SUPREME COURT, ERIE COUNTY
THE GERMAN MARTIN LUTHER COLLEGE,
The defendants in this action, by Ganson and Smith, their Attorneys, in answer to the complaint of the plaintiff, deny that the plaintiff in the said complaint named, is a corporation under and pursuant to the laws of the State of New York.
STATE OF NEW YORK,
the contents thereof, and that the same is true of his own knowledge, except as to the matters therein stated on information and belief, and as to those matters he believes it to be true.
J. AN. A. GRABAU
Subscribed and sworn to before me,
this 15th day of August, A. D.
1866, at the City of Buffalo
Thos. Bath, Com'r of deed for Buffalo.
The German Martin Luther College
(for the construction of the College building) or that they paid the purchase price for the named property; and they deny that the defendants hold the ownership title of said land in trust for the said defendant. *)
Ganson and Smith
Attorneys for the Defendants.
State of New York
After John A.A. Grabau was duly sworn in, he deposed and said that he is one of the defendants in the aforementioned responses, that it was read by him and he understands its content, and that he knows that these are true, except the matters based on communication and belief, and with regard to these matters he also believes them to be true.
Herein anyone can see that Grabau denied under oath what thousands could swear to. The case itself dealt only with the first point, whether the College was incorporated or not. Since in this instance the trustees stood against Grabau, he attempted to take the college for himself by negating the incorporation and to the end he did not shy from swearing:
From Pastor Grabau's sworn testimony the judge delivered the following
I hereby decide as a matter of law that the plaintiff is not a body corporate and politic and that the complaint herein should be dismissed with costs to be adjusted.
I hereby decide according to the law that the plaintiffs were not a legally incorporated body and that the plaintiffs should assume the costs of the trial.
The following documents were presented to the judge to substantiate the College's incorporation:
In the Synodical Session of this day (June 3d) the election of officers for the German Martin Luther College at Buffalo, N.Y. took place, and resulted as follows.
2. Grabau's sworn statement, which he made on the 16th of July, 1853 on his way to Germany in the City of New York, in order that he might obtain incorporation for the College.
State of New York
City and County of New York
On the 16th day of July, A.D. 1853 before me came HERMANN E. LUDWIG, of said city, Counsellor at Law, to me known, who being by me duly sworn, did depose, that he personally know John A.A. Grabau, then present, to be one of the same individuals described in, who had executed the foregoing instrument, as the President of the Board of Directors of the German Lutheran College at Buffalo, in said State; and the said GRABAU being then also by me duly sworn, did depose,
that he resides in the city of Buffalo aforesaid, that he is the President of the said Board of Directors; that as such President, and by authority of said Board, he has subscribed the said instrument, and affixed his seal thereto, the said Board not being yet Incorporated, or having a corporate seal.
THO'S S. SOMMERS, Com. of Deeds.
State of New York
3.Sworn Statements of the College Trustees
Erie County, city of Buffalo
On this 18th day of July 1853 A.D. personally appeared before me GEORGE LENDERS, WILHELM ESCHENFELDER, AUGUST VERMEHR, to me severally known to be individuals described in, and who executed the within instrument, and each being by me first duly sworn, deposed and said, that he was one of the Trustees of the German Lutheran College, a corporation which has not yet received a charter or a corporate seal; and that as such Trustee, and by the direction of the Directors of said corporation, each of them had executed said instrument, and affixed his seal thereto; and further, that each of the aforesaid individuals reside in said citys.
David F. Day.
Com. of Deeds for the city of Buffalo.
*)Let the reader recognize here that Grabau assumed the authority of the Directory of the M. L. College as President of the Buffalo Synod. The reader can see in the next section what the corporate body testified to when he [Grabau] later claimed in the lawsuit that he was acting as a private individual. Return to text
Today, July 18th there appeared before me in person George Lüder, Wilhelm Eschenfelder, August Vermehr, all of whom are known to me, as the persons who are decribed in the enclosed instrument (charter), and after each was duly sworn in by me each stated that he was one of the Trustees of the German Lutheran College, which did not yet as a corporation have a charter or a seal of incorporation; and each of them as such Trustee and according to the instructions of the Directors, set down said instrument and affixed his seal; and further each of the aforenamed persons resides in said city.
4. The Judge's Authorization
State of New York
I, Jakob Mullett, one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the Eighth Judicial District of said State, hereby give my assent and authorization to the filing of the above and attached certificate, according to the Act of Incorporation of the Benevolent, Charitable, Scientific and Missionary Societies.
Buffalo, the 18th of July 1853 Jacob Mullett.
After the Judge's authorization was obtained the charter was filed at the Erie County Clerk's Office, a duplicate was executed and on August 26, 1853 filed at the Office of the State Secretary in Albany.
Further Proofs from Grabau's Feather
that he himself was convinced to the legality of the incorporation of the College.
When Grabau and von Rohr traveled through Germany in 1853 they commissioned a lithograph of themselves in Berlin. These printed pictures were purchased for the College. In 1854 Pastor von Rohr's brother wrote from New York that the lithographs had arrived there and that he would send them on as soon as he received payment and knew who the owner of the lithograph was. In response Grabau sent him the following letter:
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Reproduction [of the text] by Permission of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Buffalo NY: October 16, 2003
Edited January 12, 2006
Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks