The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y. - Part I, pages 277 - 281

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years was carried on in a rented house. In the year 1854 the Synod resolved to erect its own building upon a lot bought from Mr. Patchin, on Maple, near Virginia Street, in which it found its permanent home. The course of instruction covers a period of six years, consisting of a three years college or preparatory course and the rest of the theological course. There is no capital fund of the institution, but it is supported by regular contributions of the congregations of the synod. The students reside in the seminary building and pay two Dollars weekly for their board. The professors and teachers at present are Prof. Wm. Grabau, Prof. F. Plenz and Pastor J.N. Grabau. The teacher of church music is Mr. F. Schroeder. The management is carried on by a board of trustees, which are elected every three years.

Evangelical Lutheran St. John's Congregation

In addition to the detailed history of the origin of the above name congregation which is found in another part of this book, the following may be said:

In the year 1897 the congregation purchased a magnificent Pipe-organ consisting of three manuals at a cost of $4,000.00. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the dedication of the present church was celebrated in the year 1900. At this time the interior of the church was handsomely frescoed, new stained glass windows, which

Caption under picture at center reads Old St. John's Church

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with but a few exceptions were presentations of families in memory of their departed ones, were placed; electric lights put in and the exterior received a suitable coat of painting, so that it compares favorably with the many beautiful churches of our city, and bears testimony of the benevolence and christian spirit of the congregation. A stately brick parsonage was erected in 1900. This building is directly opposite the church and school on Hickory Street. The school was built in 1888, in which the various societies have their rooms. The present officers of the church are: President, Rev. J.A.W. Kirsch; F. Kandel (deceased [1]), J.J. Haffa and F. Hause as Elders; P. Ihrig, A. Allinger and J. Vogelmann as Wardens; C. Flierl, Jr., G.A. Herner, F. Erion, J. Hoeckh, Geo. Flierl and C. Mueller as Trustees.

The corner-stone of the present church edifice was laid in the year 1874, and in the month of October of the following year the church was solemnly dedicated. At this time the conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Ministry of the State of New York and adjoining states was held in the church. And at the twenty-fifth anniversary of the dedication of the present church the congregation again had the privilege of

Caption under picture at center left reads Pastor Chr. Volz

Caption under picture at center right reads Interior St. John's Church


[1] The German text states "recently deceased." Return to text

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entertaining this conference. The church was built under the pastorate of Rev. Chr. Volz and is a splendid testimony of his successful activity, as the old church, which formerly occupied the space next to the present one and which was replaced in 1888 under the pastorate of Rev. J. Brezing by a spacious school, had by far become to [sic] small for the constantly increasing congregation. Both the exterior and interior of the church are an evidence of the love of the congregation for their house of worship and of the generosity which is prevalent in mantaining ad beautifying the same.

The beautiful new parsonage of the congregation, which occupies the space next to the former parsonage on Hickory Street, is directly opposite the new school and was completed in the summer of 1900. It was erected upon the lot that formally occupied the parsonage of the first pastor of the church, the Rev. H. Guenther, and which was afterwards used as the girl's branch of the St. John's Evang. Luth. Orphan Home. This property was purchased by the trustees of the congregation from the Orphan Home that they might erect thereupon a large parsonage with all modern improvements, thus effectuating the unanimous resolution of the congregation. On the 26th of August the parsonage was dedicated and answers very well to its intended purpose.

The schoolhouse was erected in 1888 and is used for the parochial school and for society purposes. The Sunday school finds its rooms

Caption under picture at center reads St. John's Orphan Asylum

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in the entire second floor of the building and can be divided into three departments. In the parochial school the instructions are given in both German and English languages. The instructions in the English language correspond with those of the public schools, as the same books are used, so that children that are transferred from the school into the public school are familiar with all forms of education as given there. For children of the church the instruction- and text books are free. The present able teacher, Mr. F.L. Luebben, who is also organist and chorister of the church received his education in one of our own seminary's.

Pastor Francis H. Gunther received his theological education in an institution called the Hartwick Seminary, which was established in the forepart of this century by the lutheran pastor, Johann Christoph Hartwig, in Otsego County, N.Y. He was licensed to preach in 1823. Several years he was active in missionary work in the vicinity of Mohawk, and after that he labored six years in the congregations at Ernestown and Frederickstown in Canada. On account of poor health he was obliged to resign his pastorage in Canada in 1831. He resided

Caption under picture at center left reads Pastor Johannes Albert Wilhelm Kirsch

Caption under picture at center right reads Parsonage of the Ev. Luth. St. John's Congregation

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for a while in New York, and then served a congregation at Rush near Rochester. In 1833 he accepted an invitation to visit Buffalo, where he founded the St. John's congregation, which he served as pastor for 23 years, until poor health and old age compelled him to resign his pastorate. He died on the 2nd day of June 1863, at the age of 70 years. Pastors Volz and Knapp officiated at his burial and his remains were interred in the cemetery of the congregation in the midst of members of his flock who had preceded him into eternity.

Pastor Johannes Albert Wilhelm Kirsch was born on the 5th day of August, 1865, at Kappeln, Schleswig-Holstein, in Germany. After he had absolved [graduated from] the school of his native town he entered the theological seminary at Knopp [1], to prepare himself for the church service of the Lutheran Church in America and to serve the same as represented by the General Council. In the year 1887 he arrived in America. After having served awhile as vicar in Brooklyn and Sangerties, and after he acquainted himself with the religious circumstances in this country, he was active in Webster, Flatbush (Brooklyn) and Canajoharie, in the State of New York. Last named congregation he served for over five years, and it required a second call of the Evangelical Lutheran St. John's congregation of Buffalo, N.Y., until his congregation permitted him to go in peace into his new field of labor. The union of the pastor and congregation, which was formed by the act of solemn installation on the 5th

Caption under picture at center reads New St. John's Church


[1] The German text gives the name as "Kropp". Return to text


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Revised May 8, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks