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German Evangelical United Immanuel Church

See Also: Birth & Baptism Records for this church

This information was submitted by J. L. Harbison (deceased).

It is from the German church in the area that no longer exists. It operated from the early 1850's to 1936. The following is from the Susott information.
... would guide the little German community through the trials and tribulations that were sure to follow. The German immigrants began arriving in the area during the early to mid 1840's. Among the earliest to settle in the area were the families Bleckmann, Kolle, Bethe, Gerichs, Holtz, Uhde and Halwes. These were all prior to 1847. To follow within the next five years would be the Roettger, Goerges, Koch, Menke, Susott and Volle clans. The Oberbecks and Reinbrechts came in 1854 and the Niederhaus' in 1855. The Erdmann and Dremstedt families also arrived during the period.
Religion and survival were, no doubt, first and foremost in the minds of those who so settled. Early religious practice is evidenced by writings that indicate that services were first held in the homes and that discussion was constantly taking place relative to "what" religion would be adopted. 

By the year 1851, a burial ground had been located across from what would later be the site of the Church. The "Deutsche Evangelische Immanuel Germeinde" was organized in 1854 with a visiting Minister (from Warrenton) and with services being held in the school located just west of the cemetery. 
The Church House was built in 1856 on the land previously donated by Hans Joachim Susott. Earlier attempts to start an organized church failed because they feared that their effort would closely resemble the Catholic. A Constitution to govern the Church, to be known as "German Evangelical United Immanuel's Church", was approved by the little congregation on the first of January, 1857, and in January, 1866, the decision was made to become affiliated with the Evangelical Union.

The Church "register" records the baptisms, confirmations, weddings and deaths. It appears that the register actually came into being sometime in 1856. The first two pages of baptisms appear to have been entered as a "catch-up" process, with entry number 11 being the first of a timely nature. The first death recorded was that of Johann August Friedrich Wilhelm Gieseler, who died 19 August 1856. Entries of the deaths of 61 year old Christian Friedrich Erdmann (1794-1855) and his son, August Heinrich Christian Erdmann, who had died on 5 May 1855, appear to have been recorded sometime in early 1866.
The first marriage is dated 5 July 1857. Cemetery stones confirm that there were at least seven burials prior to the formal recording in the death register. Three of these are dated in 1851, two in 1852, and the last two in 1855. The Constitution reflects may of the concerns of those who had organized the Church. The very name itself is justified by stating that the "German" included would insure that the services conducted would continue to be in German as long as at least five members requested same. The term, "Union" referred to the United Lutheran and Reformed Church of Christ. Pages 8 and 9 of the document list seven qualifications for membership. He that could claim the possession of these qualifications would no doubt be "worthy". A "P.S." to the constitution notes, "that those who have continued to live up to this time in obvious vices and sins are unholy; unholy are those who have desire and joy in the world and vanity, who still can frequent balls and dance music or similar amusements; these are not considered to be voting members of the congregation.........."

The minutes of church meetings, which were recorded beginning in January, 1866, also reflect some of the immediate concerns of the congregation. In October of 1869, the membership resolved that anyone joining from that date until 1 January 1871 should pay a fee of $5.00. After that date, new members would pay $25.00. Whatever the purpose of this resolution, it met with severe criticism in the area and the congregation saw fit to cancel it due to "unfairness".

At the 16 January 1876 meeting, the members were reminded that "the congregation should act as a congregation, if the children are not to fall into the hands of the English Methodism, that they should work more in the direction of construction of a German congregational school.

AFFILIATION: On 16 January 1866, the male members of the congregation met to decide affiliation. The group had been conducting religious services for some time but becoming a part of a united organization had been only a matter of discussion. The one thing that the members of the little community agreed upon was that they did not wish to connect with the Catholic religion. The further feared that their choice would be looked upon by others as Catholic oriented. The division of what religious practice to support lay between the Lutheran of northern and central Germany and the Reformed concepts of Calvin more closely associated with the southern and western portions of Germany. The vote tends to reflect the geographical heritage of the people of Bluegrass. Twelve of the 21 votes possible were cast for the Evangelical, a concept recognized to be a union between the Lutheran and Calvin philosophies.

The heads of families, their age, and how they voted:
EVANGELICAL: (12 votes for) Henry Menke (39), Frederick Kolle (38), Freidrich Halwes (46), Wilhelm Halwes (42), Ernest Volle (37), Frederick Kampe (46), Ernst Niederhaus (46), Wilhelm Fischer (27), Louis Reinbrecht (33), August Ahrens (41), Joachim Susott (57), Fredrick Gerwes (27),
LUTHERAN: (6 votes for) Wilhelm Oberbeck (43), Wilhelm Bethe (28), Frederick Erdmann (22), Friedrich Gerichs (33), Christian Uhde (62) Henry Gerichs (48)
OTHER: Henry Lochmueller (35) and Hermann Schmidt (39) did not vote. Germann, first name and age unknown, voted for the Lutheran but his vote was not counted because he had not signed the Constitution.
BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF GERMAN EVANGELICAL UNITED IMMANUEL CHURCH:
1952 (Nov) Hans Joachim Susott and family arrive from Potzehne, district of Gardelegen, Germany. Certificate of release signed by German government 1 August 1852 at Magdeburg. "Deutsche Evangelische Immanuel Gemeinde" is organized. (15 Apr) Two children of Christian Friedrich and Margarethe Louise Christine Engel (Thene) become first to be baptized. Son, Friedrich Wilhelm, born 2 Jun 1850, is the first official entry in the baptismal records, and sister, Friedrike Karoline, born 13 November, is the second entry. (Sep) Johanna Maria Menke, daughter of Johann Heinrich and Ann Margaretha Ilsabein (Bensick), born 9 September 1854, is the first "immediate" baptism recorded. 1856 (19 Aug) First death recorded in the "Death Register". German born Johann August Friedrich Wilhelm Gieseler, age 30. (21 Sep) The first child entry (number 2) in the "Death Register". Wilhelm Geieg, one year old child of Friedrich and Auguste (Bethe). (16 May) The first Confirmand class. Five boys and 3 girls. 
1866 ( 1 Jan) First recorded minutes of church meeting. Pastor was I. Bueler. (16 Jan) A. Henry Menke, Freidrich Kolle, and Wilhelm Oberbeck (43) elected as Council. b. Decided to introduce the Evangelical Catechism. Twelve members favored the Evangelical while 7 favored the Lutheran. One vote for the Lutheran was declared invalid because the person had not signed the constitution, two persons did not vote, and one decided after the vote to cast with the majority in favor of the Evangelical. (27 May) Majority voted to join the Evangelical Union (Church Union) of the west. Frederick Halwes elected as delegate to 31 May Synod meeting in Evansville. ( 6 Jan) Fred Sanders, Friederick Kolle, and Henry Menke elected Council.
1918 The last Confirmation class to complete studies at Immanuel. Three are confirmed on 1 Sep. 1928. ( 1 Jul) Evelyn Selma Roettger, the daughter of Alvin and Luella (Gerichs), born 11 May, is the last recorded baptism. 1929 The 29 paying members and 2 paying friends celebrate the 75th anniversary.
1934 The last "Marriage Register" entries. Two marriages, both conducted in the Zion's Parsonage in Elberfeld by Rev. Hermann J. Schoettle. 1936 (Jan) The small congregation decided to discontinue services but to continue to hold property. (15 Dec) Last recorded funeral conducted in the Church. Frederick Henry Gerichs, 69, died 11 Dec. Services conducted by Rev. Hermann J. Schoettle. 1938 (Thanksgiving Day) The Church building and property was sold.

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