Thursday, June 02, 2011

130 Years of Praise, Prayer, & Progress; Early Lutheran Pioneers

Rev. G. Haar
The very first settlers of what was soon to be known as Hanover Township, Crawford County, Iowa were Lutherans hailing from the Province of Hanover, Germany. Five families settled there in the fall of 1873. Before the first winter came, they had made arrangements with Rev. G. Haar of Denison, Iowa to minister to them spiritually. Services were conducted in their homes and later in the district schoolhouses. In that same decade a number of Lutheran families moved into this territory from Chicago, Illinois. Many of them had emigrated originally from Prussia, Germany. Until 1880 these families had common worship with the original pioneers.

As a result of a controversy over the location of the contemplated church and cemetery, this group decided it was advisable and best to divide into two separate congregations. This was done with the hopes of building two separate churches in locations that the ever-increasing number of Lutheran families coming would be within easy access of a church. So, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, comprised of the Lutherans living on the south side of Soldier Creek, was organized on March 13, 1881 under the direction of Rev. G. Haar of Denison. 

St. John's Lutheran, Charter Oak in the 1880's
Charter members were: Georg Neddermeyer, Christian Neddermeyer, Friedrich Bockelmann, Georg Schelm, Heinrich Kuhlmann, Georg Kuhlmann and Dietrich Vanier. Two months later the following joined the congregation: Gottfried Henning, Carl Jahn and Heinrich Schroeder. Results of the first election were Christian Neddermeyer and Gottfried Henning – Elders; Christian Neddermeyer –Treasurer; the Rev. G. Haar – Chairman and Secretary.

Services were conducted every second Sunday in the Timm schoolhouse and later in Charter Oak by Rev. C. Bretacher from Hanover Township.

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