Presidents Letter – Mar 2011
The snow is almost gone here in Luckey. The month of February will go down in the history books. We broke a hundred year old record for the amount of snow in the month. My mother always said that great February snows bring beautiful spring bulbs. We will see….. My crocuses are late, as they have been buried in snow until the last couple of days.
With spring here, hopefully the town will put the painting of the town hall on their “to do” list. I have been in contact with the boy scouts concerning left over interior paint. The boy who painted the interior of the hall has moved away. They have no knowledge of paint being left over from the project. It looks like we will have to try to have a store match the color. Remember that you should bring town hall landscaping ideas to the March meeting.
Next meeting Thurs. March 17th at 6:30 in the Luckey Library over and out
The cancellation of our April meeting will be discussed at the
March meeting. Our regular meeting time for April falls on the Sally
Thursday before Good Friday.
EARLY LUTHERAN CHURCHES WOOD COUNTY by Richard Martin
As Wood County was settled from the 1840’s to the 1870’s, many of the new residents were from the Osnabreuck area of northern Germany in the region of Hanover. They came with a strong Lutheran heritage and as a result, Lutheranism became the predominant religion in Troy and Freedom Townships. In doing research for this article, I found that the development of the Lutheran Church in Wood Co appeared to be much more regional and somewhat slower to develop than other Christian faiths. While other mainline faiths seemed to cover the county at a fairly early time, the Lutheran Church seemed to be concentrated in the eastern townships of Troy and Freedom and in Perrysburg (Zoar Lutheran Church). In fact, Beer’s 1897 History of Wood County gives very little mention of the Lutheran faith (outside those areas) in comparison to information provided across the county on the Presbyterians Methodists, etc. While the Lutheran faith covers the county today, that was not necessarily the case at the turn of the century.
Much of the early Lutheran mission work is credited to a man named the Rev. George Cronewett who served as a pioneer Lutheran missionary in the Black Swamp region of NW Ohio from 1841 to 1888. According to an article in the September 1926 Lutheran publication, Monthly Missionary Programs, Rev Cronewett was born in 1814 in Langensteinbach, Baden Germany. In 1832 his family journeyed to Monroe, MI where he became organist at an Episcopal Church. Later he and his wife moved to Ann Arbor where he was instructed in theology ad Greek. His ordination took place in Scio, MI (near Ann Arbor) in 1841. From there he relocated to the Black Swamp of NW Ohio to the settlements of Toledo, Perrysburg, and Woodville.
His family settled in Woodville in 1841 and from his Woodville headquarters (Solomon Lutheran Church), this missionary pastor served thirteen settlements in Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, and Sandusky Counties. He is credited with founding the Wood County Lutheran Churches of Salem Lutheran, St. John’s Lutheran in Stony Ridge, and Zoar Lutheran in Perrysburg among others.
SALEM LUTHERAN CHURCH – TROY TWP.
Salem Lutheran Church, 20144 Bradner Rd., Pemberville, OH is most likely the oldest Lutheran congregation in Wood County. It is one of the churches begun by Rev. George Cronenwett mention in the previous article. J. H. Beers 1897 History of Wood Co refers to this church as the Troy German Evangelical Lutheran Church although the church’s history only uses the name of Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church for the congregation.
The Wood County chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society workroom contains a copy of a church history entitled, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church 1834 – 1898.
LUCKEY AND SALEM LUTHERAN CHURCH – S. Predmore
One cannot study the history of Luckey with out including the Salem Lutheran church on Bradner road. In my early studies of the area I was told that Salem is considered the “mother church” of our area. Zion Lutheran and Grace Lutheran Churches of Luckey as well as the Zion Methodist Church of Luckey were all formed from members of the Salem Lutheran congregation. Salem Lutheran Church was attended by many of the first settlers of Luckey. Before Luckey had its own cemetery, the dead were buried in the Salem Church cemetery.
The Pemberville library has the records of the Salem Lutheran Church on microfilm. The records are divided into journal type entries for each family. Listed on the top of the page is the family name. Underneath are listed the names of the father and mother as well as all the children of that family. Also included are dates of birth of the children as well as baptismal dates, names of baptismal sponsors, etc. Children born back in the homeland or died in child -birth are often listed. These family members are often very difficult find from other sources. It is also interesting to note the baptismal sponsors as it gives one an idea neighbors or other family members who may have been close.
The Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church 1834 – 1898 contains a wealth of information about our early settlers and is a testimony to the trials and tribulations of our forefathers. It is important in understanding the people who settled our area. The church history has 17 sections. I have not include all of the sections as many of them concern the history of the congregation specific but rather I have chosen those sections that concern the life of the pioneers of our area.
“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask your father and he will show you; your elders and they will tell you.”
2. The First Lutheran Settlers.
Now if we ask, who are the first Lutheran settlers in the district of Salem’s Congregation the following names will be mentioned: Jacob Witzler, John Henry Hartmann, Christian Tepe, Hinrich (Henry) Rolf, Frank Freier, Frederick Sielschott, Adelhied Ebke and Jacob Emch. Most of these came in the fall of 1834 after a long troublesome journey to arrive here to found a new home here. Now and again Pennsylvania-German and English families already settled down, in all about half dozen, by whom the new arrivals found some counsel and assistance.
In short intervals others followed them. Still before 1840 came Gerhard Sielschott, Frederick Rolfes, Hermann Sander, John Puck, Frederick Linke, Frederick Meierrose, Victor Meinert, Adam Harmeier, Frederick Samsen, Gerhard Hilker, Eberhard Linke, and perhaps still some others. One of another may have come a year after 1840; for the 1834 introductory stream of immigrants flowed still quietly further, and still flows today.
Unfortunately, our pioneers did not find it as good as they had expected. A thick primeval or virgin forest on which the ax and saw accomplished as much as nothing surrounded them, in which wolves, bears and other various animals had their paths, but for the human beings there were no paths, no built roads available, only the so-called Maumee and Western Reserve Rd. was cleared, that is, the direction was indicated through countless tree stumps; to travel on the same was a considerable undertaking, since a trip by wagon from Fremont to Perrysburg could well take two or three days, and at times it was even impossible. The building of this road took place first in 1840.
Whoever had money of the first arrivals bought some land, at the usual price of $1.25 per ac re, and then one set to work to build the house, the log cabin, whereby they assisted each other faithfully.
The unknown work of felling trees gave enough trouble at first, but the greatest earthy worry was that of the approaching winter: “how are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” For the first families, the first year in this area was a sorrowful anxious year. Money by itself was scarcely available, and most of them after buying their land had no more remaining funds.
The forest supplied what it could: Leech or forest onions (bulbs of flowers), root bulbs and other plants for food, oak trees for coffee, “spicewood” for tea, and other things to still the gnawing hunger. Also grain (barley/wheat) and corn coffee was drunk. The coffee mill compensated for the grinding and mill will difficulty, whereby the grater had to assist.
Also to nourish oneself, meagerly, even to survive, the forest had to be cleared and a small piece of land reclaimed, made cultivable. Often it was necessary to work in water, (for this area was not in vain named the “Black Swamp”), in which also then the swamp-fever and other fevers appeared.
Whoever had a little money went out to buy some sweet corn, but with what trouble! For example, Freier and Hartmann went and each purchased a bushel of it at $2.00 per bushel and carried it to the mill located behind Fremont: After 3 days they could be home again with the flour! In Woodville nothing was available for purchase, for there were only three houses in 1834.
Horse drawn vehicles and some farm implements were completely lacking at first. The ox was the first available to place his strength in the service of the settlers. And how happy was he who had a yoke of oxen and a wagon; he was a well-to do man! With these circumstances it is no wonder that food (victuals) for human consumption was so expensive. One barrel of flour cost about $15.00 and a barrel of bacon $20.00. Nevertheless, the settlers came to the point through God’s help to buy enough sweet corn and meat, for which then, even though with much trouble, they were able to trade for other necessities of life.
Fremont and especially Perrysburg were the main trading centers, where men and women often with a basket of better and eggs and in the evening with sore feet, and fatigued dame home with the wares they had traded. In short, the first years were miserable times for our fathers and mothers of which the generation now living superfluously does not even dream.
To the bodily poverty is associated the spiritual need, that no preacher or pastor was there, on the day of the Lord, to proclaim the Word of Life, to baptize the small children (some of whom were 6 to 9 months old before they received Holy Baptism), to distribute the Sacrament of the Altar, and to visit the sick and dying, as well as burying the dead. Our church record says: “We perceive here what it means to forsake the temple and to languish as the sheep without a shepherd and like Israel we wept, when we remembered Zion.”
Homesickness tormented some of them, but the poverty held the aged back in the forest/ However, God gave grace, as more light came into the primeval (virgin) forest, so it also became lighter in regard to the bodily and spiritual experiences.
Remark: So that no one thinks it was not so bad at the beginning as it is told, I will add to what the oldest man in our congregation, (who is present), Mr. Victor Meinert, tells who immigrated in the year 1837. Not to talk about the trip on the ocean, the journey from Mew York to Albany with a steamboat, and from there to Buffalo with a canal-boat took six days. In Toledo there was one tavern at that time, the one at Manhattan Blvd. Finally, as we arrived in Perrysburg, we could not buy bread or potatoes.
From Perrysburg the journey continued with a horse drawn vehicle until here. But about 5 or 6 miles on this side we had to spend the night. The bed was made on the wayside of the “pike” on the ground; next morning it was frozen fast to the ground. And when they finally almost exhausted came to Hartmann’s they received some nourishment. And as they came to others, some said: Alas, had you only brought along some flour!
The wolves appeared now and then, 20 to 30 in a pack. By building the highway (pike) and by the building of the canal some settlers earned good pay. Unfortunately, some were also deceived by unscrupulous contractors in a surly manner regarding their wages.
Indeed, the first settlers also had their joy: the first and foremost: The unforgettable Word of God which proves itself as a good teacher in the greatest need, and in that case also the brotherly love even to the last mouthful is shared with a neighbor. Such is attested when sorrow and joy meet, our fathers and mothers with great unanimity, and whoever would learn more about it (for one could write a big book about that time) let him ask the few old-timers, who still live among us.
5. The Worship Services of the Early Days
One can imagine with what joy the people attended the worship services, since they now had their own reliable Pastor. Indeed earlier, they ad lay-readers conduct the worship services under the guidance of Frederick Rolfes, whose name must be here mentioned honorably; yet it was only a temporary expedient. Now the Pastor came regularly, about every two weeks, and preached alternately, on a Sunday and then on a weekday. Christian Tepes’ log-house became God’s house or church on such a day.
Without the call of a church-bell the settlers gathered together at the right time, naturally on foot, on the interlaced paths of the forest and from all directions. Who had to remain at home? No one! With the small children carried in the arms or even on their backs, people hurried to the worship services. Many times barefooted, with stockings and shoes in hand, for much water all around the forest invited us to come, so we arrived and sat down, as it were, to hear and to drink of the living water at the well of Israel. I was not able to experience if at that time there were already sleepers in church, or later, who were involved in mischief during the worship services? The old church hymnal from Osnabrueck was not forgotten, so that we could ring out the powerful and comforting tunes of our Lutheran church. If one is able to sing from our new and personal church hymnals today a more pious meaning, than 50 or 60 years ago from their hymns, is certainly very uncertain.
10. The Time of Cholera
In the year 1852 came a guest that certainly was not welcome. It afflicted some of the states and also came to this area. This was the terrific cholera) an acute infectious disease, characterized by a watery diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, suppression of the urine, and collapse.
Frederick Meierrose was the first to be snatched away. Then died Uhlmann, Frederick Rolfes, his wife, as well as a son, and Philip Hartmann. Two years later, 1854, this affliction of cholera came again. Ernst Witker, Mrs. Sieving, four children of Gerhardt Duesing, Frederich Hartmann, and perhaps several others also.
It was said, “Death takes possession of mankind quickly”: the sick got terrible cramps quickly, and soon in a few hours there was a funeral. Those were difficult days for the afflicted members, but God helped graciously all the way through.
Photo for the Month;
1981 Centennial Celebration in Luckey, shown is a prominent coupe dressed in period clothing, can you guess who they are? They are Harm and Lelia Landwehr, former funeral home owners.