What Grabau Teaches and Professes: Pages 20 - 25


SUPREME COURT, ERIE COUNTY

THE GERMAN MARTIN LUTHER COLLEGE,
                           agt.
      JOHN A. A. GRABAU, President of the
      Synod of the Lutheran Church,
      emigrated from Prussia, and
      Christiana Sophia Grabau, his wife

   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.
   And these defendants deny that the corporators in the said complaint mentioned and referred to, purchased in the said complaint described.
   And these defendants admit the said premises were conveyed to the defendant John A.A. Grabau, at the time, in that respect stated in the said complaint; but they deny were so conveyed pursuant to the express agreement in the said complaint stated; and they deny that he, the said John A.A. Grabau, agreed to convey the same, as is therein set forth.
   And these defendants deny the corporators in the said complaint mentioned, paid the consideration of the conveyances aforesaid, and they deny that the corporation named as plaintiff paid off the mortgage in the said complaint mentioned, and referred to.
   And the said defendants deny that the plaintiff has expended a large sum of money, as in that respect, is stated in the said complaint, or has paid the purchase price of the said premises, and deny that the defendant holds the title of the said lands in trust for the said plaintiff.
   And these defendants in further answer to the complaint say, that at the commencement of this action the plaintiff was not a body corporate and politic, and had not any legal existence as these defendants are informed and believe.
   And these defendants, in further answer to the said complaint, deny that the plaintiff, by its trustees, or otherwise, has requested the defendants to execute a deed of conveyance of the said lands to the plaintiff.
   Wherefore these defendants demand judgment dismissing the said complaint, with the costs of this action.
                                                       GANSON & SMITH,
                                                 Attorneys for the Defendans.

STATE OF NEW YORK,
      ERIE COUNTY.
   John A.A. Grabau being duly sworn, deposes and says, he is one of the defendants in the foregoing answer named, that he has heard the same read and knows


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.

Translation of the Grabau Response
-----

The German Martin Luther College
                  against
   John A.A. Grabau, President of
   the Synod of the Prussian
   Immigrant Lutheran Church of Buffalo
   and his wife, Christiane Sophia Grabau.
   The defendants in this case, in response to the accusations of the plaintiff, through their attorneys, Ganson and Smith deny

  1. that the plaintiff in the named action is a corporation under and in compliance with the New York State Laws.
  2. And the defendants deny, that the Corporate Body in the above mentioned case, purchased the property described in the action.
  3. And the defendants testify that the above mentioned property, at the time of the action, was assigned to the plaintiff John A. A. Grabau; but they deny, that as the above action states, agreement had been reached with regard to its transfer; *) and they further deny that the named John A. A. Grabau promised to transfer the property, as stated in the action.
  4. And the defendants deny, that the Corporate Body in the above mentioned action has paid the costs for said transfer (that is, the $200 deposit on the land), and they (the defendants) deny that the Mortgage (of $550) has been paid off as stated in the action. **)
  5. And the defendants deny, that the plaintiffs paid out a large sum of money as described in the complaint

    *)In the minutes of the Ministerial meeting Grabau himself signed a promissory note, which he denied here under oath. Return to text

    **) At the time Grabau had indeed signed the mortgage as President of the Directory and had paid money which the Synod congregation had contributed for that purpose; a letter of thanks to Mr. Spaulding proves that he (Grabau) had used his (Spaulding's) influence over Mr. Patchin to purchase the Synod property for $200; he acknowledges such in the 4th Synodal Letter. Return to text


(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. *)
  1. And these defendants say in response to the above accusation that at the beginning of this transaction the plaintiff had no corporate or political body and no legal existence, as the defendants were instructed and so believe.
  2. And these defendants deny in further response to this action that the defendant did through his trustees or in any other way, attempt to carry out the transfer of a deed to said lands.
For this reason the defendants request a judgment with regard to said action and payment of court costs.
                                             Ganson and Smith
                                      Attorneys for the Defendants.

State of New York
   Erie County

   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.
                                                                     Joh. A.A. Grabau
   Signed and sworn to
before me on this 15th Day
of August, A.D. 1866
In the City of Buffalo
                                                       Thos. Bath, Com'r of Deeds.

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:

  1. that the College was not incorporated.
  2. that he did not propose to transfer the deed to the plaintiffs through the trustees or in any other way.
  3. that he did not hold the College in trust for the Synod.
  4. that monies were not obtained through the plaintiffs.

_______

*)This firmly delivers the proof that Grabau laid claim to Synod property for himself. Return to text


From Pastor Grabau's sworn testimony the judge delivered the following

Decision:

   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.
                                                                  R.P. Marvin.

Translation

   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:
   1. The Charter, which states at the beginning:
CONSTITUTION of the German Lutheran Church, Buffalo, N.Y.
   Adopted by the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Buffalo, June 3d A.D. 1853.
On the third day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three (3d June 1853) the German Evang. Lutheran Synod of Buffalo, was assembled in the City of Buffalo, this being the fourth convention of Synod since 1845. The Rev. J. ANDR. A. GRABAU, Pastor at Buffalo, was President, Rev. C. A. SCHREOER, Secretary.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

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.
  1. Elected as President of the Board of Directors, which is to consist at least of five Lutheran Ministers of this Synod: the Rev. Johann Andreas Augustus Grabau, Pastor of the Lutheran Trinity Church at Buffalo:
  2. As Trustees the following citizens of Buffalo:
    Wilhelm Eschenfelder, August Vermehr and Geo. Lueders.
  3. As Treasurer: Ernst Rother of Buffalo, etc., etc.

   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.

Translation

   State of New York
State and County of New York
   Today, July 16, 1853 Herman E. Ludwig of said city came before me; he is known to me, and after he was duly sworn in, he testified that he personally knew Joh. A.A. Grabau, who was present, and he was one of those persons described (in the charter), whose name was set down in the instrument (charter) as President of the Directory of the German Lutheran College at Buffalo in said State; and after said Grabau was duly sworn in, he testified that he lives in the aforenamed City of Buffalo, that he is President of the above named Directory, that he is empowered as President of the Directory to sign the named instrument and affix his seal to it since the above named Directory is not yet incorporated and does not yet have a seal of incorporation. *)
                                                                  Thomas S. Sommers.

-----

3.Sworn Statements of the College Trustees
-----

   State of New York
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


Translation

   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.
                                                                  David F. Day.

-----

4. The Judge's Authorization

State of New York
   Erie County
I, James Mullett, one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the Eight Judicial District of the said state, do hereby consent and give approbation to the filing of the above and annexed certificate, pursuant to the act for the Incorporation of Benevolent, Charitable, Scientific and Missionary Societies.
      Dated Buffalo, July 18th, 1853         JAS. MULLETT.

Translation

   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:


Go on to Pages 26 - 31

Return to Index


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