Somehow, I misplaced these records and finally, after much searching and over two years passing, they have finally resurfaced in this mess I call an office and are going online to be shared as Mr. Batchelor intended when he gave them to me.
In the packet I received, in addition to the following introduction, were the Constitution of the St. Peter's Church (in both German and his English translation), a plat map of Montpelier Township, baptismal records and a brief listing of death records. All of these records were translated from their original German and transcribed to English by Mr. Batchelor. I know I am personally very grateful as many of the records belong to my own ancestors.
May 6, 1976
As the westward movement across North America continued its relentless journey, the steam of humanity increased in size because of people not only from Eastern United States bur also from literally every country of Europe. These people left their homes and countries, but in a sense they brought them with them so that countless areas were but miniature replicas of the particular country and area that they left. Along with their mother tongues came their faith and soon churches dotted the countryside where these people built their homes.
The particular church of interest here bore the name St. Peter's Lutheran Church of Montpelier Township, Muscatine County, Iowa. The congregation drew her members from Germans who settled in the area. It is of particular interest to me because I knew personally many of the people who were in one wa or another associated with the church. In the course of conversation during work (exchanged between farmers) and during visits, references to the congregation would creep in from time to time. Some of these references will appear in the following pages.
From what I gather, the main pastor who served the congregation was Pastor Henry Reinemund from Zion Lutheran Church in Muscatine, Iowa. He came periodically and held services during Sunday afternoon, or other appropriate times. Associated with these services were baptisms which followed the services. George Grimm told me that after church those associated with the child (or children) to be baptised, relatives, friends, sponsors, etc., would gather at the home of the one to be baptised at which time the pastor performed the service. The congregation met in the Old Patterson (District 4) schoolhouse. The services were conducted in the German language.
Events and Facts I recall hearing various neighbors discuss, and tell
Mrs. Anna Henke related that Peter Aller, my gr. grandfather by adoption who was a Roman Catholic, would take my gr. grandmother, Sophia Aller, to the services. He would wait or visit someone and then return to get her when the services were finished.
Mrs. Jenkins, Kathryn Grimm's mother, told about her recollections concerning the singing. Since musical instruments were scarce or completely lacking, the group had its own song leader or "Vorsanger" who sat in front and with a strong voice helped lead the singing. She remembers the old Daniel Grimm, Sr. in particular as one who did this. Anyone who has attended a German service wherever can attest to their strong and meaningful voices in singing. Mrs. Jenkins mother was a Weber, whose family was of German origin. Daniel Grimm, Sr. would be a grandfather to the family I knew.
Daniel Grimm whom I knew told me he used to get tired and whimper as a small child "Der Mann soll nicht lesen". (The man shouldn't read). I suppose the services became long to him just as they do today.
George Gerhardt, whom I knew as the local blacksmith, had the job of riding from house to house telling various individuals the time of services, etc. He didn't always appreciate this task as a child. He also kept some of the records.
George Grimm told how he was sponsor for George Henke at his baptism. Around the turn of the century the congregation decreased until it no longer held services. In a few years, before 1910, Ziegler Memorial Lutheran Church organized and many of the members became active in that congregation, which was of course, English in language from the beginning.
Four churches were in the area in the latter part of the 1800's. One was known as the Saints' Church, where Henry and Augusta Henke live today. Another on the James Irwin property was a German Congregational Church, and another located today on the Edgar Kemper property by Wild Cat Den State Park, was the German Methodist Church. So when New Era began its existance, Mrs. Anna Henke told me that her parents were relieved, because at last there was a church which had services in the English language which her parents could understand.
It became a special project fo rme to read and translate from German into English the constitution of St. Peter's. The old German gothic script is quite beautiful, but quite difficult to decipher, let alone translate. It was a very rewarding task and I make it available as a special way of my observing the country's bi-centennial. The Baptism records were not always easy to read, but by and large are correct translations, I believe.
The original records are at Zion Lutheran Church in Muscatine, Iowa, whre I came across them when I was a teacher in their school. In the fall of 1974, I made copies of them, and have just now finished what I set out to do--make English translations available.
1976 James Batchelor, used with permission by Rootbound Genealogy.