Merrick County's 100th Year: 1858-1958

Of Vieregg and Prairie Creek Townships:

These organizations were originally affiliated with the German Methodist Synod and came into being in the year 1873.

The first pastor was Reverend C. W. Lauenstein.

The church building and parsonage were erected in 1873 on the southeast quarter of Section 7-12-8, Merrick County, immediately north of the school house in Merrick County School District No. 32. The work was discontinued about the year 1919 or 1920, the last pastor being Rev. Herman A. Jungmeyer. He had been preceded by Rev. G. J. Mueller and Rev. Tonat. The church building and parsonage were sold to Theodore Buchfinck and are now part of the improvements on his farm in the northeast quarter of Section 18-12-8.


South of Palmer


Located six miles south east of Palmer on the former H. C. von Aschwege farm. It was probably organized in the early 1870's. The oldest marked grave in the adjacent cemetery is dated 1873. Arnold Aschwege now lives on the farm. Early names in the parish included: H. C. von Aschwege; August Brunks; August Muellers; Schutz; Scheibes; Gerd Boelts, John and Gus Boelts; and others.

No regular services were held for many years. Occasional burials have been made since the church building was sold in 1944 to the St. Paul Lutheran Church of Central City. The lumber was used in their new sanctuary.


This church organization dates from the year 1889 when the first church building was erected. The first pastor was Rev. R. K. Pierce and the present pastor is Rev. Walter E. Neth of Clarks, Nebraska.

The church building was moved to its present site on May 28, 1913. Beginning with that date, the following pastors have served the church: Rev. William St. John Sanders; Rev. H. W. Wegner; Rev. William Van Burn; Rev. W. F. Taylor; Rev. G. E. Martin; Rev. E. A. Gaither; Rev. A. M. Olson; Rev. Oscar Strombarn; Rev. E. W. Price; Rev. M. W. Pickerel; Rev. Virgil Leach; Rev, Melvin Ireland; Rev. O. A. Knott; Rev. U. G. Rosement; Rev. J. W. Tourinlson; Rev. L. R. Hansberry; Rev. L. W. Mullis and Rev. Walter E. Neth.



Among the charter members and early members of this church, the following names are noted: Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Currey; Mr. and Mrs. G. A. McConnell; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rose; Mr. and Mrs. Klar Betts; Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Shively; Mr. and Mrs. William Burger; Mr. and Mrs. John Lumadue; Mr. and Mrs. T. D. Betts; Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Peck; Mr. and Mrs. Bert Ferguson; Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Waite; Mr. and Mrs. James Booth.


Established as a mission in the late 1860's and administered by Father Ryan of Columbus, Nebraska. At that time services were held in the old section house located one mile east of the present town of Clarks.

In 1871 the Union Pacific Railroad Company deeded, for church purposes, a plot of ground to John Higgins and Luke Lamb as trustees for the Catholic Church of Clarksville, Nebraska. Early in 1872 a frame church building was erected on what is now Lot 5 in Block 12 of the present Town of Clarks.

Compliments of
Locker Service

Compliments of


Following Father Ryan came Fathers Gerry, York and Gleason, all administering from Columbus, Nebraska. Later on the needs were administered by Fathers Delfoss and O'Conner, pastors at Central City, Nebraska.

With the appointment of Father John Kunkel as pastor in 1918, the present parish of St. Peter's was incorporated and eight years later, in 1926, the new brick church building was erected at its present location. Father Kunkel served the parish for thirty years before being transferred to St. Francis parish in Omaha.

Present pastor is Father Paul B. Kannaby who has served the parish since the transfer of Father Kunkel in 1948.

Names of some of the earlier member families: Higgins; Lambs; Roachs; Donleys; Shanahans; Feehans; Fagans; Hanleys; Douglas'; Lavelles; Claytons and Naughtons.


Located eight miles west of Central City on the Ormsby Road.

Organized on January 7, 1883 at the Pemberton Schoolhouse.

First Pastor, Rev. J. E. Ingram; First Deacons, John H. Sutton and R. T. Lewis.

Charter Members:
     Perry M. Sutton, Ella Sutton, Adam J. Harshberger, A. M. Harshberger, James E. Fitch, Mrs. James E. Fitch, Francis M. Hirst, Elizabeth Hirst, James A. Sinsel, E. A. Sinsel, B. F. Jones, Mary Jones, Jacob Schmelzer, Mrs. Jacob Schmelzer, R. T. Lewis, L. E. Lewis, Wm. F. Sinsel, Fannie A. Sinsel, John H. Sutton, Hannah Sutton, James W. Teagarden, Joel F. Widman, John Newlon, Mrs. John Newlon, F. L. Frazier and Mrs. R. S. Frazier.

This church was discontinued and the church edifice was sold at public auction on August 25, 1954.

Vieregg Precinct

Date of Organization, 1872.

First Pastor, Rev. H. Stellrecht.

Early Roll of Members contained these names:
     Mr. and Mrs., Frederick Wiegert; Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Rembolt; Mr. and Mrs. Carl Schleuter; William Wegner; Mary D. Baumeister; Henry Wiegert; Fred L. Wiegert; Wm. Glause; Mary Glause; Mrs. Wm, Wegner; Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Rudolf and Mrs. August Retzlaff.

The church edifice was erected in 1879. The present pastor is Rev. Frank Schroeder.

Vieregg Precinct

This organization was formed by a group of Merrick and Hall County persons and meetings were held in Hall County School District No. 45.

The church edifice was erected in 1900 and the first pastor was Rev. Herman Schuman. The church was discontinued about the year 1910 and the building was sold and removed from its location on the east side of Section 12, Twp. 12, Rg. 9, just across the Merrick County line in Hall County.

Among the names of Charter Members the following families are mentioned:
     Frank Niemoth; John Niemoth; Robert Kunze; Henry Blume; August Buchfinck; William Gunther; Machtlein Ahrens; Robert Buchow and Charles Beyersdorf.

Central City

Originally this was a Mission of the Fridhem Lutheran Church of Hordville, Nebr. during the years 1902-1903 and 1904.

The first church building was erected in 1904 and dedicated in September of that year.

The first pastor was Rev. A. G. Ander of the Hordville Church. Other pastors included Revs. Gibson; Rydquist; Degner and visiting pastor Oscar Johnson.

The present pastor is Rev. Carl A. E. Gustafson.

Among the early organizational members are noted:
     Members of the Amos Bankson family; John and Johanna Bankson; Mr. and Mrs. Peter Nelson; Mr. and Mrs. John M. Nelson; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Nelson; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Fagerstrom; Mr. and Mrs. Axel Levene; Mr.

Compliments of WEST OVERLAND PRODUCE CO., Central City


and Mrs. Nels 0. Nordstrom; Mr. and Mrs. John L. Nelson.

This church affiliates with the Augustana National Lutheran Council.

Central City

This church came into being during the 1880's and the congregation was included in a circuit served by pastors and lay workers from other established organizations.

After acquiring its present church building a number of resident pastors have served the church. One of the early pastors was Rev. Cook, whose daughter was also a minister. She was associated with another minister, Miss Bond, and the two did pioneer work in conducting services in nearby towns and in several Merrick County school houses.

The present pastor is Rev. John D. Hoschar. Sunday School is held at 10 o'clock, morning worship at 11 o'clock and evening service at 8 o'clock. Mid-week prayer services are held on Thursday evenings.

Central City

Organized in 1906 and first church edifice erected in 1907.

The first pastor was Rev. John G. Alber and the present pastor is Rev. Melvin E. Zichek.

Brother Baldwin of Cotner College, Lincoln, Nebraska and six other interested persons started the church in answer to the Lord's Prayer "That they might all be One." Edith Dinges is the only living Charter Member.

The church has a Bible School, a Missionary Society, a Dorcas Circle and a Worker's Conference.

Of Central City, Nebraska

The first service was held in Central City School in 1904 with Rev. W. F. Seeskow of Immanuel Church, Hordville, Nebraska.

Formal Organization on March 2, 1924 with thirty-five members, four of which were charter members, namely: Fred Kanter, Charles Kanter, August Butt and John Hake. The latter being the only survivor.

First pastor was Rev. H. W. Degner of Palmer, Nebraska.

The present interim pastor is Rev. O. A. Graebner of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Grand Island, Nebraska.

Pastors since organization:

Rev. H. W. Degner . . . . . . . .  1924-1925
Rev. B. Holmen . . . . . . . . . . 1925-1930
Rev. A. Kohtz . . . . . . . . . .  1930-1937
Rev. Paul Panning . . . . . . . . .1937-1941
Rev. Andrew Maken . . . . . . . .  1941
Rev. M. V. Meyer . . . . . . . . . 1942-1945
Rev. M. Schabacker . . . . . . . . 1945-1951
Rev. John Knippenberg . . . . . . .1951-1957

First church building was erected in 1932. New building in 1944 with 148 members. Present church edifice of Mankato stone to be dedicated sometime in 1958. Present membership 285.

First marriage recorded: Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Hamilton, January 14, 1925. First baptism: LeRoy Hake, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hake, June 20, 1925. First death recorded was Mr. Nick Mattkes.

One pastor has been sent out from this congregation, Rev. Wendell Hamilton, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Hamilton, now serving the Redeemer Lutheran Church of Sioux City, Iowa. Dale Hoffschneider is at present preparing for the ministry.

Present Officers of the Church are:
     Chairman, Elmer Burhoop; Secretary, Ralph Hamilton; Treasurer, Raymond Ruge.
     Elders: Paul Deichman, Francis Holtorf, Leonard Strobel.
     Trustees: Louie Blase, Fred J. Ohlman, Paul Bender.
     S. S. Superintendent: Weldon Hake.

Central City, Nebraska

Organized in July 1950 and church building erected in 1951.

The first pastor was Rev. Charles Kirsch and the present pastor is Rev. G. A. Correll.

In July 1957 the church celebrated its seventh anniversary with a large number in attendance.


Compliments of WEBB LIVESTOCK COMM. CO., Grand Island


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