REV. PETER GOTKE
Portrait And Biographical Record Of Northern Michigan
Containing Portraits And Biographical Sketches Of Prominent
And Representative Citizens
Record Publishing Co., 1895
|During the present century vast numbers have emigrated to America from
foreign lands, seeking a home and fortune in our fair land. Not being familiar
with the English language, they have a large measure been deprived of the
advantage of religious training, except such as they have received from those
of their fellow-countrymen who have followed them hither and given their
lives to the work of proclaiming the Gospel. Such a one is the subject of
this sketch, a Dane by birth and an American by adoption. In the ministerial
profession, to which he has devoted his energies, he has met with great success,
and his labors among the Danes of Northern Michigan have been crowned with
most encouraging results. For some years he has held the pastorate of the
Danish Lutheran Church of Manistee, in which responsible position he has
gained the regard of those who have been brought in contact with him.
Rev. Mr. Gotke is still a young man, having been born January 29, 1862. His native town was Altona (then in Denmark, but now belonging to Prussia), where his father, an officer in the service of the Danish Government, resided. His death occurred on November 22, 1894. In boyhood Rev. Mr. Gotke was given the best advantages the country afforded, and after completing the high school studies he entered the University of Copenhagen, where he completed the classical course, graduating at the age of twenty-one. While a student in the university he met Miss Gertrude Borgesen, a native of Copenhagen, and they were married two days before sailing to America.
It was a severe trial to Mr. Gotke to separate himself, perhaps forever, from all his former associates and seek a home thousands of miles away in a strange country. But it was his determination to come here and minister to his countrymen, who were in need of such services, especially in their native language. Accordingly in 1887 he crossed the ocean, accompanied by his young wife, and settled in Chicago, where he was ordained to the ministry. His first pastorate was that of St. Stephen's Church on the South Side, Chicago, where he remained two years. In 1889 he was transferred to Manistee, succeeding Rev. J. Hanson, who died while in the service of his people.
The Danish Lutheran Church of Manistee has a membership of over one hundred and thirty, with a regular attendance of about five hundred. In addition to this charge, Mr. Gotke is pastor of the church at Big Rapids, where he is doing excellent work in the way of building up a congregation. He is now in the prime of his life and the vigor of manhood, and gives his parishioners intelligent and satisfactory service. He and his wife, with their children, Johannes Christian, Elizabeth Marie and Esther Paulina, have established a pleasant home in Manistee, and occupy a position of influence among the Danish citizens of this locality. In politics he is a Republican.