Buffalo, September 4, 1854
Messrs. Rischmüller and Löscher, Esq., New York
We have received your missive of August 24th of this year concerning a small crate of lithographs and portraits, which are still in the Customs House. According to a report sent by Mr. E. Weinecke of Berlin dated January 24, 1854 the contents are worth $70.78. All the items are the property of the Martin Luther College, which was incorporated in 1853 and installed with a charter. The painter, Mr. C. Burggraf, and the lithographer, E. Weinecke in Berlin, have completed these for the benefit of the college (600 lithographs). They are donations from Germany to help raise funds for construction of the college. The lithographs will be sold to our friends for this purpose.
You may advise the Custom House accordingly.
J.A.A. Grabau, Pastor,
President of the Directory of the Martin Luther College, etc.
Here we have Grabau's letter, written in 1854, in which he states that the college was incorporated; in 1866 he swore under oath that it was not incorporated.
On December 6, 1853 a meeting of the trustees was held, in which members figured out how much money was needed to pay off the debts. In the record of the minutes, written by Grabau himself, the 8th point of order states:
"Question: Was it necessary to have a charter in addition to the constitution? Pastor Grabau was charged with the task of going to Mr. Spalding and seeking his advice."
|With this letter in hand not only here in Buffalo but in other cities we collected money for the "incorporated College." From the following list of people more than $900 was collected:|
A.D. Patchin, Buffalo
B.A. Manchester "
Jacob S. Koons "
Eli Cook "
E.G. Spalding "
Governor Washington Hunt, Lockport
Anson Wolcott "
Dean Richmond, Batavia
William Vanderwood, Tonawanda
Later from the same
L.G. Payne "
Later from the same
Alexander Loescher, New York City
How astonished these good friends would be if they heard that they had been deceived *) and had given their money to J.A.A. Grabau, who held the college as his own personal property rather than that of the incorporated college?!
When Mr. Spaulding was in Congress (as Representative of Erie County), he raised the point through Brother Einsfeld whether the college was incorporated. Naturally he was given "yes" in reply. Based on this the Congress sent the incorporated college some books. A short time ago I showed Mr. Spaulding the Act of Incorporation and asked him what he made of it. He answered that he believed the incorporation was legal. Then I told him that Grabau might had denied the incorporation under oath. He countered: Grabau told me that the college was incorporated and I have always believed that Grabau spoke the truth.
Isn't it surprising that the same man who for years said, wrote and acted one way now suddenly denied the incorporation under oath? Grabau, who had suffered and striven for truth in Germany, had done this! Where had he learned this? Grabau said, "I will do nothing without the advice of my attorney." Thus he had misinterpreted the Ninth Commandment so beautifully: Look, the incorporation is flawed as it pertains to Church Law.
*) One of the trustees at the time who still follows Grabau, Mr. Rudel, signed this petition and collected money for the so-called "incorporated institute." His minister, Pastor Grabau, now denies the incorporation under oath. May the question be raised whether Rudel had swindled the people from whom he collected money or whether Grabau perjured himself? One or the other must be the case. Return to text
Therefore you can negate it with an oath. Deny it and the college becomes yours. Thus he seized the college for himself.. *)
John A.A. Grabau, the plaintiff in this action by Ganson and Smith, his attorneys, complains of Francis G. Zeumer and Edo Leemhuis defendants in said action according to the form of the statute in such case made and provided and says that heretofore and on the first say of June in the year 1866 the said plaintiff was lawfully seized in fee simple and possessed of the following described premises, to wit. - All that certain piece or parcel of land Situated in the fourth ward of the City of Buffalo being part of Farm Lot twenty seven bounded and described as follows, Beginning at a point in the west side of Maple Street fifty feet northerly from its intersection with the north line of Virginia Street running thence northerly on the west side of Maple Street one hundred feet - thence westerly and at right angles with Maple Street on hundred feet, thence southerly and parallel with Maple Street one hundred feet, thence easterly to the place of beginning, being lots number forty three (43) forty four (44) forty five (45) and forty six (46) on Maple Street on a map of Farm lot Twenty Seven made by Aaron D. Patchin and filed in Erie County Clerks office, September 26th 1848.
said plaintiff therefrom and unjustly withhold from the said plaintiff the possession thereof to the plaintiffs damage of fifteen hundred Dollars,
Wherefore the said plaintiff demands judgment in this action against the said defendants Francis G. Zeumer and Edo Leemhuis that they forthwith deliver the possession of the said land and premises to the said plaintiff and pay to the said plaintiff the damage so as aforesaid sustained by him, by the withholding of said premises and the costs of this action.
Johann A.A. Grabau
To this complaint the judge rendered the following
At a civil Trial Term of the Superior Court of Buffalo held in and for the city of Buffalo at the rooms of the Law Library on the 6th day of November 1867.
John A.A. Grabau
Francis G. Zeumer and
This action came to be tried at a civil Trial Term holden as above, before me the undersigned without a jury, a jury having been waived by the attorneys for the respective parties in open Court and after hearing the proofs and allegations of the parties I find the following facts:
That heretofore and on the first day of June in the year 1866 John A.A. Grabau, the plaintiff in this action, was lawfully seized in fee simple and possessed of the following described premises, to wit, All that certain piece or parcel of land situated in the fourth ward of the city of Buffalo, being part of Farm Lot 27 beunded [sic] and described as follows, Beginning at a point in the west side of Maple Street, fifty feet northerly from its intersection with the north line of Virginia Street, running thence northerly on the west side of Maple street one hundred feet then westerly and at right angles with Maple Street one hundred feet thence southerly and parallel with Maple street one hundred feet thence easterly to the place of Beginning being lots Nombers [sic] forty tree [sic] (43) forty four (44) forty five (45) and forty six (46) on Maple Street on Map of a farm lot twenty seven, made by Aaron D. Patchin, and filed in the Erie County Clerks office, September 26th, 1848.
That being so seized and possessed of the above described premises, the said defendants Francis G. Zeumer and Edo Leemhuis afterwards, to wit, on the first day of June 1867 at the said city of Buffalo entered into the said land and ejected the said plaintiff therefrom and unjustly withheld for the said plaintiff the possession thereof.
At a Civil Term of the Superior Court of Buffalo held November 6, 1867 in and for the City of Buffalo, in the room of the Law Library.
Johann A.A. Grabau
for both parties in open court, and having examined the evidence of the parties, I find the following facts:
That on the first of June 1866 Joh. A.A. Grabau, the plaintiff in this case, was seized of the following described property in a legal manner and possession was taken of said piece or parcel of land ----(here follows a description of the land on which the college sits.)
That after he was seized of such property and deprived of its possession the above defendants, Franz G. Zeumer and Edo Leemhuis, on the first of June 1866 took possession of said land in the City of Buffalo and ejected said plaintiff and in an unjust manner deprived said plaintiff of property.
On the basis of these facts I find as a matter of law that said plaintiff is entitled to the immediate possession of said property and that said defendants unlawfully deprived him of its possession.
Thus may justice be achieved.
Thus anyone can see that Grabau laid claim to the college as his personal property and that the judge had made the pronouncement based on his sworn testimony that it was his personal property. One notices that in Grabau's lawsuit and in the verdict of the judge, Grabau's name is listed without any titles of office, which were never lacking in any other instance. In the charter, the deed and the earlier sworn statement Grabau's name was always listed with the usual title: President or Senior of the Buffalo Synod. But in this lawsuit he entered the complaint as a private individual and his attorneys said that he was here as an individual. - Let one further consider that Pastor Zeumer was appointed as College Inspector by Grabau himself in his official capacity but Grabau could not rid himself of Pastor Zeumer in the same manner as he had dispatched Pastor Hochstetter (through Trustee action), therefore Grabau represented himself as the private owner of the college and maintained under oath that Zeumer and Leemhuis had ejected him from his property and that they owed him $1500 in damages.
How can Grabau so deceptively say in his Vigilant Church: "Pastor Grabau has not claimed the college as his own personal property, as the banished enemies falsely state, but rather in trust for the Synod of Buffalo"?!
He had openly and in writing divested himself from the Synod of Buffalo, thus he must have known that he could not hold the college as President of the Synod and he struck out in the above demonstated deceptive manner to seize Synod property for himself.
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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 13, 2006
Imaged and translated by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks