 15, 1962, the congregation called the Rev. F. W. Wehrenberg.
In January 1963 the Annual Congregational Meeting suggested the drilling of a well. By May 1963, a new well was drilled to the depth of 590 feet.
In July 1963 the congregation appointed a special "Building Study Committee" to study the growth of St. Martin and to make recommendations for meeting all present and future needs from Church School classrooms to parking facilities. A Building Committee was then appointed and much more study was done. It was not until the fall of 1964 that the congregation accepted the proposed program of the Building' Committee. A successful financial campaign followed immediately.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held on a windy day in March 1,965. The Chairman of the Building Committee, Kenneth Ellis; Superintendent of the Church School, George Hart; President of the Church, Charles Schulze; and the Pastor, Fred Wehrenberg, participated. The members of the Church School and the congregation were present.
Construction was started immediately. This included moving the parsonage to its present location and the construction of a two-story educational building 68' x 53', plus the remodeling of the old educational facilities and the improvement of the parking facilities.
PIC COMING SOON Present parsonage
The dedication of the new building was on a beautifully warm Sunday, November 21, 1965. Those who participated in the service were the Rev. Dr. Eugene Wehrli, Professor of New Testament, Eden Seminary; The Rev. Ray Bizer, Conference Minister for Christian Education for the Missouri Conference; and the Rev. Fred Wehrenberg, Pastor of St. Martin. The building program was concluded in 1967 with the building of a new retaining wall and steps and the completion of improvements to grounds and parking facilities. The proposed program cost over $136,000.
A new church constitution, which was patterned after the United Church of Christ constitution, was written in 1965. Previous constitution had been approved in 1874, 1904, 1934, and 1955. Revisions of parts of the constitution had been approved in 1924.
A notable feature of St. Martin's life during the last few years has been a growing spirit of cooperation and ecumenicity. Several times each year, the church at High Ridge sponsors special services or group meetings together with the St. Martin Church of Dittmer. Several couples from each of these two churches, together with the pastors, have also participated in inter-faith retreats at the St. Pius X Monastery at Pevely, Missouri. More recently still, St. Martin has participated in inter-faith services of worship in the High Ridge-House Springs community.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION AT ST. MARTIN
Our first constitution shows that one of the major concerns of the founding forefathers was for education and Christian instruction.
There is much to be said in this area. The first educational instruction consisted of a school held at the church and taught by the minister of the church. There seems to be no set pattern of how long the sessions of the school were. Apparently there were many conditions involved, such as how many students there were and if there was a pastor to teach the school.
In the 1860's, there were no laws which required children to attend school for a certain number of years. Many attended for only three or four years, feeling they received all the education they needed.
St. Martin had what was variously called "The German School,'' "The Parochial School," or the "Confirmation School." At the beginning, they were all the same thing. Some of the students got all of their formal education from St. Martin. They were taught the academic subjects - all in German - and given the religious instruction for confirmation which included the catechism, Bible stories, and hymns.
In a few years, by about 1881, the practice changed. The students then attended the regular public school, attending St. Martin only for confirmation instruction. The student missed one year of public school and during that year went to confirmation school five days a week; later it was four days a week. Still later, in 1885, with the coming of Pastor Woelfle the school was to be held one day a week, on Monday. The catechism, Bible stories, and hymns were taught, and, if time was available, some arithmetic or geography. Lessons were taught in German because of the children knowing only German from the environment in their homes. Later confirmation instruction was taught in English to those students who didn't know German or whose parents desired they be taught in English. Since it would have been impossible for the children of the Cedar Hill area to travel every day to and from High Ridge, these children would board in the homes of some of the members of the church at High Ridge. If there was a larger group in the confirmation class at Cedar Hill, the High Ridge children boarded at Cedar Hill that year for confirmation.
The weekday school was abolished in 1924. The sessions were then held on Saturdays for the children desiring to be confirmed.
In the beginning those who were confirmed were confirmed into the faith, but they did not automatically become members of the church at St. Martin. Only men who were the heads of households or men who were of age were members with a right to vote. The wives and confirmed children were members only by virtue of their husbands and fathers and they had no voice or vote.
It was not until 1922 that the women were allowed to become members with voice and vote. In 1926 the confirmands became members, but didn't have a vote until they reached 21 years of age. The Rite of Confirmation was not recognized as the acceptance of full membership with voice and vote until sometime in the 1940's.
Now St. Martin congregation is following in the footsteps of its forefathers. In 1962 the members recognized the need for the young people to receive a more thorough religious instruction in confirmation, and established a two-year session, in which they must attend two years of Saturday classes to be confirmed.
Another branch of religious education at St. Martin is the Sunday School or Church School.
According to the earliest records a religious class was held on Sunday afternoons twice a month during the summer, taught by the pastor.
While we have no records of the following, many remember hearing that a Sunday School was conducted by and in the home of Mrs. Mary Caroline Brimmer, the daughter of an Evangelical minister. Mrs. Brimmer's home was located at the foot of Antire Hill. She received her education in Germany. This Sunday School was supposedly held before St. Martin was organized and apparently continued even after the church was organized.
The first Synod record of a "Sunday School" at St. Martin is from records of the Synod for the years 1891-1893 which reveal that 20 persons attended.
By 1910 there were 32 Sunday School members with 4 teachers. It was during this time that Mr. Henry Boehling was in charge of the Sunday School on the Sundays the pastor went to Cedar Hill to preach.
Also during this time Pastor Goebel and his brother held a "Sunday School" class on Saturdays at House Springs. Some say it was held in an old hall, others over a grocery store. Many children living in the House Springs area can recall attending, no matter what Protestant faith they were. Karl Goebel played the violin while the children sang the hymns. Pastor Goebel also conducted confirmation classes at the same time. The confirmands then came to the church to be confirmed with the confirmands of the High Ridge area.
By 1919, the Sunday School had grown to an attendance of 53. Later the Sunday School became an organization of the church, having its own officers.
As stated before, the Daily Vacation Bible School was started in 1942 with one week of morning sessions. It has continued each year, later being two weeks long and now called the Vacation Church School.
By 1945 the enrollment of the Sunday School had reached 98. And by 1953 had reached 162. The Sunday School quickly filled the additional classrooms provided by the new basement addition of 1954. It continued to grow even under crowded conditions until the new educational addition was completed in 1965. The present enrollment is over 350.
Down through the years many people played an important role in our Church School, although the Church School didn't keep many records to fall back on for information. We can only say that without those faithful dedicated persons, our walls would not be built as strong and tall as they are.
In 1963 the Board of Christian Education was established, consisting of the Superintendent of the Church School, two members of the congregation, and the lead teachers in the Church School. This board oversees all aspects of Christian Education within St. Martin. The Superintendent of the Church School is elected by the congregation.
St. Martin Church has seen many forms and variations of Christian education. Each program being built around the need it was to serve. As the need changed, the program changed. St. Martin is indeed proud of its century of Christian education for children and adults alike.
Now history is repeating itself. Most recently the need was seen for a regular weekday kindergarten, designed to prepare the five-year old to enter regular school.
St. Martin Kindergarten is in its first year of operation, with a full enrollment of 24 children in its morning class. We also now have two German classes which meet on Saturdays to teach the German language to both children and adults.
THE WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS
How impossible it is to describe the manifold variety of tasks the women of St. Martin have accomplished over this past one hundred years, whether known as "The Ladies of the Church" in the earlier days, the "Ladies Aid" when organized, or still later as the "Women's Guild", "Mary-Martha Circle" or the "Women's Fellowship".
When the Ladies Aid Society was organized in October, 1922, the first officers were Mrs. Chris Werner, President; Mrs. Henry Kreienheder, Vice-President; and Mrs. Fred Boemler, Secretary-Treasurer. Their first meetings were held in the parsonage. Their giving of self and substance have made life a bit better for someone else - be it in the parish or in the world.
After the Evangelical Church merged with the Reformed Church, the women's group name changed to the "Women's Guild". As times changed, the ladies felt and saw a need for some of their members to meet in the evenings. Now we have the "Mary Martha Circle" meeting every first Thursday during the day and the "Women's Fellowship" meeting every first Thursday in the evening.
One of the special activities the Women's Groups sponsor is the Calendar Dinner for the families of the church. At one time this was held in October to celebrate the birthday of the Ladies Aid. It has now been changed to September to open the new program of the coming year. The officers of all the organizations of the church are installed at this time. In the Spring, every lady looks forward to the Mother and Daughter Banquet.
The Women's Fellowship meets for programs of relevance and interest to women of all ages, to plan and execute service projects, and to carry out business relating to fellowship dinners, etc. The aim of this organization is to help women grow in their understanding of the Christian Faith and to provide meaningful opportunities for fellowship and service.
The Mary Martha Circle meets with a Bible Study, business meeting, and then a sewing project, with a lot of "just good getting together.
The Young People's Society of the Evangelical Church of High Ridge was organized May 20, 1917. The officers were: President, Pastor S. P. Goebel; Vice-President, Hulda Werner; Secretary, Ethel Brimmer; and Treasurer, Fred Kreienheder.
The Society, or League as it was later called, met twice a month - one meeting being the business meeting, the other the social meeting. At that time there were few activities in the community for young people; therefore, the League served a very social function. All the meetings opened with a spiritual devotion and topic to discuss, followed by fellowship. Many of the social meetings were held in the homes of the members, sometimes with weiner roasts, watermelon socials, and just good Christian fellowship.
Reviewing the records of the Young People's League, we learn that the league presented an "American Flag" and a "Service Flag" to the congregation of St. Martin on May 12, 1918. The flag was given as a token of remembrance for the boys who left to serve our country. Those that they listed at that time were Harry Miller, Walter Bonacker, George Werner, Will Delbruegge, Ed Selter, and Henry Boemler.
When the League was organized, the constitution was written to read that the Pastor of the church would be President of the League. After the death of Pastor Goebel, a member of the league was elected President, and the constitution was revised. The first officers under the revised constitution were George Werner, President; Mrs. Lena Weidner, Vice-President; Walter Wolgast, Secretary; Miss Clara Boehling, Corresponding Secretary; and William Nollman, Treasurer.
In 1923 the Youth League purchased a lighting plant at a cost of $225. This was composed of a gasoline motor, a generator, and storage batteries to produce electric lights for the church.
For many years the young people have been responsible for trimming the Christmas tree in the church sanctuary. They still decorate the church at Christmas. Another activity of the Youth League, now named the Youth Fellowship, is caroling at the Christmas season. For many years they tried to carol at every church member's home plus other homes. The donations they received were given to the Evangelical Children's Home, the Inner-City Missions, and other charitable organizations. As the congregation grew, it was impossible to visit every home. Now the Fellowship carols under the sponsorship of the Jefferson County Caroling Association for the benefit of the retarded children of the community.
The Fellowship has served the Christmas Breakfast after the Candlelight Service and the Easter Breakfast after the Sunrise Service for many years.
At one time, they sponsored an "Easter-Egg Hunt" for the little children of the church. In 1933 the League organized a basketball team which played its games in competition with other teams at Brackman's Hall. The Youth League gave many plays for the entertainment of the church and also the community.
The Youth Fellowship serves to keep in touch with the youth of St. Martin in their busy years of growing up, and willing adults always come forward to help them plan programs for growth spiritually and socially.
The Evangelical Brotherhood was organized on September 25, 1933, under the guidance of Rev. Petzoldt with 13 charter members. The first men to serve as officers were President, Merman Kreienheder; Vice-President, August Nollman; Recording Secretary, William H. Wolgast; Financial Secretary, August Kreienheder; and Treasurer, Amos Miller.
The Brotherhood took an active part in the work of the parish and the projects set up by the Federation, contributing labor and funds wherever needed.
They purchased the mimeograph machine for the church and financed the publishing of the church paper for many years. At one time, the Brotherhood sponsored a Boy Scout Troop in the High Ridge area and helped sponsor many other projects throughout the church. One project beginning in 1946 was to purchase Bibles for the Primary children going into the Junior Department.
Their meeting together, and their worshipping and studying together has broadened the minds of many of the men of the Fellowship. They also held family outings, were guests of other Brotherhoods, played dart ball, and attended federation meetings, conferences, and retreats.
With the merger in 1957 of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Church, the Brotherhood changed its name to the Churchmen's Fellowship.
The Fellowship sponsors the Pancake Supper held on Maundy Thursday and the Father and Son Banquet which is held in the fall.
MUSIC AT ST. MARTIN
The first organ was purchased by St. Martin June 22, 1869, at a cost of $120. Gustaf Baumbach was one of the first organists. During the ministry of Pastor S. Peter Goebel, his brother Karl was the organist. A new organ was purchased when the frame church was constructed from the Hinners Organ Company of Pekin, Illinois at a price of $199. This organ is still in the community at the home of Mrs. Adele Schulze.
Some of the organists that followed were: Mrs. Clara Boemler, Miss Loretta Weber, Mrs. Irma Weber, and Mrs. Gertrude Kreienheder. During these times there were choirs. Mrs. Boemler recalls having a young people's choir, organized and with officers.
When our present church was constructed, a beautiful Wicks Pipe Organ was installed at a cost of $1,400.
While Rev. Baur served St. Martin, his wife. Dorothy was organist. Mrs. Baur is well remembered at St. Martin for her wonderful choirs, both adult and youth. With the leaving of Rev, and Mrs. Baur, Mrs. Virginia Horrell became organist and the choirs continued under the able direction of her and Mrs. Gertrude Kreienheder. The Youth Choir even presented a play entitled "The Minister's Aunt".
The other organists were Mrs. Rose Meininger and Mrs. Marilyn Ellis. The faithful parishioners who substituted while regular organists were ill or on vacation are many, and one is loathe to name them for fear of leaving someone out. Good records for all years are not available.
At the present time, we have Mrs. Ruth Hart as director of music and head organist, and Mrs. Jeanne Smith, Mrs. Thelma Fischer, and Mrs. Virginia Horrell as assistant organists. Mrs. Hart also directs the Junior and Youth Fellowship Choirs. At special seasons of the year special choirs are formed.
For a number of years, various persons and committees studied the possibilities of rebuilding the original organ or of purchasing a new one. In 1962, Miss Bertha Bilgram of Westchester, Pa., a cousin of one of our member families, the Herbert Bilgrams, generously offered to donate the electronic organ which had belonged to her deceased brother who had been a professional musician. The organ was shipped to St. Louis and installed in St. Martin Church. On the afternoon of May 26, 1963, a special dedication service was held with Professor Walter Krebs of Eden Seminary presiding at the organ and demonstrating the beautiful qualities of the new instrument. The organ was made by the Allen Company of Allenton, Pa., and is equipped with two manuals a 32 note pedalboard, percussion, two gyrophonic projectors, and a set of Deacon chimes. It is the equivalent of 18 ranks of pipes.
Up until 1909, members of the congregation were expected to bring their own hymnals with them to church. In that year, however, the congregation purchased enough copies of ''The Evangelical Hymnal" for all members and these were to be left in the church. There were many other hymnals and song books purchased throughout the years, for use in church services and Sunday school. In 1947 the congregation purchased the new Evangelical and Reformed Hymnals. These were replaced in 1965 because the old ones were beyond repair.
Something must be said about our bell at St. Martin. It was purchased in 1911 from the Henry Stuckstede Bell Foundry of St. Louis at the cost of $231. It weighs 830 pounds. The inscription on the bell includes the company's name, the date, 1911, and "Ehre sei Gott in der Hoche" - "Glory to God in the Highest".
The bell can be tolled for funerals or rung out gladly to signal celebrations, and to call the worshippers to church on Sunday. The tolling of the bell during the quiet hour on Good Friday echoes in one's ears to be silenced only by the joyful ringing of Easter Morning.
Many can recall Karl Goebel ringing the bell each Saturday evening at 6:00 P.M. to announce or remind the community that the next day was Sunday. Sunday morning he rang the bell again at 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 A.M. He also rang in the New Year.
STAINED GLASS WINDOWS
As one enters the church sanctuary, he is awed by the beautiful stained glass windows. The first window which appears is the window over the altar area entitled "The Good Shepherd". The side windows each depict a particular incident in the life of the Christ. Beginning on the South side at the chancel end of the church, they are "The Birth of Christ", "The Boy Christ in the Temple", "Christ Saving Peter", and "Christ Raising Lazarus". On the North side, beginning at the chancel end, they are "Christ Blessing the Little Children", "Christ with Mary and Martha", "Christ Forgiving Mary Magdalene", and "Christ in Gethsemane".
The last window in the balcony contains the symbol "Agnus Del, the Lamb of God" bearing the banner of victory.
The windows are made of leaded antique cathedral glass. The total cost at the time they were purchased was $1,060.50. Now they would probably exceed ten times that amount.
ST. MARTIN'S OUTREACH TO THE WORLD
Throughout the entire first century of its life the St. Martin Congregation has made a significant contribution toward meeting the needs of the High Ridge-House Springs Community and the world at large.
From the very early years, a missionary concern was made manifest through the holding of "Mission Fests" and the giving of literally hundreds of offerings to benevolent purposes too numerous to mention.
Until 1937 St. Martin Church was the only Protestant Church in the High Ridge area and faithfully sought to minister to the needs of persons in difficulty or crisis regardless of denominational affiliation. Many persons have come into the fellowship of St. Martin from other denominations, and because of this we have become a truly ecumenical church. From the beginning St. Martin Church also maintained a cemetery which was always available to any persons living in the community.
St. Martin's greatest impact on the community, however, has come not so much by the direct action of the congregation as by its continually motivating each of its members to offer faithful individual service to the community. Throughout the past century and into this present time, members of St. Martin Church have been found in leadership positions of almost every civic endeavor from serving as officers in the government of Jefferson County to serving as members of the school board, and organizers of such things as the High Ridge Civic Club, the Volunteer Fire Department, various P. T.A.'s, service clubs, and extension groups.
For many years the ladies of the church have sewn cancer bandages for the Cancer Society and have sponsored the Jessica McKeeman Memorial Loan Closet. This latter is a collection of various items of sick room furniture and supplies which are made available for use free of charge to anyone in the community. In addition, they have also collected thousands upon thousands of pounds of good used clothing for Church World Service and the Inner-City Missions of our denomination.
The Youth Fellowship has gladly served as callers for the Mental Health Association, and the Senior High Church School Class has been active in supporting a refugee child in Hong Kong. A committee of interested persons regularly calls on the sick and shut-in, and the Confirmation Classes sing carols and bring gifts to them at Christmas time.
Again and again in its history St. Martin Church has opened its benevolent fund to the needs of persons in the community who were jobless, poverty stricken, burned out or ill. Many have thus been enabled to keep going until things changed.
From time to time St. Martin Church has opened its facilities for use by various civic organizations, including the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Well Baby Clinic, the Little League, the Baton Twirling Club, the T.O.P.S. organization, the Office of Economic Opportunity Committee and currently classes operated by the German School Association.
We have sought to carry out the promise which our denomination holds for the ecumenical movement by leading the way in several new inter-faith ventures including pulpit exchanges, panel discussions, and retreats. We have also invited groups other churches to meet with us from time to time.
St. Martin's pastors have always been active in serving the larger community and in representing the church on various civic committees and boards.
In recent years the St. Martin congregation has regularly given a third of its regular budget to the benevolent outreach of its denomination. Finally, it was primarily to meet the needs of the ever-increasing number of children in this area that St. Martin Church built its new educational building.
Johann Joseph Daiss
S. Peter Goebel
Addie S. Petzoldt
H. F. Rinderknecht
F. W. Wehrenberg
February 9, 1869
February 13, 1870
April 13, 1873
April 1, 1874
September 1, 1876
July 1, 1879
October 1, 1883
October 1, 1885
December 1, 1887
April 29, 1890
June 22, 1895
March 24, 1901
October 24, 1927
June 25, 1933
March 15, 1938
March 24, 1943
February 4, 1952
August 21, 1962
July 14, 1921
May 14, 1933
November 1, 1937
October 25, 1942
September 9, 1951
June 4, 1962
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF OUR PASTORS
Pastor Kitterer was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1831. He was educated by the Basel Mission Society in Germany and came to America in 1854. He had six children. After leaving St. Martin he went to Hanover, Indiana. He died at the age of 74.
Pastor Fismer was born August 30, 1817, in Westphalia, Prussia. His father died when he was six months old. He was raised by his grandfather, who was a minister. In 1848 Pastor Fismer came to America and married Verena Zimmermann, sister of John Zimmermann, who served as President of the German Evangelical Synod of North America. The Fismer's had seven children. Pastor Fismer died in 1892 at Washington, Missouri.
Before Pastor Woelfle came to High Ridge, he had served in Huntington County, Indiana. The Woelfle's had one child, Johanna, who was baptized in our church. After leaving St. Martin, Pastor Woelfle went to Spencer County, Indiana.
When Pastor Walz came to St. Martin, he had been married only a short time. The Walzes had one child, Anna Marie, who was baptized at St. Martin. Pastor Walz was minister at St. Paul's Church in Oakville when he was invited back for St. Martin's third church dedication.
Pastor Hugo was born in Westphalia in 1855. He came to America in 1872. He was ordained at the Marthasville Seminary in 1883 and was also married the same year. The Hugo's had eight children. Two were baptized at St. Martin. One of the sons became a Presbyterian minister. After leaving St. Martin, Pastor Hugo went to Billings, Missouri. He died in 1916.
The Albrecht's had three children. The two sons were baptized at St. Martin. One son, Samuel, became a minister, and the other, Martin, a missionary to India. His daughter married a minister.
S. PETER GOEBEL
Pastor Goebel was born at St. Charles, Missouri, in 1862, while his father was pastor of Frieden's Church. He graduated from Eden Seminary in 1889. His first charge was at Cottelville, Missouri from 1889 to 1901 when St. Martin called him as pastor. Pastor Goebel served St. Martin congregation longer than any other pastor in its history. He died in July, 1921 and was laid to rest in Friedens Church Cemetery at St. Charles, Missouri.
Pastor Low graduated from Elmhurst College in 1916 and from Eden Seminary in 1919. His first charge was in Boston. He then came to St. Martin. After leaving St. Martin, he went to Sigourney, Iowa; Duluth, Minnesota, and then LeSueur, Minnesota. He had three sons. Pastor Low died in June, 1944.
Pastor Amacker had served a church in Burksville, Illinois, before coming to St. Martin. He and his wife had no children.
ADDIE S. PETZOLDT
Pastor Petzoldt grew up in Jackson, Missouri. While at St. Martin the Petzoldt's had two children. He left St. Martin to minister to a church in Quincy, Illinois.
HERBERT F. RINDERKNECHT
The Rev. Herbert F. Rinderknecht was born February 27, 1911 in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended St. Louis public elementary school. Later he attended Elmhurst Academy and Elmhurst College, and was graduated from Eden Theological Seminary in 1934. Rev. Rinderknecht's first charge was in Iowa. He then came to St. Martin for four and one-half years. Since then he has served the following churches in the Illinois South Conference: Brighton, Dupo, Pana and his present charge, St. Paul's at Staunton, Illinois.
Pastor Rinderknecht married Loraine Scheffel at Brighton, Illinois, in January of 1944. The Rinderknecht's have two children; Diane (Mrs. Charles Presnell) whose husband is in the Navy and stationed at Norfolk, Virginia and a son, Kenneth, a sophomore at Washington University.
HERBERT P. BAUR
The Rev. Herbert P. Baur was born November 11, 1910 in Normandy, Missouri, at the old Eden Seniinary on St. Charles Rock Road, where his father served on the teaching staff. Mr. Baur attended school in the Normandy School District for eleven years, but finished his high school in Fredericksberg, Texas in 1928. He attended college at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri; graduated from Eden Theological Seminary in 1935; and was ordained into the Christian ministry at Christ E. &. R. Church, Maplewood, Missouri. One year earlier, on June 20, 1934, he was married to Miss Dorothy Axthelm of Webster Groves, Missouri. In July, 1935 he was sent to his first charge, Zion Church, Clifton, Texas, and St. John's Church near Valley Mills, Texas. In 1943 he was called to St. Martin Church, High Ridge, Missouri, where he enjoyed a pastoral ministry of almost nine years. In September of 1951 he left to serve St. Peter's Church, New Bremen, Ohio, until December, 1957, when he came to his present charge in Owensville, Missouri, serving St. Peter's and St. John's United Church of Christ.
Rev. and Mrs. Baur have two children, Robert, who is pastor of the Godfrey Community Congregational Church in Godfrey, Illinois, and Ronald, a pharmacist in St. Ann, Missouri.
Rev. Baur has taken an active part in the organizational work of the Synods and later in the Missouri Conference. He was active in Camp Work and is serving presently on the Conference Camp Committee.
F. W. FISCHER
The Rev. F.W. Fischer served St. Martin as supply pastor from September 1951 until the Rev. Ralph Huber was called to serve as Pastor.
The Rev. Fischer, a native of Spier, Germany was born January 21, 1881 and died February 1, 1964. After immigrating to the United States in the early 1900's he graduated from Eden Seminary in 1908. His first assignment was as a "home" missionary to a widely scattered population of White Russian refugees in Manitoba, Canada, where he traveled on horseback between his two parishes, 30 miles apart. He received a teacher's degree at the University of Winnipeg and taught school near the mission church to supplement his income.
Returning to this country in 1912, the Rev. Fischer became a citizen. During World War I, the government appointed him a citizenship teacher.
A past member of the Evangelical and Reformed Home Missions Board, he has served congregations in Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon and Texas. The last church he served before retirement was Eden Church in Affton, Missouri.
The Rev. Fischer married Elizabeth Kochheim, in 1909. Three children were born to this marriage, Fred of High Ridge, Missouri, Ernest of Lemay, Missouri and Gertrude Koenig of Memphis, Tennessee.
RALPH E. HUBER
The Rev. Ralph E. Huber was born May 21, 1911 at Chillicothe, Ohio to John and Elizabeth Huber. He has one brother of Chillicothe. He attended Chillicothe Grade School and High School. He attended Elmhurst College and graduated from Eden Theological Seminary in June 1941. He married Frances Leonard Fankhauser of Des Plaines, Illinois on June 7, 1941. Mrs. Huber attended Des Plaines Grade School and graduated from Des Plaines High School, attending Elmhurst College and Chicago Business School. She later worked in her home church, First Congregational Church of Des Plaines.
Rev. Huber's first charge was the Union Charge of Baltimore, Ohio, serving three churches - St. Peter's, St. Michael's, and St. Jacob's - for two and one-half years. He was then called to Texas to the Beasley-Rosenberg Charge serving for eight and one-half years, the two churches Friedens and St. John's. While the I-Tuber's were in Texas, they adopted two children, Betty Jo and Paul.
In 1952 Rev. Huber was called to serve St. Martin. While at St. Martin, Rev, and Mrs. Huber attended three 2-week courses of study on "Town and Country Church" at Michigan State University, Lansing. Rev. Huber also took an active part in the Boy Scouts of High Ridge. In 1962 he concluded almost ten and one-half years of ministry to St. Martin, and was called to his home church, Salem, in Chillicothe, Ohio.
The Huber's daughter Betty Jo is married to Don Rickenbaugh. They have four children and are living in Evansville, Indiana. Paul is married and living in Albany, Georgia.
FRED W. WEHRENBERG
Pastor Fred Wehrenberg was born and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended and graduated from Rose Fanning Elementary School, Roosevelt High School, Harris Junior College, Washington University, and Eden Theological Seminary. He holds the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Divinity from the latter two institutions, respectively.
In 1955, he was married to the former Shirley M. Guckes of St. Louis. They have three children, Deborah Christine (1957), Jonathan Frederick (1962), and Susanna Joy (1967).
Pastor Wehrenberg was ordained into the ministry of the Evangelical and Reformed Church on June 8, 1958, at St. Andrew's Church in St. Louis, the home church of both he and his wife.
From 1958 until 1962, he served the only three-point charge in the Missouri Conference which included St. Paul's Church, Cooper Hill, St. John's Church, Woollam, and Zion Church, Bland. In 1962, he and his family came to High Ridge and he has served as pastor of St. Martin Church from that time until the present.
KIRCHENVORSTEHER, BOARD OF TRUSTEES, ELDERS OR CHURCH COUNCIL
THOSE WHO HAVE SO FAITHFULLY SERVED ST. MARTIN AS OFFICERS THE PAST 100 YEARS
Christian Werner, Sr.
H. Wilhelm Delbruegge
Jacob P. Miller
J. H. Kreienheder
Christian Werner, Jr.
August Nollman, Sr.
H. P. G. Boemler
August Nollman, Jr.
Edward T. Werner
A. J. Hunkler
John Szofran, Sr.
B. J. Snider
C. T. Bivens
I. W. Dautenhahn
A. C. Werner
Mrs. George Gibson (Betty)
Mrs. Clarence Boemler (Laura May)
Oliver Von Rohr
Mrs. Ferdinand Lofinck (Lucille)
Mrs. Glen Self (Syble)
Mrs. Richard Small (Mary Frances)
FROM THE RECORD BOOK
Baptisms - 1161
Confirmations - 1093
Weddings - 305
Funerals - 717
First Baptism - Karl August Kreienheder - April 11, 1869
First Confirmation - May 16, 1869
Johann George Werner
Henriette Louise; Emilie Delbruegge
Johanna Christine; Louise Bohling
Henriette Ema Brommelsick
First Wedding - May 26, 1869
August Friedrich Vornberg and Marie Scharff nee Hauser
First Death - A Kreienheder Child
In doing research one comes across many bits of humorous historical occurrences or important facts that should not be lost to posterity. In the early days it was not the custom or practice for weddings, baptisms, or funerals to be held in the church. This was done in the home. One of our members recalls that Grandma was upset because granddaughter was to be baptized in the church instead of in the home. This was in the 1930's.
The high infant mortality rate of the early days is indicated by the listing of 17 deaths the first five years, 12 of whom were infants or small children. The first death was a child of the Kreienheder's. The first fully recorded death was that of Frederick Wilhelm Stuerman, born August 18, 1849, in Hanover, Germany.
He was kicked by a mule and injured internally. He lived 24 hours and died May 14, 1869 at the age of 20 years.
The Telephone and Telegraph Company received permission for a right of way from the St. Martin Congregation in the year 1895.
There were work days held at the church during the first years just as there are now, but they lasted from 7:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. and if a member didn't show up for the work day, he had to pay $1.00. One particular work day was devoted to mowing grass, building a wood shed, fixing fence and clearing the graveyard.
In the early days, each member paid membership dues to the church, plus his contribution to the Pastor's Salary Fund and a General Up-Keep Fund. Then special assessments were submitted for special projects. All of these funds were paid to a council member who kept records of same. Then there was the regular Sunday morning "collection." At one time, the first Sunday of each month was Mission Sunday, the collection going to missions.
The records for 1869-1873 show that St. Martin borrowed money at the rate of 9% and 10% interest.
In 1872 the congregation specified that the parsonage and church were to be painted with "oil paint."
Some members recall having Confirmation School in Pastor Goebel's kitchen so that the church would not have to be heated and to save on fuel (wood).
In 1920, the salary of the janitor was $25 a year, which included the duties of making a fire at 8:00 A.M., sweeping the church and dusting, ringing the bell, hanging up numbers, taking care of the lights, and taking care of the song books. For many years the janitors and organists were elected each year by the congregation.
Mrs. Lena Weidner (Mrs. Edwin Nollman) was the first woman to be received into membership with voice and vote in 1922.
In March 1929, a contribution of $100 was given to Union Electric Light to obtain current for the church and parsonage.
Mrs. Laura Weber is the only living child of a charter member who is still a member of St. Martin. Mrs. Clara Hoffineister, Charles Hauser and the former Anna and Louise Delbruegge are the only other children of charter members who are still living as far as is known.
The fearful thing about falling into the hands of the living God lies in the fact that His hand always points the way to new achievement. Nowhere along the line can the Christian say, "This is all we need to do ... accomplish no more."
In writing the story of St. Martin, the problem is not in finding something to report; the difficulty is in deciding what to omit so that the copy will not exceed the allotted space. Facts and figures could be quoted endlessly, and they do reflect a spirit of dedication, but success cannot ever be measured solely in that manner. Love, devotion, sacrifice, loyalty, trust, faith, mercy, repentance ... these fruits of the Spirit cannot be weighed on a scale or measured by any man-made rule.
St. Martin embarks on its next century, having the guiding hand of God, and with its walls built on a firm foundation. Through Christ, there is always room at the top to build them still higher. Having grown to maturity, St. Martin accepts the great challenges of the future in meeting the needs of its community and the world.
St. Martin UCC, High Ridge, MO
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